Hurrah, it seems that Spring is really with us. Pastures may be still too wet, but the rising temperatures should lead to real grass growth. Indeed, the grass lawns have already had their first cut but then they are never deliberately grazed! The Prunus are in their glory – and thankfully this year’s weather is allowing them to be glorious for a little longer than the few days past year’s weather has granted them, and the hedgerows are really now starting to burst into life.
Again, as it is likely to be for many weeks, sheep dominate farm life! This week, as planned, the ewes had a second mineral drench and were split into two groups reflecting possible additional feeding and care needs. Those 34 needing the extra care stay by the barn while the remainder were moved onto a new pasture.
The lambs were not ignored and were weighed to see whether the last drench had helped and happily the vast majority had improved with the average weight increasing by 2kg over two weeks – they also were moved onto a new pasture.
The cattle seem well. At the end of the month our vet will be scanning for pregnancy and taking samples to check that we have maintained the herd’s health status over the year. For Chris and Tim, that day will provide the extra pleasure of giving the second dose of the ‘husk’ vaccine.
I wrote last week about thoughts of trying neem oil against lice, Sebastian who spent three months with us last year has come up with another thought – the use of lavender. This seemed a preferable solution until we learnt Tim is not overly keen, lavender not being his favourite smell!
The drive into the farm and business park is very much on our minds at the moment. Storm Doris may not have brought down any of the horse chestnut trees but we may well have to take more out ourselves.
The daffodils pose a similar concern. It is many years since Paul planted the original 15,000 bulbs and in the recent past, the flooding we have experienced has wiped out sections of the planting while overcrowding means the display though still impressive every year fades a little more. The question obviously is whether we let nature take its course or do we intervene. All this against the backcloth of the knowledge that at some point the drive itself will need serious attention.
I wrote about the dangers of cognitive dissonance last week. Reading “Mindware” by Richard Nesbit took me back to the years in which I tried to help colleagues understand the hazards of misinterpretation of statistics. It also struck me how equally at risk are farmers of drawing false interpretations from data both by statistical ignorance and by doing that very human problem of buying into ideas that fit one’s own prejudices.
Incidentally though the book came out in 2015 it’s easy to get hold of a copy and it’s an easy and rewarding read and certainly not all about statistics! Indeed, the chapter which I found most interesting was the latest thinking on the respective roles and limitations of the conscious and unconscious minds. Of course, I am almost bound to say that given the preceding sentence but don’t let that put you off!
It is of course just the same with history. Few English readers will be unaware of the fears in Britain at the time of the French Revolution that there might be a crossing of the channel of revolutionary ideas. Most of us will have a hazy memory of the ‘Gordon Riots’. How many of us ever knew that about the same time in Birmingham there were the ‘Priestly Riots’? Does this reflect the north south divide or the greater universal prejudice towards Catholics than Dissenters? I certainly didn’t know this till recently and I come from a long line of non-conformist ancestors and how did I learn this? From a television programme! Every week, if not every day, I stumble across new ideas and information – how lucky we are to live today.