A good week on the farm has been had!
The results from the tests show the herd is free of both BVD and Johnes Disease, so our cattle health status is restored. We are always a little anxious about having the last disease in the herd as there is a view that it can be linked to Chrons Disease in humans.
The last of our lambs from last year went midweek, and on Friday the breeding flock were drenched in order to minimise cobalt and selenium problems. Although they are in good condition, hard feeding will start now as lambing is fast approaching.
Final preparations for lambing
Our two steers which are getting close to the 30-month level will go next week into the organic market, and next week all the cattle will go out onto the fields – even if at this stage we are not certain where!
With lambing so close the barn has to be cleared, disinfected and made ready for its next use. It’s quite amazing how quickly these annual events come around.
Apart from the odd patch of snow on the northern side of hedges, and the small piles of snow built up where the roads were cleared, the mild weather we now have, will hopefully get the grass growing rapidly, although the heavy rain on Friday night was certainly not needed!
Given that on Tuesday evening immobility hit me again it is a great relief that all the paperwork needed for the postponed Soil Association inspection requires little further work from me. It’s not my back this time but a dislocated pelvis which the chiropractor hammered free on Friday morning so just, hopefully, a short period of pain before normal life resumes.
A silver lining
As always there is a silver lining. With the manual for higher tier Stewardship running to 159 pages and many annexes to read, a couple of days in bed might help!
This time in my pain I turned to Hayden’s piano and violin concertos and found I enjoyed them very much. They may not hit the heights of Mozart but on the positive side are not so cluttered with cadenza’s, designed more to show off virtuosity than add to the basic work.
Time for reflection has left me wondering whether a personal significant review of Luther’s contribution might be appropriate. Were not Erasmus and Zwingli at least as critical at this time? He was not the first to see merit in the bible being written in the vernacular, he was not the first to identify the weaknesses of the behaviour of the papacy and clergy. He may have replaced the position of the pope in the church hierarchy but actually instituted an approach which in due course replaced the pope with the state. His role in the peasant rebellions of the early 1500’s and background tole in ‘The Thirty-Year War’ which tore apart Europe in 1600’s was a tragedy, and he was undoubtedly a catalyst for this, and he himself was a dictatorial character, certain of his own rectitude and a man of unpleasant prejudice. Nonetheless I have to applaud the great choral music he inspired in composers like Bach. (See the Harvard theological review of April 1917).
Beatriz’s take on England
Beatriz this week has had several excursions. Her comments included not only how green England was but how ‘bendy’ our roads are. We can’t disagree, and indeed, whatever one thinks of G.K.Chesteron’s political views and his love of the pub, he wrote some great poems and novels, and one poem stands out – The Rolling English Road. So, for Beatriz, here it is:
Before the Roman came to Rye or out to Severn strode,
The rolling English drunkard made the rolling English road.
A reeling road, a rolling road, that rambles round the shire,
And after him the parson ran, the sexton and the squire;
A merry road, a mazy road, and such as we did tread
The night we went to Birmingham by way of Beachy Head.
I knew no harm of Bonaparte and plenty of the Squire,
And for to fight the Frenchman I did not much desire;
But I did bash their baggonets because they came arrayed
To straighten out the crooked road an English drunkard made,
Where you and I went down the lane with ale-mugs in our hands,
The night we went to Glastonbury by way of Goodwin Sands.
His sins they were forgiven him; or why do flowers run
Behind him; and the hedges all strengthening in the sun?
The wild thing went from left to right and knew not which was which,
But the wild rose was above him when they found him in the ditch.
God pardon us, nor harden us; we did not see so clear
The night we went to Bannockburn by way of Brighton Pier.
My friends, we will not go again or ape an ancient rage,
Or stretch the folly of our youth to be the shame of age,
But walk with clearer eyes and ears this path that wandereth,
And see undrugged in evening light the decent inn of death;
For there is good news yet to hear and fine things to be seen,
Before we go to Paradise by way of Kensal Green.