Wet, Wet, Wet

Never was a fan of them as a band and not a fan of the weather when it’s so wet either. It seems like every day we have a downpour which means the ground is not even getting the slightest chance of draining and drying up. I just keep telling myself we are on the forward march to Spring and all will be ok in the end. We have got to the point where suction nearly pulls off your wellies when turning out the horses, I could do with spikes on the bottom of my wellies!

We have been so busy over the last three days that we decided to give ourselves the Sunday off, which is when I have written this Hubby has not been mentioned much in the last few blogs as they have all been about the farm and he has been busy doing things to the house. Originally it was a store shed albeit a large one and over the years has been upgraded to a dwelling but we want to insulate it more as there are gaps that let the draught in and just get it to a good standard that is nice to live in. We did talk about possibly building a new house an in the future we may still consider it but for now we will upgrade this one a little more, consequently Hubby has had a lot of DIY to do while I carry on with the farm.

The fox problem was quickly sorted at the beginning of the week although I was made aware by my neighbour that there is another one on the prowl, at this time of year there is not much of a let up from them, mostly youngsters finding their way in the world on their own.

The pigs went to the slaughterhouse on Friday morning, this meant bringing them in on Thursday evening overnight so that they were clean enough to go in the morning. They have to be of reasonable state when they get there otherwise they are rejected, if that happens because they have been moved they can’t come back to the farm and you have lost your meat! A vet checks them over on arrival to make sure they are in good health and this year for the first time they were moved by electronic transfer, which means all the paperwork is done online, which I thought was very easy and very quick, I then get a carcass report back from the food standard agency which was also returned the same day with nothing to report, so good healthy pigs. They have been fed the best of vegetables, apples and tree clippings etc from the farm as well as pellet food, they have not had any medication, it is routine to give pigs antibiotics in the pork industry, they were quite big by the time they went and so the pork should be lovely. I enjoyed having them here and they were no trouble at all, the biggest problem was loading them on the morning of departure, they were not difficult just slow and did not really want to go up the ramp into the trailer, it took about twenty minutes of coaxing them with brassica stalks and a feed bucket but eventually they were on and ready to go. On return from the slaughterhouse the trailer has to be power washed and cleaned out, that is a hefty fine if you don’t do it and they can come and check so it’s best to get it done as soon as possible before it’s put away again.
We have already decided not to have any larger animals this year as we a have plenty in the freezer to keep us going for over a year and so it’s not necessary.

What we have decided to order though are ducks and geese, these will arrive as day olds in April and May, I need a new blood line for the ducks as I am not able to hatch any of my duck eggs due to the suspected infertility of the drake, and I miss having the geese around, plus it is nice to be able to offer a goose egg or two for sale as it increases the diversity of produce. Sixty point of lay hens that will be for sale are also on order and will be arriving in the second week of April, that will be a busy time. We have planned a little in advance and ordered a large tarpaulin to cover the runs for the new hens as they are only here temporarily, but can make a big mess if it rains. If my Quail hatch is successful I will also have those to look after so this year will be all about the birds. The eggs numbers are continuing to go go up from the existing hens although they are paddling in mud topped paddocks they are obviously happy and producing well. The wild birds also get a mention this week, I have seen the return of the Woodpecker and also noticed the Blue Tits checking out the nest boxes on the front of the building, it seems early so maybe we are in for an early Spring, all the signs are there just need to keep our fingers crossed.

I keep looking at the veg plot to see if it is possible to get on there and do a bit but it is still too wet to do much, although the temperatures are mild and it would be perfect gardening weather the two things are just not coming together, so for now it is a case of planning and waiting until the opportunity arises. I have started a couple of notebooks which are quickly filling up, one for farm jobs, fencing that needs repairing or hedges that need cutting back, lights that need replacing, that book is for Hubby to refer to when he gets a spare minute lol. The other book is for the veg and fruit garden, it is full of lists that we can get stuck into when the time is right, I have also completed the crop rotation plan for this year so we definitely ready to get going, chomping at the bit would be a good description.

You will remember that our youngest returned home at Christmas from her two years of travelling in Australia, she has been home a month now and has helped every day on the farm and in the house with the cooking and cleaning, tomorrow is her first day of returning to the world of work in a new job and so I will be back to doing it on my own again, it has been lovely having someone around to help so thank you and good luck.

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