Monday, 24 November 2008

It's a strange (farming) world

Well, we have now signed the Acte to sell our farm, together with our cows. Some 160 in lamb ewes have also been sold, the last 110 went on the Sunday before we sold the farm, and before they started lambing - we did, in fact, have one of the ewes lamb. But joy of joys I'm not going out to the lambing shed until at least April when those that we have kept should start to lamb.

The day before we signed, the new owner had 147 Shetland ponies arrive from Holland. This has caused something of a stir in our commune as they are only used to cows and sheep. They are quite a tourist attraction. Another 40-odd arrived the week after, leaving another 100 or so still to be delivered!

Unfortunately, due to problems with a "Change of Use" certificate for the barn adjoining our new house, we didn't actually buy it until a week later. Technically, we were homeless (and hopeless) for a week. However, I may have explained before that we can stay at our old farm until Spring 2009 - time to get sorted and builders started.

It has been a race to get some fencing in place so that the sheep could be moved. They have spent 3 weeks on a friends farm, and were fortunately moved over the last weekend. We feel a bit more in control now that they are at their new home. But we still have to make the fences horse - or Didier - proof. He has the nasty habit of jumping out to where the grass is greener - and his body is proof of his ability. They should be moving in the next week or so, but come spring the neighbour will be putting his breeding mares and their foals nearby. I wait with baited breath.

The people that we bought from have left us some "welcome to your new home" gifts - some bantam hens, a pig, a duck, a goose and rather a mess. What with the weather we have had in the last two weeks since we bought the place, I've been a bit pig-sick of the place and wished we'd never seen it. The lake (due to crap drainage) in the yard does nothing to make it any better. To cap it all they took with them the wood-burning stove so we've had to buy another as it's the only form of heat in the place.

Anyway, have today started the "dechetterie dash" - or onwards to the local tip. With a bit of sun and the removal of one or two "features" it looks much better.

Bertrand - the young bull we bought last year - has got his first calf, a daughter, born by caesarian section the week after the new chap took over. At least it was his vet's bill, not ours!
Photo to follow.