Lighting a spark on November 5th
Living on a farm really gives you a sense of the changing seasons and feeling close to nature, no two days are certainly ever the same here in Leicestershire. Bright sunshine could be followed by howling winds and rain, and we must be prepared for all eventualities. Our workload also varies throughout the year, but thankfully we have some extra help from family and local work experience students who regularly come at the weekend to muck in.
My son Harry is also home from college at weekends and he does loads of work with the new tractor, bedding, feeding silage, scraping up muck and loading the dump trailer to move muck away down the fields. He also clears the drains so all the rain water from the roof goes straight down the drain and doesn’t make our yard muddier than it needs to be!
One of the trickiest jobs can be moving the calves, as they can be skittish and hard to handle if you aren’t used to them. I explained to the students, that if they heard me shouting and swearing not to take it personally, as it’s just my way of ensuring the job runs smoothly. However, I needn’t have worried as they all played their part very well. With some careful manoeuvring we managed to reposition the youngest calves and move the older ones into their new homes, which will give us 43 new heifers for next year!
The 5th November was especially memorable for me this year, as I was able to take some time off the farm and participate in public talks. The first speech I gave was for the Southwell U3A in front of about 280 people! Wow, that was a big one! I got such a buzz from being on stage with my headset microphone and remote control, whizzed through the talk, taking time to answer all the questions at the end. We managed to make our way through 2kg of Stilton cheese and everyone really enjoyed hearing my tales of our farm.
I often start my talks with a joke about my husband Mark being a ‘rare breed’, just like the cows! This seemed to go down well with one particular lady in the audience who later wrote:
"I realised immediately that I was about to listen to someone with a good sense of humour who would hold my attention and interest. I wasn't disappointed!"
It was nice to receive such warm feedback.
I also visited The Trent Valley Men’s Probus group of about 60 people in Colwick, Nottingham on the 6th Novemeber. The President introduced me with the words ".......now listen and learn. Jane commands your attention at all times, I know, I've seen her before.."
I wasn’t sure whether to take this as a compliment or not to begin with! Nonetheless it was fantastic to get out in the community and spread the word about dairy farming. We lead a busy and, at times, demanding lifestyle on the farm, but taking part in these talks certainly made my Guy Fawkes Night go off with a bang!