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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10 things you’ll know if you grew up on a farm

Being at home for summer has made me feel nostalgic.

Here are 10 things you will know if you grew up on a farm!

Nothing is ever a five minute job 

If they say it is then they are lying!

You’ve learned from experience that lending a ‘quick hand’ turns into a twenty minute operation followed by a list of jobs that takes you all morning to complete, making you question why you volunteered in the first place.

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Moving sheep takes longer than 5 minutes

Bale twine fixes everything 

Waterproof trousers too big? Bale twine belt.

Setting up a temporary race? Bale twine.

Lost your dog lead? Bale twine.

You’ve probably lost count of the amount of times someone has asked you for some whilst working. It has happened so often that you dream about charging. After all, it’s an essential pocket requisite that fixes almost every problem.

You can’t out run a sheep

But you can certainly try! You counted this as your daily workout as it left you out of breathe and threatening to sell the troublesome (to put it politely) ewe at auction the first chance you get.

There is no such thing as being snowed in 

Snow is no longer exciting when there is a 4×4 always on hand. But you do look pretty cool rocking up to school on your dad’s tractor.

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Dad to the rescue

Who let the ewes out? 

Field gates left open becomes a Spanish Inquisition around the kitchen table. No matter how many times you proclaimed your innocence, the blame was assigned to you and dad muttering ‘next time I’ll do the job myself’.

Days off always coincide with bad weather

Booking planned events and actually going is something of a novelty to you. Especially in summer when you are constantly on call for seasonal jobs.

Friends know from experience that you will be missing in action once the weather forecast improves as you’ll be either in the shearing shed or driving a tractor, whether you want to or not. After all, farming comes first in your household.

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Even on days off you can’t escape farming

What’s a lie in? 

Certainly something that doesn’t happen in your household with your parents considering any time after 8.30am a lie in.

And the horror (and slight envy) when university friends text you at 4pm saying ‘sorry I’ve only just woken up’ whilst you have been working hard all day.

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Love/Hate relationship with the weather man 

You developed a changeable relationship with the weather forecasts from an early age as it was the most discussed subject on the farm.

TVs were often tutted at and switched off if they stated unsuitable weather for proposed plans and there was an element of speculation surrounding upcoming forecasts. You constantly played a game of who dares win and it was typical for it to rain once you have grass down.

But no matter how many times you trolled the internet in search of a more favourable weather report it always stayed the same – or sometimes got worse! You just learned to get on with it.

Smartphone but no signal 

You have spent years searching for a certain spot in the shed where there is enough signal to send a text. In fact you have perfected the lion king scene, holding the phone up high and hoping it sends.

Yet dodgy signal still plagued your rural life and internet was a rarity. People who sent Snapchats/Instagram posts from the lambing shed simply amazed you!

Fine dining equals a trip to the local auction 

You were more than happy to accompany your dad to the auction and stand around a cold ring looking at livestock just for those auction lunches.  You developed a favouritism towards a certain auction mart cafe and believed they were second best to your mum’s roast dinner.

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Mmmmm

Those are my top ten things – if you have any please let me know below!

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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.

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‘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!

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