June is here – spring has sprung and it feels quite summery, especially after all that lovely weather in May. Our four sheep are now nine! The three ewes had two sets of twins and one single. Their little legs are spring loaded and they kept escaping the pen! They are now in a neighbours’ orchard keeping the grass down around the trees and growing fast.
Several calves have been born – all without needing assistance. My favourite farm job has always been feeding milk to the calves and I got to do it for a week while Paul and his wife had a week in Wales. It beats farm paperwork (groan) every time. Talking of breaks, our holiday in Ireland was lovely. The farms on the west coast are very small with a few sheep or cows and our small farm would be a large one there. The land is very boggy in places with peat cutting a real rural industry and the term ‘Emerald Isle’ does apply, as the grass is very, very green.
Back at home our swallows have returned and produced their first lot of chicks, which have now fledged, although they are still trying to get the hang of flying and feeding efficiently. One chick is particularly stubborn and does not seem to want to move off the guttering where it’s perched; another keeps flying very low to the ground where the cat lurks! The parents are tidying the nest in the cowshed ready for their second brood.
It was the North Somerset Show on May 2nd and is still a real agricultural show with machinery, animals and associated activates as well as family fun. I very nearly got stuck in the children’s crazy house designed for little people not big, big people, whilst looking after the grandchild. Father was miles away checking out the dairy cattle and it could have been a job for the fire brigade, so have made a note to drink less full cream milk! All the animals, except the very youngest calves are now out and the big sheds have been cleaned and power washed for the educational craft activities of pipe cleaner bugs, clay hedgehogs, flying bats etc….. This is rather a messy job as water bounces back off the walls and we all get soaked. I won’t let the men in the house before they have stripped off! On the subject of personal hygeine, the initial plan for the composting toilet over a trench did not get finished, but plan B is nearly there and consists of mobile ones built using recycled wood with ‘customised’ steel bowls for washbasins. We’re very enterprising up here on Dundry Hill!
This week saw the start of silage making or the ‘silly season’, which translates, as everyone working all hours to cut crops for winter forage, with meals on the trot and no sensible topic of conversation other than grass. The land is still very dry so the crop, though full of wild flowers and clover, is very light and we do need more rain to encourage it to grow. Farmers are never satisfied with the weather, but last year winter feed was very short due to the lack of spring rain and we hope this year is not a repeat of that. Next week sees no educational visits so hence time to do blogging. The following week we have a visit from Ardmann Animation to show children how to make wildlife critters. I’m quite excited and will keep you posted. Until then Happy Summer and hope you like the pictures…………