Saturday, 24 December 2011

Year End Blog 2011

Here is a brief summery of activities of happenings around the farm and the blogs 2011. Not enough room to do it diary fashion day by day so here goes.

It is only this last three or four years that I stared to write a blog when it seemed to come to a stalemate, then, some six months ago I contacted an American blogger Judi Graff who on her web  site  she gave advice on the design and layout of blogs. She later picked up on a blog I wrote , and was interviewed by her with the heading  “Seventy Years in Farming” and asked “which is your favourite blog” the answer was,--
The Longest Swath,  and  I was honoured to have it published on her site. with the Badge 'Featured Farmer of the week'  .

At the beginning of 2011 we had already had a month of very cold north air bringing a depth of snow, (about two foot in the low land areas) that amount we  had never seen since 1947, although back then it drifted on an east wind and filled the roads.
The temperatures went down lower than most of us can remember, and it went on for almost two moons before the winds or should I say cold air stopped drifting down from Iceland.

The stock out wintering did not come to any harm, the dry cold weather is far better for the stock, it’s the ‘at freezing point’ wet winters that the stock do not like.

 As the ground thawed out and the snow melted during February, it was to be almost the last real wet weather we have had until December (now today 23.12.11) we just had our wettest day of the year, the first day since spring that the ditches ran with water, and actually had more than would soak into the ground.

 Being so dry it reflected in the yield of grass during the summer and especially showed up in the fact we only got half the number of bales per acre than we normally would expect.

 To make up for that in the autumn (the fall) we had had just the odd skuds of rain just greening up the grass, and was able to run the cattle out for a lot later over all the land without cutting up the turfs, and so stave off feeding the winter forage for an extra month.

The maize we grow for forage also suffered the same as the grass, it went into a good seed bed and came on well for the first month then the ground water depleted quicker than the roots could follow it down and stunted the growth in July and subsequent months.

It was back in July time when I went to the doctors with a minor ailment in the plumbing department, who sent me on to the urologist at the hospital for tests; these went on for two months culminating in a diagnosis of Prostrate Cancer. I was then put on hormone therapy tablet for two months and now on a three month implant to do the same job.

Now I have started, 12th December 2011on the radio therapy, which involves travelling to hospital five days a week for seven weeks, a thirty mile round trip for a three minuet zap of radium, a tedious routine is helped along by the brilliant technicians/nurses and staff at the hospital. First part of that story was here written in October “That unsettled Feeling”   ---

It is November that we are due our annual TB testing of the cattle, and being in or on the edge of the midlands (UK) TB hot spot, we are only too aware that some the cattle could easily be lost to TB and the herd closed up for the whole winter.

In other words we would have to winter the store cattle that would normally be sold just into the New Year, and with fodder being low we decided to pre-movement test the stores in early October.

They passed their test okay and were sold on at the end of that month. It was rather pleasing that the work load was now reduced due to their sale The rest of the cows with calves at foot were tested in November and passed, these are the cattle that have some badgers sets near by and if one happened to go down I would not have been able to sell the eighteen month old store stock.

Now 23rd December 2011 we have fodder to match the number of stock for the winter, and a reduced work load cope with.

       You Know Ya Gettin Old

You know ya gettin old, when ya toe nails cannot reach,
And you conna pull ya socks on, feet no longer look a peach,
Boot laces just the same, an extra push to bend down low,
N’ take ya time in gettin up, om not sa young ya know.

Me partin’s gettin wider, and can see right through me hair,
Its gone all grey and silver, just like an old grey mare,
The rain it splashes on me head, a hat it is a must,
Stop it runnin down me neck, n’ keep it off me crust.

Memory now is not sa good, to find things is a pain,
Names and places I dun know, gone reet out me brain,
What we had for dinner and tea, now what was that again?
And in a great big car park, twelve cars like mine the same.

Reactions getting slow, and it’s the car that takes the brunt,
Opening the door too close, it’s the paint to bricks affront,
A dent or two I dunna mind, as out the drive I swing,
N’ backin round the corner, n’ scrawp the rear wing.

Om writing this while I can, on lookin back on life,
Me mind is gettin slower, n’ conna cope with all the strife,
So I’ll get it all in order, things remembered years ago,
Will not be able to do it, when I’m planted down below.

Countryman  (Owd Fred)

Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year to all who read these blogs.