Today’s reflections come from Marlborough.news’ very own Marina.
Our home is a dairy farm nestling in the rolling hills of Shropshire on the Worcestershire and Herefordshire borders. On a clear day we can see the Brecon Beacons. We have been here nearly two years now, having moved from Wiltshire. It is very beautiful.
Only a few short months ago, Wuhan was a world away. We hadn’t heard of Coronavirus COVID-19. I’m sure many people, like us, never dreamt this vile thing would ever reach us here in the UK.
Our cows though are none the wiser and they still require milking twice a day at 5am and 4.30pm. Last week we let the girls out for the first time as happens every spring and after a long winter housed in the sheds this is an exciting time. Rather like lunch time break at a primary school, the girls are literally jumping for joy at the sight of lush green grass and freedom to play. For the herdsman it’s always a relief to get them out too.
In the present climate some farms are throwing thousands of litres of milk away due to supply chain disruption. This is heart breaking knowing the hard work that goes in to produce the milk. In the next month or so our herd are due to calve down, so they are approaching the time to be ‘dried off.’ So slowing down on production or throwing away isn’t an issue here, not at this moment anyway.
We regard ourselves extremely fortunate to live rurally, having just four neighbours over the field and in shouting distance. Social distancing at the farm is relatively simple as we rarely have visitors. The milk tanker arrives at 11pm or later every other day to collect the milk when we are tucked up in our bed.
I work part-time at a local primary school where we are on a rota system to care for the children of keyworkers. I am on duty for one day this week and then not again for two weeks or so – the safety of the staff and teachers has been carefully considered.
Our youngest son is 8 years old and is entitled to attend his school as both parents are keyworkers. However, we have decided for this one day he can be farm schooled with Daddy.
Lockdown life for our son is very different to many children. From a young age he has always been aware just how privileged our way of life is. We have 2.5 acres of garden (yes, it’s me that mows) and a private wood behind – our four girls (chickens) are the only two legged friends we meet on our woodland walks with the dog and the cat that thinks she’s a dog!
Home schooling here consists of reading and English and maths in the morning, followed by the afternoon’s History hour with Dad, researching/logging and sorting our metal detecting finds and even some digging in the dirt in the garden. Then back out to round up the girls for afternoon milking.
Meanwhile Mummy assists with Science & Nature, Cookery and Arts & Crafts. Egg blowing and decorating for Easter was our most recent activity, which proved both amusing and interesting and showed a good set of lungs is needed.
Community spirit as in much of the UK is touching and humbling. My husband’s asthma medication was delivered by a volunteer from our local church when we ourselves were in isolation a few weeks ago. Thank you. Home food deliveries from local shops are a life saver for many especially the elderly or those who are self- isolating.
Personally, when Covid-19 has left us I hope we will all take time to consider a simpler existence, placing family and our loved ones at the very heart of our thoughts. And foremost to be ever grateful for the lives we enjoy and to remember many families across the world whose lives have dramatically changed and will never be the same again.
Some breaking news, our first calf is born, a Belgian Blue bull calf.
Be safe, be kind and be thankful.
Farming family Shropshire