As I write this our sitting room is occupied by a gaggle of grandchildren and their parents and the noise level is amazing – but we have all enjoyed the cake (created by Granny) and the atmosphere is splendid – for the moment at least! A fine end to the weekend hopefully setting us up for the week to come.
Overall, the past week was a good one. We lost no sheep, the barn is now complete, we have been successful in our application for funding (partial) for a state of the art sheep handling system and we have had some rain.
The barn with its ‘wings’ looks massive; we now have to clear the site and think about what we can afford in terms of ‘furniture’. The lambs have all been treated against fly strike and we have had to resort to providing some haylage to protect the two pastures we hope to cut later in the year. The cattle were showing signs of discontent as to the grass on their pastures so they also have been having some straw to keep them contented.
The farm team have all but completed fitting tree guards – Sebastien and Michelangelo with Tim on the pile driver have worked together very harmoniously. The mobile home used by the WWOOF-ers now has had its exterior cleaned, the old boardwalk replaced with a gravel path and on the mound between it and field 7 is now a splendid platform for dining, views and sunbathing (should we see sun again this summer).
The part of the family that went to Poland are safely returned. They obviously had a most interesting time – the wedding took a full two days, there were traditional dances and endless supplies of food and vodka! A highlight was a Rush Farm reunion with the four young men who were with us every summer for many years. Rather a shock to realise they are now all 29!
Discussion at lunchtimes has been as vigorous as one could hope with quite a bit of time taken up with attempting to explain why the UK chose to vote to leave the EU. A difficult task since here we were all for remaining but help came from two articles in the Oldie, one from Ferdinand Mount and the other from Simon Carr and the folk memory I had of a Times headline from 90 years ago ‘Fog cuts off the continent’!
This coming week we expect work to start on linking all units to the new heating system and also the installation of solar panels to provide the electricity to work the heat pumps; while on the farm, once work on the tree guards is finished, the next task is sorting out collapsed fencing. We aim this coming week to complete spraying with 500; all but three fields have now had at least two sprayings of this. This month we will be spraying 501.
What is very hard to believe is that by this time next week Marion and Michelangelo will be en route to their own homes. The time has sped past and the way in which the three of them have got on together is quite excellent. We hope that their stay with us met expectations. Marion will be much missed by the grandchildren and Michelangelo’s humour and interest in biodymanics have been very welcome. Sebastien is with us for another 8 weeks or so and in the middle of September we shall have another WWOOFer to join him – from northern rather than southern Italy.