Lots of hay, lots of calves
July and early August have seen a flurry of activity here on the farm. Lots of haymaking has ensued - round bales, small bales, big square bales - here, at North Meadow in Cricklade, and over at Elmlea Meadows at Cerney Wick. Overall we have more than we expected, and mainly managed to dodge the showers by some late night manoeuvres. The picture below shows North Meadow. North Meadow has lots of boundary stones, each of which is a scheduled ancient monument. They denote the haylots and are still used today to mark which areas different farmers cut. Our friend Phil goes around finding them and putting a cane against each so we don't hit them with the mower.... An extremely important job - Thankyou Phil.
We started calving at the very end of June and so far 34 out of 39 cows have calved. Things have gone pretty well and we have lots of very lively calves. They all calve out in the fields and frequently the cows hide the calves in the long grass while they go off and graze, which can make counting them pretty tricky, but allows the cows and calves to exhibit an important natural behaviour. To find the calves I now watch the mothers carefully to see which way they are looking and hunt on this line. These will stay with their mothers for 10 months. Not all will go as beef - the best female calves will join the herd as replacement cows at 15 months old and join their mothers, aunts, grandmothers and great aunts. I must do a family tree of the herd.
I wanted to include the photo below as it really is quite a sight. This is Autumn Hawkbit flowering en mass in our field called the Littlemoor. All of this was under water from the end of September until March. Quite a plant to survive that. Interestingly all the flowers close late afternoon then open again in the morning, something I hadn't noticed until this year. Pollinator paradise!