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. ‘Pant’ 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 ‘Pant’ 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 ‘Pant’ but will keep her as comfortable as possible.
Another project I’ve started over the winter is an attempt at growing some of our own vegetables. To this end I’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 parent’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.
Just before Christmas we decided to buy a border collie puppy. We’ve been considering this for some time. I had romantic ideas of herding distant flocks of sheep on the remote slopes of the Rhinog mountains. I even learnt to whistle with my fingers and everything. So on the 19th of December Del joined our growing menagerie of domestic animals. I should explain, del means pretty in welsh and has nothing to do with the computer manufacturer. We bought her from Llwyngiffry a nearby farm for £50. Her mum and dad are both good working dogs and she has a black mouth palate, which is a good sign apparently. So I guess if she doesn’t shape up it’ll probably be my fault. Oh, and I’ve bought a book, Herding Dogs: Progressive Training by Vergil S Holland