Saturday 24 September 2016

Autumn on the Farm.

This is one of the lovely comments left in our cottage visitors book this summer...remarks & drawings like this do make us feel that we are getting something right in what we offer our guests. (Click on photo to enlarge it to read the comments.) We have had a very busy season and although we are now officially into autumn we still have guests coming to stay. The countryside at this time of year is glorious, the trees and hedges are still green but with hints of tawny gold beginning to appear and the rich ruby ripeness of the hawthorn berries adding a depth of colour to the high hedges. We have been having such lovely weather this past few days that it puts a glow over everything. The swallows have now left us, just in the last couple of days, on their long flight back to the southern sun. We are now in the season of lighting fires in the evenings and ensuring that the log supply for next year is well advanced. A shed full of seasoning logs is a deeply satisfying sight.
Over on the coast there are reports of seal pups on several of the beaches. People are advised to stay off the beach itself and keep their dogs on leads but the pups can be viewed quite easily. They are a beautiful sight, the fat roly-poly pups in their thick creamy coats with their huge dark sad eyes. The mother seal is usually out in the water keeping a close eye on the pup and she is very wary of any intrusion.

On the farm things are busy with slurry-spreading and hedge-trimming. We are taking lambs and bull calves to the various markets each week at present. Calving is well underway and we have about thirty to feed each day with more due over the next weeks. The bull calves we sell on but the heifers are all kept to be reared as 'followers' to the dairy herd. We have always calved down at this time of year though many dairy herds tend to go for spring calving and some do all year round calving, but it suits us to have the calves all come at one period though it can get very labour intensive.

Sunday 4 September 2016

Local Show in the Rain

One of the best things about living in the country are the local agriculture shows which carry on regardless of the weather, which this year was unrelenting rain. Llandysul Show, was held yesterday despite the continual downpour. The Farmer was stewarding for the one of the cattle judges and was soaked to the skin but so was everyone else so they just all carried on cheerfully swathed in heavy duty waterproofs. The grandchildren and I were slightly better off placing our entries for the cookery & children's classes in the craft & horticultural marquee though the rain was coming down the poles and the wind was blowing hard enough to disturb the displays but we farming folk are a stoical lot and there was a lovely air of jolliness and determination that the show must go on.
The Farmer had also entered various item in the rural crafts section & between us all we did quite well as the photo shows, including the Farmer winning the Rural Crafts cup. So, well done the Robinsons!

I love small country shows. They show a side of country life that is often overlooked. It is not the tweeness of 'country living' as portrayed in the glossy (dare I say it, rather patronising) lifestyle magazines, it is the real life of people who work very hard and who, for pleasure, take great pride in growing the longest runner bean, or the heaviest marrow or making delightful flower arrangements in teacups. Shows like this have been running for decades and very little will have changed over the years. Old men show their beautiful hand carved walking sticks, old ladies bake cakes and grow sweetpeas for the show as they have done all their lives. Children are encouraged to enter the handwriting competitions and to make pictures using buttons, or weird animals out of vegetables and there are always plenty of entries. The handicrafts section is always a delight with exquisite knitting, embroidery and patchwork items on display and wood-turning and carving to a very high standard. This is all in addition to the cattle, sheep and horses that are so carefully groomed and trained for the show by hardworking farmers and their families who do the extra work because they love it and will ensure that they go to the shows almost no matter what.