A belated Happy New Year. Approaching the end of January and we are hoping for a dry spell! Mud and more mud, interrupted by a few fine, crisp days which we love. Working in the mud is hard work and the animals do not think much of it either. Roly is trying to make minimal impact with the tractor as we take feed out to the cows who are due to calve very soon, very exciting. It won't be long until the sheep will start getting extra feed too as we approach lambing. Bob who scans our sheep is coming next week so we will know how many lambs each ewe is expecting, always an exciting yet apprehensive day!
It really does feel significant to be on the brink of our first calving here at Saddlescombe. The cows do look enormous but appear very relaxed about their imminent role. Perhaps this is because they have all been Mums a few times now and feel comfortable in knowing what to expect! We will be moving them very gently back towards this side of the farm so we can keep a very close eye on them over the coming weeks. They are enjoying their hay and we enjoy watching them munching away.
Last years lambs have finished eating the stubble turnips from the top field, see photo, and are now having some of our barley to keep them happy before the spring grass starts growing.
Our 4 piggies have made themselves very much at home in their patch, we have extended it and it hasn't taken them long at all to root up all the goodies. They are charging around and have already grown so much. They don't seem to mind the mud (of course) but they really don't like the rain! They race back into their house the moment it starts, so funny.
Snowdrops are up and we have just started listening to the birdsong in the morning and feel encouraged that it is now light until 5pm, even half an hour makes a difference! Emma who regularly helps us on the farm is attending a farmland bird identification day today with the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust. The day is all about helping farmers identify what they have on their farms ahead of the Big Farmland Bird Count taking place from the 8th February. We can't wait to be involved and find out what we have here at Saddlescombe and if we have any new visitors we can include in our survey. We have been busy spreading supplementary food for the birds to help them through what is called the 'hungry gap', which is from now on really until food starts to appear again in the hedgerows and margins around the farm in the spring.
Many thanks to the Green Gym from Portslade who have helped us do some more scrub clearing.
Camilla, Roly, Molly, Freddie, Boris and Belle