DECEMBER 2008
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Last months rainfall was only 56mm quite dry during the second half of the month so our muck store is now half full. However it is currently 4.4c and pouring with rain. Quite funny in the fact according to last nightís weather reports it was supposed to be snowing. Looking at early morning TV their news reports were obiviously geared for this and where they had found snow it was rapidly turning to mush under their feet as I watched. This morning has seen two cows sent off on the OCDS (Older Cattle Disposal Scheme) . This was a Government scheme for the disposal of cows born before June 1996 which may have been exposed to contaminated feed during the BSE ( Bovine Spongiform Encepalopothy/ Mad cow disease) epidemic of the late 80ís/early 90ís and are therefore deemed unfit for human consumption. The scheme ends on the 31st of this month and after this we would be liable for full disposal costs determined by Government. BSE cost the UK and Europe millions and if you believed one scientist at the time his national TV prediction of between 10 and 200,000 dead humans by the year 2000 scared people no end. He has now sunk back into deserved obscurity but it didnít do much for those two of my girls today. In case anybody wantís to write in on the VCJD subject Dorothyís cousin is married to the Daughter of one of the two farmers to die of that disease so I have a position to speak from. Apologies for the rant but I hate to kill healthy cows. We have had one calf this week a black and white heifer mother and calf both doing well.

Also we have had our first visit from the Middlewich High School sampling soil on the banking of our machinery park for us to determine a planting policy for the spring.

Pretty static this last few days but we did have our sleep disturbed by the police at about 12.30 three nights ago when our heifers decided to go walk about on the main road. They has transferred from the milestone side of the farm to the drive field and found the fence down had decided to explore as heifers do. They had bolted back as the police had appeared but were out of sight hiding behind the the cubical shed so Dorothy , Simon and myself spent the next hour checking there were no others on neighbours fields finally appearing just as we had given up for the night. Most of the big bales on the drive field have now been carted in but the one I was expecting to be difficult down in the hollow of the field is being eaten so perhaps they are being of some use after all. They had also demolished part of the cubical yard fence ( finishing off tractor damage) so Jack and I have spent this afternoon on repairs. It’s a pipe and girder fence and I’m sure Jack thought I was joking at first when I told him to get out the portable welder as we were going fencing.

A very sad day for us today as after a very short illness Molly the Border Collie died last night. At eleven years old she would be describable as middle aged and she had done her usual work in the morning but didn’t want to come out for evening milking. I could see she was off colour but when I came in at 10 finished he had moved from her cushions and into the basket so I assumed she was planning to sleep off her ailment. Dorothy returned at 11 and found her dead as if in her sleep. A good quick way to go but we will all miss her an excellant cow dog and companion. She has been burried in the garden under the apple tree near the track she had worn alongside the garden hedge while chasing birds. RIP Molly 1997-2008.

More problems yesterday morning at about 1.30 am. Our two ducks kept from the Cheshire show last June a duck and drake we were hoping to breed from live on the lawn with a wire run and an IBC container house this has a hole cut for a door and we put a board against it every night to protect them from predators. At 1.30 Simon ( whose room is on that side of the house) could here quacks and thumps and on investigation found a vixen had squeezed herself in through the filler hole of the IBC and had attacked the ducks. Simons appearance causing panic as getting in was one thing out a diferent matter. Both ducks had been rabbed by the throat and were still alive. Not much longer the Vixen. Smidge and the .22rf soon saw to that. The drake however died the next day but although sore and slightly lame the duck seems to be recovering and has been out today and I have seen her eating and drinking.

Well this is the last post for 2008 and I’m sat in a cool office the temperature for outside however is reading at -2.4c with freezing fog. This should be perfect muckspreading weather however the starter motor has packed in on the Universal tractor so I’m waiting for parts. Last night saw the last calf of the year born a Black and white Bull. Mother and son both doing well. Yesterday saw the finish of the big bale silage and I have finally opened the clamp. It seems good dry silage and the cows seem to like it ( the main consideration). Simon and I are now going off to clean out the feeding passage as we had collected all the bale wrap at one end so it can be bagged and stored ready for disposal. Next job is putting the straw chopper from the 784 onto our repaired 434 so I this that should be enough cold by the end of it.  

Finally a VERY happy new year to all of our readers and see you in 2009, PHIL.


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