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“Summertime & The Living Is Easy”

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It’s been a few busy months on the farm. But as Ella once said so well… “Summertime and the livin’ is easy”. I think this is especially true for the youngsters on the farm. Plenty of sunshine and green grass around. And thankfully we just received a good downpour to keep the summertime living easy.

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All our beautiful ladies in the dairy and Dexter herds provided us with 8 beautiful calves. A rather remarkable outcome given the probabilities, but we managed 6 heifers out of the 8 to add to our breeding stock. We also have two beautiful young bull calves as well, one Dexter and one Jersey Dexter cross. I’ve had fun with the naming of the calves in the dairy herd, Mudpie, BonBon, Jocelyn, Savoury and Sargent Pepper. Sarg is the little brother in a paddock full of ladies and he is a charmer. He likes doing exactly what his big sisters do, I often find him sitting in the exact same pose as Jocelyn or Savoury, a little mirror image. His copycat behaviour includes drinking alongside Jocelyn and Savoury. Surprisingly, Jill and Smokey (Jocelyn and Savoury’s mums) don’t mind letting him have a drink, seems maybe he’s the little boy everyone wishes they had. I guess all the love and attention for Sarg makes life easy for his mum, Ginger, although she seems to dote on him plenty as well.

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Kotare the bull has spent the last two months down in River Block hanging with his Dexter Ladies. In the evenings, it is like a scene from Westside Story, except here the Dexter Gang face off with the Angus gang across the road. Kotare and the Angus bull saunter to the edge of their paddocks and bellow at each other from across the road with a full supporting cast of ladies backing each of them. (Although I am not sure that the ladies are really supporting the bulls or just happen to be there, hard to tell what they are really thinking, “Oh give it a break Kotare” or “Oh Kotare you are such a strong bull *swoon*.”)

IMG_6160The chooks are doing well. Our chicks from earlier have done well growing in the paradise of Kay’s forest garden. Ample comfrey, alfalfa and tagasaste and creepy crawly bugs. It is really quite a scene over there. The garden is teeming with chickens and ducks across five different ages. Just this week one of her Muscovy ducks hatched a brood of Leghorns chickens. So we have everything from tiny little chicks, downy adolescent ducks and young hens starting to fill out along with the big resident adult chickens and all the sizes in between.

The outlook is good with the sheep as well. The Wiltshire horns are doing well and we have many healthy and beautiful new ewe lambs from this spring we have separated out from the rams to give them a good full year to grow strong before we start breeding them. We have moved last years ewe lambs back up on the hill to get ready for breeding them. The rams are also looking in great condition and have been grazing alongside the dairy cows. I did thinks that the ladies might try to befriend all those handsome boys considering how they treat little Sarg, but it’s safe to say they are not really interested in the rams.

IMG_6263Our East Friesians are also doing well and have got themselves in the habit of coming up to the stock yards on their own to supplement on the minerals I have out for them.

It’s nice to see them so frequently and I sometimes bring over some yummy treats like honey locust leaves for them to nibble from my hands.

The heat has been intense and I am grateful for the recent rain and look forward to seeing the seasons transition again before too long.

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