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Archive for July, 2012

Now We’re Talking

Tuesday 31 July 2012

On the Thursday after my last post, Gordon decided if we worked strategically and started our fields ‘out of order’ (we are, after all, creatures of habit) we could mow the driest fields whilst waiting for the waterlogged ones to dry out sufficiently.  This seems to have worked well and we’ve been busy silage-making since then.  Occasionally he’s had to mow around very soggy patches – in one of our large fields it looks as if we’ve acquired a duck pond – but the grass itself has been very dry.  Our fears of rotting were luckily not the case but it’s better suited to hay than silage.  Steph came home to help and has driven the tractor with trailer attached for the past five days.  Unfortunately she had to go back today for various appointments tomorrow, but rain has stopped play anyway.  We’ve spoken to a friend who’s willing to come and help once we get going again.  We have about six fields left to cut so if it’s dry tomorrow we’ll be off again.

At least that’s one task (almost) accomplished.

Almost as soon as we started silage-making the cows started calving again.  There’s been a long break but we’re not sure why.  Perhaps Ferdinand was having a rest.  So far we’ve had three bull calves and two heifers but that includes a male/female set of twins so it’s likely they’ll both be sold as soon as they’re old enough.  There’s no point in us raising the heifer on the off-chance that she isn’t a freemartin.  The other heifer is a Nancy, daughter of the cow that gave us the first of Ferdinand’s daughters back in August 2010, then another around June/July time last year.

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Tuesday 24 July 2011

Despite the beautiful weather of the last few days, our ground remains underwater and so the silage is still unmade.  There are tales of woe from all directions: silage fields that have rotted off at the bottom, ground underneath that’s slimy and waterlogged.  I suspect ours may be the same.  When Gordon walked out to inspect the first field yesterday he came back to report that the majority of it still lay under four inches of water.  A lot of our fields have ‘gutters’, a remnant of older farming days before mole-drainage and more modern forms of water run-off, and at the moment they are more like ditches.  Dan is desperate to make a start but I think that even if we did we’d be stopping again fairly soon.  A tractor pulling a silage trailer of cut grass can be pretty heavy and the grounds aren’t up to it yet.  So we continue to wait.

In the meantime my father and his partner have moved into a small bungalow in a retirement community.  Considering that he’d lived in his previous three-bedroomed, semi-detached house since 1960 there was a lot of stuff that had to go.  Sadly the photographs were amongst the discarded, but they’ve come to live with me until I can scan them on to the computer.  Although this sounds straightforward, my mother was an avid photographer and before the invention of digital cameras this meant a lot of paper.  My grandfather too took hundreds of photos, mostly in black and white since he developed them himself in the converted garden shed.  I can still remember the smell of the shed and the fact that as children we weren’t allowed to so much as sneeze in there!  When we were moving things and cleaning I brought home eight large suitcases full of photographs and many boxfuls of albums so it might take quite a while!  With any luck I’ll get it done before I die and leave it all to my own children!  Alex would have it in the bin straight away and she probably has a point, but once they’re scanned in the paper versions can go whilst the digital versions can be burned to a disk.

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Saturday 7 July 2012

According to the weather forecast this morning, this rain is set to continue for at least four more weeks.

The ground currently looks like this:

The cows are wading and so was I when I went out to fetch the only two left in the field.  All the rest were sheltering in the yard.

I hope they’re eating all they can now because when they’re shut in the winter (so they don’t get cold and wet …. oh … wait …. ) they won’t have anything.

When the Dutch straw crop failed last year the farmers were given an ‘allowance’ from the government to buy in fodder to tide them over, thus bumping up the prices and making it scarce for British farmers who hadn’t grown their own.  I wonder if our government will offer such assistance?

Somehow I doubt it.

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