I am happy report on another essentially peaceful week. The ewes, after a weekend spent in the barn area, were carefully checked. The breeding ewes were separated out from those ewes no longer fit for breeding, and these two groups moved onto two different fields. The lambs also were moved onto their next fresh pasture, and we have agreed to let 60 go as ‘stores’.
The young cattle remain out of the barn and hopefully, depending of course on the weather, will not need to come in for a month or so.
After much deliberation, we think we have identified the two fields we will use for tupping, but there is still a month to go so no final decision has to be made yet.
Thibaut and Anthony have spent the better part of a week when not working with the livestock on the task of clearing out the workshop but much still remains to be done!
Nights have been colder, and most mornings have seen a heavy mist over the fields. We are in a real ‘frost pocket’ here with temperatures routinely 3 to 4 degrees colder than sites no more than a mile or so away. This, of course is why we basically had no stone fruit this year; The minus 7 degrees we experienced in May ensured this.
The moorhens are once again to be found on the lawns and pastures around the pond, but apart from these and a covey of female pheasants, there have been few sightings of wildlife.
I have written quite a lot about change recently but what I have failed to comment on is the fact that change often does not take place in a smooth line but rather in a series of steps.
Midweek, I foolishly relied on evidence that was cutting edge in 2007 when the notion of using DNA sequencing to identify the origins of the people ‘in these isles’ first hit the headlines, and thus, evidence collected by an Oxford academic appeared to put to bed the arguments as to the extent of our genetic inheritance from the coastal area of northern Western Europe and, from where came the early inhabitants of these islands after the ice retreated.
A gut feeling that the world might have moved on led me to attempt to identify the current position. What a minefield!
My interest in this field basically originated from an extended family member having his DNA sampled and proudly sharing with us the news he had evidence that somewhere 1800 years ago a male member of the Roman occupying force became an ancestor of his. This was apparently a great rarity.
It was once a common saying that if you put 12 economists in a room and posed a question you would get 13 different answers, it is clearly no different in other academic worlds!
Whatever, I was rather sorry to have started thinking about all this since it reminded me of the many heated conversations, as to who and what were the Celts, that I have had in past years.
At Oxford there was a Cornish society which I was pressured to join since my Cornish ancestry is and was a source of great pride to my family members.
Since I believed it was all a ‘load of guff’ I would have no truck with it. Today I discover there is still as much dispute about who the Celts may have been as there was 50 years ago!
But perhaps I should not be so dismissive. This morning the church service on the radio drew its inspiration from the man from Württemberg who, whatever his faults, brought openly into the world the idea of thinking for oneself alongside his religious beliefs.
There is the view that ‘believing is essential for having a sense of belonging’ and that one of the many curses of today is that lack of belief is eroding that sense of belonging so necessary to a society holding together.
On another note, can I recommend to any who, like us, are totally fed up with the routine television news programmes, one called ‘Beyond 100 days’ on Monday to Thursday evenings at 7 pm on the BBC world news channel.
The grandchildren return to school next week, typically one of them was ill for most of the half-term! As I recall that is how it so often was.
Re-reading John Keats poem ‘Ode to autumn’ on Friday I felt for a change I might end on a seasonal poem. Discounting the obvious poets such as Walter de la Mare, Longfellow and John Clare I offer a verse from a poem by Mascha Kaleko entitled ‘Cloudy with light precipitation’
‘Now fall arrives. What will our dreams contain?
A song perhaps. An ev’ning breeze at sea.
First rustling heard in budding trees again
And waiting for recurrence quietly….’