Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Well Done Boys

We had our sheep scanned on monday, a good day weatherwise since it rained on sunday and tuesday and indeed on monday afternoon, but the morning was sunny.
The tups had done good work as of the 150 ewes, only 4 are not in lamb and they will be off to market as soon as can be arranged. Of the rest we have 3 sets of triplets, 70 twins and 73 singles. One of the singles is due in 3 to 4 weeks time, the rest in April. The early bird is because she was in with the tups last summer due to a wound that needed lots of attention from us, having her here at home meant we could get hold of her on a regular basis to treat her. Anyway she will have to come home again soon and live with the calves so we can keep an eye on her, as its still too cold for her to lamb outside.

This is my oldest(14) who has just had his "twin blocks" changed for a fixed brace. He is somewhat daunted by the long list of dos and don'ts and the cleaning instructions and at 2.30 this morning he was a very sad boy as the discomfort of his teeth starting to move had woken him up and was stopping him getting back to sleep. His Daddy fixed him up with some paracetamol and sleep was resumed.
I sent him off to school with another paracetamol for lunchtime, and a note excusing him from PE for today. The Dentist said that it will settle down in a couple of days and become the new normal.
Our local National Trust House is doing some tree felling, mostly round the carparks but also this one from on top of the mound alongside their moat.
I am very sad to see it go as all my children used to play under it and run/jump/slide up and down the mound. I'm not sure why they are removing it,possibly a combination of health and safety and fears that the roots are causing damage to anything beneath it.
Anyway we will be having all the wood, bar some for the Hall itself which we will be storing for them.
I forsee lots of time with the woodsplitter in my future.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

All Change at the Library

Its going to be all change at our local Library, they are closing on the 15th Feb for three weeks for"refurbishment"
According to the Librarians this includes going "self service". Im not sure what this will entail but it doesnt sound like good employment news for the librarians.
The closure will cover school half term, which is inconvenient as I usually take the tribe down there for some book choosing and a bit of them begging for me to borrow DVD's, Wii games or Dsi games for them to play with. Its actually a good way of trying out games without committing to buying them. From previous experience something that sounds good ends up causing so much strife that I confiscate it. There is a small charge to borrow media items, usually less than £2 for a week.
The good thing about the closure at the library is that we can take books and media items out and keep them for the whole three weeks whilst only being charged for one week.
We have stocked up, for the children we have Lego Starwars for the Wii and Mariokart for the Dsi, also the new video of The A Team, we have a selection of the original ones so I hope they like this, I'm sure the special effects will be better.
For the grown ups I have the first series of True Blood, I have read all the books and love them and I watched most of the TV series but will enjoy filling in the gaps. Also the US series Justified starring Timothy Olyphant. I started watching this when it showed on TV but it was on late at night and I kept forgetting it.
I could get these out any time but 7 days is not long enough to watch 13 episodes so I dont bother, I have these till the 12th march.
Best thing is that all this cost about £7.
Good value and I will wait and see how the "refurbishment" turns out.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Some Days You Win, Others Not So Much.

Our Dairy Herd is regularly tested for TB, this involves the vet injecting each animal with a tiny amount of both Avian and Bovine TB, then checking 72 hours later to see if there has been any reaction and if so to what. Its OK if you get a lump at each site, or if you just get an avian lump, but bad news if you just get a lump at the bovine site. The animal is then a "reactor" and taken away to be destroyed, the whole herd is put under restrictions, which means you cant sell any animals, and you start a retesting programme that lasts for 2 years.
Yesterday we finished our testing programme, with the 12 month interval test, We passed, or at least the cows did and we can now go back on the regular testing schedule which for our area is 24 monthly.
I couldnt tell anyone we were being tested just in case it jinxed it.

These are the bottles of the stuff they inject the cows with, 50 x 1ml dose, mind you the fuss some of the cows make you would think we were cutting their heads off. The Vet clips some hair off at the 2 sites on the neck and jabs them, we have to put every cow on the place through the crush, from the oldest to the youngest, new calved to those on maternity leave, even though its a bit of a squeeze for some of them.
For our milking herd of 65 cows plus followers it takes 3 to 4 hours, checking them doesnt take as long though its more stressful for us.
I dont understand why they cant develop a vaccine against TB in cattle, surely it would be more cost effective than testing and destroying thousands of cows each year, the scientists keep talking about a vaccine for Badgers, which we would have to trap and are not exactly easy to handle, apart from the whole issue of them being protected. We already vaccinate the cows for several diseases so one more wouldnt be a problem.

After the good news about the TB testing yesterday, this morning I got a phone call from our Milk Buyer, telling us we are going to be fined for over production!!!!!!
Apparently we produced 50% more than we had predicted in January, and we are only allowed an error margin of 20%, so we are fined 5ppl on the extra 30%.
I think its more that we under estimated than over produced, but now we are in the crazy position of slowing the cows down by cutting their cake ration, only slightly as otherwise we could have fertility problems. We cant adjust our prediction for February so must try to minimise the damage, we have redone the prediction for march.

The 3 sheep are getting used to being in the garden, I'm a bit fed up with sweeping sheep pooh off the path, and they will have to go before the daffodils come up.