Saturday, 17 October 2009

Roger rogers

The grief an overexcited ram can cause a farmer cannot be exaggerated. New chap Roger created something of a stir yesterday morning when I came to give him some fresh hay first thing and found his paddock empty. I set off across the farm to check on the various flocks of ewes but couldn't see him anywhere, whilst OH cruised the lanes in the Landrover for him - lying dead in a ditch, humping someone elses prime pedigree ewes, or butting his way through hedges and freshly washed cars.
Could we find him? No. I flag down the postman and he promises to ask at each farm he passes. We drop in on all the local farmers and they say they'll keep a look out. We go home, me to wait for phone calls and OH to retrace my steps across the farm.
There is a spluttering of "Should've gone to Specsavers" as I clearly missed what was obviously there in my trails through the fields. I hang my head in shame, and then realise that Roger has got in with a large flock (two hundred or more) of mule ewes that have yet to go to the ram. My words are blue, and we waste no time in bringing every ewe in that flock into the barn, Roger wedged firmly among them. There is hardly room to move in there which means it's not difficult to catch randy Roger and hold him manfully whilst I usher out the disappointed ewes.
I'm mortified and hope he hasn't impregnated too many of them - their matings should be with pedigree Suffolk rams. We won't know how awful the consequences are for another five months.
Roger is penned tight, and we realise we're not going to be able to keep him like this for a fortnight, when he's due to join the other Badger Face Torddus, so decide that perhaps he can stay in the barn for a week and split the difference.
This morning he has leapt out of his pen, bending the hurdles in his wake, knocked aside a ten inch thick gatepost and is bounding about the paddock, still frustrated that his semi-freedom has taken him no closer to fresh totty. We relent, unable to bear the prospect of disappearing ram for another fortnight.
All the ewes are brought in for crutching and fluking and Heptavacing, and then the white 'uns are led off with Roger, and the black with Samson. Lambing will be two weeks early in 2010.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

I'm still here...

...just in case anyone was wondering. Along with many others at the moment, running to keep up with themselves, there is just too much stuff to be done and not enough time to do it in. Not sure what's happened at the close of summer, beginning of autumn, but bonkersly busy would just about cover it. I'm leaping up at 4am to deal with emails and other deskbound tasks that have emerged whilst I've had my head buried elsewhere. Next week looks more benign (famous last words), so perhaps I'll be able to walk the dogs, take a photo or two and post something farmish.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

The Bush Inn, Morwenstow

No, I really don't see myself as a restaurant critic. I don't wear enough rings, have a stern enough demeanour or describe my munching in terms of literary criticisms, but I feel I should put the record straight after my mauling of Pan-ache. There are, after all, some simple places that do outstanding food in the area.
After bouncing about with multiple dogs and friends at the usual beach haunt, we headed north along the coast to pick up some strap hinges for the barn doors from blacksmith David North-Lewis. The sea air and traversing of fat cobbles had built a perfect appetite, and the pub, just yards away from the forge, called to us. They were happy for us to bring in the dogs and we commandeered a big corner table so we could tuck the canines, large and small, under our legs and out of the way.
Our eyes slithered over the starters but when we saw the pudding list decided to go mains and puds. Beer battered fish with fresh tartare and homemade mushy peas; homemade beef burger with stilton and relish with fries; steak and kidney pie with roasted veg and mash. Nought complicated there, just straightforward pub food without a gastro complex in sight. But oh my. It was fantastic. Everyone oohed and aahed over their dishes. My burger was stunning - gorgeous beef, beautifully cooked and it smelled amazing - what you always hope for and rarely if ever get. I wanted to bury myself in it. I don't know who the chef is (although he took the pudding orders from me), but the chap sure knows how to cook.
I took Fenn out for a quick leg stretch across the village green and for another sniff of the sea before it was time for almond crème brûlée with shortbread for some and chocolate brownie for me. As the waitress got close to the table I could smell the deep dark scent of good chocolate. This was clearly going to be an adult experience. A bitter sweet crumbly brownie sat in a sea of thick dark, hot chocolate sauce with what can only be called several portions of clotted cream.
We talked at length about the disappointing food we've had in pubs over the years and grinned broadly at having just experienced exactly how it should be done.
There's lots about the local provenance of their ingredients and it shows - everything was super fresh and we've already planned a return visit.
For once there were absolutely no scraps left for the dogs. Shame.