Autumn 2010

The sunset on Sofia’s birthday, Tiz

Autumn is the time for us to review the to-do list and make sure the really important jobs that needed sorting before the cows have to come in are all done. It’s time to organise the winter bedding and work out which group is going to be housed where over the coming months. Water troughs are cleaned and re- connected, leaks dealt with and holding pens re-set. It doesn’t seem all that long since we were preparing to release the beasts and now we are preparing to bring them back in.

The ground here is wet to say the least and with the beautiful British summer we had of rain, rain and more rain the ground was starting to suffer. Usually we try and eek it out as long as possible into October but with more rain forcast it was looking less and less likely.

Early in October we had our routine TB test. This is always a tense time as you spend a considerable amount of effort getting to know all your animals and letting them get to know you. At the test you will always have this fear that you might get a reactor and then your treasured cow or calf will sadly have to go. Despite being in a low risk area the day the vet comes back to check for lumps is simply horrid until the very last beast goes through the crush and back to the field. Again, we passed, thank The Lord. After the test, as it was so wet we decided to keep most of them in. We left a couple of heifers out for as long as we could but there is no point if it starts to poach the land so eventually they were bought in too. It’s frustrating as you only have a set amount of winter feed so bringing them in early means you might end up having to buy in feed which can be costly. We will have to see how it goes over the next few months.

November bought us a rather nice surprise. Snow and minus 15 degrees again. The scenery was simply spectacular. Sadly it meant that all the troughs froze and so off we went again getting the kettle on to free taps so we could pail water to our thirsty girls and boys. Naturally the area around the only running tap became similar to an ice rink and so I very quickly mastered the splits and gained what looked like a second knee cap on my right leg!