joshuafmetcalfe

Archive for the ‘ragwort’ Category

Keeping busy…

In Agricultural, farming, getting started, ragwort on August 22, 2012 at 6:33 pm

Though these are early days it appears there are even more people willing to help. You simply have to look in the right places.

I received the exciting news from Farmers Guardian. They are interested in featuring my Blog in their “Getting Started” section. I hope now more than ever that I am capable of writing interesting things.

I intend to keep myself as busy as possible for an indefinite period of time. I feel I must take advantage of being at home, so before I return to University I will do everything I can to get outside and work as much as possible. I have several people I can approach and I feel confident and determined.

This leads me to worry about what I will do when I return to University in six weeks time. I think it would be very lucky if I could find someone not so far out of the city that can offer to take me on one, or two days a week. But it’s not an impossibility. Hopefully someone will read this and grow empathetic and give me a chance, I know that I would bite their hand off if I received an offer.

This week I dug out the horses shelter and laid a new straw floor on it,15 wheelbarrows full of mud, straw and poo. The smell of it burns the back of my throat and screws my nose up, but it makes me feel revitalised. The best medicine anyone could ever need. I lay a full bale of straw down on the bare earth and the smell instantly changes. The straw smells sweet, almost dizzying; Natures perfume.

I discover, to my horror, that the fields I cleared of Ragwort last summer are once again flayed with knee high, green leafy stalks topped but clusters of bright yellow flowers.

It is far worse than last year.

This does make me wonder why DEFRA haven’t classified it as a poisonous plant (which it really is) so people don’t have to repeat the same arduous process every summer. Maybe there is something that I don’t know. In any eventuality, it will have to be removed before it dies, dries out and ends up in the winters silage.

I laugh to myself; it is a good job I enjoy these things.

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Farming on my mind…

In farm shop, farming, ragwort, Uncategorized on August 21, 2012 at 8:51 am

As the days pass at work, my mind wanders between thinking about my final year at university, what I’m going to have for tea tonight, football and FARMING.

I recall the most consistent factor of farming that has left an impression on me being Farm Shops. My parents have always shopped at Farm Shops.

Even though I am 21 I still love going and buying Steak, Pork Pies, joints of Ham and various chutneys and preserves. I know that I would love to run my own Farm shop, selling on site. I think of ideas, write up crude plans of multiple herd systems for my cattle.

I’d have to put 400 heads a cattle through a year to make it lucrative. I draft ad-hoc financial plans on pairs of pigs, calculating what return I could make a few years down the line by having ten breeding sows beginning now.

In theory I could make good money. But I know my ideal is a world away from reality. You don’t choose what to keep; your land chooses what you keep. So I suppose it depends where I end up. I hope for 1,200 acres in Wainstalls (West Yorkshire) but I know that will not happen. I will be happy with whatever I can find.

I spend my lunch breaks on my Iphone reading Farmers Guardian and reading ‘Farming First’s recent posts on Twitter. I have begun to form opinions on hot topics, the Badger cull and the fight that the Dairy Farmers have been provoked into. Times are turbulent but it is engaging and dramatic reading.

Morrison’s raised the bar up by offering more per litre. There is hope, credit to the Dairy Farmers for not taking it lying down.

I spend my time out of work intermittently looking after horses when my Girlfriend’s mother goes away to Agricultural shows all over Britain. I love being up in those rough and blustery fields.

I muck out their shelter and over an afternoon pull all the ragwort out and pile it 6ft high in plastic rubble bags, stinking of sour pollen. I look back over the field as I walk home and it is clear of Ragwort. A nice sense of accomplishment fills me as I walk back down the hill.

I beg my girlfriend’s parents to let me keep chickens in their garden. Probably best to get some after I graduate university when I think about it, wouldn’t be very responsible of me if I had to leave them for months at a time.

I learn that my mother’s cousin owns and runs a Farm in Haworth with her Husband. This revelation excites me and I message her asking for advice. I volunteer myself for helping out if ever they should need it. I feel lucky to have that option available, I will go over one day for a brew and talk about my aspirations. It’s all I ever seem to do anyway.

My attention turns to the news that Schamallenberg Virus is circulating again, perhaps I should look into Agriculture and intermediate Farm Vet courses.

It could clearly be helpful, after all.