A couple of major events on the farm last week to report..
On Tuesday the ewes were scanned. This is an event that cause both excitement and perturbation since the farm’s financial future rather hangs on a good result! In the event the news was good overall though it was a little disappointing that we had 13 ’empties’ We are predicted to have 368 births – in practice this means that we shall probably end up with around 325 lambs for sale. For me this meant a flurry of activity as I went over data from last year as well as this new information to see how we were doing against the dreaded Flock Performance Indicator!
For Chris, it gave added enthusiasm for attending a conference on lameness in sheep at which scientists from Warwick University shared new findings. He came back with much for us to think about and we will be be going through all my data and his new knowledge with Anne Gibbs our vet next week.
And we had rain! This time even the stream broke its banks and the lying water in the fields was once again awful. However, this morning much of the surface water in the field by the drive had gone and the stream is now well below its banks.
On the Sunday we had a visit from Mary who is going to join us for part of lambing and she coped very well with the sight of our oh-so-muddy sheep! Wwoofer season is now well under way and we have accepted some of the volunteers that have applied to us. In the early summer we are looking forward to two young men from France and Germany respectively who are well into their agricultural studies.
We were also very pleased to hear from one of last years Wwoofers who has been rather off our radar – we very much enjoyed her letter and to learn of new developments in her life.
A busy week ahead including for me a bit of a “jolly” in that I am going up to London to watch Prime Ministers questions courtesy of Karen Lumley our investor and local MP.
Finally, we will leave you with a poem from one of our investors, Louis Hemmings – we hope you enjoy it as much as we did, and feel free to share your own creativity!
rough rural roads walked, boot-steps slow,
harped the tree tops: wind belligerently blows!
birds tossed sideways: black paper scraps,
precarious landings, furious their wing flaps.
muddy cars, jeeps, round bend speeding,
I pause, they pass, safe space worth ceding;
onward tramping, I observe field and farm,
many dwellings empty, long shorn of charm.
dogs defend yards, sheep bleat weakly,
tall tractors trundle, a donkey brays meekly;
gone benign sunshine, clouds gloomy-grey,
rain has a rehearsal, home without delay.
Safe in house kitchen before storm starts,
far forested mountain, cloud-capped in parts;
seated at long table, warmed by strong tea,
such country scenes inspire praise poetry…
Yours, Farmer Adrian