Well - an eventful July and August!

The heifer we took to slaughter in late May came back from the butcher's (Reg Cornthwaite) and we sold about two-thirds, so the rest is in the freezer and available to those that want it.

On the birthing front, we're now up to 6 calves, with 4 born in July, all heifers bar the first one in May. 1 was a surprise from a "teenager" that Norman the Bull must have "got to" in the 2 days that he shared a field with her. She's turned out to be a great mum, a full year earlier than would ordinarily have been the case. And 1 almost didn't survive - after the first couple of days, she went rapidly downhill although the vet couldn't find anything wrong with her, but after 2 weeks of regular bottle feeding and some nutrient supplments, she pulled through and is now very happily gamboling about the field with the other calves - but very obviously more scrawny.

After last year's birthing issues (2 breach births which didn't survive), and infected castrations (wince!), it's been nice to have a summer of no-intervention births, and only one bull calf who we castrated the easy way (for him and us) with a rubber band within a couple of days of birth. But life as a farmer is never straight-forward, so this month's trial-by-ordeal was 2 cases of mastitis. Both now sorted, but a learning experience for us all.

We also decided to cut our own winter forage - so 16 acres were put to one side, and on one of the only hot days in July, it was cut, baled and wrapped very expertly by a local contractor - and the tally was 198 5-foot round bales of haylage! Way more than we need ourselves, so I'm on the lookout for local horse stables who might want to take some. Fodder purveying is the next string to add to our bow.

Latest excitement is the impending arrival of our tractor courtesy of Oliver Agriculture Ltd. A 1980s model with loader and topper, so we'll be able to do some of our heavy-duty chores ourselves from now on, rather than contracting out everything.

Below is a picture of Norman and his ladies, and their offspring. Obviously a tough life!