Apple picking, squash harvest and goodbye to Joaquin!

The good weather held for most of the week which enabled two key tasks to be carried out. The most important was being able to complete our BD spraying programme for the year. On Monday Tim and Chris sprayed three full tanks of 500+ meaning that all but one field had three spraying this year. Then on Tuesday Tim sprayed all fields with 501 meaning that all fields had two sprayings in the year. Following this Tim went off on a well earned holiday!
Wednesday was a fruit day according to the calendar so it was time for apple picking. Joaquin and Paul collected all that could be reached by ladder and then Chris climbed up high into the tree and completed the picking of those that were ripe. On Thursday we delivered some 500 kg  to the juicing unit at Pershore College. With a bit of luck we shall have yet more apples to take in a couple of weeks.
Tim being on holiday it was perhaps inevitable that we should have stock issues. By the middle of the week it became clear that our largest and fattest cow had a problem with her right front leg. Clearly action was needed but persuading a very large, if lame, animal to stand still while an injection of anti- inflammatory was given is not an easy task especially when she is too fat to go through the crush Not for the first time we were faced with the reality of our puniness. Chris was undaunted of course and eventually the injection was given with no damage inflicted on either of us. This afternoon she is still lame so probably tomorrow the same exercise will be needed.
Finally this afternoon Chris found one of the lambs had fly strike  – I cannot remember a case so late in the year but I am told that is not the case!
Joaquin, our last Wwoofer of the year left us on Thursday having cooked us a splendid Chilean supper the night before. We have had a marvellous year with Wwoofers and not for the first time said goodbye sadly but confident that we will see him again this year for our Christmas event on the 6th December
For me the last part of the week was about getting ready for this years Demeter Inspection once the not unexpected email came asking to visit us next Tuesday.
Becky is now on her own in the garden coming in for two days each week. A last job for Joaquin was harvesting the squashes – as can be seen there are several varieties!. Writing this reminds me that Joaquin, unprompted, told us he had never before eaten such good vegetables as he had while with us.
The coffee and cakes week to raise money for the cancer charity brought in just over a £100 so the organisers were very pleased.
Finally walking down to look at the Guinea Fowl on Friday evening I realised that they and the chickens are all but fully grown now. Our aim with the guinea fowl is to release them at the end of the month to fend for themselves and hopefully roost in the big willow trees by the pond. The chickens, however, can never be given that freedom as self-survival is not one of their characteristics! They can fly since under Soil Association rules there is no wing clipping  but not fly well enough to roost in a tree. They are always escaping but, for Rosie, they will stand and allow her to pick them up and then put them back in the pen – we all envy her ability!
Autumn is now truly with us. Not only is the pyracantha covered in berries but the Michaelmas daisies look great and the cyclamen are making a great show.
This morning came with lovely weather and was a real contrast to yesterday so we drove the 27 new organic ewe lambs to the barn to check carefully their tag numbers – a wise move as 4 did not scan and two were not on the listing we were given – our supplier will need to be advised to adjust his flock register!
Rather amusing to see that the suckler herd had decided to wander into the barn for the morning. Lame cow still has problems, we may need to ask the vet to visit next week.
– Farmer Adrian

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