IT DOES not seem possible that my dearest husband Richard passed away a month ago, but life goes on, although I will miss him very much, I have many treasured memories that will hopefully help me in my life ahead.

Over the last month the weather has been quite variable, but there has been plenty of warm sunshine, even some very hot spells. We have however had quite a lot of rain, most of it coming in torrential downpours. When I added up the total rainfall for the month of August I arrived at a figure of 91 mm. This is in fact the most rain to have fallen on Manor Farm in any month for the whole of the year so far.

Both on Manor and Chiverlins Farms there has been plenty of work to do, with sheep, harvesting and cultivating stubble fields taking up most of the time. two hundred ewes have been selected for lambing in January. The reproductive cycles of the ewes have been synchronised to try and make sure that they lamb within in a short period of time. To enable this 25 rams were put in the field with these ewes on the 19th August and will be with them for 30 days which is equivalent to 1.5 oestrous cycles. Getting this group of ewes to lamb in January will mean that the lambs should be ready for the Easter market.

All the ewe lambs have been wormed and every sheep has been treated with a fly repellent to protect the animals from fly strike. The wethers (castrated ram lambs) have recently been put into a field of stubble turnips, which will help them gain condition.The ram lambs, born in March this year, have been checked and sorted, removing the lowest graded animals for market. The group of cull ewes has been reducing in number , as a market was found for mutton. Mutton is the meat of a sheep over 2 years old, whilst a sheep up to a year is called a lamb and in it's first year a hogget. The only other job done involving the sheep has been to check them all daily and move them to fresh pasture when necessary.

The spring barley on Chiverlins Farm has all been harvested below 15 % moisture, which meant that no drying was required. Unfortunately coinciding with the end of spring barley harvest our combine harvester had a major breakdown. This involved the removal of several broken pieces, before ordering replacement parts, which then had to be fitted. Fortunately the combine has been up and running again with rain being the only reason it has stood idle. All the barley grain is now safe in a permanent store on Chiverlins Farm.

The next crop to harvest was winter wheat on both farms. When I spoke to Kevin he said that they had managed to gather 2/3 of the wheat on Chiverlins Farm and 3/4 of the wheat here on Manor Farm. Both Ian and Kevin thought the yield of all the winter wheat has been good this year, but will not know accurately until it has all been weighed. The only problem with wheat harvest was the dust , due to the recent rain on the ripe crop. When there is copious amounts of dust, there is a greater chance of a combine fire, so Kevin and Ian had to be vigilant, keeping their noses and eyes alert for any signs of heat.