Summer falls to autumn.. At last.
Finally! Autumn has made it’s way to us. For the first time since early June, it rained for a few hours yesterday, and the temperatures have finally dropped to the low 20s. We are not out of the woods just yet though. Although temperatures should continue to drop as the weeks pass, there is no sign of more water on the horizon. Our river is dried up, and everybody’s fields are looking very yellow. Luckily for us, our cows only arrived in August and therefore we have plenty of standing hay to keep us going, however the other farmers are struggling to find feed for their animals. This drought has effected the whole of Europe.
What was snow and mud a few months ago has jut turned to dust and sand. The wettest winter in a 100 years has been followed by the worst drought in 30 years. Working in these conditions has been tough, often having to walk and stand for 10 hours a day in the nearly 40 degree heat! For Katie, having to carry a little person inside her did not help!
So what have we been up to over the summer? Well, mostly trying to get our cows to behave! Due to the very dry ground, our electric fence failed and all our lovelies decided to go off for a walk. We managed to get them all back on our land that day, but that same evening a thunderstorm hit! That was the final straw for them all, and so they all decided they would be better as free range cows in the French countryside. We found 7 fairly quickly and brought them back where they belonged, where they have been good girls ever since. They are known as the magnificent 7. The remaining 13 were quickly named the Apollo 13 group. Like Apollo 13 though, they split into two, and we managed to fence 6 of them into a neighbour's field, where they remained for some time. After a couple of weeks, the 6 were friendly enough to bring back to our field with no problems… The remaining 7 however, were a constant source of stress over the summer. They were extremely apprehensive of us and it took a long time to get them comfortable enough with us so we could approach them.
Whilst they lived happily in the woods, they came out every night to graze, and we sat with them reading our books to ensure they would get used to us. After a few weeks, we were able to place them all into another neighbour's field, where we were able to really get to make friends with them all again. We were able to bring them all back to the farm, but they have been placed in the barn for a few weeks so that they can think about what they have done. Although, I’m not sure they see it that way, sitting on a comfy bed of straw with hay on demand, and a nice cooling roof over their heads. Still, they are now as lovely as the others and a pleasure to go and visit every day. My favourite job on the farm is always filling up their water and giving them their breakfast. It is great for bonding, and we always end up having a little chat.
For sure, I will not miss the summer days of having to set up and take down electric fences in the fields were we though the naughty cows would turn up, and hiking through the woods, tracing cow pats and footsteps to try and find their day hiding spots. I never knew a herd of cows could be so adept at hiding! I am certain we must have walked passed them in the woods many times without any ideas they were there.
But, they are all back home now, and we have all gotten to know each other properly now, so even if they were to get out again, it would simply be a matter of calling them back like the good puppies that they are.
Moving on from the cows, the next exciting arrival is the first of our pigs. Two Saddle back sisters, who will shortly be followed by a Glousteshire Oldspot and a Berkshire. Although the garden has been very productive, it has kind of burnt to a crisp now, as watering was no longer allowed. So once the parsnips are out next week, I will place the pigs in the garden and they can eat the leftovers and plough it all up for us. I have a feeling we are going to have some very happy pigs!
Anyways, that is it for this post. I will catch up with you all soon.
A very handy piece of kit, opens up into a "race" to catch all the cows.
Using our trailer to transport hay and water all at once. My favourite time of day.