This weekend we have had sunshine and the feeling that spring might actually be on the way; however on Tuesday we had our worst flood since 2007. Early in the past week our wood burner was operating 18 hours a day; for the last two days it has lain dormant!
Leaving aside the flood which fortunately hit us in the morning rather than during the night, thus making moving stock to safety a little easier, the week on balance has been rather a worrying one.The key issues are the rate at which we are getting through our saved haylage and the sodden state of the pastures. Cross compliance requires us to avoid ‘poaching’ in our fields, the current situation, with calving due to start any day now, requires that we put our cattle out even though the fields that they will go on are still wet. Animal welfare has to be the the determinant. So that is what will happen next week with fingers crossed that the weather forecasts are correct and we have warmth and no rain for the whole week to come.
One real positive was to learn that blood tests show our cattle remain clear of BVD and Jonnes so the herd’s health status remains high even though our vet frets about their fatness!
Talking of vets I had a follow up question from Alice who interviewed me the week before last about our use of homeopathy. Apparently, and of course allegedly (!), a vet in Devon has called for homeopathy to be made illegal – clearly feeling as certain of his correctness as those who refuse to use any conventional medicine!
As far as the feed issue is concerned we have made contact with two local farmers who are also organic and who have some bales they can spare for us – at a price of course!
Lambing is due to start in the next couple of weeks and Tim has been gathering together the various bits and pieces we are going to need. Sadly we had a premature birth on Saturday and the lamb died. Once the cattle are out Tim will be setting up the barn area for lambing which means two or three days just cleaning it out – our compost heaps will grow considerably!
There has been a lot of activity in the gardens and also in the greenhouses. Looking at the seedlings in the heated green house it is clear that many now need to be put in the cold frames to start their hardening off. The soft fruit have been well mulched and all the wood ash has been spread around the gooseberry bushes in particular. Jasper’s on-going battle with couch grass continues – a lost cause I fear but…..!
Graham Harvey spent almost a full day on the farm earlier in the week and that has to be regarded as good news. In the week to come, our autumn Woofer from Chile, will spend his last night in the UK with us just as he spent his first night in the UK here. By all accounts his two terms at Warwick University have been successful and his overall impression of life here positive!
On the 22nd we hope to see our first Wwoofers of 2016. So far at least, we still have availability for May but have volunteers booked for late June to the end of the first week in September.