Friday, 15 November 2019

The rain it keeps on raining

By and large, we're flood free round here, but unfortunately, our little rectangle of land, does sit in the valley bottom and our water catchment is: Three arable farms, the A361, and the North Wessex Downs (to the tune of  'The Twelve Days of Christmas'?!)

When the lovely lady from Natural England came out to look at our water courses, we discovered that the bubbling spring we'd been so fond of was in fact a Victorian road drain, chucking the water off the main road down under our hay field and in theory off the side half way up.  Just as well we hadn't bottled it and sold it.

Despite all of this, over the last decade or two, we've improved things considerably. We have dug two ditches which in theory are more swale-like in summer but more off-contour-ditch-like in winter, meaning that with minor adjustments we can talk them into holding water up for us, or chucking it off into the bourne at the side.

We have a third off-contour ditch which is definitely a ditch.

We have practiced regenerative grazing as far as possible, and the soil has improved, as well as the diversity in the sward (hark at me!) and whereas the whole of the bottom half of the field used to be a swamp for six months of the year, we now only lose a bit of it after Christmas.

This year though : THE RAIN!

As I write, there are 250 flood warnings in operation. The rainfall has been of the record breaking kind, and now it's snowing in the hills, and as we all know, snow melts.

So it's entirely possible our failure to get the turkeys was inspired, because we rely on access being good until after Christmas to keep them all in good shape. It was just a glorious bodge up, whereby the left hand not only didn't know what the right hand was doing, it was I think unaware there was a right hand, but it may have been for the best.

We had a clutch of ewe lambs in for a few days as they didn't look best but everyone appears to be coping now.  We will have to look out for feet, both ovine and caprine as nobody's feet fair well in this weather (except ducks, and we don't have any ducks at the minute. Another oversight!)

All my best intentions seem to be disappearing into muddy puddles.

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