The two key events of the week were the annual review meeting with our vet and the re-weighing of last year’s lambs.
The conversation with our vet Anne Gibbs covered all aspects of stock management. Over a meal of sausages with leek and mashed potatoes we reached decisions on actions to avoid ‘husk’ next year in the cattle, actions to avoid heifers struggling at calving time, and then, addressed the serious business – the losses at lambing in 2016.
It is not of course easy to identify a cause, but clostridial diseases became the prime suspect and we will act accordingly, which means vaccinating the lambs and ensuring their mothers have good cholesterol.
The re-weighing of the lambs this week indicated that 40, despite treatment, had lost weight and/or condition. So, some success, but we will have no more organic lambs to sell from last year’s batch. Not a triumph but it could be worse.
We are starting to prepare for our SA inspection and Red Tractor Farm Assurance re-certification. The requirement of our key information for these inspections is sound – medical records and stock movements are fully up to date and derogations, as needed, obtained.
Despite the cold easterly wind we are currently experiencing, Spring is on the way. Aside from the snowdrops, the willows are showing yellow, and daffodils are forming flower buds. Winter is of course still here – the flocks of fieldfare are still with us and the pair of buzzards that nest in the wood are down the ground looking for food. That said, springtime bird song and pairing off is also becoming very obvious.
We have still to meet with our contractor and come up with solutions to the damage caused by the installation of earth source heat, but at least Earth Source are, to their own relief as much as ours, very close to completing the task. We have no evidence yet of work on the fibre optic installation but contracts are definitely signed.
The second BBC ‘expose’ of English myths was centred on the ‘Glorious revolution’, or more straightforwardly put, the departure of James II and the confirmation that we were now a Protestant nation. Most of what we heard was hardly new but one detail I had failed to register was that despite the celebrations tied to the Battle of the Boyne, this was rather more a no score draw except perhaps for the behaviour of King James who fled the scene. The real ‘killer’ of a battle in all senses of the word was the Battle at Auhgrim when the Jacobite army was effectively annihilated losing some 7000 men for minimal losses by the forces of Good King Billy. I suspect we give far too much weight to the later Jacobite rebellions in Scotland while forgetting how totally destructive was the suppression in Ireland. On a more trivial note the showing of an allied gun carried by a dragoon which had a dragon engraved on its stock revealed that while I knew dragons were mounted infantry men I was unaware that they were called that because the short musket they carried was a French version of the cut down blunderbuss called in French “the dragon”!
Finally, an amusing highlight of the week was to learn that in the French presidential elections at least three candidates used theme songs sung in English. Oh la la!