Although we appear to have had a mild winter to date, so far our problems have come from far too much rain!
In fact, recent downpours have caused trouble with drains around the house and both our ponds have overflowed with water coming off the top of the dams causing erosion and leaving a major mess.
I can’t remember having this much water on our property. It has damaged pastures and played havoc with our gardens.
But the worst feature has been the mud. This has resulted mainly from our horses standing by the gates waiting for me to arrive with their feed buckets.
I’m now shifting them from paddock to paddock as much as I can to avoid too much mud in one place. Even my henhouse is muddy so the hens have been free-ranging on most days.
I normally let them out each day at about 11 am to ensure they lay their eggs in their boxes and not under a hedge – so far, so good!
Our other weather problem has been the strong winds.
We have only just finished raking our driveway of all the leaves from our London plane trees but, now, with each big gust of wind, we have dozens of branches crashing down and adding to our chores.
Another task I’m on to at the moment is replacing rails on our gates. Our two horses are both wood chewers and cause a lot of damage. I have tried several deterrents over the years but haven’t managed to get round all the gates.
The vet advised spreading a special paste over the gates but it was very messy and on passing through the gateway it’ was easy to get covered in this gunk.
I’ve found the best method is to mail a piece of wire along the top of the gate and along the rails. However, because it’s a time-consuming job, I never seem to get all the gates done so it’s like an invite to the ‘girls’ to carry on regardless!
I might wait until the weather improves and then get the job done properly. Well, that’s the aim anyway.
By time you read this I’m hoping the Chiefs will still have one game to play – Go the Chiefs!
Brian Neben publishes Rural Living and is also an avid lifestyle farmer