Articles From April 2013

Cow and calf at Old Walls 2013

Sunshine!

Posted in Farm on Wednesday 24th April 2013 at 3:32pm

What a joy having a few hours of sunshine is, it lifts the spirit and work pace! The lack of sunshine last summer has had a lasting effect on our cows. We would normally expect to be 75% through calving by now but we have only had 25% of our cows calve so far this spring. Having checked the feed, mineral supplements and health of our cattle I pondered what could be the cause of so many cows calving late. Sunshine is the answer or lack thereof! Last year when the bull came to visit it rained for the first 4 weeks he was with our cows, he and they huddled under hedges to shelter from the worst effects of the heavy downpours with never a thought to “getting together” to mate and make this years crop of calves arrive on time! Time will tell if my projection is right, that we will be busier than usual with calving cows the first week in May (2013) following a glorious week of sunshine in late July last year (2012) – 9 months ago!

Waterleat Lodge heathers

Some of the signs of spring

Posted in General on Wednesday 24th April 2013 at 3:24pm

Whilst on my early morning check of the calving cows just before the sun peeps over our horizon the countryside seems to be wide awake and buzzing with life. Every morning since the 20th April the cuckoo has been calling in the valley, the rest of the bird’s busy singing in the dawn. The chickens are telling everyone they have laid an egg and the calves are all stirring to have their first drink of milk. On the next door farm the lambs are frantically bleating for the ewes amongst the flock and the distant rumble of the West Webburn is the constant background refrain. The urge to stop and soak up the atmosphere is strong and only wins out after I’ve checked to see if any calves are being born. It’s then that you notice the tiny shoots of grass valiantly coming through, the catkins, the blackthorn flowers beginning to emerge, the celandines in the banks, the subtle change of colour to the bare trees where their buds are developing and giving the appearance of a red brown hue and the huge show of colour in the garden heathers. Nature is a powerful thing, always balancing herself through the seasons.