I don’t think I can blame the lack of blogging just on the shortening days but I wish I could! The clocks change this w/e and I wish we could stay on BST rather than switching to GMT as we much prefer it. We would rather have darker mornings and lighter evenings, but I know there are huge debates about this issue every year.
It is just so very busy with the autumn arable drilling thankfully finished today, and now the livestock work is upon us with a vengeance. Perhaps, methinks, this is why mixed farming became unfashionable, because with such a spread of enterprises on the farm there is never ever a respite?
It is not just the routine of daily feeding and checking of pigs, sheep and cattle, but the annual tasks of sorting the ewes into their groups to meet with the rams. And the time of the year when the vet comes to castrate the bull calves, time also to vaccinate the cattle against respiratory viruses, and then after 2 weeks following the vaccine, time to bring the younger cattle in for the winter.
We must be mad, as well as this heavy workload, and the meat sales, we have 5 educational visits in the next month for primary school children, teenagers, and one half day visit which encompasses all ages.
Thankfully, the puppy is not here at the moment, education is vitally important to all of us and since the actual owner of the dog is away studying for a degree in Agriculture at a top University, we thought a bit of proper education for the dog would be useful too. Both students are doing very well, especially the dog, who should be back home next month wagging her tail, walking to heel and always coming back when called! Training a 9 month old puppy was just too much on top of everything else for yours truly to consider.
Every generation in this household has now either been trained in agriculture and/or land use or is in training. This fact actually makes us quite rare nowadays, and clearly shows that we are also quite, quite mad. However farming clearly runs in the blood [probably no choice with a name like Tull] and cannot be ignored, despite various members of the family trying to do other things along life’s winding journey.
There is more training to be done here too, that of the horse…. Swift arrived 10 days ago, and is being looked after by us. He is a young gelding, who hustled the mares too much in his previous home, and was a quick sale. I happened upon him by chance and was first in. He was not expensive but came without a vetting, as a gamble. His teeth have been sorted, they were really bad, his overgrown molars had lacerated the inside of his cheeks on both sides. The vet sedated him while the horse dentist worked. His back has been found to be tender and tight and is now being sorted by professionals, using chiropractic methods and Equine Touch amongst other things which I will tell you more about about another time. I was not expecting this, but I am sure he will be fine.
Swift has a very sweet nature and in a few days learnt to cope with the house cow [ he is now THE boss of a very bossy cow], some of the sheep and the pigs in the yard, oh and he has had his first encounter here with pheasants too. All these are vitally important attributes for a farm horse. On Sunday we walked slowly around to inspect all the large machinery in a quiet and deserted yard.
I am in no hurry with him and will take as long as it takes to get him used to what we expect and hope for. If his back needs a rest then he will learn his way around the farm from the end of a lead rope. If I need extra help with his schooling I have friends who will be able to help me. It is extremely therapeutic for me to escape the ringing of the phone and almost never ending streams of emails that pour into the farm office, for an hour every so often.
I may not be quite so thrilled when it starts to rain and never stops. We have had so little rain we are worried about having enough grass to last the stock through the winter and with the number of acres we have and the low stocking rate that should never be a problem, but this year unusually it is.