Friday, 21 August 2009

Farming Update.







It seems a long while since I posted on farming, but the fact is that during the Summer, once the hay and silage are done things seem to tick along nicely without any help here on a Yorkshire Dales lowland farm. There will be second-crop silage shortly, but in the meantime there were sheep to be spained.
We have pedigree Swaledale sheep with their lambs (two per mum) - they have been here since the lambs were just a few weeks old. These sheep normally live on the uplands and come down here for the Winter, but a spell here with their lambs gives the ewes time to build up a bit of strength. Now the lambs are old enough to manage without their mums, so this week their owner, Bob, came down from Hawes, high in the Pennines, to separate them.
The Pennine walkers have gone home (my "lodgers" were only doing half of the walk and are now on their way back to their home in Windermere) or, in the case of the other two set off to walk from Hawes to Keld. The bed linen is blowing merrily on the washing line and should be back on the beds by tonight in case of more visitors.
I had the coffee on to welcome the sheep spainers when they arrived(and the fruit cake tin ready on the table). It will be a relief now when the table is repaired so there can be no more accidents.
In the meantime congratulations to Ireland who have set a new world record by having 175 combine harvesters all working together in the same field of 110acres at Duleek in County Meath. They all started the harvest together and had finished the whole field in fifteen minutes. In the process they earned over two thousand euros for charity and earned a place in the Guinness Book of Records (the previous record was 56 combines somewhere is Australia).
There is a fantastic photograph of them, but I can't really show it to you because of the copyright laws. However, if you go to Farmers' Guardian website there may be the photograph on there.
. In the meantime, enjoy your day.
Two hours later - the heavens have opened and the washing hangs dripping on the line. Pity the poor walkers mid way between Hawes and Keld, on Great Shunner Fell. You can rest assured that if it is wet here it will be very much wetter up there!
##Photographs. The farmer and Bob survey the heifers in the paddock.
Two photographs of sheep getting into the trailer on their way "home."

19 comments:

Dave King said...

Wonderful! It really is for us townies to get a taste of the country air and farm life from one who knows and isn't as romantically misguided about it as (sometimes) are we. Thanks - and well done Ireland, indeed. Difficult to imagine that!

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

How interesting Weaver. I had never heard of a sheep "spainer" - and now I have. We learn incredible things in this global blogging world. I'm so glad to have found you so that I can learn about you and your world.

steven said...

hello weaver, what i find fascinating and lovely about this post weaver is your constant and heartfelt acceptance of an "open door policy" as i call it. someone's coming to work at your farm so you have food and drink ready for them. it makes sense doesn't it but how many people nowadays in an urban environment offer people working on their home something to eat or drink as a matter of course?!! this was a lovely post - again!!! shave a great day in the dale! steven

willow said...

Weaver, your photos and farm news always remind me of the James Harriott stories.

Reader Wil said...

Thanks for this post! I think I would love the Yorkshire Dales! These past few weeks we are treated to a replay of James Herriot. I enjoy seeing the series again and again.
But I know that life on a farm is not romantic at all. You wrote enough about it to show that it's hard work.

Derrick said...

Hello Weaver,

At the risk of seeming foolish, what is spaining? It's not a term I'm familiar with but could refer to so many things! Hope you manage to get the washing dry!

Heather said...

Well done to the Irish combine harvesters. That must have been a sight worth seeing. I know nothing about livestock but your sheep and heifers look in beautiful condition. Hope the washing dried eventually - the rain woke me at 2 o'clock this morning, it was so heavy. I think most parts of the country have had a good soaking.

Totalfeckineejit said...

Jayney Mac,(Irish equivalent of bl**dy hell!) Weaver, I wouldn't like to be stuck behind them combines on the way home!!!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Spaining - or speaning in some parts of the country - is the word used when ewes are separated from that year's offspring. It is always a bit fraught as they call for each other for a day or two until they forget. The ewes need to build up strength before being put to the ram again in the Autumn - and (dare I say it) a lot of those offspring (particularly the males) will go off shortly to be lamb chops. As they say round here "a short life but a merry one." Sometimes you have to be hard-hearted about these things.

Thank you all for taking the time to read and comment.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Steven - yes you are quite right about the "open door" policy - I think it is traditional round here that anyone who happens to be on the farm at a meal time automatically gets fed!

The Weaver of Grass said...

TFE I learn something new every day (even if in this instance it is a bit blasphemous!)

Titus said...

Such an enjoyable read, and I love the livestock photos. Most of my closest friends are farmers' or foresters' wives so I'm still listening to occasional moans about cancelled holidays because of silaging! I love the way you tell the story of a day.

Janice Thomson said...

175 combines in one field? That would have been something to see!
Raised on a farm myself I remember how Mother always had food and drinks ready for the harvesters, balers and whatnot that helped during the year - a special kind of sharing that I often missed in the city. I so enjoy reading your posts Weaver; they are interesting, informative and just plain entertaining.

Pam said...

I love the imagined visual images, the flapping washing in the wind,you with the welcoming cake tin, and of course,there's the lovely photo images you've already provided. A difficult couple of days with the spaining I'd think.I was never good with the "controlled crying" thing - I'd be just as bad with sheep!I would certainly need to be out of hearing range.I was a mess of tears in the film Dumbo when the little elephant was separated from his mother.My toddler daughter said at the time "Mum, it's only a film!".I too, am "romantically misguided" as a previous commenter put it. Weakie sentimentalist I am.I love to visit here to see what you've been up to, and enjoy all the practicalities of the farm.

Hildred and Charles said...

Weaver, despite having had a large flock of sheep for a number of years I had to hunt up the meaning of 'spaining' although from your post I was pretty sure it is what we call 'weaning'. It is a stressful time for the sheep and lambs. Your posts bring back a lot of farm memories. Thank you for them....

BT said...

I love your farming posts. What a wonderful hostess you are, with tea and fruit cake at the ready. Can we have an up to date photo of you Weaver?? lol. I'm sure the farmer could take one. I've not heard of a sheep spainer. Poor ewes separated from their lambs, but I suppose they all soon get used to it.

Robin Mac said...

Lovely story and I am glad to see the definition of spaining. the combine harvesters in Australia were at St. George in southern Queensland, but they took 24 hours, the area they covered was absolutely huge (can't remember the actual size). they also raised large amounts of money for charity - good luck to the Irish, no doubt the Aussies will try again next year. Cheers, Robin

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks to everyone who read my blog and has left a comment - as usual I really appreciate it.

The Weaver of Grass said...

BT At your request I have updated my photograph to Madeira 2007 - the latest one I can find. I am having a drink with the farmer and have managed to remove all but his hand from the snap!