6 August Thursday
Joe has an open platform system for wintering his cows. The cows stand on this big concrete platform which has lots of drainage. There is no roof over the cows all winter. This worries me. Joe assures me that the cows do not mind. They are most concerned that their feet are not wet. It is bad for cows to have ice forming in their hooves. It is bad for cows to have wet feet all day and all night. The drainage in the platform keeps their feet dry. Once, or maybe twice a year, an enormous load of wood shavings gets delivered. It is dumped in the yard. The pile is bigger than a large lorry. It is not really shavings, it is more like long thin shredded pieces of wood. Joe cleans all of the old wood stuff off the platform and then spreads the new shredded wood so that the surface will be ready when the cows are no longer able to be out in the fields all day. He has been doing this work over the last few days. I love it when the pile of shredded wood arrives. It smells good. Then I enjoy seeing it disappearing one load at a time. Winter seems a long time away but I guess it is wise to be ready.
5 August Wednesday
The raspberries are coming ripe. They seem a bit early but I am not complaining. They are delicious. The black currants need picking. Mostly we have very little growing this year. A lot of apples are ripening on all but one of the trees but plums are not doing well. Maybe the plums will come later. Even the sweet peas are fewer than normal. The figs are plentiful on the tree, but I wonder if there will be enough heat for them to ripen. The weather is so un-summery and grey and cool it is hard to know if the plants know to continue or if they are just skipping the season.
4 August Tuesday
Everything is closed. Well, not everything, but a lot of things. The framer is gone for his two week holiday. The tool hire place and the lawn-mower repair place are both closed. The wood yard is closed. The electrical supply place is closed. Most workmen take this time off as even if they were trying to do a job no one else would be open for them to purchase materials. It is the same two weeks each summer and every year it takes us by surprise.
3 August Monday Bank Holiday
There was torrential rain last night. It started at about five o’clock and continued all night long. I woke up several times and heard it coming down hard. By morning it had stopped and the sky was not clear but there was a bit of brightness in it. We took a walk over Joe’s fields. The long grass was wet and the grass which had been eaten down short by the cows was wet. When we got to the dirt track the mud was deep. The mud sucked at our boots as we walked up the hill. There was the regular after rain mud and then there was mud which had been churned up by the cows walking through it. There was mud which was a slippery mix of fresh manure and rain and mud. Then there were puddles which were full of muddy water and other puddles which were full of a mixture of rain water and cow pee. The different kinds of puddles were distinctive by the type of liquid in them. The track is long so there was plenty of time to consider all of this mud. When we reached the farmyard and went out of the gate and onto the road, we scuffed along in the grass to clean our boots. We always walk in this same stretch of grass to clean our boots after a particularly mucky walk up the track. Walking backwards, then forwards and a bit sideways through the long grass is the method for cleaning up.
1 August Saturday
A coach load of tourists from Israel arrived at the market. They were there to see the castle and the cottage and since the farmer’s market was on they looked around. Many of them took photographs. It is not easy for tourists on buses to buy things at the market as they are usually eating in restaurants and hotels and many of the market goods are in need cooking or preparation. Things like eggs and fish and broccoli are not going to be very interesting for them. They can buy apples or berries and maybe individual cookies or cakes. Wooden egg cups tend to be popular as they are small and not perishable. Today one Israeli tourist bought fresh garlic from Jim and Keith. Pretty soon another one came and bought some garlic. Then another. At least half of the busload of tourists bought Jim’s garlic. More people might have bought the garlic but he ran out before they could do so. It seemed an odd souvenir.
31 July Friday
A Fun Dog Show is schedualed for August. There are five classes listed for Pure Bred Dogs and nine classes for Fun. One of the Fun classes is for Rescue Dogs in Best Condition. I have been wondering about this. Are these dogs who were rescued and are now in good shape, or are these dogs who have led a life of rescuing others and who are still in good condition despite all of their work?
30 July Thursday
There is a stack of plastic wrapped bales of silage in the field. It is not unusual to see plastic wrapped bales piled up, especially not at this time of year when everyone is rushing to cut and prepare their silage for winter. What is unusual is that these bales are not wrapped in the normal black plastic. These bales are wrapped in bright pink plastic. Bright pink is not a colour that we come across very often in our landscape. I did a double-take when I saw these. I nearly drove off the road. Later I was told that the Co-op is selling this pink plastic and each time it is purchased by a farmer a percentage of the cost goes toward supporting research and treatment for breast cancer.