Farm Diary

This diary has got rather out of date. I've been getting polite and not-so-polite messages from family, friends and strangers. The magazine for WWOOF (Willing Workers on Organic Farms, a wonderful organisation through which volunteers find farms to work on and farms find willing workers) recommended my diary to its readers with the proviso that the last entry was rather old! May I send a message to WWOOF here to say that if they could only send some more of their wonderful volunteers I might have time to spend on the computer.

I've been taking pictures of the farm through the year and I will work my way through giving a n update that lacks the immediacy of the daily or weekly diary but is better than nothing. I have realy good intentions for next year.

The latest entry is the first.


Christmas is almost here and I'm panicing slightly as I haven't done much about it. I'm probably only doing this diary as an excuse not to do Christmas cards!

Our two pigs arrived on Tuesday last week. They are ten weeks old, Gloucester Old Spots, and we will keep them for breeding.

We should have some lovely pork from their progeny by this time next year'

Our newly arrived pigs

We have provisionly christened them Gertrude and Augusta, or Gertie and Gussie for short, unless someone thinks of better names before these ones stick.

They are very endearing creatures, running up with their ears flapping, grunting softly.

They like to stand in their trough when they're feeding.


Gussie is a bit more shy.

I can't think why we didn't get some pigs sooner. They are in a fenced off half of our vegetable garden and are beginning to make a good job of ploughing it up.



The weather this week has been rather foul. We've been extra busy. We had our TB test for the cattle on Monday and Thursday. For those who don't know, TB testing is compulsory for all cattle. It is done every year year round here, though I believe it is less frequent in areas where there has been no TB for a while.

TB on a farm is devastating. Any infected cattle are slaughtered and no animals can be moved off the farm until the all clear is given, several months later. That means that some beef animals could grow to over 30 months (they can't be sold for meat after that time) and the farmer has to feed animals that are not able to bring in any income.

The TB test is also fairly time consuming. All the cattle have to be tested so the young stock overwintering in the woods had to come up. It took most of the morning on Monday. It wasn't so bad on Thursday as it is much quicker for the vet to check that there have been no reactors. It is always nerve wrcking waiting for the result.

Nigel (the vet) tested the cows at the same time for pregnancy. They were all pregnant. As well as AI we had used Colin the bull to cover any that hadn't 'taken'. He had obviously been necessary on 2 of them!

James has had a flu bug and went to bed for 2 days. Will has been a great help.

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From 9th April 1999