Well, let's face it, it might only be showing faint signs of Spring but at least it is a dry day and really the cattle could not trample about in deep mess any longer, so today's the day, come what may.
The farmer went across to our opposite neighbouring farmer, G, to borrow his big, deep trailer (that's the good thing about farmers, they are all quite happy to share any bit of equipment), and set about cleaning out the loose housing.
The first thing to do was to persuade the cows to stay put inside while he cleaned them out. There are forty or so in there, so he needs to be persuasive. Once they had realised that there was no way they were going to pastures new they were happy to get back to what they do best - the serious business of eating silage.
Now all that was necessary was to use one tractor and digger to scoop up large dollops of manure and put them into the back of the trailer. Once it was full it had to be transported to the pile in one of the pastures, there to rot down ready for spreading.
I nipped round the back of the trailer during the brief interval between digging up and loading up, so that you could see the stuff. O K, I know it isn't the most exciting photograph you have ever seen, unless, that is, you are a keen gardener, in which case you may view it with envy. I must say that it is one farmyard smell I don't really object to - it is always a good, healthy smell. The only time it is unpleasant is when you pass a cattle farmer who has come to our Friday market without changing his wellies (and believe me that is not at all uncommon).
While in the process of borrowing the trailer the farmer discovered that friend G has lost two calves this week. He has a large suckler herd and two calves have been lost during the calving process. This is always distressing, both for the cow and also for the farmer - it is after all his livelihood. Luckily a cow had also had twins so he is now in the process of persuading one of the bereaved cows to take on another calf. I hope it works - it doesn;t always, but when it does it is a lucky ending for all concerned.
On another sad note, my son and his wife have lost their old cat this week. He was a lovely cat and really didn't look sixteen years old. He has had a long and happy life but sadly developed liver failure. We are all very sad - and I am sure that their other cat, Sinbad, will also be missing his friend and playmate.