A year’s worth of broken, discarded toys, Classic Tractor magazines and untold odd socks, lay strewn about, soon to be gathered, sorted and eventually shoved to the back of some cupboard. With no Christmas party to host this year, the need to have the house looking festively glamorous, not to say tidy, is not quite so urgent.
But for just a few days, maybe even weeks, I would like to see the carpet, have a clutter-free sofa and be able to eat at the table, free of farming paperwork and broken ear tags. To add to the madness, Boo, our Teckel, has had a litter of pups. Not just any old pups, but a litter of ‘terrierists’!
As soon as their eyes opened and they became mobile, life in our house took on a whole new meaning.
Any toe, ankle or, in fact, any part of your body is fair game. Hiding under chairs or dirty overalls, you rarely see them coming, just the pain as the needle sharp teeth sink into your flesh.
Shoes, toys, coats are dragged, ragged and torn to pieces. And any attempt at cooking, especially if it’s red meat, is out of the question unless they are securely locked away.
Like a hungry pack of pint-sized wolves, they descend on the kitchen, shouting and scratching, clawing frantically at the kitchen cupboards.
The saga of trying to get the rather ambitiously-sized Christmas tree into the house and decorated, was one best forgotten, never to be mentioned as tempers flared, branches were snapped and Ebeneezer Scrooge appeared, disguised as my husband. However, the little terrors have now headed off to their new homes.
No more piles of poo or wet patches all over the rug. No more manic fights to break up. No more bitten ankles and hogging of all the heat from the fire. Sadly, however, their departure means no more cuddles, no more hot, sleepy bodies asleep on your lap.
The house seems empty now, quiet and despite the utter chaos, we’re all missing their presence.
We’ve kept a pup back, so the unexpected annoyance at a sudden wet sock as you walk across the floor, is not completely gone!
Caesar, the calf born by caesarian section a couple of weeks ago, is doing well, as is his mum. He has been joined by a heifer calf, who appeared recently with absolutely no assistance from us.
We now wait patiently for the third heifer to release her hostage. Judging by the size of her, bets are on as to how many she has captive in there. The main herd begins calving in February, but due to losing our young bull earlier in the year, it could prove to be a long stretch.
With a change in bulls and slight upset to the herd we could still be welcoming calves well into the spring. Not ideal with so many to lamb and so little shed space, but with our young shepherd in charge, it should be a breeze!
Jill Thorp and her family live at Stott Hall, the 'M62 farm' near Huddersfield