Jill Thorp: Life on the farm is so precious - treasure every minute

Living where we do makes it hard to get on with our daily routine without being spotted. Anything new, whether it be a shed, tractor or dog rarely goes unnoticed. The recent scaffolding that has gone up around the house is, of course, no exception.

Jill Thorp farms in between the lanes of the M62. Read her column in The Yorkshire Post every weekend. Picture by Gary Longbottom.

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I was informed of its sudden appearance by a friend of a friend, and as I’d been off for the day with the ponies, it came as news to me! Our wonderful builder Roger along with his brother, Mark, and father, Tom, are back, this time working on the roof that has not only been leaking but has a noticeable sag.

On closer inspection, the extent of the problem was revealed, huge splits in the old oak beams. Thanks to the dreaded woodworm and of course age, one of the beams has actually snapped in half, leaving the roof in a somewhat precarious state.

Thankfully, the roof is now in very safe and experienced hands and the extra company in the yard is welcomed. The beautiful beams, gnarled and twisted with age lay forlornly in the back field amongst the thistles, awaiting their next role. Hopefully, some of them can be used up at High Moss, one of the ruined farmsteads that sits high up on the hillside above Stott Hall Farm.

Before John-William was born we were lucky enough to secure a grant from Natural England to rebuild part of High Moss. The grant stipulated that the house and barn had to be put back exactly how it was before it fell in to disrepair.

Along with a conservation architect, Roger and his family slowly started putting the pieces back together. It was a huge job as only two walls of the barn remained and only one course of stone was in place above the huge arched doorway.

The barn now stands tall and proud on its lofty perch, as close as was possible to the day it was built, even down to the oak pegs holding the Yorkshire slate in place, that Tom painstakingly whittled by hand. Unfortunately, funds ran out before we could start work on the old house, dating back to the 1600s. We still hope to one day return it to its former glory.

I was saddened to read recently that farm related deaths are on the increase. We were immensely shocked that several children in separate incidents had lost their lives. One of these tragedies was quite close to home, leaving us utterly heartbroken for the grieving family and clutching our own boy that little bit tighter.

It’s a difficult time for Paul, remembering his own brother who would have recently celebrated his 43rd birthday had he not lost his life over 20 years ago.

It’s terribly painful for Paul coming to terms with the fact that he has been gone now for longer than he was alive. Every day I find myself telling John-William not to do this, don’t go in there, stay away from that, frightened he will be hurt.

Life is so precious and the recent tragedies should be a harsh reminder to treasure every minute we have here.