It becomes ever harder to ignore the lack of any meaningful rain. We are still grazing our cattle and, sheep but we are also providing some feeding now. The two brief showers that have come our way in the last weeks have been light and short.
Despite it, all the suckler herd and sheep flock remain calm and peaceful. We have been gifted another two calves – a male and female. The young stock had to be moved at the start of the week and so are fine for the moment. Whether the next pasture in their cycle will have anything to offer is uncertain.
Despite the flies troubling the cattle we have had only a few cases of fly strike among the sheep, but the hard ground is likely responsible for the numbers that are lame.
The weather has enabled us to spray half the farm for a second time with 500. We have ordered both more horn silica and sets of compost preparations for our new muck heaps.
Work continues on our submission for higher tier Stewardship and we have had confirmation we are doing it correctly. Tenders are in from seed merchants, but contractors are proving hard to get estimates from.
Dates have now been fixed to hand over our wool cut to the Wool Marketing Board and for our TB testing experience. That will be in the first week in September. As a matter of interest, the cost of shearing was over £300 – excluding our own labour – and the cheque we hope to receive will likely just exceed £400!
Given the season, we have already ‘booked’ our needs for organic and ordinary straw. Prices are a real matter of concern. Last year straw started at £50 and by April was £200 a ton!
Aside from the farm, the real ‘entertainment’ of the week has been President Trump and Brexit. Should one laugh hysterically or dive under the duvet? It’s so hard to reconcile all this with the somnolent world of rural Worcester and Hereford. Whatever we shall quietly carry on paddling our canoe and trying to promote a different approach to life. On Thursday we learnt that Israel has radically changed its laws, relate that to the controversy within the Labour Party if you can.
Somehow this has not been a great week personally either for literature, music or thought – at least thought that might be appropriate for these notes.
It is my normal habit to listen to the Sunday morning church service on radio 4 as a moment of calm, and also as a spur for thought. Last Sunday the service was from Rugby School. Inevitably perhaps, my mind drifted into thinking about Tom Brown’s Schooldays and then onto children’s fiction and its importance and variety of forms – so many of which were about worlds that few of us actually experienced. Incidentally I hope I was not the only one to note the death of the author of ‘Stig of the Dump’ a children’s book published in 1963 and still being read and reprinted in 2018. Perhaps it was that which led me into thinking both how privileged and perhaps culturally affected some of us were by that period of children’s literature. Do not misunderstand me, Puffin Books, in particular, neither leaned towards Marxism or elitism and attempted to celebrate all cultures and peoples.
Two weeks ago, I reflected on the relationship between words like truth, fake news, being economical with the truth, and falsehood. In the meantime, questions have been raised as to where propaganda and indeed advertising fit into this relationship. Perhaps there is a generational issue here. I struggle not to see propaganda as being something put out by a state for the benefit of that state. I know modern dictionaries add individual to state and I suppose that can fit into the earlier definition – if the individual is attempting to affect the balance of power within a state. Whatever, ‘truth’ has achieved a fluidity that makes even more difficult its definition.
On a lighter note, this last week has seen our local bat population decide time spent inside our house is worthwhile. Whether in bedroom or sitting room it is slightly disturbing to see these creatures making free with one’s airspace. My own personal solution is to shut the door of the room, turn off all the lights, open all the windows and wait until the room seems bat free, and then rush around shutting the windows. The only real draw back to this approach is the inevitable damage to shins and hands. That being the case I would welcome other ideas!
Well we have the Indian cricket team with us and, it seems, their weather, so, though we do not have the blossom trees, I thought why not share the poem below:
Summer, Indian Summer, Scorching Summer With Intensive Heat Falling And The Loo Blowing – by Bijay Kant Dubey
With intensive heat and loo
Full of heat and dust,
The sun appearing to be a fireball
And the flames falling around,
Scorching it all.
But do not disheartened,
Take you heart
To beat it naturally,
Pause a bit under the gulmohar tree
Marking the florid blossoms,
Jasmines to fragrance you
During the night-time,
Walk you, walk you.