Farm Life, September 2019

Farm life has definitely become busier in the last month. Almost as soon as August’s Farm Life piece was published, we bought the donkeys. You can read all about them here.

While I would say they are slightly easier to look after than horses, they still need mucking out if they are inside so if you need me, I will be in my ever-expanding animal shed.

I am not complaining though, Minnie and Snowy are lovely.

The duck population is ever-changing. We started off the month with nine ducks but end it with seven. Only one of this year’s ducklings survived and my favourites-Emerald and the one with the fluffy head have disappeared.

Likewise, one of my Polish hens escaped her coop and one of the dogs killed her so it has been a bit sad on the poultry front.

Sticking on sad news, Elsa the miniature horse was found dead in her stable. We are unsure what happened to her but whatever happened, she is dead and we have a heart-broken little boy who has cried so much about his beloved horse.

She was such a loving and patient animal-especially with the children and I don’t think we will ever find one as good as she was.

The weather has not been the best but the farmer managed to finish baling the straw which is a relief. The yield is not as good as some years and there were a couple of late nights put in to finish but it is in the shed and the farmer is obsessively checking the temperature of it in case of fire.

If he thinks some are heating up, he has been removing it just in case. It really isn’t worth the risk.

When straw is baled, if it has more moisture than it should, it can sometimes heat up and catch fire so farmers have to be especially careful around this time of year and my farmer loved his probe thermometer. I know it is a serious business but I do have an inward giggle to myself when I see him walking round with it.

With dry weather happening right now, they are turning their efforts to haylage in another field so, even though is the middle of September, field work is not yet done.

This is the time of year when sheep farmers think about buying new stock in. Despite Brexit still looming over us with relatively unknown consequences, the farmer is trooping off to our nearest market to buy in breeding ewes to be put to ram in November. I would have loved to go with him but one of the children has a dental appointment and to be honest, I think the farmer is secretly glad because I am not sure if I could be trusted not put my hand up.

We have picked the blackberry bushes bare at the farm but due to little hands eating much of the bounty, we have nothing to show for it except for one blackberry and apple crumble which is just a distant memory.

The hens are prolifically laying. Some days we have been getting 19-20 eggs which is epic and despite selling to family and friends, we still end up with loads. Thankfully we all love eggs. They are also continually escaping their massive field. On the drive, on the farm yard and in our garden which in itself is dicing with depth with our terrier, Rosie who is turning a blind eye at the moment.

The veg growing has also slowed down. My fennel did not work out at all but the golden beetroot has been lovely. All hope is now pinned on my pumpkins ripening.

I suppose most of this post has been about death but I have definitely saved the best piece of news until last. Chip, one of my pygmy goats had a female goat kid on a Friday afternoon.

I had suspected she was labouring earlier in the day but I got sidetracked and then had to do the school run.

One of the children came running to me saying there was a baby goat and off we all ran to see the cutest goat kid in the world.

It is a girl so no danger of having to sell it-yay.

Cupcake is not due for another few weeks so there is also hope of more goat kids.

Let’s see what the next month brings.

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