FARMING MATTERS Looking after the animals while the farmer is away
I was recently appointed acting CEO of the farm. My husband was away for a few days and left me in charge for the first time ever. As I don't have an active role in the farm on a day to day basis, and also have my own job to do, I hoped nothing untoward would occur in his absence.
Fortunately I did have help with the task of caring for the animals. My sister in law kept an eye on the cattle and sheep that live near to her, and on the main farm I had the invaluable assistance of Louis who usually works with us only on Saturdays.
My days began with rising earlier than normal to go out and check all the cattle in the yards and in the fields before breakfast. In my lunch break I drove to the outlying paddocks to check and count the sheep and ewe lambs, and make sure they hadn’t run out of feed block. And in the evenings I did the paperwork.
Late afternoon Louis arrived, after having completed a long and exhausting day in his own job with the NHS. He milled the barley then took feed to the cattle in the yards before driving the tractor and trailer out to the suckler herd to give them supplementary feed. This was obviously the most important, time consuming and physical job and so without Louis I could not have managed.
We were fortunate that all ran smoothly, no machine breakdowns, no broken fences and no sick animals. And a welcome side effect of my husband’s absence was a reduction in housework and cooking. Without him around the house was spotless and I was happy to live on toast and ice cream. But I felt pretty exhausted by the weekend. Next time I go away I might ask him if he’d like to do my job and write for the paper.