It’s been a while since my last blog, as I was caught up with my end-of-year exams at school.
I think they went pretty well – time will tell.
I am glad they are over and am looking forward to the next three months – much to the annoyance of my siblings, who are still in primary school.
Anyway, back to the farm.
This year’s lambing and calving went extremely well. Every cow calved without any assistance whatsoever, and all calves are healthy and growing strongly.
As for the lambing, Daddy tells me that it was the best lambing season we have ever had, with 1.8 lambs per ewe. He puts it down to the dry weather, the hardy breed we use (Romney) and, of course, the fact that we are organic.
“How can you get 1.8 lambs per ewe?” exclaimed my eight-year-old sister, Heidi, when she overheard him.
I explained to her that it was an average figure over the whole flock.
I don’t think she was fully convinced.
As usual, the weather dictates a lot of what can happen on the farm.
There were a lot of silage harvesters up and down the roads around us during May, but all is quiet now as the weather has become quite wet.
We do not usually make our silage until later, so hopefully it will all be made the end of this month.
The wet weather is also causing us some problems with getting the sheep sheared (which I’m secretly happy about, as I know I will be called upon to roll the fleeces and pack them into a huge bag.).
The sheep are doing OK so far, but we are eager to get this job done sooner than later.
Not only are the sheep more comfortable in the summer months without their woolly coats, they are also healthier, as there is a lower chance of blowfly strike.
This is when maggots develop from fly eggs in their fleeces and can cause the sheep much discomfort and distress – yuck. If left untreated, affected sheep could eventually die.
During my last few weeks at school, my siblings, Poppy, Heidi and George, were involved in advertising campaign with the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA) up at Leinster House in Dublin.
The ISPCA along with the Green Party were asking the Government to start teaching animal welfare in our primary schools, in the hope that it would reduce the levels of animal cruelty in years to come.
Our dog, Penny, was up with them too and being a country dog, did not know what to make of the hustle and bustle of the city. Even a walk in St Stephen’s Green did not settle her much, but her ears cocked up when she saw some pigeons and ducks, and only for the lead, she would have caused total mayhem in the Green.
Charlie Hackett is a 13-year-old boy from Geashill in Co Offaly, where he lives with his two younger sisters, Poppy and Heidi, and his younger brother, George.
His parents, Mark and Pippa, both work on the farm, producing organic beef and sheep, along with a few horses, chickens, dogs and cats, making it a busy family farm.
Charlie has just finished his first year at Kilkenny College. He boards there during the week.