View from the Hill 3rd December 2006
You can’t pretend you haven’t noticed the weather lately, the longest and most protracted wet period we have had for a long time, over 6 inches in October, another 6 ½ in November, plus yet another inch and a half in the last 3 days, no wonder the Stour descent canoe race was cancelled, for the second year running, not enough room under some of the bridges, and too much debris in the water to be safe. On one day near the end of October we had 44 millimetres in 24 hours, the highest one day rainfall in 2 years. We only need another 6 inches in December to top 2006 up to the annual average!
Needless to say, not much has been going on on the land in this weather. We have managed to hang some gates, and get most of the animals onto turnips, which they will be gaily trampling into the mud. We have also been maintaining machines and buildings, and we have loaded out grain for milling in Southampton, for animal feed in Devon, and malting in Yorkshire.
We have also taken delivery of over 100 ‘enhanced’ Welsh Beulah ewes, to add to the sheep flock. I am not at all sure what ‘enhanced’ means, let us hope it means they die less often.
As tupping time approaches we have to make sure there are some rams available in the district. For the last few years we have hired rams from a shepherding contractor, one might think the rams would be pretty knackered after being hired around the flocks of Dorset and Somerset for the autumn, bearing in mind that we have one of the latest lambing flocks around, but we have hired rams for several years now, (probably not the same ones every year), and they always seem to be up for it! Just to get the ewes in the mood, we have hired a trio of ‘teaser’ rams, (vasectomised that is), at a rate of around one ram to 100 ewes, for the length of one cycle, this gets the ewes all cycling ready for when the fertile boys arrive, and can lead to a fairly compact lambing period