What an amazing amount of rain we’ve had!

Listening to John Gray on the radio this morning, I was taken back to my own psychology reading of decades ago. Gray raised the issue of cognitive dissonance – that is when there is a gap between actual perception and belief. He used the text book example of the 1950’s work by Festinger, when it was predicted that if a “prediction of a cult turned out to be false, rather than accept their beliefs were just wrong, those involved would rapidly come up with an explanation that fitted in with their original beliefs”.

The talk this morning citing this work was about the political world, but when you think about it, does it not ring bells about ourselves and farming? It’s so easy if something goes wrong to accept almost anything other than that our original idea was incorrect! (And given the rain we have had this week I am of course not referring to climate change!)

So, despite the aforementioned amazing amount of rain we have had this week, we have all been on a bit of a high.

On Monday after a full day of looking at records and also stock and pastures we were, for the tenth year in a row, seen by the Soil Association inspector as being fully compliant and an example of good practice. In passing we also retained our Red Tractor Farm Assurance.

It was back down to earth for Tim and Chris on Wednesday who had to give the first phase of the vaccination programme against husk. Since this involved the emptying of the contents of a 25ml bottle of vaccine down the throat of every member of the herd of over 50 animals it was entirely understandable they had aching arms on Thursday, and a desire to be busy 30 days from now when the process must be repeated!

It’s when the animals are milling all around you and when you are putting them through the crush you experience the disadvantages of not dehorning! Moreover, our cattle have horns that come in all shapes and sizes! By and large our stock is very peaceful so it is the accidental movement you have to worry about.

For our cattle, whatever we try, lice are a problem. We are thinking of trying neem oil following much discussion on the Pasture-Fed site of its efficacy and the failure of all the other remedies we have tried.

Lambing is only four to five weeks away. Condition looks good but next week they will have a mineral drench just to help them along. Late lambing and the barn extension mean we do not have to put the cattle out until the last possible moment. Given our sodden pastures that has to be good. It also means that the ‘greening’ of the pastures has the time to develop!

The farm house is a little emptier, and cleaner, as Milly has been sent to school again. She is now a fully grown and well-built dog, a delightful house pet (except for her love of rolling in smelly things) but so far, as a replacement for Flash, a total failure.

Doris did bring a tree down but across a footbridge, that is rarely used, which sits over the stream. Still, action is needed but first I need to talk to the County Council. Post Doris the rain has been such that many of the daffodils along the drive can barely show their heads above the water.

Ulula celebrated its first birthday during the week – how time flies – especially as one gets older.

I am still not pulling my weight. Modern drugs are undoubtedly marvellous but do have side effects so this week have been on older drugs to undo the damage of last week’s pills. Hey ho as they say. Still am now better enough to feel the back pain again!

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