Saturday 31 October 2009

Autumn in Tarset

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If it wasn't for the signs of autumn we could be forgiven for thinking we were still in summertime. This last month/6 weeks has seen tremendously mild weather, not always dry however but seems drier than what we experienced through the summer months. It has been so mild that Shep has often been working in a T-shirt and maggots were still to be found just ten days ago.

The clocks changed last weekend, dark now by 5pm give or take 10 minutes or so, a welcome respite in my eyes, an excuse to get finished at night and settled in the house. The winter months giving Shep the opportunity to re-charge the batteries ready for the onslaught which will commence in the spring. Not everyone views the 'dark winter days' quite like I do but bear in mind any of you who dread these dark nights, it won't be long 'til they draw out again. By mid January they will be pulling out with spring just around the corner - not long they way the time flies.
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We have had a tremendous show of autumn colour, not many frosts or gales has allowed the trees to show their splendour, sunshine has been lacking of late to accentuate the colours but they are still there to enjoy. Even the hill ground has shown its beauty with its myriad of rusts,golds and browns.

Recent rain has set the fish running, they've been hanging around in the North Tyne river waiting for a chance to head for their spawning grounds. Anglers have been out in force this past week trying to hook that thirty pounder before the season closes tonight (31st Oct), a quick squint at the Linn (waterfall) this afternoon revealed sea trout of various sizes jumping, a salmon wasn't spotted but they will be there. Further heavy rainfall is forecast for tomorrow and these fish will be so happy to be able to negotiate the burns with ease and get to the redds, their spawning grounds, and do what nature has sent them up here to do. It's good to see them back.

Farmers have enjoyed the weather this back end too, but (there always has to be a but!) cattle are needing a bite of extra feed, silage is beginning to head out to the beasties, unfortunately by this time of the year even a dry day has little drying ground wise and so the ground is getting soft and cattle are beginning to plunge.

It's really about time they were heading for their winter sheds before they plunge and poach the ground too much, however, the mild weather causes problems when it comes to housing cattle as they will sweat with a high probability of pneumonia setting in. Right at this moment it would be unwise to house them, colder, sharper weather would be preferred.

With the forecast for further rain the ground will be getting wetter and cattle will sink further but until 'healthier' weather appears those cattle will most probably remain outside - deemed the lesser of two evils.

Sheep are taking no hurt, hill ewes are fit this back end and are coming a raid (on heat), hanging to fences and teasing the tups who are beginning to fight and sort out the pecking order, they too are fit and waiting impatiently to be let out to the ewes. Tups will be set out shortly, those who lamb earlier will probably have their tups out by the end of this coming week, the hill tups will have to wait until later in the month.

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