It has been an inconvenient few months for us with the three acre field out of action. We have had to keep the dogs off it, as they like to gallop along at quite a pace kicking up sods in their wake, and Jack likes to dig the odd crater or two.
It’s been tricky finding paddocks without sheep to walk them in but thankfully they are actually quite well acquainted with the geese now and no longer bother to chase them.
After seeding we were left with a dull brown field for weeks until the first shoots starting poking through and at first it was very patchy. Once we had some rain on it, it got a bit of a spurt on and before too long we had a wispy green covering.
It gradually thickened up and by the beginning of October, started to look rather lush. Since there had been no dogs in the vicinity the rabbits were running riot, much to Daisy’s delight when she finally got access again!
As soon as we were sure that it was well rooted we let the sheep loose in there to graze before winter comes upon us. They were over the moon to find such a delicious looking crop at this time of year and we are hoping that it will fatten them up, ready for the mart in a few weeks time.
Next year we are hoping for a bumper hay crop but that will depend on the weather.
The last few weeks have been a tense time, constantly watching the weather and being disappointed when day after day we had rain. And not just a shower, but gallons of the stuff pouring from the clouds.
We got off to a bad start when the wheel broke off the tractor when we were cutting the grass. A neighbour had to winch us out of a very boggy area.
Whenever there was a hint of sunshine we were out there turning the grass and making plans to bale. Time after time we were disappointed when the black clouds moved overhead. We thought we would never get started and were worried that the grass laying in the field would be ruined.
There have only been a couple of days in the whole of this month when it has been possible to bale any hay and we took full advantage, working late into the night and bringing in the bales by moonlight.
Today we weren’t expecting rain until 4pm so we were working furiously to get the last of it done. Typically the heavens opened up at 2pm and it was a race against time to get them all loaded onto the trailer and into the dry barn. We can only hope that they were dry enough to prevent rot and spontaneous combustion!
Despite the bad start we have 333 bales to feed the beasts over winter and the problem facing us now is where to put them.
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Smithy Croft, Strichen, Fraserburgh, AB43 6SL. United Kingdom