Sunday, 27 January 2008

Saturday, 26 January 2008

What do farmers do when it rains?

. . . . .well usually the same as they do when it's fine. But sometimes the weather is so bad that they actively look for indoor jobs (or at least undercover). So this week all the tractors and most of the machinery have been cleaned and serviced. And on Monday we found time to send another Strickley export (Shorthorn bull) to Northern Ireland. We've heard that he arrived safely, but was glad of a rest after the long journey. I hope by now he is fully rested and raring to go!

But we haven't been indoors all week. Henry and James have spent quite a bit of time engaged in combat with some sheep. We don't keep sheep of our own, but over Winter another farmer brings his sheep down from higher ground to Strickley ("wintering"). Last year they were all very well behaved - staying put where they were supposed to. But this year we've got a few troublemakers. Maybe they're in training for the Animal Olympics, or re-enacting a scene from The Great Escape - but they have obviously formed an escape committee who meet up as soon as we move them, and plan the quickest way out. At the moment we're winning - there's been no reports of escapees for a couple of days. But who knows, having tried climbing the walls, maybe they're digging Tom, Dick and Harry as we speak. Can you hear them tunnelling underneath?

And talking of tunnelling. Did you see the Mole Report on the BBC? I wouldn't like to accuse the BBC of unfair bias, but no mention was made of consequences to farmers of a field full of mole hills. We prefer to mow and preserve grass, not soil. So maybe it's the first sign of a new year, but the first traps have been set. Watch this space for our very own Mole Count!

Thursday, 17 January 2008

An Excellent Result!

It's official - our Shorthorns are excellent (or very good, or good plus).

Yesterday our herd was classified. Now I know that the following may not mean a lot to non Dairy Farmers, so for an explanation look at this link.

Overall there were 2 Excellents, 22 Very Goods and 17 Good Plus.

Geri, who has featured more than once in the pages of this Blog is classified as Ex 93.3e. As you may recall she was born in 1996 and is now in calf with her 11th calf. Almost as good is Pansy, a 4th calver- Champion Dairy Shorthorn at the 2007 Royal Highland Show. She is classified as Ex 91.

Other notable mentions must go to one of Nejay Prince's daughters (semen still available at RCG!) - a 3rd calver with a score of 88. And a 2nd calver with a score of 87 (and 89 mamm.)

So if you're looking for for good (or excellent!) Dairy Shorthorns, get in touch with us.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

The lodgers have gone

Do you remember way back at the beginning of November, we sold some stock to a farm in Somerset? Well the day after we sold ten more at the Shorthorn Society's Autumn Sale. And that's when it got a bit complicated. Firstly the sale was scheduled to be at Chelford, but as that was in the Bluetongue "Dirty" Zone it meant cattle couldn't be bought there and taken to a farm in the "Clean" Zone. So part of the sale was moved to the auction at Beeston Castle (in the clean zone). We sold all our 10 heifers, but 3 of them to a buyer from Northern Ireland. Restrictions were still in place which meant that live exports were banned, so we brought the three heifers home again, just managing to squeeze them in. Eventually the ban was lifted and we began to prepare to send them on their way. They had to be TB tested, inspected, licences applied for, inspected by a vet again. But last night they sailed across the sea to their new home in County Antrim.

O Day minus 138

Friday, 11 January 2008

Out To Lunch

When I'm at work I tend to eat "on the go" at my desk. I may slow down for a while, but there is no real break. This doesn't bother me and I would rather keep going all day than stop for the sake of it. But yesterday I met up with an old friend and we had a civilised lunch (still just sandwiches and coffee, but presented on a plate not out of a plastic box or the ubiquitous triangular packet). We caught up on family news since we last met, had a few grumbles about life and looked forward to the Big Party I'm planning for someones Significant Birthday. I would like to think that I went back to work refreshed and raring to go, but after a few minutes back at my desk it was if I had never been away. There's no good fairy that sits in your chair while you're away and magically solves the problems for you.

At least my dinner was on time. Poor Henry spent the morning leaning on a rail at the Auction waiting for some young bulls to be sold before getting home for his bread and cheese after two o'clock.

O Day minus 142

Friday, 4 January 2008

Snow!

I looked out of the window this morning and thought "what's that white van in the yard?" Wrong! No white van but a dark blue Discovery covered with snow. So it was another chance to use one of the car's special features, and I set the knob to "snow and gravel". I'm not sure what it does (apart from displaying a nice graphic on the screen), but I think it felt a bit more "grippy". I don't think it will last as it's not really cold enough. Maybe that's what the council are counting on as there was no sign of gritting on the way to work.

It we're snowed in I promise to keep you updated.

O-Day minus 149