I know farmers always complain about the weather – and it’s a subject we all have opinions on, but what a funny year we’re having! My last blog was written before the “Beast from the East” took hold of the UK and this blog is during a six week nationwide heat wave! It seems to me we moved straight from winter into summer and missed “spring” completely! Hope we get an Indian summer for autumn!
As you all know, we’re currently spending an exorbitant amount of money on building our new dairy farm. Our builders and fitters working everyday come rain or shine! Harry often fetches fish and chips for a lunchtime treat if it’s been particularly cold or latterly ”Cornettos” and cold cans of Cola during the heat wave to aid refreshment. The shed erecting team of just three men finished putting up three sheds in six weeks and two days in all weather! The large adjoining sheds have a roof span covering 1.3 acres alone! The roof weighs a total of 80 tonnes and there’s a further 80 tonnes of steel holding it up! Now we’re under this roof and the milking parlour, collecting yard, AI race for 24, shedding gates and footbath are all taking shape. Last week the bulk tank arrived and was shunted into its new home before the walls go up. It only just made it though. There’s no dairy as such these days of modern dairy farming, instead we have a pump room, wash room, motor room and chemical store room. These are being created ready for the parlour fitters to fill. Mark’s concerned where his “chair” is going and Harry wants to know where to plug in his phone recharger and the kettle! Oh happy days in the Barnes’ household.
I’m glad to come to the end of July as it’s been a serial birthday month for my family. In the first week it’s Marks to which we didn’t do anything special as I was away visiting Charlotte who’s now moved away from home. Then a week later its Charlotte’s and her boyfriend Elliot who both turned 24 yrs – they share the exact same day and year! She was working at the Great Yorkshire Show that week so Mark and I went up to see her in Harrogate, visited the show and stayed over for a couple of nights (any excuse to leave the farm at the moment !) We planned to take her out to dinner that night, but it clashed with the important England vs Croatia World Cup game. My husband is a huge football fan – mainly supports Tottenham so he just wanted to stay at one of the pubs showing the game in town. So we didn’t get dinner, just some pathetic sandwiches & a bag of crisps from the local Tesco Express as all the restaurants/public houses showing the game stopped serving food after 5pm! Then the following week it was mine and everyone’s run out of enthusiasm and money to bother about celebrating “mums birthday” so I spend the day stewarding at the local PC dressage competition! Ah well that’s life!
Talking about the Great Yorkshire Show, it was our first time visiting and we were blowing away what a major show it was. You’re hard pushed to walk round it all in one day! We managed (surprise, surprise!!) to visit all our friends in the Ayrshire cattle lines and even went for a Coffee in the Ayrshire Breeders Tea Room. Seriously Impressed!
In May, Charlotte moved to Suffolk with her boyfriend. Elliot works in Hunt Service and has progressed to The Thurlow Hunt near Newmarket as Kennel Huntsman. Together they have set about the kennels making improvements and upgrading facilities even though the builders are in the house so they’re in temporary accommodation 2 miles away! I visit fairly regularly and to my mind Elliot is so dedicated to his hounds, their breeding, welfare and work, it reminds me of Mark with his Ayrshire cows. There are so many similarities between a huntsman and his beloved hounds and dairy farmers who love breeding good cows! Even Elliot showed some of his hounds at The Great Yorkshire show coming home with winning rosettes too!
It’s going to be a very international summer this year. In June we welcomed Donald and Anne Green who visited us from New Zealand and July we hosted an lovely 18 yr old girl YFC Exchangee called Katharina from Austria. Then in Sept we are expecting Ross Peddicord from Maryland in USA who’s staying with us for Burghley Horse Trials week.
Donald is currently the National President of NZ Ayrshires and we first met them and Ross Peddicord on our wonderful trip to USA two years ago on the World Ayrshire Conference. Basically we just picked up where we left off with loads of laughter and shared interest in our cows! We took them over the Blaize and Debbie Tomlinsons’ farm for a look at their excellent herd and consumed some very welcome refreshment on such a hot and sticky day! Now we can’t wait to see them again at the next World Conference in Australia in 2020. Donald and Anne went on to visit Willie and Ann Whiteford before leaving the UK. Katharina, on the other hand, wasn’t interested in the cows!
Social Media Alert! We’ve re-launched the educational experience for my audiences from the talks I give and re-named it – Farmer Barnes Dairy. For those who use Facebook, you can now follow our building project in pictures and comments by
searching “Farmer Barnes Dairy” and click “follow”. There are some wonderful aerial photos of the new buildings on there. When we’ve built the new Cow Classroom alongside the Parlour, members of the public can visit us and watch the cows being milked from above on a purpose built viewing gallery or through the windows from the Cow Classroom. The plan is that Mark does the Tractor & Trailer rides around our maize crops, grazing fields and heifer young stock while I do the walking tour of the buildings, baby calves and serve the refreshments whilst Harry shows off his milking skills on a hover board (it’s a long pit)!
Hum…..we’ll see – watch this space, as they say!