Last month’s anti-rain chant seems to have worked! No sooner had we written the last instalment, but the weather took note, and started cooperating. With the weather on side, we are now managing to “get on”, the farmer’s favourite pastime.
The dry weather has enabled us to tidy up a little. We’ve been able to push on with muck spreading and cultivating the maize ground, which means that the slurry pits are looking much better, to everyone’s relief. Unfortunately this year some of the late drilled wheat has failed, and will have to be replaced by maize. We’ve also been getting on with trimming back the hedges, cutting off large overhanging branches with a 360 degree machine and hydraulic cutter, and the dry weather has meant that we can burn up the trimmings.
As always, letting the cows out was a very pleasant experience this spring. Their excitement and downright jollity is infectious. With the cows out to grass during the day the routine goes back to once a day scraping and feeding, which makes for happy staff as well as happy cows. We are also currently trying out a demonstration scraper tractor, as we’ve had some problems with our current one over the winter. We are conscious that waking up early to scrape, and then having to wrestle our cumbersome stand-in scraper tractor, when the proper one doesn’t work, is not the most inspiring start to the day.
The youngstock are soon to follow the main herd outdoors, as soon as they’ve had their lepto and IBR vaccines. The in-calf heifers will be put to grass in the next few weeks, and we are currently pushing on with freeze-branding last year’s heifers, before they too go out to graze. Unfortunately on what was intended to be the first day of branding, our delivery of ice was nowhere to be seen. We were later informed, upon phoning up to inquire, that the pellet maker had broken down, and our order had been cancelled. Frustrated was the word of the day, as extra staff had been employed specifically for the task, everything had been set up in preparation, and yet no one had felt it necessary to tell us that there was a problem! Having experienced delays and mistakes with this company many times before, Matt furiously hunted for a different supplier, but having found no practical alternative, decided that from now on ice would be booked for the evening before branding, to be on the safe side.
This year however, alongside the usual preparations of the agricultural calendar, there are also preparations of a very different nature afoot, mainly concerning food and dresses. Our main focus at present is the upcoming wedding of Rebekah, John and Helen’s daughter. The wedding will of course take place in one of our fields, so the change in the weather has been an even greater comfort than usual. So we hope for as uneventful a time as possible from the farm perspective, as we prepare for one of the biggest events in the life of our little family.