November is a relatively quiet time on the farm. The harvest is over and next year’s crops are in the ground. All around green shoots of new growth have appeared giving the fields a beautiful verdant sheen.
At Press Mains we grow a variety of crops. There is wheat which goes up to the Scottish distilleries for whisky and barley which mainly goes for animal feed. We also grow oats for milling, oilseed rape for cooking oil and vining peas which are harvested and sent to Eyemouth where they are frozen.
It was an easy harvest this year with very little rain to interrupt the combines. It meant that we were able to get well ahead and sow next years’ crops in good conditions and in really good time. There won’t be a lot to do for the crops now until the spring but there is still plenty of activity on the farm.
The recent high winds has left us with a lot of fallen trees and John, Craig and Michael have spent many days clearing and chain sawing the timber. All the wood for the stoves at Press Mains comes from our own timber and once these new logs have been seasoned and dried they will be available in the cottages too. We have also been clearing the area at the top of the drive to make way for some new tree planting in the spring.
The lambs are away now. Some went to market and others were moved to farms where they can continue to grow. It’s always sad to see them go but we need to make room for next year’s lambs. The lambing cycle begins at this time of year and the tups (rams) are out with the ewes at the moment. There are around 50 black-faced Suffolk Cross ewes from last year and we now have another 34 speckle-faced Mule ewes who will be having lambs for the first time next year. They are a bit wilder than their Suffolk Cross flock mates but have been introduced because of their excellent mothering and milking ability.
Sadly one of the Texel tups has a sore leg so the remaining two have had to work a bit harder but we are all set to start lambing next year at the beginning of March.