NEW BLOG: a new heifer calf and good pastures to enjoy

I am happy to report that last week was a further good week for the farm. Our Demeter inspection went well – the inspector was content with our paperwork and answers to questions, and very complementary about the state of our pastures, cattle and sheep.

good pasture

Indeed the weather has allowed growth, which has meant no pastures have been overgrazed. The action taken against whipworm seems to have been affective, and, at weighing, our lambs have increased their average weight by 3kg while the market price is surprisingly good. We also had the a safe arrival of a new heifer calf.

Unusually, or so it seems, problems this week felt few in number. Flystrike afflicted two lambs and a couple of the cattle were briefly lame. The inspection, or rather the preparation for it, confirmed that in a number of respects health problems (so far!!) have been far fewer this year.
We have had no Orf; clostridials have not caused deaths, and lameness in the flock is far less than it was a couple of years ago. The veterinary record confirms that though the vet bill is still more than we would like it to be, it is high, essentially because of unexpected expenditure on individual animals. For example, the costs associated with the calf that broke its leg are likely to exceed its selling price, but we are never prepared to stand by while an animal is suffering where we can step in and help.

The return next weekend of Thibaut and his friend for a lengthy stay will hopefully allow quite a few jobs on the list to be worked through. Thibaut showed his competence when he was with us earlier in the year, so Paul and Chris are hoping to work with them on a number of projects!

I have ploughed my way through the College reports written by Soukaïna and Cherine – I say ploughed not as a criticism of the authors, but simply because in places they severely taxed my reading skills in French!

Both reports read well and reflected the Farm as we know it and in passing enlarged my French vocabulary. The most tricky words have been those that we have in English but whose meaning is distinctly different when translated into French since unfamiliar words can usually be deciphered by the context in which they are used!

The programme I listened to on the history of Choral Music in this country did this week have some historical content. While I may have dimly realised the role of Charles Wesley in introducing communal singing in non-Anglican churches, I had not realised that church choral music had a bad period in the 18th century only to be revived by the Victorians. This lack of realisation is a poor effort on my part because I was well aware that it was the Victorians who restored cathedrals and churches to their former glory and primary function.

‘In our time’ has returned to the airways in a new series. The discussion this week was around the life and times of the Emperor Constantine – he who embraced Christianity. As a clear example of synchronicity, two recently published historical works reminded us of the destructive behaviour of followers of Christianity in the period between the 4th and 6th centuries and in the 16th and 17th centuries. Add on to that the behaviour in South America and later by missionaries and, it is hard not to see close parallels between today’s extremist, except in that, Christian martyrs did not attempt to take ‘across the threshold’ others…

I have enjoyed a good mix of music this week – CPE Bach and Errol Garner. It was always one of my dreams to be able to play jazz piano but equally always has been wishful thinking. What an extraordinary genius the man was (Garner that is) – never learnt to read music, never had piano lessons just had a wonderful gift which showed itself aged three. Clearly genetic as his older brother was a pretty good jazz pianist as well.

Having made that personal confession it leads me nicely into a comment on BBC radio Three’s record review. This Saturday morning, perhaps because I can only cope with listening to a certain amount of Handel at any one time, I drifted off into thinking about the task facing the individual who each week has the job of listening to perhaps a dozen cd’s and then answering that favourite examination question “compare and contrast” – a mind-boggling task, or so it seems to me! Somebody needs to explore the DNA of such individuals for it must be a genetic matter that they are adept at this skill!

Finally yet another author seems to have got the bandwagon of trying to define Englishness. Reading a review of a new work by Ben Fogle entitled “ENGLISH – a story of marmite, queuing and weather”, I can’t comment on the contents, but the title certainly made me smile.

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