Obviously with Covid 19 about there are some changes afoot but we do consider ourselves lucky to be farming. We continue to work as normal (wouldn’t mind some time off!) we come in at the end of the day, sit down to watch the news and think ‘is this really going on in the world’. Apart from the odd trip to the local shop we are unaware. Except the time we tried to load cattle with the driver staying 6’ away from us. That was a right pantomime.
The reason I am indulging during the daytime is because the cattle are out, the horses are out, the holiday cottage is empty (so is my bank account) and the hay is not ready to cut for another month. So we are having a massive clear up, some of which is traumatic but necessary. The problem with farmers is the amount of space to store what we will politely call ‘stuff’. Some of it really does come in handy but a lot is of no real significance. Especially my surf boards from my days of living in Devon, they look oddly out of place in a Gloucestershire barn and I am way too fat for my wetsuit. If I dared to go surfing now they would call the wildlife rescue to take me back to deeper waters.
One thing I feel sad letting go is our 1948 Fordson Standard tractor with spade lugs (spikes that ensure you are never the same again once driven). It belonged to Great Grandad Otto. It starts and runs but looks rather sad and neglected. James and I are being realists, we are never going to use it or tart it up so it may as well go to someone who will love it, better than a slow deterioration. However I feel as if a bit of Preecemore history is going with it. Farming families live in one place for generations and we become oddly attached to inanimate objects. I guess most people have a favourite screwdriver/wrench and, most sad of all, a bucket. I’ve had that bucket longer than my children and it’s never let me down. There the comparison ends.
James continues with office hours, 9.00 to 5.00 Monday to Thursday. In many ways it has made it a bit easier for me to take my foot off the accelerator without feeling guilty. As long as when we are haymaking he doesn't clock off until the job is done I don’t mind. At last I have concluded that a day off once in a while is no bad thing.
I’ve left most of the verges around the farm/livery this year to grow wild (will strim when finished flowering) to give the insects a bit of a helping hand. I love the great swathes of cow parsley as it sways in the wind. Why ever was I so vigorous with the strimmer before?
We’ve had quite a tough time over the last few months. A loadall was written off by the insurance company after it went upside down in a gert hole. We have a new (to us!) old truck, I wasn’t so sure about it at first but I have to be honest it is a great workhorse. It's so good to chuck everything in the back and “hey ho, its off to work we go”. The truck also was ‘minging’, there is a bit of a theme going on here. I have never been afraid of cleaning, in fact I am embarrassed to admit I quite like it. Donald as the truck is named is now less of a health hazard.
I lost my Dad in February and now with this dreaded virus I cannot go to visit my mother. I am thinking of how this is impacting on so many people. It’s difficult but we are now putting together a new cleaning and disinfection programme for the holiday cottage and HOPE we can open again in July, but who knows? I couldn’t find any antibacterial wipes but had packets of teat wipes which are just and good and very strong. Chris sniffed one and nearly passed out.
Lastly we are vastly improving some of the stiles around the farm. As I get older I appreciate that not everyone can hop over so easily. Meanwhile we have diverted along the edge (headland) of the hay field.