Saturday, 23 February 2013

Bad weather.

The bad weather has closed in again and there is snow.  In addition, it is bitterly cold - that cold coming in from Eastern Europe, a big land mass where the cold just builds up.  (Gwil in Vienna, wrap up warm).   This means that our animals need food urgently.

The farmer has a strict order of feeding, which he follows every day.   First the in-calf cattle in the loose housing - they get silage and straw for bedding; next the hens; then the wild birds; then the sheep in the top field, who get silage and sheep nuts.   Finally the in-lamb sheep opposite the farm on the other side of the lane.  They have recently been scanned.   All but two are in lamb,mostly with twins, although there are a few singles and also one or two with triplets.   Even today, with a covering of snow, they would rather scrape the snow away to get at the grass, than eat the silage in the rack.   But they are totally addicted to sheep nuts, which is what they get every morning - about ten o'clock.

They start looking for it at six-thirty when the farmer drives out of the drive to get the newspapers from our little market town.   They watch him go, they watch him come back; when he feeds the wild birds they all dash to the wall again to watch him; when he drives up the lane to the other sheep they all watch him.   Finally, he walks up our drive with two buckets of sheep nuts, climbs over the stone wall (!!) and feeds them by scattering it in a long line.  Immediately they begin to eat it as do numerous rooks and pheasants.   But instead of staying in one place they always think there is a better place higher up so there is so much dashing back and forth that the rooks get more than their fair share.  Ah well, sheep give good wool every year and they make fine chops, but I have to say they are not over endowed in the brain department.

Incidentally, the two barren sheep will shortly go to market and be sold for meat.  It's a harsh world but no farmer keeps anything that doesn't show a profit.

And speaking of such things, my hens have suddenly started to lay as though there is no tomorrow.   And little do they know how right they were - the farmer has been moaning for the last few weeks about my 'blessed hens' - some of whom are ten years old - and how they just don't earn their keep.  Well now we have too many eggs, so it is mushroom omelettes, home-made oven chips (anyone on a diet can make them using that one-calorie spray - it tells you how on the tin), and green beans for lunch.

On the subject of my hub and the trouble I have had with it, I must report that I have had excellent service from BT.   I wrote asking for a new hub and they rang me this morning, asked a few questions and as a result are putting me a new hub in the post.   All I had to do was renew my contract for a year - and I could see no reason not to do that because I don't have a single complaint.   Praise where it is due. Keep warm and dry.


Gwil W said...

We had about 20cms (7") of snow this morning here in Vienna. But we are lucky, in the nearby city of Eisenstadt to the east of us I believe they are without electricity. Lots of accidents on the roads too as you can imagine.

I pleased your animals are so well cared for. The big indoor industrial farms here in Europe they don't even see the light of day.

Dave King said...

So far we have only a light dusting. Interesting to hear of the farmer's order of feeding.
Good to hear that you got the hub sorted out.

Crafty Green Poet said...

your description of the sheep really made me smile, they do always seem such silly animals!

MorningAJ said...

It is bitterly cold here but so far there's no snow. It's probably not far away though.

Farming's tough enough without bad weather.

It's good news about your hens though. I assume they've had a reprieve.

Gerry Snape said...

I love love your description of the antics of the sheep and how desperate they are to get the best...I once watched some relatives at a barbecue pushing and shoving to get to the front for the biggest lumps of red meat ....nothing new then!!!....keep warm Pat.

John Going Gently said...

My hens too
Just took off as it were....... Too many to sell at the moment!

Joanne Noragon said...

Your sheep and our dog. She gets her main meal around 4 in the afternoon, but beginning about three approaches anyone in the kitchen, hopeing it will be early. Or, she may get two suppers.

mrsnesbitt said...

Same here on the egg front Pat. Got some good recipes for egg glut too.
Agree about the weather - blooming freezing here too. Keep warm.

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

Maybe the chickens are predicting an early spring - even with the current snow? I don't know much about chickens so I'm no help. Stay warm!

angryparsnip said...

Love the feeding story, the sheep are so funny !
Now I must look up sheep nut and find out why the sheep love them so much.

The Boys get feed twice. Hamish can eat anytime but since he diabetic I have to make sure he eats at certain tines so I can give him his shots and pills.
Watson dos not like to eat in the morning so I have to temp him to eat so he can get his pills plus he is on a special very low protein diet. Talk about a juggling act !
Some mornings I think the farmer might have an easierthan me !

Good to hear the chickens have a reprieve.

cheers, parsnip

Heather said...

It is really cold down here too, though thankfully without snow. My husband is a bit under the weather just now and is feeling cold. Usually I am the one going round checking to see if the radiators are on!
Glad your hub is on it's way to you, and how lovely to have too many new laid eggs.
Put another log into the woodburner and reach for your favourite book.

Cloudia said...

Thanks for the chat!

ALOHA from Waikiki
Comfort Spiral
~ > < } } ( ° > <3

Britta said...

'And speaking of such things, my hens have suddenly started to lay as though there is no tomorrow.* - I would like to be able to write that line! (no chance on my balcony in Berlin).
Saw you at Tom's blog - and as I am heavy in Yorkshire crime TV series at the moment, I wanted to cast a more 'normal' look at that part of GB :-)

The Weaver of Grass said...

Snow gone - bitterly cold, but worry not, it will soon be March (not sure what difference that makes!)
Thanks for calling.

Dartford Warbler said...

I love your description of winter feeding on the farm . The desperation of animals who never quite believe that you will feed them again tomorrow!

One of our neighbours now has a few hens and I was pleased to hear yesterday morning that someone had laid an egg. Spring must be almost here, despite the bitter cold. Enjoy all your omelettes.

Bovey Belle said...

I am glad that I just have the cats to feed these days - they are demanding enough!

Bitterly cold here too but when the wind dropped I was able to get busy outside and even got warm enough to take off my hat, scarf and even my jacket!

Keep warm and enjoy your omelettes!