Monday, 14 February 2011

Something happened to a member of my family today that put into very sharp focus just how delicate and precarious our interwoven lives are.   Someone whom I love very much was involved in a head on car collision.   Fortunately, and but for the grace of God, no one was seriously hurt, but enough damage was done to make everyone think.    Think, ‘what if’.   If the worst case scenario had happened today my life would have been shattered into a thousand pieces, not to mention that of the rest of my family and yet it started as just a normal day, with it’s normal frustrations and daily routine that we all think nothing of.   We take so much of our lives for granted that it’s difficult to imagine what life would be like if something  tragic happened but maybe every once in a while we should think ‘what if’.    Maybe it would make us take things a bit slower, maybe it would make us tell each other that we love each other a bit more often and maybe we would be a lot more thankful  for what we have and the people in our lives who make it so rich.   For fear of sounding like an American sitcom with a moral tale to tell, like the Crosby Show, or other such tosh I am just very happy that my friends and family are all safe and well, albeit a little shaken and bruised in one instance.

For a slightly different reason, my husband is a little shaken and bruised this evening but more in the holistic, hangovery way .   He and some of his eldest and dearest friends went over to Ireland at the weekend to watch the French narrowly defeat the Irish in the 6 Nations Rugby after which the boys felt the need to drink Dublin dry until half three in the morning! 

The farm continues to march forward into Spring.    We had a huge amount of rainfall on Sunday and as a result everything is feeling a little boggy but when the sun shines you can feel it’s promise of Spring warmth.    It’s time for a massive Spring Clean around the farm – I have no idea how we manage to attract so much rubbish yet it seems that piles of ‘stuff’ appear out of nowhere.    However, it is my personal challenge to make the farm look beautiful this year, even with the builders around – with great planting and lots of recycling I am sure we can whip this place into shape.

So, that’s it for this Valentines Day.   My husband has spent the last 10 years protesting about the fact that he doesn’t believe in such nonsense and he’d done it so well that this year it hadn’t even registered with me that it was Valentines … until he turned up back from Dublin with a bottle of champagne and a beautiful card!   Feel really guilty now that I didn’t get him anything at all!!

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Spring is almost here and that is fact.    Do you know how I know this so conclusively?   Firstly, my lovely girls have started laying eggs again after at least 8 weeks of nothingness and secondly I found the pigs sunbathing this afternoon instead of huddled up in their shed!    There definitely seems to have been the seismic shift today that you sometimes feel with the changing of the seasons.    The last few days have been really windy, and I mean REALLY windy, yet today the sun shone brightly and there was not a breath of wind and the transition from winter to spring seemed complete.    That is not to say that next week it won’t snow, but for now the feel is that things are emerging from their winter slumber.   Like the pigs who have ventured out of their shed, the bulbs are poking their noses out of the ground.   

This change of weather means that it is time to start sowing some seeds in the lean to.   Sweet pea is always first with me, along with peppers and those I will sow tomorrow.    Olly and I are on the brink of buying our first polytunnel which we are very excited about.   I do have some in trepidation about erecting it though – I just can’t see it’s going to be an easy job.   I am also blessed with a husband who’s default setting when we are working outside with each other is that of ‘Master’ and ‘Slave’ – he obviously being the former and me the latter.    He is quite open about this and  although he thinks of me as Slave, he would probably publicly call me his ‘Assistant’.    I don’t know why I say probably because he has, in fact, said that I am his ‘Assistant’ when we are working outside.   You can probably tell by my mentioning /ranting at this that I take umbrage to this but actually, I can say that in a bizarre way I do like it.   There is a pleasure in the inevitability of the fact that he will shout at me when we are working together, probably at some critical moment when I should have anticipated his next move and didn’t and that at some point, through no intention on my part whatsoever  I will do something to cause him pain, either through my lack of strength, over enthusiasm or  lack of forethought.   He knows it’s going to happen and so do I and it is that that makes us perfect for each other, because when the sun sets and the job is done and we are still in love.   Just doesn’t stop me dreading the next time!!

When I say it’s been windy – it really has.   For most of Sunday, Olly and I spent our time holding onto the roof of the Duck and Chicken house (with him shouting at me!).    We re-roofed it about 18 months ago but didn’t replace all the joists as we didn’t think it was necessary, as a result the wind got underneath the corregated plastic that we put on there and was lifting up the whole thing – rafters, joist and all.   We managed to hold it all down with a bit of tattered tarpauline and some bits of rope but the ducks and chickens were not impressed.   The roof made a huge racket when the wind blew and they were all at sixes and sevens until the wind died down.

So, 2011 hurtles on.   I cannot quite understand where January went to but, nevertheless, we are here in Feb.   We have now started building work on the Cow Byre which is coming on a huge pace and I will upload some photos to our website, www.parkmillfarm.com, very soon.   We hope to have it finished in a shell form by the end of April which will be great.

2011 also brings a new event to the farm.   We will be hosting “Heaven of the South” here on the 21/22 May which is cycling event (it’s not a race).   Basically 300+ cyclists with their friends and families will arrive for a weekend of camping, during which they will cycle either a 75km or 100km route around the Cotswolds.   All we have to do is entertain and feed them for the weekend.   Should be great fun.   If you are interested go to www.heavenof thesouth.co.uk  for more info – you don’t even have to do the cycling part, you can just come for the party!!

Anyway, for one who hasn’t written in ages I’m going to leave it there.   Lots more is happening and going on but it can wait for another day.   I will write more very soon in an attempt to bring you fully up to date with our lives on the farm.    I spoke to our Aussie blog reader the other day (I should think he’s the only one) who told me that we definitely need more pictures so I am going to make that my task.   If they are not on here in the next couple of days, check out our website – they’ll be on there.

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