EEEEK!!

It's been an interesting March so far, feeling very much like summer had arrived only last week. This morning I've woken to snow on the mountains behind us and a cold wind that arrived yesterday is still with us.



We have the fun task of finding another reliable hay supplier as the elderly farmer in the village won't be baling hay this year following a rather annoying incident where someone walking the lane adjacent to the hay fields thought it fun to throw rocks off the wall into the field. Last time they baled the rocks went through the machine and smashed component parts. As yet it sits unfixed and may not ever be sorted. His worker, a friend of ours was adamant that the rocks had been thrown into the field because of the distance from the wall they landed and the number of them dotted about. I do wonder what goes through peoples minds that whilst wandering along a lane they engage themselves in destructive behaviour like this that has such a knock on effect. We've been offered the use of their barn if we buy in bulk to store any hay bales which is extremely kind of them, I doubt I'll find another supplier with such a lovely 'mates rates' price on a bale though.



I'm actually watching grass grow, which is making it feel like time is passing super slow. Todays cold wind won't help. The grass, sitting sulking having had its roots warmed only last week is now being blasted by cold winds and wintery showers and will have stopped growing. I'm so impatient as all the acreage we now have access to use is in its first period of management by way of closing gates and leaving some fields fallow for the first time. This is an awkward time for having grazing animals, more hay and feed is being used but it is something we will have to accept unless we decided to sell some sheep on, which I don't want to do. Come summer we are likely to need everyone of them to rotate around to continue what I hope is a good plan for improving the grassland here and next door.



This morning I popped up a post about mental health and I think its a very important point particularly this morning when everyone is worrying about bills and how much everything is going to cost going forward. People also have other issues ongoing on in the background and I wanted to make sure people understand how important it is to talk to each other and help take the pressure off their brains about stuff in general. For farmers, smallholders and anyone looking after livestock this is a busy time of year with a lot of other pressures added on top of lack of sleep for those camping out in lambing sheds. It's important we all chat to someone we know or someone online who you can connect with. Talking about the issues you face helps lessen their impact on you or can change your perspective on how you see the problem.


For those of you who follow this blog, you'll know back in 2019 I wrote about the huge court case we ended up taking against two individuals nearby (not next door I should add, thankfully there is some space between us). You'll know we won that case and they vanished, a bit too quickly as they refused to comply with the court order and complete a legally binding document, I won't bore you with the details. As it transpired they moved on to new targets. A shame that their entire life is this... arguments. Ones they make or create themselves to maintain the constant feeling of being under siege.


They mostly ignore us now, the win for us was huge, and it has meant that we can live our lives here peacefully. They haven't totally gone however. So this is one of the battles we still have occasionally as well as the usual complications that get thrown everyones way when you have a busy life. Having been able to move our livestock on to the 5.5 acres next door (owned by the extremely nice neighbours) we are working with to help them out by improving their land. Over the next few years I've got a plan in my head for a rotation plan for the stock and occasionally the horses and in return for that I'm helping fix boundary walls.


One encounter with those that shall remain nameless was on starting to fix the biggest gap in the wall, fencing sheet and stones all lying on top of each other long ago squashed further down by the cattle heading over from 'their' farm. They should have fixed it or certainly helped to contain their own stock, but they seem to care little for that, watching from bushes as their neighbours herd cows or sheep back over walls or off driveways.


We started by clearing the debris from what was the wall base and they came over in seconds, clearly watching from very close by. Their attempts to prevent the wall being re-built was confusing yet a standard position for those two. Improvements are not allowed, yet their livestock escaping is allowed for their amusement, our escaping livestock would be like opening a door onto another massive argument which they would just love to have.


The wall was built, and the temporary fencing put up. Didn't stop them coming over at 1.30am to steal part of it.... but thats another story....


We now have the neighbours trailer close to gate in the boundary with ours and we are going to be filling it up from a huge pile of rocks we have. They can then be moved and I'll finish building the wall up to the correct height. Despite some peoples best attempts at conflict the job will still be done.


So why am I talking about this aspect to our lives, well its real. It happens all over the country, people who have what I believe serious issues in their own lives who choose to take it out on those around them. They make life difficult and challenging, when life is and can be difficult and challenging already. Over the years we have found a way to deal with that pressure which I would like to share because it has helped around here. Having those who shall remain nameless sneaking about taking temporary fencing down has meant that I've had to take the sheep from a more suitable field and put them in a secure one that isn't suitable. This now costs me more money in hay and feed.


I could get angry about it, and we both have briefly. I have to make a specific point to myself to always make sure that I re-set my mindset about them. We laugh and joke about their behaviour as much as is needed. We take the p**s, yes that really does help. We make sure we enjoy what we have around here, we look at the sunrises and the sunsets. We enjoy the blossom trees and the sheep jumping for joy at feeding time. We don't linger on those who wish to argue with us. That moment has gone. The wall will be finished. The fields will be secure. I won't linger on two people who wish to cause mayhem and photograph ditches and tyre marks on grass verges when we have the sense to look up and enjoy the day and what we have around us.



There will be more issues going forward, they face another re-call to court as they are defendants again in another case with someone local, so the cycle continues. We support anyone who needs it around here with those two. We have an open weekend in July for friends and family who we have either not been able to see us here or who we actually put of coming because of those two in the last few years of the civil case. We will be watched and photographed by them I'm sure, they will moan and complain about us over their breakfast and when they walk in their fields. When they do stop and stare or stand to take pictures of those horrid people (yes thats us) we will all smile, wave back and think what a sad waste of two lives while the alcohol flows and the BBQ sizzles.


You can choose how a situation impacts you, it doesn't mean it goes away but it does change how it makes you feel and that in turn can massively lessen the impact of it on you.


So what do we have ahead for April? Well, I've been enjoying painting the outbuildings and making a few repairs as I go. New paint lifts the place. The hedges and trees are bursting into leaf, we have more to plant up and thicken. I'm really getting in to the weeding of the veg garden and the gardens, which is were I can work away and my busy brain stops for a while.



I'm jumping into soap production with some new ones, the first time goat mums are being introduced on to the milking bench and we've done our first milking since deciding to rest our best milker last year. Our first dairy goat keeping course is pretty much full so I'm looking forward to that date, as we have a few children on I have maybe a few spaces for adults if anyone else would like to join in on the 22nd May this year.


I have a sale of Peppermint & Tea Tree soaps this month, 25% off that bar when bought, just do your shopping online and pop the code PEPPER2022 in at the checkout in the discount box.



I love that soap, it smells so clean, doesn't show up any dirt if you've been out in the garden or on the potting bench, which is nearly everyday here at the moment.


So keep an eye out for more offers coming, new soaps being launched and I've got a few events I'm appearing at this year. So no matter what is going on in your life right now or what worries you have ahead, make plans, enjoy the days and it does help to talk things through with someone.




Emma

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