There is always work to be done on the farm and it is a seasonal thing. There is a lovely Wendell Berry Poem called 'The Man born in Farming' which expresses it very well. Everything goes around and comes around again, year after year. I think this makes most farmers - and certainly my farmer - very philosophical about things.
But this last year has been exceptional in that it has been abnormally wet. We have driven through to our feed merchants this afternoon and I don't think we have passed a single field which has not had a pond in it - and tractor tracks filled with water.
On our farm there are various jobs waiting to be done. Our hedges are usually trimmed back in September/October, so that they have time to grow a little bit before bird nesting time. The land has been too wet for the hedge cutting man to get anywhere near our hedges and in just a few weeks time it will be too late as the birds will begin to nest and we shall have to leave them for another year. All the farmer has been able to do is to cut back the briars, which had grown out into the field.
7 tonnes of fertiliser (20:10:10) sits in bags in the tractor shed, waiting to be spread on the fields - now is the time, but it is too wet.
And our cattle in the loose housing for Winter are in urgent need of their half way clean out. There comes a time when the depth of straw gets to the stage where it needs cleaning out and starting again. Each morning the farmer spreads fresh straw but there is a limit to how much he can put in without beginning again. But normally he would heap the manure up in one of the fields and leave it to rot down - but again - it is too wet to drive on to a field with a heavy trailer of 'muck'.
To be honest I seem to be more bothered about it than the farmer, but then - as I said earlier - he is a man born to farming.
If anyone is interested "Country File" on Sunday evening on BBC1 features this area, in fact it is all within a ten mile radius of our farm and the feature where Jules goes round with Davinia and Michael, our local vets, actually includes our friend and neighbour (whose cattle we over-winter) when the vets visit for pregnancy testing. I do hope some of you look at it - it gives you an idea of the area we live in.