It’s always good to be alive

Tree in Ireland at Autumn

Without wanting to sound too morose and, dare I say it, a ‘stereotypically grumpy farmer’, it has been a tough year for farmers this year. Between the late, very wet, very cold spring which meant winter extended into May, and then a drought during the summer, it’s been a year that involved a lot of extra work as we were still doing winter work for weeks during the heatwave. Without even thinking about the bank balance, a lot of farmers [...]

Do Old Cures Really Work?

2017-11-03 14.47.16-1

There had been a lot of commentary about the Presidential hopeful, Joan Freeman, announcing that a visit to Knock cured her of eczema when she was 16. Most people, judging by the plethora of comments, seem to think she is barking mad and yes, I’d be sceptical too yet I wondered as I tried something similar myself once.

People still go on religious pilgrimages and people still try herbal, religious or pagan cures in an attempt to cure them of [...]

There’s still Drought in the South East

Cows being supplemented with soya hulls August 2018

We’re still in a drought situation. Okay, it’s nothing like New South Wales in Australia where the situation is incredibly dire and the earth is brown. However, this is Ireland, the Emerald Isle, where rain is usually never far away and we’re accustomed to rain either spilling, pouring, lashing or spitting at us. The fields have greened up but we’re in a ‘green drought’ whereby the grass just isn’t growing enough to meet demand.

There has been plenty of rain in [...]

The Highs and Lows of Farming

Calf in Red

I’m tired. It’s not often that I’m really tired. It has been a busy couple of months: new calf shed being built, 130 calves born, and lots of finishing touches to Till the Cows Come Home which is being published in May. But it’s the relentlessly bad weather and all the extra work that goes with it that has made me tired. We knew the weather wouldn’t be great over Easter but the fact that it is continuing on for [...]

Which Calf Coat is Best?

Which calf coat is best

We started using calf coats last year as we were using large hutches to house some calves. We put the coats on at birth and left them on till almost weaned. As we’ve built a large calf shed this year, nice and airy but not overly warm on cold nights, we decided to use the calf coats again but remove after 3 or 4 weeks, wash and put on the next batch of newborns. We had about 40 coats from [...]