This is not a 'to do' list

At the beginning of the new year we, like everyone else, are planning what we want to try and achieve over the next 12 months. As walking around the land has become a daily challenge of not slipping or sliding in the mud and getting to your destination still with both wellies on, then carrying on improving the land drainage is our main priority (and no that photo was not staged....). There's loads of other tasks that need doing but I won't bore you with our 'to do list'. There is so much mud that it can get you down sometimes. And it's everywhere. We and the dogs are covered and that brings it into the house so we spend a lot of time mopping and washing dog towels. The house is small stone cottage and there are 11 dogs (yes really) so the battle against the mud is ongoing and frequently lost. Fortunately we have our own private water supply and are not on a meter. But it's not all bad. 'There is significantly less mud than last year', which we keep saying like a positive mantra. Our 'top field' is draining well and the paddock that we grandly and optimistically refer to as 'the orchard' actually still has grass on it this winter. We have come a long way from where we were a few years ago in many different ways. Living at Maes Mawr and choosing this lifestyle has made us learn lots of new skills...sometimes out of necessity and other times for enjoyment. Emma has become quite handy with the tools, wiring, lighting and she has become a bit of a dab hand at putting windows in now. When we moved here we didn't know how to help a goat give birth...but we do now. I say 'we' but it was Emma who leapt into action with her smaller hands when two kids were racing to be born first. We do have a video of the birth but before it can be shown we need to have the coarse language beeped over.

We've come so far that we are now able to pass our knowledge of goat keeping on to others. A couple nearby came to visit us recently and we showed them the basics they will need to know. It's not that long ago that we were visiting people to pick up tips ourselves. They are experienced bee keepers so I'm sure they will return the favour one day and show me how to make my own honey.

In a similar vane Emma has recently learnt to knit. On the 'frequent' rainy days she can sit in front of the fire and make herself some warm socks. Just the excuse I need to get some Alpacas!

Sharing knowledge and time and bartering for skills is a very pleasant way to achieve things. And sometimes the only way to get things done in a house like this is to learn, roll up your sleeves and just crack on.

Happy 2018!

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