Glastonbury 2017, Worthy Farm

Words cannot describe how amazing Glastonbury was! I was lucky enough to go for the first time this year as a volunteer for WaterAid UK and I have never had so much fun at a festival before.

Words cannot describe how amazing Glastonbury was!

I was lucky enough to go for the first time this year as a volunteer for WaterAid UK and I have never had so much fun at a festival before.

It was 6 days of pure laughter and excitement that all blended into one and this blogpost will share some of these memories with you.

Getting there 

Because I’m slightly bonkers, I signed up to Hitch to Glastonbury via Leeds RAG Society (Raise and Give) to raise money for WaterAid UK.

My target was to fundraise £250 and I proudly achieved it before the hitch set off.

img_3195
Featured in my local paper pre-hitch

Hitch-hiking used to be a popular method of travel many years ago but nowadays hardly anyone does it.

We set off from Parkinson Building, Leeds at 9.30am. We split into two teams and had a bit of a competition about who would get to the campsite in Bristol first.

James, Me, Scarlett and Frankie

I hitched down with James, a friend from university.

Our plan was to be dropped off at service stations on route, in the hope we would bump into someone who was going to the festival.

However, this theory did not always go to plan. For instance we got stuck on some motorway junctions and service stations for hours on end.

Stood at a service station trying to get a lift

Eventually we arrived at our campsite around 5pm.

To our delight, we were the first team to arrive, despite getting into 6 different cars, which was pretty good considering neither James or myself had ever hitched before.

Our home for the night

The next day was even trickier. We realised that the further south we got, the less people entertained the idea of hitch-hiking, even though it was for charity.

But after much walking, James losing his wallet and another 5 cars, we made it to the festival site!

Thank you to every kind (and crazy) soul who stopped and helped us with our journey to the festival – James and I were incredibly grateful and loved hearing your stories.

Work Hard 

As we were volunteering for WaterAid UK at the festival, we got to stay in the volunteer campsite, which was on the same road as Michael Eavis’ farm.

We arrived on Wednesday (the hottest day ever) and felt our bodies melting as we trekked our stuff to the site and pitched up the tent.

Official wristbands and ID

In the evening, we had an induction from WaterAid’s staff about our roles on the site. I was part of the Loo Crew Team, meaning I would be cleaning the long drop toilets.

After the meeting I headed off to meet Ryan and watch the firework display.

 

Firework display

Over the course of the festival I had to work 4 six hour shifts – Thursday (6am-12pm), Friday (12am-6am), Saturday (6pm-12pm) and Monday (6am-12pm).

I would definitely recommend volunteering at a festival to anyone.

You get to see the festival from a different perspective (from finding Michael Eavis’ dairy cows to using restricted access pathways) as well as have the best time working as a team!

The dream time

Play Harder 

As it was my first time at Glastonbury, I was keen to see and do everything with friends from home and Ryan.

Below are my favourite photographs of the weekend.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
From left: Liz, Ryan, Liam, Jess, Me and Emily at the top of Glastonbury hill
img_3109
‘Do you really need another Barbour coat Hannah?’
img_3231
Loving the cow theme
img_2898
View from the top of the Ribbon Tower
img_2897
Standard Glastonbury photograph
img_2984
THE BEST SIGHT IN A MORNING


The Music 

As a music lover and former music reviewer, I was keen to see as many bands as possible.

Friday 

  • Blossoms
  • First Aid Kit
  • Royal Blood
  • Lorde
  • Radiohead

Saturday 

  • The Amazons
  • Kaiser Chiefs
  • Katy Perry
  • Foo Fighters

Sunday 

  • Barry Gibb
  • Haim
  • Biffy Clyro
  • London Grammar
  • Metronomy
Foo Fighters knew how to PARTY

Overall my first Glastonbury definitely defied my expectations!

It is simply the most magical place (farms always are) and I cannot wait to return one day. Until next time, Worthy Farm!

Blog Sign Off

Farming Fathers

With Fathers Day this Sunday, I thought I would blog about why our farming fathers are a show-winning breed.

With Fathers Day this Sunday, I thought I would blog about why our farming fathers are a show-winning breed.

Being a farm dad is by no means easy or glamorous, with long hours and changeable schedules meaning they often miss out on important school events, such as my primary school debut as Wolly the Sheep.

Yet our farm dads still play a vital role in our upbringing, providing us country kids with a unique upbringing that town kids could only dream about.

Always a ‘daddy’s girl’ and landrover lover

Here are my five reasons why having a farmer for a dad is the best thing ever and why I would not swap my upbringing with anyone else.

Always Hands On 

Living on a working farm means everyday is ‘take your child to work day’.

Me and Dot

Ever since I can remember, I was involved with farming life, from gathering sheep on the quad bike with my dad, playing on his new tractors and machinery to mimicking our hardworking sheepdog when herding a flock of sheep.

Gathering sheep 
Sorting the sheep

I even farmed in my school uniform (on occasions!) for small tasks such as turning sheep on the road or shooing them up Pendle Hill.

Me (left) and Ellie (right) strolling on Pendle Hill 

My dad not only acted as a teacher through this hands on approach, informing me about animals, nature, diseases, life and death, but demonstrated the importance of hard work if I wanted to succeed in – even if that meant working 24/7 and doing tasks that I don’t enjoy doing.

Animals galore

Another perk of having a farmer for a dad is that you have the option of owning the coolest of pets.

Forget the usual  dogs and rabbits – I’m talking ponies, pet lambs, calves, farmyard kittens and even tups!

I definitely became a daddy’s girl after he purchased Beauty, my first ever pony, following Foot and Mouth in 2001.

Yet having a range of pets meant that I grew up having responsibilities in terms of caring for the animals I acquired, like my pony. She had to be brushed, ridden, mucked out etc…

So farm dads are fairly lenient about having pets as it teaches children about the importance of responsibilities and the real life consequences if chores/tasks are not completed.

Pet Lambs = Friends

Unique Toys 

Growing up, I had a completely different set of toys to most of my classmates, such as a toy tractor I used to drive around in to pretending to be a Dalek in a spare bale wrap box during haytime.

Beep Beep

Other toys included whatever dad could make in his spare time, like a tractor tyre swing.

image1
‘I AM A DALEK’

Jack of All Trades

Farming fathers have this amazing superhero ability whereby they are an electrician, plumber, mechanic, vet, farmer, welder at any given stage of the day.

From erecting a new fence to mending broken down quad bikes to fixing the milk machine, it seems apparent that there is nothing our farming dads cannot do, except work iPhones…

They have shown us that as long as you work hard, you can be anything that you want to be and that you can be a multi-faceted person if you put your mind to it.

Driving Instructor 

Persuading your dad to give you a driving lesson when you live on a farm is no problem whatsoever.

They are incredibly keen for you to learn to drive so they don’t have to ferry you around anymore (they call it ‘independence’).

But more likely, they are excited for that extra pair of hands so that you can drive the tractor at Haytime whilst they go and do something else.

Forever a John Deere Lover

Here’s to all the farming dads out there – you are doing a great job!

And finally … Happy Fathers Day Dad!

Blog Sign Off

Revision Tips for Countryside Dwellers

A phrase often muttered from Dad’s mouth, ‘I’ll do it later’ seems to be the attitude I, like many students, adopted recently towards revising for my second year exams.

Another technique I mastered was the art of procrastination, with the farmyard offering a variety of distractions making it incredibly hard to stay inside and revise.

Here are my top revision tips for country dwellers with upcoming exams to ensure you utilise your surroundings and do not get too distracted!

Fresh Air & Exercise. 

Being surrounded by fields has never been so advantagoeus when it comes to revision breaks. There is nothing better than taking the border collies for walks through the meadows, or a quick jog around the fields to check if any lambs have got stuck in the fence.  By breaking up study periods into shorter sessions and exercising, you are boosting brain activity for a more effective study, in addition to lowering stress levels and easing the pressure. So put down your highlighters and shove on your wellies for 5-10 minutes or so for a beneficial refreshing break.

Hey there gals

Forever getting stuck

Use friends/family .. and animals! 

Farmers love to talk so why not utilise this opportunity to teach friends and family your revision? By teaching the material to others, you will aid your memory and recall skills as it requires you to learn and organise your knowledge in a clear and structured manner. It can demonstrate you know more than you think or identify areas you need to go back over.

And if you would rather your ‘students’ don’t talk back or ask further questions, then teach it to your favourite heifer/tup/pig/goat/any other farmyard occupant for an additional confidence boost.

Teaching Polly about Ancient Empires rather than sheep

Find the right environment to revise 

Okay, so sitting in the middle of a field or the cattle shed is probably not the best place to revise.

From bees buzzing around to sheep bleating, it is full of interruptions that will cost you your desired grade. Instead, work in an environment that will not distract you, whether its your bedroom, kitchen table, parents’ office, or a local library!

Basically anywhere with a desk, so that you can spread out your revision and get going without any distractions.

Revision Break

Eat well 

Trips to the auction mart offer more than just updates on trade and a chance to have a chinwag with other local farmers in that THERE IS ALWAYS A GOOD CAFE.

Eating a healthy balanced diet can help you focus and avoid illness whilst revising, and the auction cafe serves a variety of good wholesome British food waiting for you to tuck into.

Steak and Mushroom Pie @ Gisburn Auction Mart

Ham, Egg and Chips @ NW Auctions

Steak and Ale pie @ NW Auctions

Create a plan 

Just like farming in that you plan your activities such as dosing sheep on a Tuesday, cleaning the tractor on Wednesday afternoon and possibly cutting the grass should it continue being sunny on Friday morning, you need to create a revision plan that is achievable in terms of the subjects you are revising and the time available.

And just like farming, your plan needs to be flexible as somethings may take longer/be harder than you though – if you haven’t grasped a certain topic area, try looking at it from a different approach rather than postponing/ignoring it. Be flexible but stern in your approach to revising and you will reap the benefits!

Washed the tractor …

Treat Yourself 

WELL DONE FOR REVISING – nobody ever says this in real life but they really should. It is important that you reward yourself when you have finally grasp a tough subject/remember a definition/can quote a literary text. So whether you have been eyeing up a new Schoffel fleece, a vital tractor part or simply an ice-cream from your local dairy farm, go ahead and do it. YOU DESERVE IT.

Oops!

Think Positively and Relax

Revision can be very dispiriting, especially when you’re working on subjects that you struggle with.  But it needs stressing that failing exams is not the end of the world – seriously.

All you can do is give it your best shot, like everything in life. Remember your sole value is not that you got a B in GCSE Chemistry or an 51 in your University Economics module exam.

You have skills and talents beyond the classroom, such as an ability to shear sheep, drive tractors, plant trees, bake delicious cakes or bombard Instagram with photographs of the farm (GUILTY!) and you should be proud of that.

Just think positive and give it your best shot – nobody can ask for anything more than that.

I like to take photographs of pet lambs

So those were my revision tips for country dwellers. Let me know if you found any of them helpful or have any of your own to suggest!

Blog Sign Off

Filming at the Farm 

The secret can finally be shared…

Last week (10/4/2017) ITV Granada came to our farm in Lancashire to film lambing, in particular the fell sheep.

I got to meet some of the team, such as Jo Blythe (weather presenter) and Simon the cameraman! They were incredibly friendly and eager to get going.

Filming started around 10am and we headed to the fields to get some outdoor footage before the rain started pouring.

Feeding time

Setting up the camera

The photos above show Dad and Jo feeding the Swales whilst the cameraman and producer filmed.

The sheep had just come off Pendle Hill (in the background) ready for lambing.

Seeing as we will be lambing them outside, they are moved to enclosed fields – this is so we can keep an eye on them and get involved should any problems occur.

I enjoy seeing sheep lambing outside, especially the Swales, as they have their own technique – when they are starting to lamb they segregate themselves to the outset walls to give birth.

Then, after a few days and when the lamb is strong enough, the sheep will gradually make their way back up the hill to join the others. It is amazing to watch.

Once we got the footage, Jo interviewed my dad, asking him a range of questions such as ‘When does a lamb stop being a lamb? and ‘How important is farming to the landscape?’

It was great to watch how they filmed the interview from different angles to get in a range of shots.

After a quick brew, we headed back outside to go and see some mules and lambs a few weeks older.


I drove Jo and the producer to Downham in my defender. Dad followed on behind with the camera man and Polly.

Luckily the sun came out and the lambs were running around the field, enjoying the media attention.

We spent a good 20 minutes watching them play as well as soak in the landscape, something we don’t often have chance to appreciate!

Finally, we stopped off at the lambing shed. They were shown the milking machines and the many pet lambs that we look after (up to 200 so far!).

Some of the older pet lambs

We let Jo get into the pen and after a few minutes she was surrounded by nibbling curious lambs! She loved every minute.
Apparently we should market it as ‘lamb therapy’ and charge £50 per hour. Who would be interested?!


And as an extra bonus, a mule sheep had just lambed a healthy set of twins for the cameraman, demonstrating exactly  just how busy and demanding lambing time is!

Newborns

Whilst I didn’t actually get to be in front of the camera, I did teach Jo the correct way to bottle feed a lamb and had a lot of fun chatting about all things farm related.

Me doing what I do best… bottle-feeding pet lambs!

Overall I really enjoyed the day filming at  the farm!

It gave me an insight into tv film producing but most importantly, showcased the hard work farmers up and down the country are currently doing to viewers everywhere!

I think it is important for young farmers like myself to raise awareness about the amazing work farmers do to tackle inaccurate misconceptions and myths about the industry floating around in the media and to highlight the hard work and pride we have for our livelihoods!

After all, it’s not just a job, it’s a lifestyle!

As a special thankyou, the cameraman took an aerial shot of some of our farm with his drone for us to keep.

‘It’s not much, but it’s home’

Tune in to ITV Granada on 8/5/17 @ 6PM to watch and let me know if you enjoyed it!

And if you missed it, here it the link to watch it whenever you have time. http://www.itv.com/news/granada/update/2017-05-08/jo-blythe-helps-with-lambing-in-lancashire/

HB

The end is nigh…

The past 2 months has been extremely busy with lambing!
Thankfully the end is in sight with the Swales happily lambing outside and the inside mules being finally down to double figures *the relief*.

The past 2 months has been extremely busy with lambing!

Thankfully, the end is in sight with the Swales happily lambing outside and the inside mules being finally down to double figures *the relief*.

Whilst I have no new exciting tales to tell, I thought I would share with you some photographs taken from tonight’s farm visit. After all, everybody loves photographs of cute lambs.

Polly was eager to accompany Dad and I on our ‘twice a day check’ of the outdoor hillsheep. We do this to make sure that the sheep and lambs are all okay and are able to intervene if not!

18051972_1303686189722312_35160412_n

We drove around the sheep, bringing in any that we were concerned about.


We check for problems as we ride around, looking out for sheep who have lost lambs (either dead or mismothered), who are ill or having problems lamb.

Tonight, we only had to bring two sheep in – one had twins but had unfortunately lost one, whilst the other had neglected to look after its young lamb and it was starving as a result.

18052687_1303685886389009_2000312677_n


As you can see, Polly was obsessed with the poorly lamb and wanted to get stuck in helping.

Additionally, it is an also an opportunity to take in our surrounding scenery, – that is when we have the time!

18051736_1303686089722322_793987116_n

For me, there is no better sight than a sheep outside with healthy twins. It makes me feel wholesome and proud of our work here on the farm.

After checking the outdoor sheep, it was time to venture into the lambing sheds.

We all have indivual tasks to get the jobs done quicker: I go around and fill the various water buckets and hay nets, whilst Dad rubbers and marks lambs. Perhaps the short straw, Mum’s job is to feed the many pet lambs we have acquired.

Below are some general lamb photographs I took this evening for you to browse at!

Before we left, the lambs decided to put on a race for us in their pen. Call it “The Lamb National”.

Now it is time for a strong cuppa tea and a well earned rest – before we go back down later on to do it all over again!

Blog Sign Off

Enchanting Iceland

The most mesmerising place I have ever visited, Iceland is utterly breathtaking and indescribable.

This blog post documents mine (and Ryan’s) trip to Iceland – a unique gift for his 21st birthday from his very generous parents!

Day 1 – Sunday 

After an early start, we arrived at Manchester Airport excited and raring to go.

17690767_1279886662102265_2129687029_n
Before boarding

It was our first time flying with Icelandair – the staff were incredibly friendly offering free soft drinks on the flight, there was free wifi and entertainment and plenty of leg room for us tall folks. It was impressive to say the least!

It was a short flight being only 2h 10m. Interestingly, all of the Icelandair aircrafts are named after Icelandic sights of nature, making it a personal touch. For instance, our outbound aircraft was called Dyngjufoll after the volcanic highland in Northern Iceland.

After landing we did the typical tourist thing and headed straight to the Blue Lagoon to soak in the geothermal waters.

17626389_1279876752103256_8200067732972095578_n
Blue Lagoon entrance

Listed as one of the 25 wonders of the world it certainly lived up to its high reputation!

After being confronted with stark naked ladies in the showers (an Icelandic tradition apparently) and the freezing atmosphere, we were more than eager to get into the water.

It was an oasis of relaxation with its free Silica Mud Masks, warm comforting waters and bar serving draft cider. Moreover, there was no time limit which allowed us to soak in the water for as long as our hearts desired.

17626356_1279877008769897_476435473267284423_n
Standard Selfie!

After soaking for about an hour or so, we decided to make a move to our hotel. We caught the shuttle bus to Reykjavik and finally reached our hotel around 9pm.

We quickly checked in and headed downtown to find somewhere to eat.

We chose Hard Rock Cafe, which wasn’t exactly adventurous, but we were incredibly tired and craved BBQ ribs!

Unfortunately the waitress forgot to take our order (food & drink!) but the free wifi and the free apologetic sundae made up for it.

17523334_1603212499707725_8151322907659336592_n.jpg

Once we had demolished our meal, we headed back to the hotel and slept like lions.

Day 2 – Monday 

After trying out the hotel shower and sampling the continental breakfast (which was actually decent!) we waited outside our hotel, CenterKlopp, for the shuttle bus to collect us for the Golden Circle tour.

17690296_1279885965435668_579213110_n
Outside CenterKlopp Hotel

We got onto a larger coach and drove for roughly an hour outside of Reykjavik to our first destination – Geysir hot springs.

Situated at the northern edge of the southern lowlands, it is one of Iceland’s greatest natural attractions and believed to have been around since the end of the 13th century as a result of  a series of strong earthquakes and devastating eruption of Mt. Heckla.

Though the Great Geysir is inactive nowadays its surrounding area is geothermically very active with many smaller hot springs.

The main attraction here was Strokkur (The Churn), another geyser which erupts at regular intervals every 10 minutes or so.

17690411_1279886495435615_1637408004_n
Another selfie

The boiling water can reach as high as 30 meters and I was incredibly lucky enough to catch the eruption on camera.

Strokker Explosion

Next we clambered back onto the coach and drove for 10 minutes to the next stop – Gullfoss waterfall.

With cascades of 36 to 76 feet it is a spectacular view of the forces and beauty of untouched nature. But it is more than just a pretty waterfall: it has a story to tell.

In the early 20th century foreign investors wanted to harness the power of Gullfoss to produce electricity. Yet the farmer’s daughter, Sigriður Tómasdóttir, sought to have the rental contract voided. She even threatened to throw herself into the waterfall if the construction began.

Luckily for her, the contract fell through due to lack of rent payments – her struggles to preserve the waterfall illuminated the importance of preserving nature and she is often referred to as Iceland’s first environmentalist.

17690089_1279886748768923_2063661796_n
Beautiful Gullfoss

It is thanks to Sigriður that we can visit this breathtaking waterfall!

Our final stop was Þingvellir, the site of the first Viking parliament (assembled there in 930AD) as well as a designated UNESCO world heritage site for its unique geographical features.

17619482_1279885418769056_2039719441_n
Þingvellir

Today Þingvellir is a protected national shrine, and the area shall always be the property of the Icelandic nation, under the preservation of the Alþing.

On our way back to Reykjavik, we stopped off to look at some Icelandic Horses.

17671307_1279886502102281_884471819_n
In my element

Once we got back to the hotel we decided to go and explore the city centre and look for somewhere to eat.

We ended up eating at Lebowski Bar, situated on the Laugavegur shopping street. Designed by American architects in the spirit of The Big Lebowski (1998 comedy film) this bowling themed burger joint was incredibly fun and only 2 minutes from our hotel!

After scoffing our burgers, we headed back to the hotel for a well earned rest.

Day 3 – Tuesday 

Despite another early start, we were incredibly excited for the Game of Thrones filming location tour!

Firstly, we stopped off at a horse riding centre, where we got to meet the famous Icelandic horses (note HORSES, not ponies!). As a horse riding fanatic and having grown up owning a horse, I was in my element, stroking every horse I could.

My favourite was Rick, but I also got to meet Thor, who featured on Game of Thrones.

17690904_1279886588768939_278998702_n
Rick posing

We then moved on to the first filming location, Porufoss.

Despite looking nothing like the Mediterranean, they filmed the famous Myriad scene here – the one where Daenerys’ dragon sets fire to the goats and carries one off (S4 E6).

17577917_1279854248772173_245724461_n

Next we went to Þingvellir (a different part!) where they filmed the opening shots to the Eyrie.

17577842_1279854165438848_816785524_n

This is where they filmed Ayra Stark and The Hound walking towards the Eyrie to discover Lady Arryn was dead (S4E8)/ Sansa Stark and Little Finger walking there (S4E5).

The final stop was Thjorsárdalur valley where they filmed a whole village getting massacred by the Wildlings (S4 E3). The scene took 10 whole days to film only 2 minutes of screen time and the location was stunning!

17690382_1279854052105526_801189200_n

Overall the tour was AMAZING. We had the coolest tour guide ever – he had been an extra on Game of Thrones and played a night-watchmen, wildling and white walker.

He knew all the inside gossip and made the tour incredible – for instance, he told us how Kit Harington broke his foot the night before filming his saucy cave scene with Ygritte, and how the actress was the loveliest girl ever, giving hugs to all the extras on the last day of filming!

17690936_1279885632102368_1642606980_n
Ryan and myself with the coolest tour guide ever!

After the tour, we went to Barber Bistro for a quick tea before heading off out on our Northern Lights tour.

17690754_1280766888680909_1635046756_n
Steak .. mm..

Unfortunately, we did not get to see the Northern Lights as it was too cloudy! We got back to our hotel around 1:30am and boy were we exhausted.

Day 4 – Wednesday 

As it was our final day, we decided to explore the city.

17690314_1279885868769011_779183833_n
Viking Longboat model

Reykjavik is not a huge capital city,  but it is incredibly clean and friendly, with lots of quirks and charm.

17554753_1279886082102323_127989900_n

We came across a remarkably friendly Icelandic cat who had no objections to cuddles from strangers and even followed us to the main shopping street.

17577711_1279851738772424_834645057_n
Tomato, chill and meat soup

As food was appallingly expensive, we chose to grab something cheap and quick for lunch. We stopped at Svarta Kaffid and was served the best soup I have ever sampled! Our only regret was that we had not discovered this gem of a bar earlier.

Fuelled and reheated, we then walked around the city some more before heading back to the hotel to pack ready for our departure tomorrow.

Around 6pm, we headed off out to find some tea.

17577889_1279886922102239_835914281_n
Ryan and Myself ready to explore

Along the way, we stumbled across a vintage arcade shop and spent 30 minutes there trying out the retro games. My favourite was The Addams Family pinball machine!

We also found a dessert cafe, where we stopped to get ice-cream and crepes!

I sampled the ice-cream and had Apple Sorbet and Blueberry! It was super scrumptious and I could have easily eaten a lot more!

Next we searched for somewhere to eat some proper food.

We chose Caruso, a smart Italian restaurant downtown! Ryan had Spaghetti Bolognese whilst I had a King Prawn Risotto. 

17577799_1279885672102364_574783222_n.jpg
“Dinner is served”

It was delicious!

Afterwards, we visited a local bar called Tivoli and sampled a few of Iceland’s most popular drinks, such as Mango Tango and Brennivin. The manager was super friendly and hospitable, making us feel right at home.

17619745_1279886255435639_1856604123_n
Inside Tivoli

We had booked onto another Northern Lights tour, but this was unfortunately cancelled due to weather, meaning that we did not get to see the lights whilst we were there!

Day 5 – Thursday 

HOMETIME! The day was spent travelling home to the UK and reminiscing about the amazing holiday we had just been on.

Overall 

Iceland is simply incredible! It has a huge diversity of landscape which changes with every turn in the road as well as a huge diversity of people and cultures.  If you get the chance to go, TAKE IT! It is a unique vacation and I cannot wait until I can afford to go back and do some more exploring.

Blog Sign Off

Lamb seeking name 

Calling all creatives! A incredibly cute lamb has been born on the farm and we need names…

It is typical that the cutest lamb is born when I am away from the farm!

A couple of hours old

Isn’t she a stunner?!


However there is a problem … we don’t know what to call her!

Do you guys have any suggestions?!
Let me know,

Blog Sign Off

Farming Fridays

Breaking up for Easter means one thing: LAMBS!

I have *unfortunately* missed some of the chaotic rush that Lambing time brings due to being incredibly busy at University. But now that term time has finished for an entire month, I can finally shove on my wellies and get stuck in! (I never thought I would miss the farm and its hectic schedule!)

Today was an incredibly sunny day and Ziggy made the most of it, basking in the sun, whilst I clambered into my Landrover Defender and headed down to the farm.

17521855_1274102909347307_473963418_o
Ziggy being the ultimate poser

17506137_1600826103279698_730142636_n
Landrover View

To my delight my sheep, Augusta, had lambed overnight and had two healthy lambs without any complications! They are 3/4 Texel and 1/4 Beltex and will hopefully make a good set of lambs.

17521900_1274102596014005_1979737944_o
Augusta and her two newborn lambs

After checking the other sheep and making sure none were lambing, I helped my dad create a large pen for the numerous pet lambs that are occupying the shed.

First we made a pen for the lambs – it needed a lot of straw and space so that they could run around.

17475273_1274120012678930_611435427_o
Stage 1: Prepare

Next, we had to make a board with teets (which the lambs suck on to get milk) and wire it up correctly to the milk machine. This didn’t take too long as Dad knew what he was doing (as we have used these machines for quite a few years now!).

We then checked the teets were working by squeezing them to make sure the milk was coming out.

Then came the tricky part – catching the larger pet lambs and transferring them into the new pen! They certainly worked off their milk intake, as they were incredibly quick and difficult to catch.

It took me a while to transfer them all, as they ran rings around me, but once moved, it is safe to say they LOVED their new home.

Once this task was complete, I helped my mum load the kubota trailer up with sheep and lambs – we often turn twins out into the fields after a few days to free up pen space in the sheds.

17431656_1274103106013954_1422445755_o
Lambs all ready for the field

As you can see, the lambs go into different compartments – this is to avoid them getting mixed up and going to the wrong sheep, making turning out an much easier process.

Whilst mum was turning the sheep out, I took the dogs for a quick walk as they hadn’t been out of the kennels for a bit.

17506348_1600825903279718_1499910365_n
Polly admiring the view

Polly, despite being a farm dog, is wearing a lead because she is in a field with livestock! All dog owners must keep their dogs on a lead at all times when in field with livestock (abiding by the countryside code!)

It needs saying once again, due to the numerous amount of sheep worrying stories I have read about recently, that farmers are allowed to shoot dogs worrying livestock and NOT compensate owners! Keep this in mind when walking your pooches on farming land!

Before I set off home for tea, I stopped off to look at some of the smaller pet lambs and have a cuddle.

After tea, it was back to the farm – feeding pet lambs, filling hay nets and water buckets and lambing sheep. Whoever said farmers were lazy clearly haven’t visited a working family farm in Lambing time?!

Blog Sign Off

Dublin Raid for Amnesty International 2017

For those that know me you will be aware that I am on the committee for Leeds RAG (raising and giving) society. And if not, you’ve just learned something new!

For those that know me you will be aware that I am on the committee for Leeds RAG (raising and giving) society. And if not, you’ve just learned something new!

This weekend (17th-19th February) was our Dublin Raid which involved sending participants to Dublin to bucket shake for Amnesty International – a charity supporting human rights. 10 of us went in total.

Day 1

After getting the train to Manchester airport and dealing with stressful security checks, we boarded the Aer Linger plane and set off at 5:45pm.

It was an incredibly short flight, lasting only 40 minutes!

Me, Liz and Frankie onboard

Following an incident involving a lost passport, we eventually left Dublin Airport around 8pm and headed to our hostel via taxi.

We arrived at The Generator Hostel, located on Smithfield Square. According to the taxi driver, it is one of Dublin’s more expensive hostels and it certainly impressed at first, with its clean modern layout of rooms and access to free wifi.

After a quick refresh and a bite to eat, we decided to explore the city’s nightlife.

Our first stop was Dice Bar, on the corner of Benburb and Queen Street. A busy local with great music and selection of beverages, it was definitely my favourite bar of the night!

Dice Bar in the daytime

After spending a while here, we moved on to another local Irish pub.

Unfortunately I did not get its name, but we stayed here for a while and then decided to return to the hostel to get a good nights sleep for a busy day of charity work tomorrow.

Day 2

After getting ready and trying out the surprisingly good communal showers, we all headed down for our free continental breakfast in the basement.

Filled up slightly on bread, Darcy from Amnesty International arrived at our hostel around 10am to guide us to their city office. She was incredibly helpful, pointing out good places to go in Dublin and informing us about the city itself.

Upon arriving at the office, the staff were extremely friendly and welcoming. We entered a meeting room and were provided with information about the charity, for instance, what it is currently working on and its aims.

We were also given bibs, wristbands and buttons to be worn when promoting the charity.

Promotion Material

We also received relevant paperworks such as permits proving that we were lawfully collecting money for the charity incase anyone asked for official documents.

Arranged into pairs, we were allocated different locations within Temple Bar and Grafton Street and arrived at our stations around 12pm.

Initially it was a slow process despite our best efforts to get donations. Yet we kept our spirits high, smiling at passing glances and glares of the public.

Towards mid afternoon it picked up with people being incredibly generous, donating coins and notes as well as giving encouraging words, making standing outside in the cold Irish wind worth it.

Unfortunately we did encounter a few negative responses such as being called murders for Amnesty’s stance on Womens rights to have an abortion. We avoided further conflict through our positivity and remained smiling even when a bird pooed on my head!

A personal highlight was a donation from a young man who had collected €25 of loose change from pubs and the ground for over two years. Deciding that it was a worthwhile cause, he gave us the entire lot which was incredibly heartwarming and restored our enthusiasm following the negative encounters of the previous hour.

Bucket Shaking for Amnesty International

We finished bucket shaking around 5pm and returned to Amnesty International where we dropped off our buckets and were thanked for our help.

Following this, we headed back to the hostel for some food and a rest.

Unfortunately, the hostel were not very accommodating for people with dietary requirements. Despite promising us all free pizza that suited everyones needs (1 x Vegan, 2 x Lactose Intolerant, 1x Gluten Free, 1 x Gluten Free and Vegetarian), they failed to deliver.

This is what was served.

The promised ‘Gluten Free Pizza’

This was incredibly frustrating and we gave up trying to communicate with them as they clearly did not understand or care. They served the same food to everyone with an allergy, offending those who were lactose intolerant and vegan by putting yoghurt on their plate and did not know what the green sauce was – claiming it was originally pesto then herb based.

I was so hungry that I decided to order in Gluten Free pizzas (for me and another girl) from a local branch of Pizza Express so at least we had a decent meal before heading out.

My favourite pub of the night in Temple Bar was the Porterhouse. Opened in 1996 as Dublin’s first pub brewery, it is an fantastic place to go for a pint, with its vibrant scene, exciting layout, live band and varied selection of draft beers and cider.

I definitely will be going back again!

Day 3

With our flight home being at 7:20pm, we had a free day to explore the city.

We decided to split into two groups – those who wanted to go on a coastal walk and those who wanted to wander around and see the sights of Dublin.

I went for the latter option.

The first sight we set off to find was the House of Parliament.

Along the way we stumbled across Dublin Castle and stopped for a quick photograph before carrying on.

Dublin Castle

We then walked to St Stephens Green, Irelands best known Victorian Park which was incredibly pretty!

Potato Famine Statue

Finally we reached Parliament but it was an anticlimax to say the least! Fenced off from the public, there was no photo opportunity and not much to see.

Hopping into an Irish Uber, we set off to the Guinness Storehouse, the most popular public attraction in Dublin.

Along the way, we passed St. Patrick’s Cathedral and were given an informative talk about the history of Guinness in the city from the taxi driver.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

The Guinness storehouse did not disappoint!

It was amazing.

Filled with tons of factual information about brewing, advertising, heritage and tasting, it took us a good 2 hours to go around!

After exploring each of the 5 levels, we went to Gravity Bar to collect our free pint of Guinness.

After the storehouse, we headed for Kilmainham Gaol, a former prison for the County of Dublin.

Upon arrival we were told that all the tours for the day were sold out, but we were given free access to the museum. After looking around, we headed back to the hostel for a rest before the journey home.

Eventually we arrived in England around 8:20pm following a 15 minute flight delay. We got into Leeds for around 10:30pm and headed separate ways home.

Overall, Dublin has been a blast despite the lack of sleep! If you have not been, I would recommend a visit – it certainly does not disappoint.

Blog Sign Off

Sunday Dog Walk

Home from university once again. After all, nothing beats spending the weekend relaxing in a cosy farm house with unlimited cups of tea and home cooked meals.

Home from university once again.

After all, nothing beats spending the weekend relaxing in a cosy farm house with unlimited cups of tea and home cooked meals.

I spent my Sunday afternoon in typical style; taking our two hard working border collies, Polly and Becca, for a run around the fields with my boyfriend.

2
Polly, Ryan and Becca in view of Pendle Hill

They are a fairly new addition to the farm, as for a while we did not have any working dogs. However, they are as good as gold and I could not imagine life on the farm without them.

Polly is my favourite of the two, possible because she is extremely loyal and clingy. She is simply an attention seeker who loves everyone she meets, expecting cuddles whenever she wants them.

4
Polly mid cuddle

In comparison, Becca is more independent and quiet, which isn’t surprising given that she is the younger of the two and more inquisitive. Yet she can be stubborn and ignorant, in that she is happy to entertain herself with water or rolling in the ground rather than simply running on ahead.

5
Becca playing in what is the worlds smallest puddle!

As they are both pretty crazy and full of energy, it is almost impossible to get them both in the same photograph!

Here was my best attempt and I feel it captures their personalities perfectly: Polly craving attention and Becca playing with a stream, not paying any attention to me at all.

1
Becca (Left) and Polly (Right) with me

After 20 minutes of letting them run around the empty field, they were tired out and ready for a rest. As we approached the gate, Becca spied the sheep in the nearby shed and her herding instincts started to kick in.

6
Nearly home!

After feeding the dogs in their newly built kennels which they got for Christmas, I quickly checked on some pregnant sheep to make sure they were all okay before heading off home.

7
All safe and well

And that was how I spent my Sunday afternoon, walking our dogs on the family farm and checking the pregnant sheep that will be lambing come late February/Early March.

Blog Sign Off

*******************************

AS A SIDE NOTE: If you are walking your dogs in the countryside over the next coming months, it is CRUCIAL that they are kept on a lead near ALL livestock!

Nothing aggravates me more than seeing sheep wounded and stressed because of peoples’ pure ignorance that ‘their dog would never attack a sheep’.

Research by SheepWatch UK showed that more than 15,000 sheep and unborn lambs were killed in 2016, with many more injured.

Under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 and Protection of Livestock Act 1953, the owner or person in charge of the dog who is worrying sheep on agricultural land is guilty of an offence and could be sentenced up to two years imprisonment as well as face destruction of the dog.

Farmers may also ‘shoot a dog which is attacking or chasing farm animals without being liable to compensate the dog’s owner’.

If livestock is nearby  PUT YOUR DOG(s) ON A LEAD.

It is not a big ask!!!

Respect the countryside and its inhabitants.

Sheep worrying promotional sign updated

*****************************************