And still no rain! All the more ironic in that the flooding in our neighbour’s field turns out to be the main water pipe to the farm and business park which is fractured, and has been spewing forth water for over a week. Finally, the water company came to look at the problem, but sadly they were unable to fix it straight away – it seems to be a complicated matter, not least because of the pressure of water constantly going through the pipe!
In most ways last week was a good week despite our continuing concerns about our stock bull Jupiter. It is now two weeks since concerns began and despite blood tests there is still uncertainty about why he is not better yet. That said, he is well enough to make Chris trot alongside him when Chris goes in to the field to give Jupiter his daily injection! Aside from concerns about Jupiter the cattle seem well despite the flies which invariably go for the eyes.
On Wednesday all hands were required for work with the sheep. Drenching is normally applied by squirting the liquid down the animal’s throat. The drench given to the ewes this time oddly, required the injection of 2ml into each ewe’s neck just behind the ear. As you can imagine that in itself was not easy and when you recall some 240 animals had to be treated… Anyway the task was done and the opportunity was taken to check condition and take weights. The weights of the ewes were between 45 and 90kgs and despite the variation in weight there were no concerns about condition except that 3 had to be pulled out for foot rot.
The lambs came in at an average weight of 24kgs. All those above 22kgs were split from the flock and put into a separate field. One of the reasons for the range of weights with the lambs is that though the bulk of the lambs were born in May a few appeared in late June!
Activity in the gardens has been split between picking soft fruit, weeding and collecting produce for sale at Mosley Market. The soft fruit this year have been very productive and Anne has been very busy jam making. The time at the market was equally productive with all the produce taken sold.
On Wednesday we welcomed Michelangelo who comes with a wealth of practical experience of farming and is particularly interested in the ideas behind the Community Benefit Society. He is with us for a month.
On Friday morning we sadly said farewell to Samuel whose time with us – six weeks – just flew past. Amazingly he was home in the south of France by the evening – travel by train is rather faster over there than here! Sam made a very real contribution to our social life as well as to a vast range of physical activities – not least bottle feeding lambs every morning at 6 am!
This Sunday afternoon we expect to greet Sebastien who will be with us for three months. He is studying agriculture at university in Lyon. And tomorrow afternoon we go to Birmingham airport to collect Marion who is with us for August.
We also have Chris’s mother with us for a few weeks so quite a busy time on the social front. Talking of which, Friday was the anniversary of our marriage. 1964 seems a very long time ago, how the world has changed but at least we are still together.