No leisurely lie in this morning to listen to Farming Today at a quarter to six. “Come on, we’ve got to get on and get some lambs loaded up for market,” I was chivvied.
Time to don my wetsuit and wellies to brave the soggy fields.
The problem is, as it was when we were trying to corner a poorly calf, that the corral where we normally can drive stock into, to sort out for market/dosing/tagging/dagging/pour ons/testing, is the perfect backdrop for a rendition of that song Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud.
It may even cure the blood for all I know, but it can certainly offer a wallow in a hollow.
Since the demise of Nell our sheep dog, and Holly our spaniel masquerading as a sheepdog, we have had to rely on Pip, the Labrador and Millie our Jack Russell.
They should bring that added piquancy of fear to the chase. They do not. A sheepdog puppy is coming, but she certainly will not be up to the job this year.
So John is having to rely on we three amateurs until then.
I managed to walk the flock up to the end of the big field where John has constructed a temporary race and set of pens.
Thankfully this field has been recently drained and as the grass is not too poached, the lambs, when we did corner them, were relatively clean.
There were a few ready and they did weigh heavier than John anticipated, so all is not gloom and doom on the lamb front as John had thought, but overall the lambs are not getting fit fast enough for his liking.
Perhaps they should share my diet. I can convert very rapidly.
Several claps of thunder and glowering skies led us to congratulate ourselves that we had rounded up the sheep before a storm broke.
But that storm has seriously upset the cows for some reason.
Whether it was the thunder we do not know, but something spooked them in the next field and they have all been cowering under hedges trying to escape from they knew not what, putting a strain on yet another fence.
It seems as fast as John is renewing the fences this year, the cows are breaking them.
So he has decided to let the cows into one of the silage fields to eat up.
The contractor was booked for tomorrow and John was to have cut the grass yesterday. But it poured yesterday and it has poured today, so John has cancelled the contractor once again.
The field that they are in is getting very poached and it will give them a fresh bite and then we can shut them out again.
Normally this particular field would have been cut a month ago and the fresh grass would be growing through.
“We are struggling” John says “And the rest of the year is going to be a struggle, especially harvest.” I do love an optimistic outlook on life.
Mrs Downs Diary