Well the good news is that on the morning of the 9th April we introduced our cows to the milking parlour. Hallelujah. I would be a stone-cold liar if I didn’t admit that this has had its nerve-wracking moments but for the most part the cows have proved very amenable to their new jobs.
Introducing the newest member of the Noltland herd, our first calf born early in the morning on the 2nd of April. Born bright and up and sucking in a blink - great. Since her arrival there have been three more births - touch wood all have gone well and calves seem sound. Our Ayrshire heifers were in-calf to a Shorthorn when we bought them.
It is over a month since our last update. In that time my dad had a serious stroke and is still in hospital now. He is undergoing some pretty intensive therapy which will help him adjust to his altered abilities. He is receiving excellent care with the NHS and they have our thanks and respect for this. Naturally our attention has been drawn by this family crisis meaning that our building project has had to limp along as best it could. We are very behind schedule, there is still so much to do, and the cows are due to calve imminently. That’s life, get on with it!
One of the great things about our building works is that they take place indoors! So even when it is blowing a gale outdoors and snowing/hailing/sleeting, as long as you can get from the house to the barn, you’re winning.
Our first Christmas at Noltland, celebrated with a houseful of family - mum and dad and Sam and Danny and their 2 kids Ben and Maggie all the way from Sydney, Aus! Ben is only 22 months old but we managed to get him hooked on farming already. Good times. We were sad to say goodbye to everyone, and look forward to seeing them all again soon! Thank you for coming so far to see us.
We now have a fantastic concrete floor in our dairy - specifically where the bulk tank room, hygiene control area and creamery will be. It was not that straightforward to pour the floor - the telehandler had to transfer the concrete from the lorry into our building because it is a tricky little space. That said, it was a good thing we had the professionals in - thank you Daniel Harcus Construction. We still have to apply a durable hygienic floor over this one, so it needed to be of a high quality.
Obviously we are pretty thrilled by the new floor - a good foundation indeed.
We brought our cows in on Friday afternoon. The ground is very wet and it is getting a lot colder. We were also very keen to try out our new cubicles. The housing is a work in progress, and we haven’t quite worked out how all the feeding and mucking out will happen. But the important thing is that after a few misfires, our little cows seem to be lying the right way round in their cubicles, and are munching happily from the ring feeder we put in there every time we go and check on them.