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Twins

Some of our cows have started calving in the past week and so far they have all had heifers.  We’ve had two sets of twins but sadly the first set were a male and a female although the male was stillborn.  We’ve decided we’ll keep the heifer anyway and if she doesn’t get into calf in future years she can go then.  The second set are both heifers but one has no tail!  Another mutant, which is sad.  A fellow farmer has warned us that this sometimes means their bowel isn’t formed properly and they’re unable to poop so we’ll have to watch her carefully just in case.

The girls are coming home this evening, or possibly tomorrow morning as it’s Stephanie’s birthday on Friday and we’re having a small family gathering.  I’m quite excited to see them as usual and plan to have a girlie shopping day before the big day.

My weight loss continues much to my surprise, mainly because I’m amazed I’ve been able to stick to it for so long. I’ve now lost somewhere in the region of thirty-seven pounds.  Everything fits so much better, but then, why wouldn’t it?  I’m eating real food on occasions now but am trying to manage my portion control so I don’t pile it all back on again.

Epiphany

Whilst washing down the milking parlour this morning I had a bit of a brain flash.  I often do when I’m washing down because I do it on automatic pilot more often than not so my brain is free to ramble off and talk to itself.  Since Gordon and I have been together, every time we have an occasion be it Christmas, birthday or anniversary and I unbox a shop-bought cake, my mother-in-law always – and I mean ALWAYS without fail – asks “did you make that yourself dear?”  I usually reply with “of course, then I boxed it up and have just now unpacked it”, to cover the fact that the question has irritated me and made me feel like a ‘bad’ housewife.  I suddenly realised this morning that in the whole time I’ve known her – some thirty years – I have never seen her make a cake or been offered a home-made cake.

No more guilt-trips for me!

Here’s Me

I fancy this year is passing way too quickly for my liking – oh, happy Valentine’s Day by the way.  I didn’t give or receive at all this year, but I’m one half of an old married couple so it’s OK.  I still haven’t done anything other than shelter from the weather and diet.  I have dieted since the beginning of January and by the time I go out in public again – maybe in the summer when the weather warms up and the flood waters recede – I shall be a lot smaller.  I’m on a very low calorie diet – yes, one of those where you eat soups, shakes and bars – feel free to criticise my decision if you must since some people have (in fact a few months ago I may have been one of those people) but with the onset of my thyroid problem and its accompanying medication I’ve had a bit of trouble controlling my weight.  I piled on a lot very quickly so decided drastic measures were necessary and I have to say, I feel fantastic on this diet.  The weight has dropped off and already (in five weeks) I’ve lost two stone, making me lighter than I’ve been for a long time.  I checked my Slimming World book and in the whole time I was going to the meetings (a year from 2008 to 2009) I lost a stone and a half and still ended up a stone heavier than I am now so I’m quite pleased.

I’m getting withdrawal symptoms from my camera and my craft stuff but the weather has been so hideous that I haven’t felt like going outside unless absolutely necessary.  I’m working on becoming a hermit, even to the extent of paying for my grocery deliveries on a quarterly basis so I don’t have to go into the store and actually look around.  This helps with the diet too, to be honest, as I can choose whatever Gordon would like to eat/drink without considering anything for me.  I’m always a sucker for the smell of warm bread or the deli counter (hmmm, deli counter) and tend to fall at the first hurdle.  Steph came home last weekend and discovered my lemon shortcake stash – untouched but calling me, so she kindly finished off the last couple so I wouldn’t be tempted.  Wasn’t that kind?  I have eaten ‘real’ food on occasion, but have been very careful and chosen low calorie stuff.  At the beginning I decided I wouldn’t punish myself too much especially if it was a social occasion, but have found it surprisingly easy to manage.

I’ll try and remember to update my blog regularly now my medication has properly kicked in!  I’m feeling better able to concentrate lately and am more motivated, but this means I do other things rather than spend hours on the computer, so the poor old blog gets neglected.

Well, that was January!  In and out in a flash!  I don’t know what I’ve been doing that’s kept me so busy – something obviously, but for the life of me I couldn’t tell you what.  I know I haven’t left the house very much and my camera has stayed in the drawer.

It’s been wet!  Have you noticed?  In Somerset it’s been particularly wet to the extent that the Government finally made the decision to resume dredging of our two main rivers, the Parrett and the Tone.  Whilst they’re telling us all they have no money to do this, at the same time they’re sending millions elsewhere to cope with other countries’ misfortunes so no-one here is impressed.  We’re lucky in that we live next to a drainage canal with high banks and have a well-established system of rhynes set up by previous generations of landowners, but our ground is still saturated.  The majority of it isn’t underwater so we’re luckier than farmers further into the Somerset Levels who’ve been rowing to and from their farmhouses to check the situation with their drowning grass and flooded buildings.

On the farm we’ve had a handful of calves born, starting well with a heifer then a run of bull calves, but they’ve all been strong and healthy so we shouldn’t complain.  We do of course since farmers do that particularly well, but we really shouldn’t.  The last of them was picked up from his mother this morning and from now until he leaves will be fed from a bucket.

A week and a bit ago Gordon and I drove to Cheltenham to celebrate Alex’s 25th birthday by taking everyone out for a meal.  We mooched around Cheltenham for the afternoon, had coffee in a proper coffee-shop, did some window shopping and Gordon bought some new shoes, then he amazed me in the evening by telling me he’d had a lovely day out!  He usually has to be dragged out grumbling loudly about all the things he could/should be doing instead but there were very few words of complaint.  He even went as far to comment that if he retired we’d have more time to do this.  I said very little – I’m so used to hearing it now that I’ll believe it when it happens.  Of course, it didn’t help that we’ve just had a dairy inspection which consisted of about twenty minutes looking around the farm and a further two hours looking through paperwork to make sure all our records – cow health, medicine book, chemical spraying records, etc were in order!  This will be the finish of him I suspect – the continuous paperwork we have to keep.  His father wouldn’t have bothered regardless of the consequences, but we’re now obliged to keep such careful records of everything and are penalised if we don’t.  The majority of farmers aren’t good with paperwork at the best of times.  Gordon’s dad didn’t even keep accounts, preferring to chuck every invoice and slip of paper into a box and taking it to an accountant at the end of the year for sorting.  Of course, he always had a lot of outstanding debts but was allowed this ‘courtesy’ as a landowner.  Fat chance of that happening now with everything done on computerised systems.

I know I haven’t posted since Christmas and I’ve no idea why, but I promise to return soon when I get myself more organised.  In the meantime, hope you had a great Christmas and New Year and I’ll catch up as soon as I’m able.

Merry Christmas

On Sunday we went out for lunch as a family.  The girls and Carl came home and dad treated us all to a carvery at The Friendly Spirit in Cannington.  The atmosphere and food were both excellent.  Kate bought us headwear to get us into the Christmas mood and we really enjoyed the afternoon.  She’d already been warned that the odds of getting Steve or Gordon to wear something on their heads were fairly slender so she didn’t bother to buy them any, which was just as well since they both thought it was silly!  Bah, humbug.

l have since found another use for my antlers so from everyone at the farm, have a very Merry Christmas and l’ll catch up with you afterwards.

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This is Jacqueline and honestly, she didn’t mind!

Misty Moisty Morning

Tuesday 17 December 2013

This morning I went for a little stroll with my camera and Lola.  Have you met Lola?  I don’t believe you have.  She’s Daniel’s springer spaniel and comes to work with him every day during the week.  If he should be working at weekends, which he doesn’t often, Lola tends to say in bed with Dan’s partner Nicole where it’s warm and she doesn’t have to run about.  All went well until she heard something move in the mist, then she was off like a rocket and refused to come back for me.  I didn’t even know where she was, but Dan came out and found her, which was just as well as she was off to the vets at 10 am for a booster.  She’s only a year old and a springer so she’s a little bit barmy.  I think she went off to play with the sheep that are currently keeping our grass down for the winter.  They aren’t ours and as ‘luck’ would have it (bad luck more like) the farmer they belong to turned up at the same time, but fortunately she wasn’t actually worrying the sheep, just playing so he didn’t mind too much.  I shan’t be wandering off with her again though if she won’t come back when she’s called.

It was a glorious morning.

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The starlings were all ready for the day!

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The shopping expedition went well and presents were bought so it looks like I’m almost there.  If I get a chance tomorrow I may even put up the tree and then Christmas will really have arrived!

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