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Wednesday, 16 November 2011

By the Barn - November

Each month, we bring you a snippet of country life by Angela Sargent of Baldfields Farm. Angela sends us much more than we can possibly include in the magazine, so we are making her full articles available to read in their entirety online.

Now it’s November the trees, hedges and fields are looking more winterish by the day, as the remaining leaves are blown off and the frost weathers the grass. We are feeding our cows outside at the moment, because the grass hasn’t much nutritional value now and there isn’t so much of it. Our stock will be coming in soon, so we are busy readying the sheds- checking waterbowls aren’t leaking and that there are no sharp metal bits on doors and gates.

There will be some sorting to do as older calves will be weaned and they will have to get used to life without mum, but will have the company of others in the same situation. These will also be split into male and female groupings, to make life easier for us in their feeding regimen. Heifers tend to put fat on more quickly as they grow, so we will watch their ration.

The rams have been busy with their ladies and, hopefully, all are well on the way to producing strong lambs next year.

Over the summer we managed to collect a lot of firewood from trees that had lost branches because of the dry weather, or from trees that had fallen down, through wind or age. This time we are going into winter with a full log shed, but the good thing about logging is that it warms you twice- once when chopping it and again when burning it!

At this time of year, when all the leaves have fallen, you can still recognize the species of tree by its silhouette. The Horse chestnut is a large rounded shape, whereas the Sweet Chestnut is more of a tall blunted triangle, the Oak is big, spreading and rounded, the Scots Pine is red-barked and with domed branches.

Meg is now over a year old and has changed completely over this time, both in looks and behaviour. She is a very clever dog and very keen to work, so we must be careful not to work her too much. She is very energetic and loves to follow whenever I’m running or we’re going round stock and we make sure we carry on with teaching her basic ‘come here’, ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ commands during those runs.

She has also started to work sheep on her own, without the company of Ben and, as long as we take our time, she is responding very well. I also used her for protection when feeding our pigs as we had to keep two rams(our newly bought ones- Rocket and Rascal) in the same paddock for quarantine purposes and they were also keen to be fed. She kept them well clear without causing havoc.

But she is very vocal, when trying to get attention and playing with us or if she is shut outside and I can’t keep my footwear anywhere handy as several pairs of shoes have met their demise, particularly anything with laces!

Angela Sargent,

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