Yet another hot week! We had had plenty of sunshine, although passing clouds provided temporary relief from the steamy heat felt in the afternoons. There was however a 24 hour period during which time 28. 5mm of rain fell on our parched ground, but it was not long before every trace of dampness had disappeared. On Chiverlins Farm , a mere 7 miles away (less as the crow flies) only 12 mm fell. It seems to be the norm these days for weather conditions to be very local. We just have to appreciate how lucky we are not to have been affected by flooding like some of the people in the north.

Insects on the wing continue to be plentiful, making the most of the favourable conditions they have experienced recently. Just today, while working at Roves Farm, I have seen a variety of damsel flies, dragon flies, bumble bees and a host of butterflies including several commas, large whites, small whites, common blues and there seem to be a many gatekeepers. At this time of year large clumps of teasels make interesting displays with stem and leaves armed with prickles and flowerheads made up of a dense collection of stiff spines, between which the lilac-blue flowers emerge.

The flowers open in a concentric ring about a third of the way up the head, and then spread upwards and downwards simultaneously. Historically Fuller's teasel, with its flowerheads of flexible hooked spines, was used in textile processing, providing a natural comb used for cleaning, aligning and raising the nap of fabrics, particularly wool. Another fact about teasels is that the leaves up the stem are opposite each other, collecting pools of rainwater in wet weather. These pools of water may deter aphids from climbing the stems or it has been said that teasels are partly carnivorous with dead insects collecting in the water.

During the week more jobs have been done on Manor and Chiverlins Farm. Richard and Ian have finished emptying the slurry from our large slurry store. After wheat harvest the remaining solid manure will be taken to the stubble fields and spread. Checking all our youngstock is done early every morning and I am pleased to say that there have been no problems. Eye infections, such as "New Forest Eye" can be a particular problem at this time of year, especially when there is an abundance of flies to spread the disease. The group of yearling dairy heifers, offspring of our dairy herd sold before Christmas 2018, have very recently been given some concentrate feed when checked. This is because grass growth has slowed dramatically, due to the dry weather and the animals need to have enough nutrients in their diet to grow and maintain good body condition.

Richard has now finished cultivating all the winter barley stubble following harvest and decided to roll all the fields afterwards to encourage more volunteers and weed seeds to grow. Rolling the ground after cultivation will hopefully ensure there is better contact between these seeds and the soil to enable more to germinate. Then the fields will be cultivated once more to kill the germinated plants.

Kevin has sorting some of his flocks of sheep. One sorting procedure was to gather the group of culls ewes (ewes previously selected from the main flock for sale as they are no longer fit for breeding). Then from these a number were selected as ready to leave the farm. The ewe lambs born in the spring have also been sorted into 2 groups. One will be kept to replace the cull ewes in Kevin's main flock, whilst the others will be sold as breeding stock to other sheep farmers. Some of the wethers (castrated ram lambs) have been moved onto stubble turnips to help them finish for market.