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Moaning is Addictive

I read an article in the Farmers Weekly this week that was written by a Farmer who at the age of 40 had decided that he had learned plenty of life lessons to be able to pass his wisdom on to young farmers. His article gave 25 tips to 25 year old farmers and most of them were very good. My husband thought his advice on building cattle sheds was spot on because he said you should build them twice as big as you can afford and then they will be half the size you need. The tip that jumped out at me was “don’t moan because it is more addictive than smoking”.

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Not a week goes by at home that I ask my husband or a visiting neighbouring farmer why they do it if it is that bad, after all with the equity that most farmers have tied up in farms they could choose a very comfortable life doing something different. The answer I always receive comes from their heart and definitely not their head, or so I thought….

Weather this Summer has been Terrible

Last Sunday we were in the same boat as most of the other farming families in Shropshire (perhaps even the country) in that the combine had hardly moved out of the shed. We had harvested the barley but still had oats, wheat and beans to harvest and bale the straw. It was looking very desperate. The weather has been terrible this summer, not particularly wet although recent downpours were starting to make our clay soil a little boggy but no real sun either. Then the sun came out and it was if the countryside came alive.

That Sunday afternoon we started combining again and our neighbours “the Pughs” came to help us with Rob on the combine and my husband and our neighbour Steve trailering the corn back to the grain store. When they had finished at our farm they started again at the Pughs farm and my husband baled their straw and was out until 3am returning home pleased at a job well done.

The rest of last week carried on like this with neighbours helping neighbours, at one stage at home we had two combines on the go to just get the job done. When one farmer finished their urgent work they were on the phone to help another and when it comes to reckoning up at the end they will amicably work out who owes who what. There will be no arguments over time or costs as they say “there is always another day” meaning they will always have another chance to do business together if they are fair.

Galloping Across the Fields

The buzz of the harvest is enjoyable despite the long hours and frustrating breakdowns, and when I reflected on the hectic few weeks it was easy to see the enjoyment of a farming life and perhaps the reason farmers stick at it is more that just because their fathers and grandfather before them did it.

There is no doubt that farmers work hard but they have flexibility to choose their daily routine, they are their own boss and provided they get their work done they can enjoy a level of freedom that most people do not have in their working lives. They have unlimited access to the countryside and as a result can have the lifestyle and hobbies that go with it. Most farmers would not admit to a couple of days shooting each season or a day out with the local hunt, but they do manage to fit it in. Their children can have a pony and chickens and dogs because a few more animals to feed and look after is not going to hurt, they have the space and someone at home to look after them. It is nice that family and friends can come and ride their quad bikes or fly kites and enjoy the space the fields provide.

And for me the very best part of life on Baggot Farm are the big fields of stubble to have a good gallop across. All in all it’s not a bad life and I think moaning can definitely be very addictive!