The news over the Christmas period has been dominated by reports of floods, gales and power cuts making it a miserable time for many people.
By living at 300m (1,000 feet) above sea level, flooding is not a problem for us, but the land is very wet and we have had the odd tree blown down which we will cut up to keep us warm for a while, so compared to many we have not suffered too much. Our slurry tower is inches away from being full, so some dry weather would be welcome but the forecast remains wet.
The tups were taken out from the ewes and the following day, one was lying dead, probably of a broken heart and six days out of its insurance period. The wind and rain has taken its toll on the sheep – we are feeding hay as the grass has just disappeared and scanning will be the next job with them.
Unfortunately, over Christmas our neighbour’s two pet dogs got among our ewes, and although they did not kill any, quite a few were injured. It is the first time this has ever happened to us. I certainly told the owner what would happen if the dogs were in the field again.
None of the heifers we programmed to calve in the spring have returned to service so far, so hopefully when scanned in a week or two along with the newly-weaned spring-calving cows, they will all be in-calf. We have one or two cast cows to go to market when the price improves.
We don’t want any more mouths to feed than necessary as silage is not too plentiful. Our worker is off during the holiday period so we just do the feeding and look after the stock and usually nothing extra, but Andrew is out with the slurry spreader today and spreading over the roadside hedges to reduce the level in the slurry tower.
Each year a member of the family hosts Boxing Day lunch when all the family come together and have a good old chin wag. This year it was our turn and 72 family members young and old gathered at our house. It is a great opportunity to keep in touch with family from England, Scotland and France.
As I write, in a day or two we will have the New Year celebrations over and it will be good to get back to normal. Here’s to wishing a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year to everyone.