St David’s Day…..One of the joys of country living (or not!) is the lack of mains drainage. We have a septic tank. Although we do have mains water. The property was on it’s own water supply up until the 60s ; some of my neighbours can remember the old cast iron pump at the back door. The pipes from the spring are still there but nothing else remains. In the driest of summers that little spring keeps going: it must have been a very reliable source of water for the farm in days gone by.
In fact our ground is very wet, with little springs all over the place. Also to the back of the house is what we refer to as the “waterfall field”. It has quite a sizeable waterfall starting from under the road bridge on the corner above and what looks like the remains of a paved road running from the mid point of the falls, going across the bank,in an easterly direction, to the fence line and on down across the neighbouring field. We have discovered this was not a road, but a “rill” feeding water to the fountain in the garden of the “big house”, half a mile away across the fields.
Well, to return to the joys of the septic tanks. Ours is situated beneath a small flower bed in the middle of one lawn. This needs to be emptied every so often. I guess, with just the two of us now, we have a big lorry come every other year to pump it [pm©] out. They have to come to us after a dry spell of weather, so the lorry doesn’t sink into the adjoining field from where the driver has to run the pipes from lorry to tank in the garden. Septic tanks also block occasionally as we discovered again last week! Clearing it entailed GOS going on the hunt for his drain rods; some still down the field from another little project he had recently and the remaining rods “hiding somewhere”! After half an hour’s frantic searching they were unearthed in the back of the shed where we keep garden tools. Then followed a couple of hours gently working at removing the offending obstruction; GOS on his knees head down a manhole – me at the end of a hosepipe turning a jet of water on and off as required to help clear the drain. All well, but a morning gone.
Then another delight we had this week was injecting the ewes. Usually sheep related tasks lead to a “domestic” as they say, but I got the sheep in on my own ready for their little treat and all was calm. The sheep will usually follow me anywhere for a bucket of food, but when you least expect it they will catch you out and head off in the wrong direction. Then the language can get a bit ripe! We also endeavour to do sheep related things on a dry day. Grabbing and hugging a large woolly, sodden bundle to you to restrain them is not much fun. ( Must be pretty horrible for the poor old ewes though, being grabbed and turned on your back when you are heavily pregnant! )
About 6 weeks prior to lambing it advisable to inject to give the ewes and new born lambs some protection from disease. Sheep are very good at two things – being somewhere other than where they are supposed to be (we have one extreme escape artist called Lucy) and dying. Reading the directions on the box this injection should protect the sheep from about 15 variations of sheep disease or bacterium. So we are trying to do her best for them.
Texel sheep ( our sheep are a texel cross so are quite a big animal;chunky – the “rugby back row” of the sheep world!)
Everything was starting to dry up really well this week. All the animals, domestic and otherwise, have been enjoying the odd spells of sunshine. The one little chick, that hatched out in January, is growing fast. It has turned out to be a very pretty brown bird; almost completely feathered now and running round the yard with the other poultry. Just hope it turns out to be a hen and not another cockerel. The daffodils are well out for St. David’s Day. The new poly-tunnel cover has come – though I am loathe to try putting it up until the weather improves further: I don’t want the new cover damaging yet. ( There is talk of high winds and rain again tomorrow, mixed with a little snow perhaps!) I have spuds chitting on the pantry windowsill and a tray of broadbeans germinated and coming on okay. It was the last day of our trail hunting season on Saturday and when I drove back onto the farmyard at 6pm and it was still enough daylight to sort the horse and my kit out and feed the sheep comfortably. (Himself had an engagement with the Golf Club TV and two Rugby matches so did not get in until an hour later). So I think you can really say winter is on the wane……. ( bit of a shock if we do have snow tomorrow!) Fingers crossed. . . . we want it warmer and dryer for lambing starting in a few weeks.Currently obsessed with painting hellebore!