APRIL 2009
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March has ended was a dry month with only 28mm of rain falling yet when Andy ploughed the Humpety back it wasnít very dry. We put that down to although there was little rain there werenít many cold drying winds often associated with March. The Humpety back has now been sown with Oats and I am waiting for some grass seed to be delivered to under-sow it. Jack our longest serving works experience has graduated onto rolling the fields and completed the Milestone field and half finished the Drive field while I finished muckspreading. Hopefully the cows will be going out in about a week so next weekís job is fencing. The first visit of the month by the Vale Royal womenís aid charity was enjoyed by all but given the earliness of the season and the temperature we only caught a few pond worms insect larva and a couple of caddis fly larvae on the pond dip. Lots more once it warms up a bit.

hoof trimmerThe cows are still inside and Wednesday saw them getting a visit from Guy the hoof trimmer. Guy is a keen runner and currently in training for the London Marathon. Back to the rolling for me today fine as a learner like Jack but not really for me. We are now up to date with our 2008 journal and all the 2008 monthly blogs have now been kindly converted to journal files complete with pictures thanks to Simon and especially Warwick who are helping out due to Andyís injuries. Back with me and yet more rolling. Never mind only the Long field and Peacocks fields left to do. Holly is now continuing with her progress in cow herding and is truly amazing given she isnít yet four months old. Smidge seems at last to be tolerating her youthful enthusiasm and has returned to the porch home from in the house. The cows have been let out on the fields for the first time today. We let them go mid afternoon as we had to move a pile of logs from the gateway beforehand. Also I forgot to mention we have had our first swallow arrive on the tenth so hopefully it will warm up properly soon.

DaisySimon has been cutting up a cow. Not a real one but Daisy our fold out roadshow cow is being copied for a fellow farmer. The oats are beginning to poke through but this dry spell is just slowing their growth. Our problem with them now is keeping the crows at bay to allow them to establish properly. The cows should be out at night this week and the first paddock on the Key field should be getting some of the heifers turned out today or tomorrow. All the sheep are growing well and should soon be moving from the back lawn to the picnic area. I went to Norcroft yesterday as they are having a clear out of scrap and so I raided the old tool shed and came back with some treasures for the museum. Aiden should be here on Monday so this week itís fencing.. The cows went out at night for the first time on Tuesday and have settled well. Our sheep have been moved to their proper home on the picnic area by the classroom shed as they had grown big enough to escape their temporary home on the lawn. Funnily enough it was the smaller ones who kept escaping and yesterday the youngest was bleating for its milk from the porch.

Jack and AlimaHere are Jack and Alima making tree guards for our newly planted and ALL growing apple trees. It seems Hartford High schoolís fencing is keeping them in their place. Bob and I have been electric fencing the Middle and Left Hand meadows and Wednesday saw Jack and myself accompanied by Alema (our latest victim for works experience) fencing the picnic area at the end of the cattle drive. This wasnít used for the last two years due to the wet summers and the nettles had somewhat taken over so besides fencing the nettles have been treated with the knapsack sprayer giving the grass chance to recover. I went to a farm sale on the 25th and bought 25 x 50kg bags of fertilizer. We needed just an odd ton to finish off with and you canít buy it like that anymore it comes in 500/600kg bags and the minimum order is about 4 tons and at £270/ton do the mathís for yourselves. The 50g bags have been well stored and are in perfect condition with the shrink wrap still around the pallet. There are no longer any such bags produced in the UK as production was stopped due to the war on terrorism. I think I might keep one of the empties to put in our museum. Six of the bigger heifers have been put out on the top paddock of the Key field and should be joined by another five by the end of the week. This week sees a visit from Knypersley Guides studying for a badge and Sunday sees my first roadshow of the year at Holmes Chapel summer fair. As I always say do make yourself known if you are attending.

That's it for this month regards Phil



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