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Archive for April, 2012

A Day Of Numbers

Sunday 29 April 2012

Following a stormy night Gordon discovered two cows had calved.  Three calves were born.  Two were twins obviously.  One twin was male and the other female.  The female was dead.  The male died later – it was a cold night and they were both small.  It may have been for the best as the female half of male/female twins is often unable to reproduce due to male hormones in her system.  They’re known as freemartins.  The surviving calf is another heifer and at the close of day was hale and hearty.  Let’s hope she stays that way.

The mother of the twins is ‘down’ with what looks like milk fever and if she isn’t up by tomorrow she’ll be put on a course of medication to get her back on her feet.  She’s an Alexandra, one of our older ones.  She’s a good cow with a permanent callous on the bridge of her nose where she’s learned that if she knocks the feeders in the milking parlour, more cake will fall down into her trough.  She can always be bribed with cake!

On top of that it has rained all day.  We went out at one stage as Gordon was getting a bit stir-crazy and the roads were covered with green: leaves and twigs from the hedgerows.  At milking time I snapped this photo of the cows in the rain looking a bit like water-buffulo with their ears down.

Yesterday evening I went to my once-a-month craft group where one of our members whose preferred hobby is scrapbooking gave us a lesson.  We were told what supplies we needed and she helped us through the design stage of a scrapbook page of our own.  I’ve seen this done before of course but never tried it myself, preferring the digital version on the computer and I have to say I enjoyed the evening a great deal.  I took two of my favourite photos, one of Steph and another of Alex, but the one of Steph didn’t quite go with the paper I’d chosen.  This is the result of the evening’s work, as yet unfinished although I’m pleased with it so far.

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Gloomy and undecided

Tuesday 24 April 2012

The turbines went to the Planning Committee today and were turned down on the grounds of visual impact.  Although EDF have said they will appeal, this could take ages: after all it’s been about five years since we started on this journey.  Gordon and I are now gloomy and undecided about what to do in the future.  He’s talking (and swearing about) retirement.  I didn’t realise when I got involved with a farmer all those years ago what an unappreciated bunch we are.  We get blamed for everything from foot and mouth to the badger cull, often in abusive terms by complete strangers.  Nowadays we’re also called ‘greedy landowners’, something that rankles somewhat since Gordon’s family have been farming here for five generations!  At the same time, the fishing pools down the road that have been in business for fifteen whole years have been crying to the press that no-one will fish there if the turbines go in – and he’s two kilometres from here.  Go figure.  I’m sure if he’d decided to put turbines there all would have been hunkydory.

Added to that, we’ve just found out a friend has died suddenly from a massive heart attack.  Gloomy day indeed.

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Muddling Along

Wednesday 11 April 2012

As you may remember, Gordon is a member of the local parish council and much to his delight (not!) was appointed councillor in charge of footpaths and bridleways.  If you know any farmers you may be aware they don’t really like people walking around on their land since ‘the general public’ tend to leave gates open, drop litter, allow their dogs to poop wherever they like (and not pick it up since it is the countryside), and generally flatten crops by walking over them – and yes, grass is a crop too!

Since the end of the financial year has arrived and reports need to be written he suggested we should walk the local paths so he had an idea of their condition.  We set out for “a short walk” at 1.00 pm on Monday, him with a map and a large pair of clippers for clearing away brambles and me with a camera.  I thought we should perhaps take food and drink, but he reckoned we’d only be gone for forty-five minutes or so and it wouldn’t be necessary.  Two and a half hours later we were still walking, but by now I was hungry, thirsty and desperately needed the loo.  He helpfully pointed at the nearest bush and assured me he would tell me if anyone was around, but I still couldn’t bring myself to go.  He was fine, having no such modesty!

Having said all of that, I really quite enjoyed the afternoon and saw all kinds of animals, wild and domestic, as well as trees in bud and signs of spring all over the place.  I slept well that night, I can tell you!

Man on a mission!

We disturbed these two who made a bolt for the hedge.

Just tidying up the stile so it’s passable again rather than overgrown.

Confused mayflowers, coming out in April.

We went through a farmyard with ‘guard chickens’.

This pair looked like twins and were the only black sheep in the field!

The chestnut trees were in bud.

Proof that the sheep have been squeezing under the fences.

A slightly surreal Spanish moment until we realised she was female.  Doesn’t mean you can trust her though especially since there were calves in the field!

I liked the markings on these lambs, but don’t know a great deal about sheep.  Are they Jacobs sheep?

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