A rush to get the baling done but a day at the seaside provides a welcome break for the residents of the farm on the M62

I think it’s fair to say, we’ve seen the last of this year’s summer.

A day at the seaside provides a welcome break for the residents of Stott Hall Farm

The morning air has a distinctly autumnal feel to it, evenings drawing in.

The weather certainly hasn’t been on our side, endless rain delaying the baling of our straw over in Doncaster. After countless trips, all hands on deck and four balers all going at once, the job was finally done. The majority of the tackle, tractors, trailers and the baler still down there, our last-minute day trip to the seaside was looking doubtful.

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However, with a dry forecast and the return to school upon us, we emptied all the farming gear out of the pick-up and headed east to Runswick Bay. It was just what we all needed, a break, albeit a very brief one.

Whilst John-William and I scanned the horizon for the first glimpse of the sea, Paul admired the surrounding farmland, marvelling at the stretch of fertile arable land between the heather clad moors and the drop down to the beautiful coastline.

We spent the day building an entire city of sandcastles complete with giant moat. We watched our son make countless trips to the water’s edge, filling his bucket and rushing back up the beach to top his moat up. Each time he returned, his clothes were that bit wetter, until finally he ran headlong into the cold waves, screaming for joy as the cold water surged around his legs.

We were all somewhat subdued on the way home, the realisation that “normality”, whatever that may be was about to resume. The dreaded school uniform was donned the following day and we headed off to his new school. I left him at the door to his classroom, reassuring him that all would be fine and that no, we wouldn’t sort and mark any lambs without him.

I forced a big smile onto my face and left just before the first few tears filled my eyes. I spent the day feeling lost, convinced I’d forgotten something. The peace and quiet was not welcomed, I longed for shrieks of laughter and battles over who was going to reverse the bike out of the shed.

The red marker spray cans sat on the side and a pair of wellies lay abandoned in a corner of the kitchen. I willed three o’clock to arrive, just so I could have my partner in crime back by my side. Despite knowing he would be just fine, friendships new and old would be formed again, I missed him terribly.

Having this extended period of time with him has been a Godsend for us, his endless cheery persona and boundless enthusiasm has pulled us through some difficult days.

With the tup sales upon us, our thoughts turn to our breeding programmes, the Blue Faced Leicesters being first. We’ve decided to use ‘sponges’ which are impregnated with a progesterone-like hormone and inserted into the ewe. Hopefully, this will bring them into season and providing our tup gets his act together, my Leicester lambs should all arrive within a few days of one another. As John-William informed him, “shape up or ship out”!

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Thank you

James Mitchinson