Thursday, 24 March 2011

Sad Cows

This is a whole herd of cows who are desperate to go outside, they have been inside for over 4, nearly 5 months now, with only a short walk across the concrete yard to be milked twice a day. For most of the winter they do not linger outside on the yards, but dash back inside for food and somewhere more sheltered to stand around or lie down in. At this time of year, when the weather is warming up, and the sun is shining they just want to go outside and eat some grass. When they do it is spring madness, all these sedate mature ladies cavort about and kick up their heels, udders swinging wildly.
It makes me laugh, every year on the first day outside its just the same.

Sadly for the cows today was not the day, normally Richard nips over and shuts the shed gate while they are inside finishing off yesterdays food, after being milked in the morning. But we are mad busy organising seed being drilled by contractors so Richard had driven the tractor and trailer over to the field with a load of spring bean seed and I went in the landie to bring him home. By the time we got back the cows had found the open gate and were all standing facing outwards........
We had a quick discussion as to whether we could let them out but there are no fields ready, by which I mean there is lots of fencing down to let tractors in and out during the winter, and since we needed the yard clear for the milk tanker Richard filled the feeder wagon, put the food out and we squeezed the cows back into the shed, a bit like getting toothpaste back into the tube.
Truthfully there is not much grass yet, our organic pastures are always a bit slower to get going since they need the soil to warm up before the grass grows, everyone is very used to the effects of scattering tonnes of nitrogen on the fields wheras nature on its own is not as impressive.
Its been a busy day of ferrying seed and Richard to and from bits of farm machinery, life was much simpler when we were just farming one farm.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Busy day

I meant to post this picture of F holding the lamb yesterday but forgot. It was taken on monday when she announced she had told everyone in her class about the new lamb and needed a picture of her holding it!
Lambs are quite easy to catch within the first 12 hours after they are born, but after that they have really found their running legs and dont want to be caught at all. We managed to grab this one but only because he got his legs tangled up and fell over. F was very keen to hold him until we tried to hand him over, we ended up with Richard holding her and the lamb together.

Its a gorgeous sunny day again today, which is good as we are off to vaccinate all the pregnant ewes, it has to be done 4 weeks before they lamb to protect the lamb as well. I had forgotten that I had also volunteered to take and collect some of the primary school children from a science morning at another school, this is the inbetween bit, I have just taken flapjack out of the oven and have a huge pan of half made marmalade waiting for me to have a couple of hours at home to boil it up. R has popped in to ask me to drop in at the vet and collect some extra needles for the vaccinating gun........ Some days the idea of a proper job is very attractive, apart from that I would have to do all the extras as well.

I might slap a bit of sunscreen on as a couple of hours in direct sun and I will be a crispy critter, its so easy to get burnt at this time of year, all that winter pale skin.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Farm Cats

The cats are on the payroll here, they are vermin control and the business pays their feed and vet bills. They get dry cat food 2 or 3 times a day, if they are hanging around looking hungry and the plates are empty I feed them, I reckon that mouses must be scarce.
They were all feral cats originally, 2 are brothers and the tabby and ginger are half sisters, courtesy of the local tom and the cats on the neighbouring farm. We trapped them all at the appropriate ages and had them fixed at the vet, there is no unsanctioned breeding round here. We dont let them in the house, mainly because they dont want to come in, but also because they arent housetrained and they usually have dirty feet due to roaming round the cow sheds. They are a superb anti vermin patrol, especially Percy, the longhaired cat, he looks soft and fluffy but under all that fur is Atilla the hun.
We have had several lovely sunny days recently, not much is growing but its lovely and warm in the sun, so all the cats crash out in a nice sheltered spot in the garden.

We had our first lamb born on sunday morning, the ewe chose the only rainy day for a week , so it was a cold wet welcome for little boy lamb, despite that mother and son are doing well.
There are no more births expected for another 4 weeks, this one is early because the ewe was very poorly last year and had to stay at home to be treated regularly, she was sharing a field with the tups and nature took its course a bit sooner than planned.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Mea Culpa

I've been too lazy to blog! Yes I admit it, I have had lots of good intentions, read other peoples blogs, made a note of things that have happened and then done nothing. Well not "nothing" nothing, but blogging nothing, I have felt bad about it, but not bad enough to do something about it. Sorry I will try to do better, I get so much from reading other peoples blogs and it seems rude not to give a bit back.
We had half term a couple of weeks ago and I went down to visit the family in Berkshire, we stayed with my Ma and visited and went out with my sister and her children.
We went to see the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, and I definitely recommend it as somewhere to visit. Its not really for tiny children, out youngest was 7 and she loved it but I would think that under 5's would not get much from it.
Its a huge collection of stuff from around the world gathered together by Lt. General Pitt Rivers, it was bequeathed to the university in 1884 on the condition that they built a museum to house it and appointed someone to teach anthropology. The original collection has been added to over the years and includes lots of weapons, decorative items, religious artefacts, models, clothing, and more.
My childrens favourites were the shrunken heads and the mummy, I was very taken with this totem pole which stretched up 2 more floors and the beautiful woven gratings in the floor. Oh yes also the toilet facilities which are clean modern spacious and unisex cubicles, which are great when out in a female parent only group of mixed children. Its always a worry sending little boys off into the male toilets.
The only bad thing was no cafe or designated place to eat a picnic, there is a big grassed area outside but that's no good it it's cold and rainy, we ended up in the foyer to the natural history museum which also functioned as a buggy park.

The P-R museum is reached through the OU natural history museum which is a much more accessible scale than the London natural history museum, it's full of skeletons, modern animals as well as dinosaurs, stuffed animals from all over the world, and things that we ran out of time to look at. We will definitely be going back again.