Hello there Everyone.
Wow what an entry into the New Year it has been. I sent a video to a friend, who lives in South Wales on the 1st January of the world outside my kitchen window and she sent back saying, "Welcome back to Wales"..... hmmm.....!!! I have decided that if I was super human, the ability to see the future weather conditions would be my super power. It would make planning the farming year epically simple.
Gavin decided during the summer last year that we needed to do a double lambing this year and as January is such a delightfully warm and dry month the lambs would have a good start before the bad weather hit during February and March..... Well that all went according to plan didn't it. We are on track for the 3rd wettest December/January since records began in 1900. Yes I know the top picture has a blue sky and there were a few beautifully sunny days. It would not be in my nature to moan all the time. Yes we did need the rain after a very dry year. Maybe we will have luxuriously green pastures in early Spring as a bonus.
The 20 or so mothers who were suppposed to have babies has turned into 50 or so and we are still not entirely finished yet as "W" arrived this morning abandoned by Mama sheep in the field, though these days at least they are not all in the kitchen and there is an organised area in the next door barn with a red light. The relief of not having to clean up sticky lamb poop 3 times a day is enormous. Every nook and cranny in the spaces in the barns are taken up with mums and babies. The pigs and the goats are happily living together in the plastic tunnel escaping from the elements. And Gavin is madly rotating the other livestock around their respective areas hoping for the occassional ray of sunshine to keep everyones spirits up. even the chickens are moving under the red light with the lambs.
It has been a very loud food orientated Dec/January and Patrick returned to The Netherlands 3 weeks ago and I would say he has been working hard, but his course went on a field trip to Poland for a week. The Polish are incredicly socialable and welcoming and I believe some rather sore heads were acquired by all during their thoroughly enjoyable week. Emily is still at home until the end of the week and then she will be back to Uni and the party scene again. As usual all 3 children have helped out with the daily chores and have been out with the lambs and sheep in all weathers which is always much appreciated by us.
The painting is finally complete in the butchery though it has taken rather longer than anticipated. The weather has not been conducive to drying cleaned paintwork, degreased floors or even paint once applied. Goodness knows what the electricity bill holds for us next month once 2 heaters running 24 hours a day for 2 weeks is calculated. However patience, patience all the euipment will be reinstalled this week to be fully up and running by the end of this week (Friday 2nd February) ready for the markets.
Apparently Gavin would like a modification in his life if this sticker that he acquired is anything to go by!.....
.....but sadly not to be Gavin, only at the market where some new tax laws for farmers dictate that we have to have an official cash register for the business. Sadly this has also meant a few days with the accountant, and more still to come to learn how to use the new software and and book-keeping system. A few other farmers are suffering with me, as we get to grips with it. Not my favourite passtime. I am coming to realise that little and often with the accounts is the way forward this year, which will mean having to organise systems and a proper office area so things don't get lost. Oh my (!) it may be a long year, I can honestly say that anything interests me more than office work....including watching paint dry and even ironing and lots of people know how much I enjoy ironing ;) So much so I am not even sure where the iron is or if we still have one!
We will see you all soon. Keep smiling! As a very small group of cranes passed over our rooftop a few days ago and yes they were flying north.
I am farming sheep and goats on the Dordogne/Gironde border with my husband and our 3 children. We have an on farm butchery and sell our meat direct to the public via the markets and delivery points in our local area