10 signs you know Christmas has arrived on the farm!

As I’m feeling slightly festive, a rarity for me, here are 10 signs you know Christmas has arrived on the farm!

The 3 Wise Reps 

Similar to the nativity scene, the festive period warrants an annual visit from local reps who come to the farm bearing gifts of calendars, chocolate and whiskey as a thank you for your custom over the past year.

It is an age old tradition replacing the advent calendar; as soon as you see the rep, you know Christmas is around the corner.

Double order everything 

Most things shut down over the Christmas holidays and the farming industry is no exception to this rule.

Experience has taught you to order that extra proven to tide you over until the New Year, as feed wagons don’t and won’t work on Christmas Day!

But for some reason the bills keep coming…

Beware the practical presents 

Being pragmatic is something every farmer has a knack for and this is most evident in the giving of practical presents at Christmas time.

Try and look excited as you unwrap yet another pair of overalls, new wellingtons or a head torch for lambing time: it was bought with good intentions, honest!

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Make sure the turkey fits in the AGA 

Farmers get overtly excited when they realise they can secure a bargain and this happens every Christmas with a visit to the local Turkey Sale.

Despite going to purchase a 17lbs for Christmas Day, it’s not unusual to leave with not one, but two cheap 22lbs!

And whilst you personally may delighted with your bargains, the person cooking the Christmas dinner certainly isn’t when they realise the bird doesn’t fit in the AGA.

Cue a few curse words, some last minute butchering skills and a promise that next time you’ll just stick to the prescribed shopping list!!

Jobs before Presents 

It is still a working day meaning daily jobs, such as milking and feeding up, need to be complete before any presents are unwrapped!

On the plus side, the folks are used to getting up early, meaning you never needed to wait for them to wake up as a child before you could open anything.

Rating fields in terms of sledging speed

There is something enchanting about fields covered in glistening untouched snow – especially for a child growing up and playing on the farm.

With slopes and fields galore, you have ranked each one over the years on how fast your sledge will go down the hill and still have favourite field to sledge in.. even at the age of 22!

However, please note that sledges, ropes and quad-bikes do not mix and will only end in tears…

Holly Seekers 

Christmas time means holly seekers come out in force, looking for berries to make some festive decorations.

And whilst it is tempting to send these festive people found rummaging in your hedgerows away, experience shows acts of kindness are sometimes rewarded ….

Like that time when we awoke to find a handmade wreathe on our doorstop!

What’s a Carol Singer? 

Certainly something only found in films.

The mere thought of carol singers trekking all the way down the snowy and slippery lane just to sing you a song is simply absurd and amusing.

But fair play if anyone has ever turned up outside your farmhouse and belted out a carol or two!

Lost Christmas Walkers 

Everyone loves a good countryside stroll and for some reason townies choose the festive period (Christmas Eve/Day/Boxing Day) in particular to go on one.

Be prepared to answer the door to a lost walker half way through your turkey dinner: it is guaranteed to happen one year!

Mouthwatering Kitchen Smells 

You certainly never went hungry at Christmas time in a farm house.

From Christmas cakes, mince pies and festive trifles to homemade stuffing, pastries and cheese sauce, farmers wives and mothers have the festive menu perfected and you are guaranteed to leave the table feeling as obese as the turkey you just devoured.

You have dreamed about this meal all year long and every year it just keeps getting better.

And nobody’s Christmas Dinner will ever come up to scratch!

Those are my 10 signs Christmas has arrived on the farm. But what are yours?

I hope you have enjoyed this festive post.

All that is left for me to say is Merry Christmas Everyone and a Happy New Year!

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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.

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Ziggy being the ultimate poser
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?!

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