With no let up in the abhorrent weather we’ve seen all year, storm Debi was the icing on the cake in what has been an atrocious year of wet weather nationwide. While it didn’t last long, it was the worst storm we’ve seen in a few years around here. Luckily, we managed to trailer home the stock which remained outdoors on our piece of land away from the house before it arrived, as it would have been impossible to traverse the land since.

Quite a number of trees blew down in the area, creating quite a lot of debris in the process and making the commute to work and school a rather meandering route for some. We’ve yet to check some of the land farther away, but it seems like we won’t be short of firewood for the time being, as a couple of the more ivy-laden trees blew down in the gusts.

Around here, the small twigs and branches which break off trees are known as ‘cipíní’ and were commonly used for lighting fires by the older generation. Having grown up watching my grandmother gathering these as she went about her daily chores around the farm, I picked up the same habit and can often be found trundling back to the house with an armful of this free kindling. I’m sure she’d be throwing her eyes up to heaven if she spotted me paying €3 for a small bag of sticks in the shops.

It also meant our days of grazing were over, as even our hillside land got too wet for cattle. Although we were happy leaving the smaller weanlings outdoors until the second week of this month, in hindsight they should have been taken in sooner. While the grass was there, the quality was not, and despite feeding ration and hay alongside grazing, in feed value there was no comparison to the silage made in summer. Since housing they thrived noticeably better, putting on more weight in a fortnight than they had in the previous month.

With decisions to be made over which calves to sell last week, the orphan calf got put under scrutiny. Originally earmarked to be sold at commercial value, he has suddenly turned into the best looking calf in the bunch and a stranger would be hard pressed to pick him out in the pen of calves.

Though he has many generations of AI breeding behind him, he surpassed all our expectations, with thanks to the cow who decided to adopt him by her own choice. Consequently, he has now been registered with the Limousin Society, in the hopes he’ll continue flourishing over winter.

With the decision made to keep him, this left three bulls to sell before winter and they were sent off last week. As two were calves off heifers we didn’t have the same expectations in mind pricewise when compared to the older calves, but we were pleasantly surprised with an average of over €3/kg at 320kg.

A pedigree Limousin calf which I’d decided to sell off as a weanling turned into the surprise of the day, making just under a €1,000 at 280kg and appears to have gone for breeding purposes. Which just goes to show I might need my eyes looked at, as I’d not much value on him myself.

This leaves us with only four calves to carry through winter, and with two of those being pedigree Limousins, will leave me with the job of halter training both for sales next summer.