This week we have experienced very different weather. There have been sunny periods but at all times a very chill northerly wind. The three ewes I referred to last week have still not lambed but do appear to be pregnant! Sadly, clostridial has caused us to lose two more lambs. It’s not only disappointing when this happens but also rather sad and depressing when the team have tried really hard to help a lamb through a variety of health problems – particularly hard on Katja who has been managing in a very personal way at our ‘orphanage’.
For the last few weeks our normal Friday morning meeting of the farm team has not been held because of the need to put the interests of lambing first. This Friday it was good to return to the usual routine and as a group reach conclusions on necessary actions. Topics covered ranged from what treatment to adopt to reduce the incidence of fly strike – we had our first case early in the week – to the best seed mix to buy for drilling into the field where the spring oats failed last year, and particularly importantly to review our position on matters biodynamic.
Dates were set for spraying 500 and for lifting the cow horns which hopefully will provide us with all the 500 we need for later on in the year.
It was also agreed that Tim should take the coming week off while Katja would do likewise in a week’s time. We have yet to determine how Chris gets some time away with family!
The seed mix we eventually decided to go for is rather more conventional than I really wanted to go with but other realities prevailed. Cultivation hopefully will begin this week – discing rather than ploughing – and two passes in the hopes of both creating a good seed bed and knocking back the weeds sufficiently to allow the seeds to take strongly.
The warm weather last week very much helped grass growth and there have been movements of both cattle and sheep to take advantage of the new growth and of course increased activity in the gardens! Janine and Marisa who are with us for two weeks have carried on the work begun by Katrin, and helped Becky who had to manage with having only a little time from Jasper who was away on a course for much of the week.
One of the often unrecorded great things about having Wwoofers is that often they are great cooks! We have been very fortunate again this year to have people stay with us who not only enjoy baking but make seriously good cakes!
May continues to go well for Ulula and Katrin continues in her role as translator for which we are very grateful. Actually for both of us it’s rather good fun since the task is more than just turning German words into their English equivalents – if they actually exist – but also taking ideas that make very good sense in a different culture and climate and transforming them into something that will work here. Working out how we put frog pond and seven-month mouse into context (if you haven’t guessed the latter is a dormouse) involved much debate and also amusement around the kitchen table!