Firstly, I make no apologies for straying from farming as I write the first few sentences of this week’s diary.
Our daughter Adele and her family are spending a few days here on Manor Farm. Whilst our three grand-daughters have been occupied with their ponies, Dominic said he would like to visit an aquarium.
Last time he stayed we went to Bristol, so this time we decided to go to Weston-super-Mare.
Richard was not so keen on the idea, but we spent a most enjoyable day at the seaside. Besides a visit to the aquarium , Dominic enjoyed the views from the big wheel and we all indulged ourselves with an ice-cream, candy-floss and a walk onto the new pier.
It was my first trip to Weston and I would certainly go again.
The farming week has been filled with a variety of little jobs. All of the winter barley straw has been baled into large round bales and moved from the fields to the barns to be stored ready for the winter.
We started to spread some slurry onto the stubble left after harvest but one of the tyres on the slurry tanker developed a puncture, which unfortunately was not repairable.
Richard and Ian then decided the tanker was so old that it would be better to purchase a newer one, rather than spend a large sum of money on a new tyre.
However the replacement tanker is not yet available, so in the interim we are being supplied with a tyre, which has not yet arrived. This means that we are still unable to spread any more slurry !
Matt has rotavated some of the stubble fields, to encourage the germination of weed seeds and shed barley grains.
Richard has continued to deliver loads of sold winter barley to a feed mill in Calne, with only a few tonnes remaining, which has been rolled and is being fed to the young heifers.
We do not have a roller so we employ a mobile mill to do this for us. The young heifers are also receiving some grass silage and minerals to supplement their diet now that the grass is past its best.
We are continuing to dry our milking cows off prior to calving ,which will begin later this month.
Therefore hooves are being trimmed and the general health of each animal checked before they are taken to a field for their two-month summer holiday.
These dry cows and in-calf heifers are now grazing one of our new grass leys, from which two cuts of grass for silage have been taken.
The regrowth in this field is quite tall, but the dry cows and heifers will have no trouble munching their way across the pasture.
On Stowell Farm, Kevin started the week baling some more hay into big round bales, followed by topping all the permanent pasture at Bowood.
Mark has been putting the sheep into groups.
Some finished lambs have been sold for meat, while the remainder have been sorted onto appropriate grazing areas. The ewes have been sorted into tupping groups, then put into selected fields to graze. The rams have also been checked, to make sure they will be in good condition when turned out with the ewes.
The combine has been serviced, so as soon as the winter wheat is ripe and at the correct moisture, harvesting will begin again.
The hot, dry weather has not helped growth – although the crop looks ready, when tested it becomes clear it is not.
We just hope that when harvesting restarts the grain will be dry and good quality.
Just to mention some new arrivals to our garden – FROGS ! Not creatures that we have seen here before.