Things have slowed down for me this last ten years or so, but reflecting back on the work we did looking after the farm and its stock, and how it got done defies belief.
We were always brought up to "work with the weather" not against it, and when the time was right put ya back into it and get the job done, this applied mainly to the field work. Almost the same thing applies to livestock, when a sheep or cow or a sow is giving birth, you need to know about it and be there on the spot.
If an animal gets injured or needs help, be it domestic or wild, every thing else gets dropped to attend to its needs, a helping hand when needed. You never know when you want a hand ya self, and I can testify to that on quite a few times over the years, injuries ta ya self being most inconvenient. There were no mobile phones back then.
There was never a start and a finish to a day or a week for that matter, with milking to do at 6am that gave the latest you got started and that was every day of the year.
Between milkings and after evening milking there was crops sow and tend, and later to be harvested for winter feed. Fences to maintain, hedges to cut and machinery to look after, with very little time spent on feeding ya self.
I suppose ten hours a day every day was about the norm, with exceptions when hay making or corn harvest when fourteen to eighteen hour days were not unusual.
|The old farmyard 1970's, an old tractor tyre leaning against the milk churn stand and old churn dairy. The B250 International tractor standing just above the railings on the right|
|The loft door open where all the cattle feed corn was stored and below where the root crop mangols and hay bales were tipped through to be fed to the cows|
|The tractor that was used nearly all my working life, (see top picture) now restored to its original as new look. Here its had its wheels painted and new fenders put on in 2005, now fully restored|
Who would like to be a farmer?
You've got to love the country, you've got to love the land,
Got to put the time in, and to anyone lend a hand,
It’s a lonely job at times, work for hours out in the fields,
To grow the grass and rear the stock, and aim for better yields.
Early morning milking’s, and all day to growing crops,
A long day mending fences, the work it never stops,
The working week 40 hours, done that by Tuesday night,
Every week and every month, end of the year in sight.
You stop to help an injured bird, binding up it wing,
Or tend a birth of calves and lambs, new life the world to bring,
Day and night you’re on call, to help all those in need,
To all the folk and stock give life, on this we set our creed.
It is not wealth one asks for, but just enough to preserve one's dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, frank and independent.
W Somerset Maugham (1874 - 1965)