De Horning Calves

Cauterizing the growth ring or horn bud of a newly born calf

We’ve had two new born calves this month. Not all of them planned pregnancies if I’m honest. One of our cows is a little promiscuous and escaped into the bull’s field a little earlier than we planned. I blame the parents myself!

The picture above shows how we stop the cows growing horns by cauterizing the growth ring or horn bud. This is done while their still young and before the horn has had a chance to attach to the skull. The calf is first injected with a local anesthetic so although the process doesn’t look or smell very nice the calf doesn’t seem to feel too much pain. Most farmers favor de horning their cows as it limits the obvious danger posed to handlers and other cows.

Afon Artro by David Brown

Some great pictures taken by David Brown. David and his wife Brenda are regular and much liked guests here at Byrdir. Afon (river) Nantcol winding it’s way down from the Rhinog Mountains merges with Afon Artro on its journey from Cwm Bychan. The river flowes throught the pretty village of Llanbedr before flowing out to sea at Shell Island.

The river Artro running through Cwm Cantcol above Llanbedr
Afon Nantcol winding it\'s way down from the Rhinog Mountains

Roadside Brambles

Roadside Brambles
Some of the bramble on the lane up to farm are beginning to ripen already. I always think its ironic how I spend hours carefully nurturing various fruit bushes in the garden while my favorite fruit grows wild and free on the side of the road. I always have to fight the urge not to run over raiders from the village who come up to pick them. I shouldn’t as there’s more than enough to go round.
My uncle John always told me that bramble leaves could be used to sooth a burn. Boiled up they’re also a good tonic for soar throats as well apparently. But be warned Uncle John used to tell me all sorts of rubbish like that.

Squify Carrots

Twister Carrots
My carrots and parsnips have grown all squify. I’m pretty sure this is because of the way I propagated them in the greenhouse. I started the carrots, if you remember, by sowing them into lengths of guttering full of compost. Waiting for them to grow and then, when the time was right, simply sliding the entire crop out of the half pipe and into a shallow trench in the raised bed. I noticed then that the roots of these young carrots were surprisingly long and had probably already reached the bottom of the guttering. These young roots were then naturally forced sideways. I sort of assumed that this would sort itself out one I put them in the ground. But I’m not so sure now.

The problem may have been made worse by the fact that I had also created a shallow trench of nice soft compost sitting above what was much harder and very stony ground.
I should mention that the guttering system worked well for other crops, especially pick and come again salads. The system also worked for my brasicas like cabbage and broccoli. But now that I’ve also learnt to space these out much more and to sow less seeds the advantage of being able to quickly slide out lots of densely packed seedlings is negated.

But for me at least using guttering it’s a definite no no for root vegetables. I’m still keen to start things off in the greenhouse however, so I guess I’ll just have to use root trainers and transplant each seedling individually.