Monday 20 February 2017
thick golden squash soup and sourdough wholemeal bread is good fuel for musicians. The classical repertoire makes a pleasing change from the more frequently heard Welsh folk dance music. The Farmer plays violin and we have a cellist, a viola player and a second violinist here, all working very hard. A good way of passing a dreich, damp February afternoon.
Despite the music-making some farming was done this morning in that a lorry came to take some barren cows away. It is something we all hate doing , loading cattle onto a lorry heading for the abattoir, especially when they are time-served dairy cows who have given us years of milk production, but a time comes when they have to make way for the younger replacement heifers who are at the start of their milking lives, so we have to harden our hearts and send the old girls off. It is never done easily.
Friday 3 February 2017
Two days ago the vet came to PD the cows (check whether they are in calf or not) and all but 2 will calve down next autumn which is a good result. We have been making use of an artificial insemination service and we also have a bull of our own. He is a Hereford who came to the farm only a few weeks ago. He replaces a rather fiercesome Frisian bull who we had had here for couple of years but as is the way of these things he needed to be changed as the time was coming that he would be serving his own daughters...not good. So we now have this handsome Hereford fellow who is of a much gentler temperament and unrelated to any of our cows.
Spring seems to be creeping ever closer with the increasing show of snowdrops especially down the length of the drive and daffodils shooting up in their green spears through undergrowth all around the gardens. There are catkins blowing in the breeze on the hazel bushes and tiny buds developing on trees and shrubs though there is still a long way to go before the hedgerows start greening up. The ash trees stand stark with their inky-tipped fingers reaching up to the sky. The little birds, the sparrows, tits and finches are very busy chattering away in the hedges and up in the high sky the jackdaws toss and tumble in the wind while the occasional buzzard or red kite floats casually past. Thrushes and blackbirds are heard carolling in rehearsal for the great mating choruses that will fill the air before too long. Talking of mating I heard a vixen calling across the valley the other night, a strange and ancient sound which when heard with an echo of owls is as of something out of a Gothic novel.