This Farming Life!

Date posted: Tuesday, 31st October 2017

Winter hours!

As we have now seen the end of British summer time, the mornings are light and bright but the day fades in the late afternoon and is dark by 5pm. It is a long time until it reverses in March! The last week has been dry windy and sometimes sunny, helping to dry up the still wet fields. An added bonus has been lovely sunrises and sunsets with lots of colour in the sky.

We are mainly occupied with livestock work now, with the harvest behind and preparation for the  housing of the cattle over winter. The calves born spring 2017 have now been weaned, had their first vaccination to prevent them from contracting pneumonia, and are in their winter quarters enjoying a dry bed and an appetising silage mix twice a day. They will grow and develop over the winter when we will then choose heifers to keep for breeding before the rest are sold next April to graziers. The cows have been back out to grass and also access to an adjacent harvested potato field, where they can scavenge for potatoes which they like.

Today was blood testing all animals over 2 years and pregnancy testing all cows. It takes a bit of organisation to get the batches of animals in the right order, with corresponding paper work, but many hands make light work (sometimes) but on the other hand, too many cooks can spoil the broth! Our cattle handling shed has been a huge help with testing and handling groups, no way out for would-be escapees! Most of the cows are now familiar with the set-up and lead the others through. Being under cover is also a bonus, dry but draughty.

Harvest tractor driver and brother in law, Jim, practised long and hard with his vintage tractor and plough here on the stubble at Muirhouses last week in preparation for the Scottish Ploughing Match at the week-end. He had lots of advice (not sure if he heeded any of it) and plenty of buddies needing a turn themselves. Jim did well at the Scottish, winning his vintage class, congratulations!

I thought I had cut the grass for the last time 2 weeks ago, but no, it was topped again on Sunday  - maybe for the last time! The beech hedges are turning a lovely golden colour and the red oak trees planted on a field boundery are very fiery red.

In the spring I told you about the wasps nesting in the bird boxes. After I had war with them they moved on to pastures new unknown to me. On cleaning out the greenhouse last week I came upon a large wasp nest - in the dolls pram! The girls had never played with it this summer so the wasps had peace!

My guests in the cottage at the week-end were able to see goldcrests feeding on the lavatera in the garden, I didn't know we had any of these tiny birds here!

I am 'troubled' by an over friendly robin coming into the house through even the slightest open window, leaving it's tell-tale signs, then needing a wider window to go out again. Not sure how to discourage my new friend!