So, December has arrived. You could be forgiven for thinking it was still dull November if you looked out of the window, for it is dark, dull, misty and thoroughly miserable out there. I can't believe that yesterday we were lucky enough to go out over the top of the Pennines in such glorious weather.
Most of the cattle are gone back to their owners for the Winter.
All the rest are
in our loose housing waiting the birth of their calves (our neighbour's milking herd). But this does not mean that farm work is done for another year. The farmer disappears after breakfast and returns exactly on time for his lunch (12.30).
Today has been his day for inspecting all his hedges, fences and stone boundary walls. Cows are pretty ungainly, heavy creatures and can easily dislodge a few stones from the top of a wall, or knock over a couple of fence posts and barge through the wire fence in order to get at what looks to be a delicious piece of grass. Sheep , on the other hand, take delight in pushing through hedges - I suppose their wool protects their skin if the hedge is sharp and prickly.
But whatever the reasons, Robert Frost was right when he said 'Good fences make good neighbours' in his poem 'Mending Walls'. The farmer is making notes, measuring, weighing up, and tonight he will be making a list of the stakes and rails and wire netting he needs to make his repairs. Once these come, he will wait for a reasonably nice day, tootle out to the field on his tractor and make the necessary repairs.
Then he can let the sheep into the offending fields and (hopefully) they will stay exactly where he put them. But don't bank on it.