Following two weeks of glorious, hot, sunny weather it is finally raining again, at last. I’m sorry if you’re on holiday, or gardening, or harvesting or something but I sort of like our temperate climate. As I was just saying to one of our guests the other day, ‘you have to have some “bad” weather to appreciate the good days’. Everything is growing like mad. We have enough grass out in the fields where the horses and sheep are grazing to cut hay as well. In fact the fields would benefit from being cut and the fresh young grass on the aftermath would be much better quality and more palatable than the old, stalky stuff which nothing eats. It would also clear up the docks and nettles and thistles which didn’t get sprayed in June because of the wet weather and so are now setting seeds for next year. Unfortunately, I now don’t have any hay-making equipment and there’s too much grass to leave lying out in the field. Have to ‘consider the options’ on that, then.

In my last blog Bianca the goose had just hatched out her second clutch of goslings. I’m happy to say that they are all thriving and are the size of chickens now. The chickens have still failed to hatch out any chicks, yet. The broody hen that was ‘sitting’ this month has gradually gone from six eggs to one and she got off that one yesterday. I could tell from shaking it that it wasn’t fertile so she has now gone back out with the others for the third time this year, chick-less. Apparently other breeders are having similar problems so we are putting it down to seasonal/weather variations at the moment……or possibly global warming, climate change, Brexit, the pandemic…..! Talking of which, trying to get building materials at the moment isn’t exactly easy. I managed to get some plastic-coated corrugated-steel roofing sheets to replace the roof on the farm-shop/utility-room/boiler-house, but they took twelve weeks to arrive. Now it seems you won’t get them until next Easter. Timber racks are becoming empty and steel and even cement-based materials are in short supply in builders merchants yards.

The Pandemic seems to have morphed into the Pingdemic. We’ve had guests staying who , having been ‘pinged’, have had to leave to self-isolate at home and local pubs have had to close as staff have met a similar fate. Annoying, disruptive, unfair are just some of the words we keep hearing. Some people are ‘opting out’ of the scheme. However, looking at the stats and charts on the news we have now had eight consecutive days with infection rates coming down significantly. The system, despite the chaos, is definitely working. We aren’t out of the woods yet but there is definitely more and more daylight appearing. We have passed the seventy percent mark for double vaccinations and people are still queueing up for jabs so in theory we are on the home straight. So, keep up the good work, everyone. It will all be worth it, eventually.

The horses and ponies are all looking ‘plump’ now, but then aren’t we all. Matey, my hunting horse, who went over backwards and broke his sacrum early in 2020 is slowly getting some movement back in his tail. He can’t swat flies with it yet but he can twitch it in the right direction. I doubt he will ever get full control over it but he is progressing, which is good. He has been on full furlough since Boxing Day and is definitely bored with the heat and flies and groundhog day routine. He has even started imitating the goats and eating hedge trimmings. He has the occasional blast around the field with his miniature mate, Moo (the miniature Shetland pony ), and can often be seen high-tailing it across the field towards the field-shelter to escape the horse-flies, which keeps him reasonably fit and slimish. Samson and the girls are happy out in the goose and pony field where there is just enough grass for them to fatten up slowly during the Summer. Regular ‘pony rides’ keep them fit and stop them getting bored.

Misty the Border Collie and Rosie the Patterdale terrier have both been spayed and are both fully recovered now. It was very stressful keeping them ‘confined to barracks ‘ for ten days each, with no running or jumping until the stitches had all set. Being working dogs they have very active daily routines, normally, so bed-rest was rather like a punishment to them both. We opted for ‘straight jackets’ rather than ‘lampshades’ to prevent them licking and chewing their stitches. This was fine for Misty because I gave her a Summer hair-cut first and the weather was average. Rosie had hers on during the last heat-wave and was overheating so much her coat started to fall out. At last, we’re back to normal now. Hey-ho ,  all’s well that ends well…..!

It was always going to be controversial whether the Olympics should proceed or not in Tokyo, in the pandemic. Now that they are up and running, with typical Japanese precision, what a fantastic spectacle it is becoming. Spare a thought for those athletes who made humidity tents to keep training in their bedrooms during the various lockdowns.

It is cool enough today to do some outdoor jobs so I’d better go and get on with something,

Cheers for now, Farmer Chris.