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Farmer John’s October 2013 Blog

Farmer John’s October 2013 Blog

1 Oct 2013

The weather this year has meant that crops – except apples – have not yielded as we would have wished.

After a somewhat difficult year of farming, I have been anxious to restore my street credibility as a bona fide, focused farmer. Not all the agricultural community see a daily coach load of children, or fields full of poppies, or young people wearily wandering to D of E camp with us as success indicators. Yes, lamb sales to Sainsbury’s have gone well. My field of turnips, kale and fodder radish planted after a traditional fallow in June has in fact been the envy of fellow sheep farmers. Our stretch of the Thames Water Project is now almost complete, with the temporary fences down, grassland reseeded and just three areas of hedging to plant. There is little evidence that they have been here except eight raised concrete plinths surrounding manholes, waiting for costly collisions when hidden by crops!

At the farm things aren’t so good. The donkeys Aaron and Moses are getting on a bit and one is slightly lame and in need of a horse dentist. A distressed group of 7 egg laying turkeys from Theale have taken up residence in the chalk pit next to our house. I gladly gave a new home to 4 Shetland lambs and 2 goats. The Trust staff were delighted at the additions for the younger children. However, their pre visit discussions now have to include a goat standing on a picnic table trying to eat their timetables and certainly their biscuits. She also enjoys emptying the content of our “feely box”. I was surprised the other morning as I unlocked and opened the door of the workshop. A ewe which I had left the previous afternoon comfortably dead on a woolsack, walked out and started eating anything green around the buildings in a slightly annoyed fashion. Even a mouse ate through one of a bundle of 200 wires on one of our main tractors at a cost of more than a night in the Ritz. And dare I mention the 5 cows which were specifically not to go to the bull, 3 of which are in calf?

But it is autumn, and we have planted again, the rams are with the ewes, and cows back in the buildings and next year……. who knows?