In this piece, I am going to write about birthing – both on the farm and in general.
At the height of summer, birthing is in full swing on the farm and in full symphony with Mother Nature.
Our newborn red deer are being welcomed onto the green, warm, lush fields at Ballinwillin House. Nature is amazing: beautiful and wonderful in reality, and that is why I love farming with wild animals – our deer, wild boar and goats. They live fully with nature; always using grass from the soil for their nourishment.
For their comfort, they cuddle under the trees and hedges – for shelter in winter and shade in the summertime.
This year, with a cold, wet May and June, the mother animals put off birthing for approximately two weeks longer than usual. But then, calving was in full swing and our newborns were racing and bounding, celebrating their arrival with the admiring mammies looking on proudly. There is always competition in wild nature. We have to walk the fields twice daily when the calves are young. Foxes are always on the prowl and, no matter what we do or how careful we are, they will always take approximately 2% of the freshly born calves.
Similarly, with the young wild boar. The mother sows always sleep out for the first 48 hours after birth – so we must be equally vigilant. This year, I noticed a pair of buzzards nesting on the farm, and what a beautiful bird to see in full flight, with the sound of their soft, fluffy wing span. I just hope they behave themselves and don’t add to our workload.
No matter what happens on the farm, though, the set-up is geared to protect nature and all her creatures, great and small.
Thirty-eight years ago, when we purchased Ballinwillin House and the lands, I immediately set about dividing up all the big fields into small two- or three-acre paddocks; planting the dividing lines with native deciduous and evergreen trees. We then double fenced these hedges with 2m-high tensile deer netting, which will last much longer than the Mindful Farmer.
Hopefully, when oncoming generations look up at these trees and hedges, they will have enough wisdom in their minds, warmth in their hearts and energy to protect and future and further manage our environment.
These shelter belts help slow down wind speeds across the farm. Should any ammonia emissions drop, the trees will recapture them; preventing them being deposited in sensitive areas – this is especially important, as we are situated on the verge of a town. This was a long-term project, but boy has it worked, and it’s now available to the benefit of all.
Every farmer has a responsibility to love and honour his or her lands and environment, and to educate our children to cherish a clean, fresh living from the soil. This way, everything we grow will be full of sumptuous flavour, and our flora and fauna will be as happy as our grandchildren were when they arrived for a visit this week – jumping, dancing and singing as they skipped along; almost in harmony and step to the young, newly born deer in the paddocks.
All farms should be respected, and farmers should receive maximum help – both financial and advisory – from both our national and EU reserves. Let us be the example for the world to follow.
Let us not be stranded between time and let our future generations feel the soil and earth breathing in harmony with us. Continue to pray, bless and power healing to the world. Be mindful and caring to all you encounter and have a wonderful August.