Prevention is better than cure

As I drove through a neighbouring village I was forced to pull outside a friend’s house by the sight of him on his hands and knees apparently vacuuming the cobbles outside of his house. He was. He really was vacuuming the cobbles.

“This is ridiculous, Richard,” I said to his bottom, the most prominent part of him at that stage as the noise of the vacuum had disguised the sound of my car drawing up alongside him. “I know you and Shirley are house proud, but the pavement?”

There was a logical explanation. Richard is a logical man. The decorators had been to paint all the outside windows and the bits of scraped down paint and putty had fallen down into the cracks between the cobblestones in front of their house. “You can’t brush it way,” Richard said. “It has to be vacuumed.”

Such attention to detail is not, alas, a strong point of my house keeping style. Stacks of big bales only yards from the back door are not yet hermetically sealed and have a tendency to continuously shed straw; much of which blows into the house via the back porch, back door, back kitchen. It is never ending. Add to that muddy boots kicked off just inside the house plus dogs paddling in and out and you can see I do not need a vacuum cleaner to keep clear of muck and blather, I need a road cleaner, or one of those trundling sweeper jobs you see in airports.

Away from the farm house, not only is the continuing rain still putting a stop to silaging and hay making (a dream and fantasy at this moment in time), it also means a fresh approach to completing other jobs that need doing. Such as worming the ewes and lambs and treating them against blowflies. When the weather is so variable, rain then sunshine, the warm humid conditions are ideal for fly strike. The lush grass can inevitably result in very loose scouring around the ewes and lambs’ back ends; irresistible to a fly looking for somewhere to lay their eggs. The eggs initially develop into larvae with no mouth parts, but then metamorphose into voracious feeders creating open wounds on the sides of ewes and lambs that in themselves are vulnerable to strike.

But we hope it never gets that far on this farm. John has a very systematic approach to animal welfare. Bringing the flock into the corral he has built for holding stock when he needs to treat them is impossible at the moment as the normally packed earth surface is currently just a morass of mud. So he has had to create another holding area with those very useful set of gates that he bought earlier this year. Honestly I think we should be agents for them. They have been tremendously versatile. All the lambs have now been treated with a pour on that provides a long lasting blowfly protection.

Prevention is surely better than cure.

Mrs Downs Diary