Monday, 22 October 2012

Pending jobs.

There is just one important job to do before the Winter sets in on the farm, and that is proving very difficult.   Last Winter we had our friend and neighbour's cattle in our loose housing shed, as we always do.   When they are put out to grass the farmer leaves the deep litter manure in the shed to rot down.

The farm cats love this of course, because as it rots down, so it warms up and with Summers like the one just passed it is the warmest place for them to lie on a chilly day.   Added this, there are always plenty of swallows nesting in the rafters and they can at the least watch them as they learn to fly and at the best (from their point of view) catch the odd one.  Mice also take advantage of the warmth to build nests and have their babies - another food source for two hungry farm cats who would much rather catch their own dinner than eat the rubbish from a tin of cat food (although we always buy the best).

Soon it will be time for the cattle to come inside again.   They will be kept out as long as possible; there is plenty of grass for them this year and once they come in they are expensive to feed.   But if the weather comes very wet they will need to come in.   So the loose housing has to be ready with deep straw for the new year.

So what to do with the old manure?   Well, it is ready, well-rotted, to spread on the fields.  But as, walking round the fields yesterday afternoon confirmed,   sadly the fields are not ready to receive it. They are far too wet for the heavy tractor and spreader to go up and down - gouging out grooves in the grass.  We have had a few days of real Indian Summer here with beautiful sunshine and still, warm conditions.   But, because the ground is so saturated from the recent flooding, the water is slow to drain away.

Now, today, we are back to damp, misty conditions which are no help whatsoever.

Still, the farmer has seen it all before.    This is the thing about farming; I don't suppose conditions are ever perfect and everything gets done in the end.   I suppose, if the worst comes to the worst, the manure will be piled up in a heap somewhere with a firm base and left until conditions are right.

When that 'right' will be is anybody's guess.  The weather map on last night's Country File suggested that by Saturday there might be snow up here in the North of England.   My birthday is coming up shortly and I have never had a white birthday yet.    There is always a first time.


Unknown said...

What will you do with the old litter if the cows need to come in and it can't be spread on the fields? Do you just pile it up until it's time?

I've just heard the same thing about a bit of snow next week...and something about blood rain on Halloween? I hope you have a lovely birthday Pat :)

mrsnesbitt said...

Snow - yes we heard that visious rumour! We tootled out on the motorbike yesterday - only to change direction due to damp thick fog!
Birthday approaching? Fancy lunch out somewhere?

Heather said...

Whatever the weather on your birthday I hope it won't curtail any planned celebrations.
It's bad enough being just a gardener - I couldn't cope with all the worry of being a farmer. There must be constant make or break decisions to be made but I daresay their wisdom and experience sees them through. I suppose the Scouts' motto 'Be Prepared' is sound advice - there is not much else we can do to cope with our changing climate.

Pondside said...

Crazy weather everywhere. Yesterday I picked the six (6!) pears from our tree. The deer got all the apples. We are promised a snowfall in November, but no one is panicked as that usually means the rest of the winter will be mild. I hope the fields dry enough to allow you to get rid of the manure!

Irene said...

I'll pretend I didn't read that about the snow because I'm certainly not ready for anything like that.

I suppose you'll pile up the old manure and keep it for a long time while the new manure piles up in the shed. I'm surprised you let the cows walk in it. Doesn't it cause problems with their hooves? It must smell to high heaven in there.

Gerry Snape said...

Great holly berries...minds thinking alike perhaps?!...well I hope that the farmer gets the fields dried up a bit before this latest weather comes in...warm here today but damp again!

Woman Seeking Center said...

Happy 'almost birthday'!

And tho we've been dry as can be all summer (drought in fact) I know just what you mean about tractor-unfriendly-water/soaked-fields!

We've had the piles-o-poo (lol) awaiting future use. No harm to the pile to wait, but it's tedious to move it to move it yet again :-(

Hoping your snow waits so the pile doesn't have to!

Friko said...

Living deep in the counryside I know what you mean. Farmers are working flat out during the few dry and sunny days. Now it’s foggy and damp and walking in the muddy lanes is an effort.

The sheep have brought down to the lower pastures but the cattle is still out, congregating around their feeding enclosures more often than they used to, but still hapy, nonetheless.

Cloudia said...

Been catching up on your posts. Seasons - Natures, and our own, are a worthy topic that you expose to our pleasure!

Warm Aloha from Waikiki
Comfort Spiral

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