Concentrating firstly on farm matters there is less positive news on the lamb front; Our remaining 150 seem to have both lost weight and condition. Obviously, action is required which has been put in hand – new grass, a further mineral drench and different haylage.
The ewes on the other hand seem very well, nonetheless we will watch them even more closely than normal. The cattle also seem to be doing well though they have lost some weight which is no bad thing though we will adjust the balance of haylage to straw in their feeders to ensure condition is maintained.
For Tim and Chris feeding and stock checking takes up to six hours a day. Other jobs do get done but some – like fencing – do require the ground not to be concrete like! There has been a substantial clear out of the workshop – a much needed piece of action.
Somehow or other we seem to have avoided the dire weather predicted for the UK. We do know this has not been the case for some of our friends on the continent. Michelangelo whose family farm is in the far south of Italy in Puglia has had to cope not just with snow but temperatures as low as -7 degrees, and they are now waiting to see the consequences of this weather on their crops.
This Saturday saw the arrival of two new calves and so far, all seems good. That means we now await only one more calving – somehow our planning went up the creek – we actually ‘plan’ calving to take place in the spring and autumn, not in January!
The sheep scanners have been contacted but are unlikely to come before February since we expect lambing to not really start until the third week in April.
On Thursday Jasper was with us as a volunteer for the last time – he is clear he will be turning up for all events but now is the time for him to concentrate on his many other holistic interests. We are deeply grateful for his contribution over many, many months, look forward to seeing him every now and then and wish him all success in his other ventures. Kath aims to keep on volunteering with us driven by her concern for the SCBS and enjoyment of working in our environment – her contribution will continue to be greatly valued.
While it may seem Radio 3 dominates my listening, Radio 4 often has items of real interest. Melvyn Bragg every Thursday morning at 9 invariably hosts fascinating discussions on a wide range of cultural and historical interest. This week it was the last writings of Nietzsche that was the subject.
Additionally this week, the year which celebrates the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran reformation, we have had a series of talks by Diarmaid MacCulloch, whose ‘A History of Christianity’ really is a must read despite being well over a 1000 pages in length; with a 15 minute slot every morning to remind us just what and how complicated the Reformation was, from the attack on indulgences by Luther to the quite different ‘humanist’ approach based on the teaching of Erasmus as followed by Zwingli in Switzerland and how slow and awful was the response in some parts of Europe compared with the stance taken in Transylvania that priests should be free to preach what they believed and that nothing was to stop what might be the will of the individual congregations. That this was an entirely pragmatic decision is neither here or there.
Sadly, MacCulloch did not directly refer to the new book out entitled ‘The Way of Strangers” by Graeme Wood which addresses the Salafi strain of Islam, but he certainly references what happened all those years ago, to the battle currently going on within Islam and fundamental Christianity.