Reading last week in the Telegraph about life inthe countryside made me laugh out loud.
Why has there been such a long a gap in my blog entries .. not due to any shenanigans on my part that’s for sure. And there it was again on Sunday – in You magazine, the very same topic .
Laugh, we haven’t stopped! Well, in between wondering what expenses will next be charged to the public purse by over 600 professional persons and simply coping with all the after effects of all the sex and all the seeds.
Yes, I did say SEX, but sex is as normal an occupation for animals as breathing or eating. Sex, or service as it is often referred to in the farmyard, happens a lot in our herds and in our flock and Spring is the main time of the year for us to reap the consequences. It is just as well, putting it simply, if there was ‘no service’, they’d be no animals and we wouldn’t be farmers.
So far we have had over 300 lambs and are already in double figures for calves. We have one young pig due from 24th May and another two sows now do look to be in pig [fingers crossed]. We have a lot more calves due and still about sixty sheep to lamb.
The ‘dodgy boar’ may not be dodgy after all, he can be forgiven though as he was however young when he met the ‘muddy girls’ and a complete virgin, so perhaps it took him longer to put the pieces of the jigsaw correctly together. They are after all out door, and very free range, pigs and it has become clearer to me quite why some rare breeds are so rare! The friendly boar has has a ‘stay of execution’ and will get another chance to sow his seeds again if the two sows produce good litters of piglets. We are all hoping all will be well and he will go on to be a champion sire.
And while I am on the subject of seeds I can report that the arable crops are doing well and I have a forest of tomatoes waiting to be turfed out into the unheated greenhouse from the ancient conservatory. However as the greenhouse is currently full of seedlings [caulilower, red cabbage, broccoli, leeks, lettuce, cabbage, more cauliflower and purple sprouting broccoli, and sweetcorn] ready for the large vegetable garden, and the large garden is waiting for Jethro and his rotavator it may still take some time. I have resorted to feeding fertilser to the plant plugs that look sad to avoid the work and expense of totally repotting so many plugs just before outdoor planting.
At the weekend I sowed lettuce, radish, more lettuce , basil , carrot, spinach, swiss chard and hoed all the onions and garlic. I have been late with the sunflowers and have had complete failures of certain types of courgettes and runner and dwarf beans. So bad were the failures that I have wondered if they were all sown in the same bag of compost. The beans and courgette seeds just vanished. Normally I have very green fingers and it is very unusual for germination to fail and on such a scale. The later resowing of beans are just erupting now so it looks second time lucky for them. It is too soon however to see if the new courgette seeds have worked but the one courgette plant I bought early on from a road side stall for fifty pence is almosty in production so next year I must be much earlier for the indoor ones.
We are now desperate for rain here. It appears to be the sort of year where the grey clouds come and are swept away on these strong cold easterly winds. Jethro says this is a farm that either gets all the rain or none, and after two washout years in succession this could be the latter.