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Life on the Farm

Quantck Vista
 Our morning starts usually about 5.30am, a nice cup of tea before getting out sets everything right. Zip the collie puppy is quite good as an alarm clock because by 6am he is waiting to fetch the cows and can be quite vocal barking and pulling at your trouser leg, not funny if you are wearing shorts!

Gloucester Old Spot Piglets

 

 The cows 50 mixed herd, comprising mainly Holstein/Friesian but with a couple of Guernsey crosses, a couple of shorthorns and a newly purchased brown Swiss, are usually ambling up from the fields towards the parlour. Milking takes me about an hour, I love the job, it is methodical, warm, my cows are all sweet natured although at times a little pushy and it is the one smell that I find relaxing, the sweet smell of a warm dairy cow as she patiently gives me her milk.

Mayhem next, breakfast for the family, the rush of gathering everything for school the dash down to the village, goodbye, peace rains again. The general routine for every day starts any time between 9.30 and 10am depending on who calls in for a cup of tea! This one of the rare moments when you can probably guarantee that we are in the house.

Parlour needs to be cleaned right through and then set to drain. All pigs need to be fed and watered. Summer routine is slightly different as the cows return to the fields to graze, in the winter their living accommodation (cubicles) needs to be cleaned out and they need to be fed. The sheep are seen daily and again depending on the time of year different jobs need to be done. Once these daily jobs are done then it is time to prioritise the other jobs! These are the hardest ones what is more important farrowing pigs, sheep lambing, cows calving, silage to be made, TB test to take and the ever growing mountain of paper work. Registering newly born calves, recording movements of all stock, recording fertilizer application or worming doses on 50 pigs! Selecting the next pig for the shop, phoning instructions to the butcher as what cuts are needed from the last weeks pig.

Among these there is also the family to keep clean and tidy, luckily for us the two mums like to help so the serving in the shop is one job I only have to undertake occasionally and then through the summer I attend a market every Wednesday selling our produce.

Reading this back I wonder what we would do if we did not have the farm. The choice is ours but I know that actually we are the lucky ones, it may be hard and very depressing at times but the good things the miracle of all births, the beauty of the countryside and the support of neighbours, people like us far outweigh every thing .