The Farm Gate

Getting on with things

It’s all very well saying ‘patience is a virtue’, but it’s’ too darn’ wet! No field work has been possible for a long time and there’s much to do.

With the pregnant ewes inside ready for lambing, there is little pressure on the grassland to create any damage. Hopefully, early grass growth will allow a quick turn out for the sheep and lambs.

Our focus and planning has now turned to lambing which by mid-February should be well underway. Supplies are being stockpiled and include a range of needs from long protective lambing gloves, stomach tubes, syringes, disinfectants, colostrum and milk substitutes, colour markers and electronic ear tags through to ensuring the warm milk bar is fully operative for feeding weak and any triplet lambs we decide to foster.

Three to four weeks should see us through the work and we look forward to a satisfactory conclusion with strong lambs and ewes all being out to grass and gambling in the sunshine! Currently that seems a long way off!

Machinery repair and maintenance has been a priority since the start of 2018 with most of the equipment now having been through the checking and refurbishment system. Incredibly, once we get underway with field work and have planted the scheduled spring wheat it is only some 5 months until the first barley crop is harvested!

The seemingly disjointed Brexit saga continues! Just when it appeared there had been a breakthrough with the initial negotiations everything is now back into the usual petty muddling, back-biting, media and attention seeking ritual that currently bedevils politics in this country. Presumably there is a strategy and our government have an end game in mind? Whereas nobody can realistically expect plans to be negotiated in the open, or through the media, the lack of cohesive thrust to get things sorted is clearly contributing to the serious deficiency of confidence being felt by many. We can only hope that a sensible and workable strategy for future involvement with the EU and, indeed, the rest of the world will be delivered!

Changing the subject completely, some 4o years ago a group of friends in the village started a wine-tasting group which was essentially a very good excuse for a party or two on a regular basis! At the time the choice of supermarket wines was very limited, so we embarked on tasting a range of available wines and then group buying a cask for bottling at yet another party! Bottling, labelling and corking was great fun and the whole process was repeated several time a year! We still meet regularly, perhaps marginally more refined in our outlook and debateable expertise, but always a great way of having an evening out!

Cooperation and group buying – we’ve been doing it for years!



















Highlands Farm, Brightwell-cum-Sotwell, Wallingford, Oxfordshire, OX10 0QX

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