Yes, folks, it is that time of the year again. I am afraid you cannot have a farm with animals without having the M word. It is some time since I brought up the subject of manure but it is time I reminded you of the smelly, down-side of farming!
At present the loose-housing has a good, deep, well-rotted floor of manure from the cattle which were in it last Winter. Oh how the farm cats love it. If you enlarge the photograph of the interior you will see Blackie lounging luxuriously, pretending to be asleep but really waiting for a little mouse to stroll past. You see, the big thing about well-rotted manure is that it is WARM!
Countless birds roost in there at night, as well as the small vermin - so that cats have a field day.
Our other farm cat (Creamy) - yes they are pretty unimaginative names - is half Siamese, is pale cream with the faintest of grey/tabby stripes. He may well be in that manure somewhere but he is well camouflaged. Also, as befits his parentage, he is very shy and not at all friendly (unlike Blackie who comes out to meet everyone).
Next week the farmer will hire a huge muck-spreader for the day and will begin early in the morning. He will spread it all on our pastures and by evening the housing will be empty and ready for a layer of sweet-smelling straw. Then, when the weather turns wet, the heifers from our neighbour can come in again for the winter. It is lovely to have cattle in the yard again. Our garage is next to their housing and they are curious creatures, so each time I get the car out they all come to say hello.
We are always late in the year spreading it. I rots well in situ - and the farmer likes the grass to be well eaten off before he spreads it. As the over-wintering sheep have now been here for about six weeks, the grass is nicely nibbled.