January 2017 Farm Round Up

Pigs tucking in to Breakfast in the frost

Phew! The calm after the storm! After the mania of Christmas and New Year, a chance to draw breath and catch up with some of those little jobs that you’ve been meaning to do ‘when we’re not quite so busy’!
Well, January was not quite so busy, so here goes!
Fencing. An important element and one that get’s forgotten as long as it is working OK. Around the farm perimeter, we have stock fencing – permanent – and then we divide up the various paddocks using electric fencing which gives us the flexibility to move things around as and when we need to. Mostly it is trouble free … mostly! And fixing any issue is usually relatively easy, and quick, and, if you are careful, you don’t even need to turn the fence off!
But, when I look around, when the grass has died back down, suddenly I can see all the ‘temporary fixes’ that I did last year – all need to be redone ‘properly’ otherwise I am just storing up trouble for the future. Not a thrilling project, but will be good to get it completed.
We’re lucky on the farm in that we have a lot of mature hedgerows with a wide variety of different plants – self planted trees like ash pop up too, lots of blackthorn, hips, willow etc – and it all grows well. Every 2 years, we need to get it cut – it stops it getting out of control and encroaching too much on the paddocks and taking over the fencing – left to its own devices, it would take over the whole farm! And it is actually good for the hedge too – keeps it ‘full’ and stops it getting too straggly! All hedge trimming has to be done in winter to give some protection to the birds that nest there – no hedge cutting after March 1st. That means it is always a gamble as the hedge man has to take his tractor round the fields in potentially the wettest time of the year! We got lucky this year – the days he came it was FREEZING – the ground was pretty hard with frost so very little damage at all!
And what a difference it makes – it makes everything feel more open – lighter somehow – certainly very smart, almost tidy! And we can see into the ditches now … so, that’s another one to add to the list … now I can see which bits need clearing … !
On the animal front, a relatively quiet time – all our sows are back from their romantic liaisons, and hopefully all pregnant. With luck, if we have got our timings right, we should have the patter of tiny trotters starting in March and running through to May.
Lots of lovely frosty days with blue skies, glorious sunshine and fabulous sunsets, as well as some horrid rainy days, turning the ground from firm to quagmire seemingly overnight! But, it is winter, it is to be expected, doesn’t make me like it but even now, the mornings are getting lighter, the evenings don’t draw in so early, there’s an hour more daylight than there was at Christmas – Spring is coming … slowly … but it’s coming 🙂