Back To My Roots

A packet of ear tags arrived today. The tags that will go in the ears of my flock as they are disbanded later this week and I will no longer be farmer – not an accidental farmer me – only by design – smallholdered as a child in my parents garden, Ag college , self empolyed working on farms and relief milking, herdswoman and then tenant farmer – goats, pigs, sheep and more cows on 28 acres of West Dorset – for not the last not quite 30 years ago – own the place now and I have expanded to 50 acres using my absent /non farming neighbours’ lands but now I am giving up –  house is undergoing major open house surgery and I am in a mobile home – the old infrastructure of the farm is in dire need of repair and I have been chasing errant lambs too often these last few months – so I decided to call time for now or I will be lambing again in November and we will be in utter chaos everywhere… My garden is a building site where once was a large productive veg plot, my soft fruit is neck deep in weeds – but the orchard is wonderful – and I am writing surrounded by heavily laden trees – we have three barrels of cider left under dust from the builders and three jars of the extra strong apple wine under the stairs….All is not lost.


Cider making by the big back door

 It seems to me suddenly facing silent empty fields for real this week that I am starting again – not stopping at all – just returning to my roots and that something new will grow in it’s place.

New growth from old roots…

I had given up milking cows many years ago and never thought to go back to it but last year a young neighbour’s impending nuptials had me back in the pit doing my bit to ensure they could leave the farm and cows for a couple of days and I loved it – the chance to go back and reconnect with my 13 year old self who would cycle to the nearest farm and get their cows in just for the joy of it.
Similarly having had young ponies to back for some years I had got fed up with the road traffic situation and I had more or less stopped riding – then a chance conversation with a neigbour as we were topping my fields brought one of his slower young home bred point to pointers – Buddy – into my life and the joy of riding for miles returned to me.
So may be this is another chance to go back and see why I started this – it is crazy really we have had the full range of stock and produced all kinds of produce but I still adore it – the producing food and making things, being with the stock – breeding them, birthing them and seeing them safely out of the world too – the whole cycle of life – still gives me the frizz of excitement it always did
This place has been fabulous and though it looks a wreck now something will grow out of this – aged 50 and downsizing? Not so much – I have been writing more or less full time for a couple of years while still doing some off farm lambings and that writing is taking shape and I am learning to put web sites together and I am still riding –  now there will be me, the horses and the 13 geese 2 hens and the rest is pretty much a bomb site.  – my mum will return and I suppose carry on spinning and weaving as her health allows and husband will still be trucking – though there have been mutterings of his retirement…
Seeing our home dismantled was hard even though it was falling down – but it has long passed the point of no return on the way back up again and Mum has been safe in the holiday cottage in the village – it occurs to me as I write that she won’t have fleece to spin and weave her rugs with now – unless she gets it else where – which of course she can  and that our dogs may never be called stock safe again but I think I am being a drama queen and I digress…

The future then…

May be I will get that polly tunnel I always fancied when we are straight – it occurs to me that it might be a good time to blog about the place – I have always journalled the life here  for record and account and to keep me sane I had not thought to add it to my site as until this morning when those tags arrived I had thought the job over and done with as too old and past it but of course land isn’t like that – farming isn’t like that and neither is smallholding – we till and plant and reap and store and then we start again – how ever did I think this was over? 😉