Thursday, 17 September 2015

Autumn Harvest, Bovine TB,

We are in the season of fruitfulness, the polytunnel is providing us with a steady supply of tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, carrots, beetroot and courgettes (which sometimes have become marrows). I have been busy making chutneys and freezing brambles as the hedgerows fruits are now beginning to ripen, albeit slowly compared to last year's bumper harvest. There is nowhere near as much available as last year probably due to the lack of sunshine and they are lacking sweetness but mixed with apple they will make good winter puddings. Oddly enough last year was not good for sloes but this year they seem to be much more in evidence so I shall be making sloe gin before too long.

After something over a month without a telephone and really bad broadband connection we are now back online. Am engineer arrived at 8 o'clock yesterday morning and spent the whole day until 5.30pm working on the problem and we now have an internet speed way beyond anything we have ever been led to believe was possible here. After almost two years of persistent difficulties with phones and internet it is amazing to have both working so efficiently and it is all down to the terrier-like determination of the engineer to get the whole thing fixed once and for all, thank you Saul!

We have had two more cattle identified as reactors to the TB test and they went off to slaughter last week. We will have another test in two months time and so the saga goes on. We will continue to be under restrictions until we get two clear tests, so this situation will run well into the new year. The restrictions mean we cannot sell any cattle meaning we will have to keep all our bull calves which normally were sold to be reared elswhere. Hopefully by the time we have reared them to a saleable size as beef animals we will be free of the restrictions.

The swallows are still with us though I guess they wil be heading south before too long. There is a definite chill in the air now and the the leaves are beginning to show signs of golden hues. I saw two herons at one of the ponds this morning who were interupted in their frog fishing by the dogs and took off up into the air with their strange long-legged slow flight and drifted off towards the river where they would be undisturbed by lolloping labradors.

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