Sunday 19 March 2017
Lambing has started. The first lambs arrived on the dot two days ago, the day they were due and a set of quads which was a very good start. They were closely followed by twins and then triplets. They are all doing well though the Farmer is feeding them supplementary milk with stomach tube to make things easier for the ewes. There is steady trickle of lambs now each day, with two sets of twins today and so far all is going smoothly.
This is a lovely time of year despite the weather having turned colder and greyer these last couple of days. Lambs, daffodils, snowdrops, hazel catkins commonly known a lambs-tails for obvious reasons, and the ever increasing cacophony of birdsong all make for a sense of anticipation of the delights in the summer to come.
Tuesday 7 March 2017
In recent weeks there has been mention in the press of a so-called 'new' initiative in the marketing of milk, 'free range' milk. This has caused raised eyebrows in the organic sector as we have been producing 'free range' milk for well over 20 years. Organic dairy cows are out in fields grazing for on average 7 months of the year, sometimes more if the weather is suitable. The diet of organic dairy cows is a minimum of 60% forage such as grass and is free from artificial fertilisers,chemicals and GMOs. Organic remains the gold standard for animal welfare and the freedom to roam.
As organic farmers we have an annual audit of our production standards which are legally binding and enforced by the certification bodies such as the Soil Association (www.soilassociation.co.uk) We sell our milk to the Organic Milk Suppliers Co-Operative Ltd (www.omsco.co.uk)who have been leaders in the marketing of organic dairy produce for over 20 years and can say with confidence that consumers have had the choice of buying free-range, pasture fed milk for all that time. It is not something new.
Here are some of our lovely organic cows grazing on our lush organic pasture!
Thursday 2 March 2017
After a bleak, very windy and wet St David's Day yesterday the second day of the new month has dawned clear and bright with long awaited sunshine though a brisk cold wind is tossing the hazel catkins and making the daffy-down-dillies dance. Snowdrops sit quietly at the bottoms of the hedge-banks sheltered out of the wind and they too seem to be in a greater multitude than last spring & I've seen the first celandines gleaming along the verge of the drive. The birds are singing their spring choruses and last evening I heard the call of the wild geese passing overhead for the first time this year. Woodpeckers are heard away down the valley with their insistent hammering and the robins are in their aggressive spring mode vying for territory in the hedges. The eaves of the farm buildings are busy with sparrows diving in and out with beakfuls of nest-building materials, grasses, a strand of sheeps wool or some moss. I recently found a tiny bird's nest that had been blown out of its mooring in a tree, an exquisite bowl of neatly woven mosses and wool measuring no more than about 2inches across, but the product of many hours of work for a small bird.
Around the edges of the ponds frogspawn has appeared almost overnight in its great jellied masses and on the banks I have been finding long strings of toad-spawn along with the pathetic & disgusting remains where the heron has been feasting on copulating toads.