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Lockerbie, Drumburgh and Crows...

Emma Heseltine - 18 November 2012

We are having a grand tidy up at Wallacefield in the barn. I know its traditionally spring when you do a clean, but it needs it now. There is a pile of old-ish hay by the entrance and the bags of grain need putting to the edge in an orderly fashion. We tidy up mounds of baler twine, which gets everywhere, wood and random bits of metal. We disturb a rat (not good) and find a vole (he can stay!)

I’m taking the lambs to Lockerbie this week. They are less jumpy than the last lot I took. I try to make the journey as smooth as possible so they are not too uncomfortable on their last trip. I’m using the Landrover so it’s much easier to manoeuvre and reverse the trailer into position, which I’m sure they will appreciate and I don’t get laughed at quite as much as usual. I have an ulterior motive in offering to take them; I need to find out about the rules for pigs. I’m bringing one up next week, their time has come. I have a good chat with Steve the abattoir guy who promises to take good care of them if I bring to him. It seems there is good news too, they don’t have to be in for 24 hours before going to the abattoir like the sheep and cattle do. There isn’t a clean policy that covers pigs so they can stay in their muddy home until the last minute, this is best for them I’m sure.

We are taking Acorn, Ellis and Kai off Drumburgh this week. Kai wants weaning soon and Acorn is due to calve at Christmas. I’m manning the fort this Christmas so she is bound to calve on Christmas day or something. Good job these Longhorns usually have no problems. Today we are having problems however as it seems that our girls have grown fond of the overgrown bog they have been living in and do not want to go in the trailer. There is nothing as immobile as a stubborn cow and a stubborn cow with horns who is also starting to get a little testy is even less fun. It takes us ages to load Acorn and when we come back for Ellis and Kai they are no easier. It takes about half an hour, lots of cajoling, hay/barley and the strategic use of a gate. Seriously girls you are going somewhere drier!

The crows are after our oats. We have managed to get them in and get them rolled which is more than most people about can say, there will be a lot of spring crops going in next year. But there is a great murder of crows undoing our good work. A scarecrow is in order, nothing too fancy for now. A couple of sticks and some bags tied to them will do for the minute. I’m looking forward to doing a more professional job next week perhaps.

Emma completed a degree in Creative Imaging at Huddersfield University before working for a photography studio as an editor. Taking a break from the office world she worked in outdoor education for several years, climbing, abseiling, shooting, trampolining and even life-guarding with children of all ages. When Emma found out about the apprenticeship scheme with the Soil Association it seemed the perfect chance to do something worthwhile and fulfilling. After much searching and badgering farms in the North of England she found a position with Hadrian Organics and started in July 2011. So far it is living up to her expectations, every day is a new challenge and every day is different.

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