Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Silver Frost, Fiesty Bantams, Milk Academy

It is a glorious silvery morning with a sharp frost making the fields glisten like powdered glass and the birds are singing in chorus, with the robin taking the lead up in a holly tree.

We have a trio of bantams,a striking grey & silver cockerel and two black and russett hens who live seperately from the laying hens and wander around where they please. The cockerel is a very proud and defiant character and this morning was making me laugh by squaring up to Hattie, my young labrador, who was trying to 'play'. The mini-Chanticleer was having none of it, drew himself up to his full 14inches, fluffed up his feathers and made jabbing darts at the dogs' nose. She thought it was part of the game and just kept wriggling forward on her tummy while the cockerel got crosser & crosser and was swearing at her with strange growly trills in his throat. I had to call Hattie away in the end as she would have chased him eventually and then there would have been real trouble if she caught him.
These particular bantams have very feathery legs & feet which give them a very '70's look somehow, like enormous flared trousers. The leg feathers are great I suppose for show birds but very impractical for chickens that scratch around in a muddy orchard.

The Farmer is off today to a meeting up near Aberaeron of a group known as a Milk Academy which is something that has been set up by OMSCO ( & First Milk who are our milk buyers, as a discussion group for organic dairy farmers. The Farmer attends as it is a good way of keeping up with developments in the dairy industry, hearing good speakers on a  range of subjects from herd health to silage analysis and meeting with our milking colleagues. Farmers on the whole do not socialise greatly with each other, so meetings like these are of real value.

The new Hereford calf has been named...Fadog had be a D and its a good springtime name. We don't go in for the very fancy pedigree names that many breeders use.
Fadog (pronounced Vadog) is our herd name and comes from the original name for this farm which was Penyrallt Fadog which translated means the 'the top of Fadog's wood' so presumably far back in the mists of time this land was owned by Fadog, or more probably Madog, though when he lived we can have no idea. The earliest fixed date we have for the place is 1695 though the house is much older than that. It was owned by one Nathan Griffiths in the 17th century and we have the history from then on quite well documented, but the story of the farm will have to wait for another day.

The latest from our travellers is that they were heading to Invercargill and then up to the Canterbury Plain where Younger Son is working. They will spend a few days with him I think. It is very hot and they are finding it very expensive which was unexpected as Younger Son on his previous two experiences out there, had found that living was much cheaper than here in the UK. However, they are having a good time which is the main thing.

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