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Heifers

Our heifers started calving yesterday and two new calves were born, one male and one female.  The young mums came into the parlour this morning for the first time and were so overawed that they stood quietly throughout the whole process.  Sometimes this sets the trend for the rest of their milking life but often as soon as the novelty wears off they kick the units until they fall on the ground and refuse to stand still to allow us to put them on again.  That should be just in time for the weekend when I’ll be milking.  Lovely.  I can hardly wait.

Busy busy

In the past couple of weeks I’ve resolved to do more around the house after suddenly realising that I don’t actually like the house very much.  This has been a bit of odd thing for me and I’ve given it lots of thought and decided it’s possibly because I’ve never considered it mine.  We inherited it from Gordon’s parents along with the farm and in my head I’ve always thought of it as theirs.  It hasn’t been for some time now and I’ve reached the conclusion that I’m the only person who can do anything about that.  Those of you who visit regularly will have realised some time ago that I’m not particularly domesticated even though I enjoy that side of things.  To that end I’ve been both cleaning and baking for a while.

Today before breakfast I made fresh coleslaw and since then I’ve made an apple cake and a steak and mushroom pie, both of which smell delicious. 

The pie looks pretty good, even if I say so myself.  That’s dinner this evening taken care of.

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Shame you can’t smell it.

Photos

I’ve been away several times in the past couple of weeks and rather than bore you with all the details, here are a couple of photos I particularly like.

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This cormorant was in the lake at Weymouth.  If you enlarge it you can see the poor thing is covered in some kind of nylon net although it didn’t seem bothered.

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On Sunday we were in Wales and this is taken at a place called Rosebush.  The weather was glorious and it was nice to see the butterflies still out in force and drinking nectar from the white buddleia.

Silage Done

Well, that’s the second cut of silage out of the way.  We managed to get it in just before the weather changed and it would appear that autumn has well and truly arrived although I think it’s forecast to be warmer again next week.  This is good news to me as I’m going away for a few days to stay in my friend’s caravan at Durdle Door.  The last time I was there in May 2013 it rained almost constantly and was cold so I’m hoping for better weather this time.

Miss Me?

Hello again.  Did you wonder where I went?  Did you miss me at all?  I hope so otherwise there’d be no point in me coming back even if it is for just today.

Let’s talk internet – or severe lack of it.  In the past year my BT internet has gone from pretty bad to truly crappy and had genuinely reached a stage where I just couldn’t be bothered to even try to connect.  It was good from late evening until perhaps six in the morning but at all other times it dropped, hung and all those other irritating things internet does.  I was on the phone a lot to BT but most of the time they told me that it was in my imagination or my own fault for living outside the range of my nearest exchange.  In the end I gave it all up as a bad job and left it alone.  In other words, I went away and did other things.  Eventually of course I needed it for work since everything is done online nowadays but after losing the plot one afternoon and getting on to the BT helpline immediately afterwards they sent yet another engineer to “see whether the fault was with our equipment, in which case we’d be charged the equivalent price of what five bull calves are currently selling for”.

This guy was dour – really really dour with no sense of humour at all – but he spent the day going backwards and forwards to the exchange, up and down poles, and in and out of exchange boxes.  When he first came he actually ripped the box off our wall because one of the screws was a bit rusty so after that we stayed out of his way and decided to pick up all the little broken bits of plastic once he’d finished.  I went out – well, he was a bit scary – and by the time I came back we had a new box, a new router and a small pile of stickers with wireless keys and SSID addresses written on them.  Since then it’s been better even though it’s still slow, but at least we have it again.

I’ve been on holiday with Gordon for the second time this year so that was an event.  We went on a canal barge on the Kennet and Avon Canal, something I thought I’d hate.  Turns out it was wonderful – my camera and I loved it.  Gordon loved it too and since that was the reason we decided to go in the first place, all was good.  We went with four friends so shared the workload pretty well, especially when it came to jumping onshore and opening locks.

The following photos are a small selection of what we saw along the way.  If I posted them all my internet would definitely crash forever.  As it is, I’m sure it will take some time, but I hope you enjoy them.

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The Caen Hill Flight.  We didn’t go through it but walked to the top instead.

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Out of the way, moorhen!

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Finally got some good photos of kingfishers in Bradford-on-Avon

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Did someone mention bread?

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No bread for this heron, but the occasional fish disappeared fairly quickly.

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We moored on the edge of Bath in the early evening and walked into the city.  We were very lucky with the weather.

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Gordon, 68 feet down the boat.  Our barge was called Sun Lark.

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Reflections of the bridge in the canal.

Finally

Well, the silage making was completed several days ago and since then we’ve been making hay in the fields we decided not to put into silage.  There were about three large ones that involve driving a tractor and trailer on the road, something we never really enjoy so Gordon has been busily mowing and tedding since then.

This year I finally got a decent photo of a hare -

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I’ve been trying for quite a while but they’re either too far away or sat with their backs to me.  This one was right beside the track and as usual took no notice of the forager thundering past.  I was able to stick the camera out the window and capture him.  He was sat there long after I’d reached the end of the track and turned into another field, completely ignoring the tractor and trailer following me.

There are lots of hares out there this year including babies who scuttled about from swathe to swathe as I picked the grass up.  There were also a couple of foxes including a little vixen with a bit of a limp who circled the edge of the field watching for casualties, but most of the time our hares can outrun a fox.  Our ‘fawn casualty’ count was lower than usual too which is always a good thing.  The youngsters are a little bit bigger this year and get out of the way rather than crouching in the grass, but there were one or two tinies who didn’t make it, which has to be my absolute least favourite thing about silage making.

On a more positive note, Gordon and I have become great-uncle and auntie to a beautiful little girl called Anna who was born last week.  I had cuddles last night although Gordon wasn’t quite so keen, but she slept throughout even when I touched her face.  Her parents are our youngest nephew Christopher and his partner.

Felix

We’ve finally started silage making since the weather has dried out the ground.  I think it’s forecast to rain at the end of next week, but so far, so good.  We have a new driver, someone we’ve never met before, called George.  George knows his tractors and is in the right time at the right place.  So far it’s been smooth and since I don’t know him I don’t have to stop for pleasantries in case he gets offended by our lack of interaction.  We’re on day three today and are about sixty acres down with minimal breakdowns.  Bring it on.

Before we started I went for a stroll to say hi to Felix.  Do you remember Felix?  Here he is as a baby.  He’s grown a bit since then and is currently mooching around spare bits of waste ground keeping the grass down with a small group of steers for company.  This is early afternoon and they’re chilling in the sun.  He’s got pretty big but still thinks he’s a baby and loves the attention.  That’s my fault for mothering him I suppose – cute when he was little but now I’m not so sure as he comes galloping towards me.  On this occasion he just lay there and gazed at me since it was too much effort to get up.

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