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April 2009 - Posts - View From The Other Side Of The Fence

View From The Other Side Of The Fence

Dreaming Of A Good Life


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    Diary Of Becoming A Farmer

    April 2009 - Posts

    Diary Of Becoming A Farmer. An Educating Experience!

    The story of a young mans efforts to become a farmer without the aid of inheritance!

    So I started college.  One day a week.  Desperatly putting leave in to get the day off to ensure I could attend college.  It was exciting.  I was finally doing what I wanted to do twenty years ago.  It was great!

    Then there was the Farmers Weekly Awards to look forward to.  Mildred found out I was going from Essex and arranged to meet me at Liverpool Street station so we could travel across London together and have a chat on the way.  We had never met before and I was looking forward to meeting a fellow blogger.  Imagine his surprise when we met at Liverpool Street and he realised I was one of his students!!!!!  I wish I could have put it up on the blogg it was a picture.  After the initial shock we had a great time a fantastic evening at the Grosvenor House Hotel.  A great Advertisement Window for the world of UK Agriculture.  There are some great people out there.  In particular it was great to chat with Jimmy Doherty after his win of the "NFU Farming Champion of the Year".  He is a inspirational figure who believes in UK Farming and is an advocate of "get out there and get on with it".  With all this talk of the demise of The Royal Show, it was Jimmy's name that sprung to mind as someone who's ideas could save The Royal Show.  LEAF and Ian Piggot would be another.  If The Royal Show dies there is no hope of getting Agriculture back into the mindset of the public.

    Anyway, college abound.  Lot's of work, writing of notes, practical hands on experience and assignments  AAARRRGGGHHH.  But it feels good, really good. 

    Being twenty years older than most of the other students has it's fun at times.  One of the students said to his mate on my second day after having to drive (slowly) behind me down the lane to the farm, " We had to follow The Old Guy down the lane".  To his shock when I raised my eyebrows and gave him a look, I might be much older than him but I'm not deaf!! 

    What is really funny is they all extract the urine from me in class.  However having had two assignments back with distinctions they seem to want to ask questions on how to complete the subsequent projects! Ha Ha

    Lambing a few weeks ago was good.  Having delivered my daughter, I thought it can't be much different!!!!  I think The Better Side Of The Fence was pleased I didn't have to intervene in the birth of our daughter though....  I was given three night shifts.  The kids thought it great that I was going to assist with the lambing at "Farm School" as my eldest calls it.  With thirty ewes already lambed and nearly forty to go it looked promising for some "action".  All we got was cold, wet and tired.  Nothing even thought about it. Huh.  Three days later the next night shift.  Nothing again. The Better Side Of The Fence was upset that I'd been out all night for nothing.  It was a bit of a blow.

    The third night started a week later.  Still not much had happened in the shed since the last week.  It was looking like the Ram served over a couple of oestrus cycles.  Nothing was showing any signs. 

    So I settled down to write my next assignment I'd just been given about Intensive and Extensive farming systems.  I'd written most of the pass criteria before a check at 2100 revealed a ewe with feet poking out.  A couple of minutes later a lamb was born.  At last the duck was quashed, action.  15 minutes later her second all fit and well.  We moved them to individual pens and I settled back to my assignment. 

    A couple of hours later and the next ewe decided it was time.  First one out ok. 15-20 minutes later lots of straining but no sign of he second lamb.  Time to have a look.  Correct way round but one of front hooves tucked back.  A quick push back and manouvre and out it came.  Fantastic what a thrill to have assisted, but I was so pleased to have waited, observed and got it right that I need to intervene.  More sorting of pens.

    By the time we finished the night three more ewes had delivered and I'd had to assist a breach.  Just like London buses, none for ages then they all come at once.

    A week later when at college we were tagging, dagging and castrating during our lesson, when the person in charge of the pregant ewes brought our attention to a ewe that had been in labour for some time with no result.  We quickly went to the ewes aid.  The ewe was expecting triplets.  The first lamb was breach and took some lining up, eventually being dragged out backwards.  It was quickly motivated and started to breath.  We went to get the second out.  This was even more difficult.  Eventually we got it out.  Dead.  Some of the others tried to revive it but I could see there was no life.   There was still another in there.  Thankfully this came out quite easily and was alive.  But it was my first loss, what would have been a nice lamb, most annoying.

    That's sheep though.  There sole intention is to die.  Your job as the shepherd is to get them to slaughter before they manage it.