Sunday 15 December 2013
So, with nine days to go until Christmas, are you all ready for the ‘big’ day? As usual, I’m lagging behind and the sudden and unexpected arrival of a stinking cold hasn’t helped my floundering efforts in any way. When I started buying presents first I made up my mind that I’d wrap them as they arrived into the house and although I started well, again I’ve fallen behind. Christmas, despite being an annual event, will sneak up on me in the same way as it does every year. On the plus side, I notified as many people as possible about my decision not to send cards, some by text, others via Facebook and have had a positive response back. I figure that those people I am not close enough to text will probably not even miss my card and should anything be said at a future date, I will explain my decision to them then.
Life down on the farm is charming, rustic, muddy as all hell and wet! Several times this month I’ve had to stop people in their tracks when they longingly tell me ‘they’d love to live on a farm’, and that it’s their childhood dream. Really folks, at this time of year it isn’t that appealing, although it’s definitely milder than it has been in December for a while.
Yesterday morning we delivered two calves from a pair of young, bewildered heifers. One was a bull and came out headfirst (as they should, obviously) although he was wedged fairly tightly. The other was backwards and wedged even tighter, leading Gordon to do his gloomy “well, this one is dead for sure” thing like he always does. It was a surprise when it hit the ground and bawled! A little girl who will be named after her mother Grace. Both heifers stared at these new things with a mixture of fear and amazement which meant yesterday evening I had to bottle-feed them both. The poor little chap was stone-cold as he sat on one side of the pen and his mother gazed at him from the other – even the inside of his mouth was cold when I opened it to stick the teat in. By this morning he was looking a lot happier, warmer and as round as a barrel although still sitting on the opposite side. She’d obviously paid him some attention during the hours of darkness. The heifer looked equally happy but was curled up with her mother and we’ve decided to leave them alone for a day or two to get used to each other before bringing them into the parlour for the first time. We’ve had a couple of heifers calve in the past few weeks including one we renamed Jacqueline in 2011, who fortunately had a heifer of her own so we now have two. They’re coming into the parlour calmly and act as if they’ve always done it, which we put down to the fact that they have a lot of human contact throughout their life. The bank manager came to see us the other day and asked whether we’d considered robotic milking so we told her that it would mean a complete loss of interaction as far as we’re concerned – well, that and the fact that the average price of these robotic milking machines is about £125,000!