So, it would be one thing to just post all the pretty pictures of farming. Spiderwebs on a sunny frosty winter morning. A purple sunset over the hay paddock. A set of happy healthy quadruplit romney lambs (incidentally, there’s not much cuter). I promise to take lots of these pictures this year – there is much gorgeousness in farming.
But what would be the point in only talking about the good bits? I can’t help but think that if food producers want to bring consumers closer to their food, then its time we share more about our farming lives – the good, the bad, and sadly sometimes, the ugly.
We’ve got rye-grass staggers in a mob of weaner bull calves at the moment. These are young bulls, about 6 months old. The drought has resulted an endophyte fungus at the base of our pasture which basically poisons young stock. It’s causing our cattle to stagger – they have lost co-ordination, and easily fall over. Its horrible, and you don’t want to go near them in case they feel under pressure – you definitely don’t want to try and move them into another paddock. And we’ve had two die 😦 . It sucks alot.
So what do we do? We have bought in some grain meal for them for a couple of weeks, and are feeding hay as roughage. Its not our ideal, we like to run a grass (pasture) only system. However animal health is more important, and a concentrated feed, alongside not trying to move them, is the best thing we can do for them right now, and doesn’t make me think our farm is any less pasture based than what we were last week. Maybe a bit like a family that tries to avoid junk food as much as possible, but then has a week where they end up with takeways twice – it’s ok.
Our kids are home from school due to the COVID-19 rahui. And our 14 year old in particular is relishing in the opportunty to make himself an indespensible part of our team. So far, we have a quad bike trailer rebuilt, and old motorbike being put back together, and a heap of loose fencing tightened and repaired. A win for everybody so far, but I’ve no idea how I’m going to get him to the kitchen table for 9am online schooling in two weeks time.
We have been saturated with Covid-19 this week. And how could that be anything less? My thoughts are with everybody who is experiencing hardship and anxiety.
My thoughts are with those who have lost their jobs. With the solo parents navigating sourcing food and keeping their children safe. For the essential workers still keeping on in the face of some very scary scenarios. For the children whos one safe place was school. And that safe place has been taken away from them.
(My thoughts are not with twats that have so far been unable to stay home for even a few days, or the people annoyed they can’t buy online and continue their addiction to consuming crap they don’t need – what a great time to get that sorted!).
There’s so much I can’t fix right now, beyond looking after my family, and helping out people in our communities that will struggle in the coming weeks and months.
As our farmwork continues through the end of this drought (hopefully!) and our preparations for winter, I think we’ll give GrassFed in the City a bit of a reboot. There’s not a lot of other news going at the moment – so maybe its an opportunity to catch up with non-farmers, and talk about what we do on farm, and why we do it.
Stay calm. Stay kind. Stay safe.