Weâ€™ve been muck spreading in the fields near the house. Itâ€™s not the nicest job on the farm, but we try and do it before the holiday season starts to spare our guests the somewhat pungent aroma. But as far as the fields are concerned the smellier the better and it certainly helps reduce the need for chemical fertilizers.
So Del and I have been working on some basic obedience training. She sits and stays on command pretty well and comes back to me when called. We’re having a bit of a problem with her chewing everything however. Do date weâ€™re one pair of slippers, one pair of childâ€™s school shoes and numerous toilet rolls down. She also pines a little at night despite doing all I can to make the shed outside as comfy as possible.
Every body has advised me that I shouldnâ€™t introduce Del to sheep until she is at least 6 months old. She may get bullied by the sheep whilst small and be permanently but off apparently. So, being as impatient as ever, Iâ€™ve been trying to teach Del to round up our two Indian Runner ducks in a small fenced off area next to the house. She seems to be doing ok, and certainly has the right body position so Iâ€™m encouraged.
We put some young heifers indoors to winter this month. Encouraging young calves to get into their bay is a difficult task the first time of asking. But with a mixture of some tempting food and a little brute force we eventually managed to get them in their place. The heifers soon get used to the winter routine and find their correct bay without any difficulty. Unfortunately we lost a calf this month. â€˜Pantâ€™ one of our older cows had some difficulty giving birth. The Vet was called and a cesarean section was performed but the calf was still born. We have however, been successful in persuading â€˜Pantâ€™ to adopt another calf bought from a neighbour of ours. This is a common practise where the dead calf is replaced by one from a set of twins to prevent the cow contracting Mastitis from having excess milk. We remain a little concerned about â€˜Pantâ€™ but will keep her as comfortable as possible.
Another project Iâ€™ve started over the winter is an attempt at growing some of our own vegetables. To this end Iâ€™ve built two raised beds using some old scaffolding planks nailed together with a baton at each corner. I persuaded the JCB driver working on my parentâ€™s house to clear the topsoil from a small patch of field next to the house before placing the frames in place. I backfilled them with some of the cleared topsoil before covering the surrounding ground with some local slate chippings. Which I think looks really nice. I think my biggest problem will be keeping the sheep out if I ever get anything to grow.