Every Christmas we look ahead and hope that the year coming will be better than the last. Nine times out of ten that fails to materialise, for all the issues we dance around such as livestock, the weather and bureaucracy.
This year has been the exception and must be remembered when things revert, as they surely will. After three months of incessant deluge, when at times it seemed we were living under water, only one cow aborted twins early.
Come March the sun shone on warm and sodden ground. Spring exploded, early, and in profusion. Blackthorn, hawthorn and gorse festooned the hedgerows, with cherry and wild pear and crab-apple close behind. Grass grew, seemingly overnight, and the weather stayed fine and dry to save it. So our winter feed of hay and silage was plentiful and early, ensuring prolific after-growth.
The cherry on top was the arrival of a fine filly foal to our race-mare, who has proved to be a great mum, and the foal as friendly as a puppy. Another one of our mares, Perfect Muse, has won her last two races at Newbury and Sandown Park.
Autumn calves are arriving and sales at our market in London are starting their autumn climb. Our unique offerings from the West Country are getting great attention, and seemingly a following. I dare say that winter will come early this time, but hopefully we have the forage saved to see it through.
Meanwhile fruit has been profuse, the rural treats of mushrooms, blackberries and bilberries slow us in our routine, as they have to be picked and eaten. Only a few get as far as the clotted cream!
Although not wanting to wish the year away, we are pleased to have a number of orders in the book for Christmas, which ensures that we keep our eye on the ball.