Jill Thorp: Well stocked for winter as log burner is fired up early

Jill Thorp writes for The Yorkshire Post every weekend. Picture by Gary Longbottom.
Jill Thorp writes for The Yorkshire Post every weekend. Picture by Gary Longbottom.

The log burner has roared back to life this last week with the drop in temperature and whilst Paul was out of the house I risked putting the heating on.

In our house unless there is a sub zero Arctic storm raging, switching the heating on is a hanging offence. You just put a bigger jumper on, sit closer to the fire or huddle together for extra body warmth. Boo, our house dog is especially grateful. She is without doubt a fair weather dog and retreats back indoors if there’s even the slightest sniff of rain.

Stott Hall Farm, home of Jill Thorp, between the lanes of the M62. Picture by Tony Johnson.

Stott Hall Farm, home of Jill Thorp, between the lanes of the M62. Picture by Tony Johnson.

The minute the fire is lit, she will quite happily roast herself for most of the evening until just before the point of combustion, drags her smouldering body away from the inferno and lays panting on the cool stone flags. During the winter months, leaving the front door slightly ajar is foolish as you usually end up with a great heap of dogs on the hearth rug, all hoping that if they lay still enough you’ll not notice them.

As a last day of the holiday treat, John-William and I headed to Manchester to enjoy the exhausting but fun delights of Treetops, an aerial playground.

Huge nets, high in the forest canopy and giant rope slides are a great work out for adults and a surefire way of tiring your child out. For several hours we bounced wildly, seeing who could run the fastest across the suspended nets.

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We made it home in time, as the traffic slowed to a crawling pace just before we reached our exit from the motorway. My heart sank as I read the overhead flashing gantry boards, alerting everyone that animals were on the carriageways. By the time we’d landed home, got changed and walked the dogs, both the eastbound and westbound lanes were at a standstill and surrounding roads full of diverted traffic.

On this occasion it wasn’t our sheep playing chicken with the wagons, but a vehicle fire. Thankfully nobody was hurt and within a matter of hours, the motorway was running again. I purposely hadn’t mentioned the dreaded back to school words, so as not to spoil his day. Sadly though the school uniform lays waiting for him, soon to be accompanied no doubt with tears.

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The 2019 straw run is over and thankfully we have enough to get us comfortably through the winter. Whilst we wait for a weather window to get another cut of grass, dairy farmers are already ringing up wanting sheep for winter keep. This is a far cry from last year when nobody had any grass due to a blisteringly hot summer.

The land we rent at Farnley always provides us with a healthy crop, even more so this year where we have been overwhelmed with the volume of grass. Now the straw is safely stacked back home we can concentrate on getting the remaining grass baled. This no doubt will please many of the city folk that now reside in the village. I need to remind myself that the fields should resemble well-kept lawns, long mowing grass can look so unruly!