I happen to have a really close friend, who has lived on a working farm all her life, and very kindly on some occasions I am invited over to help out.
Well, I say help out, what I really meant to say was get in the way…
The first time I went over to see what all this farming malarkey was all about was in the Winter, so as you can imagine, it wasn’t warm at all.
However, I didn’t do too much complaining, packed 1400 layers of warm clothing, a hat and some gloves and set out into the unknown. My alarm woke me up on a cold and brisk Saturday morning; which was very early for me. From what I’m told this is “normal time” for a farmer. I hurled myself into the back of a trailer led by a quad bike where, before my little toe had the chance to have any form of contact with the wet, wooden floor of the trailer, I was propelled backwards as the bike shot off like a rocket. I did actually expect the bike with a trailer; along with two, more or less fully grown humans in the back to have the get-up and go of Jabba The Hut… I could not have been more wrong.
We eventually arrived at the place, where I was told to throw some food to some cows. Battling through the constant sharp bite from the howling wind, I thought that, even with gloves on, I would have to re-attach my fingers to my hands using a ‘Pritt-Stick’, it did, however, die down and my blood circulation was finally allowed to re-emerge from its hiding place and heat me up again.
Once the cows had been fed and watered, I was told that “morning checks” had to be done to all the rest of the farm animals to make sure that they are okay. I did find this extremely interesting, as my internal organs were turned inside out once more on the quad ride of a lifetime (which I very much enjoyed by the way) I got to see exactly how big this farm is. Now it’s not exactly Australia’s Northern Territory, but for the Lake District, and from someone who has never really seen a working farm before, I was stunned by the scale of it all, along with the epic views that come with it.
I should also mention before I go on, that it’s not just a working farm, its also a B&B. I’d have to say, I think that it is one of the best B&B’s I’ve ever stayed in too. The location is sublime, the smell of a freshly cooked breakfast every morning is amazing, the hospitality goes without fault and you just get the impression and atmosphere that your hosts work tirelessly to make sure that your stay is a great one. I think that my one memory of staying here and getting up at the crack of dawn is being able to open my bedroom curtains and get this jaw-dropping view…..
I have since been back to the farm, to what I would like to say is help out, but really it was just to get in the way again. However, it did not spoil the fun I had herding sheep, going mind-bogglingly fast on a quad bike, shearing a sheep and even sticking my hand up a sheep’s front bottom. (By this I do mean lamb a sheep). It is one of the best experiences I think I have ever had the privilege to say that I got to take part in… The shearing the sheep part, not the… anyway…
Some of you may be wondering why the title of this week’s blog has a foreign word in it like, “Dithers”, now I’ve used the word partly because I think that it is a superb word, and partly because all I really did was “dither” about. It’s hard work this farming malarkey.
I even struggled to switch a light on… Now that was something I didn’t expect to find even remotely difficult. In all respect, it was a fairly tough light switch.
Seriously though, for a short time, I only started answering to “Dithers” rather than “Thomas”, I mean I usually answer to nouns much more strongly than that, but it was soo difficult to get everything right, I was exhausted by the end of it. And some people think it’s tiring doing three minutes of ‘Charlotte’s Quick Exercise’, try farming in the very early hours of a Saturday morning.
If your still a little in the dark about some of the work that I have (tried to) help out with, then to understand, you need to scroll up to the picture of me in a big bag thing. It may seem like I was messing about, however, this is apparently a really good technique for squashing and squishing all the wool that has been sheared off from the sheep. It was my job to compact it all together.
(Which is actually a very good job to have)
Once you have been like a fat man in MacDonalds, and fit in as much as possible, the big bags are stitched up and thrown on a big pile. Well, obviously, I had to show my strength and help lift it. (Which was safe if your reading this and are a Health and Safety boffin). However, I felt as if I was carrying one of London Routemaster’s, I nearly collapsed! I couldn’t get over how heavy it was, I don’t think hairdressers nowadays have to carry all your hair along with everybody else’s that day and leave it outside in a large white bag to be sold into a rug that may eventually appear on ‘Antique’s Roadshow’. NO! They bloody well don’t, so carrying this enormous bag of sheep wool, felt to me like carrying a mountain.
All in all, though, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Mosedale End Farm, so I would just like to say a HUGE thank you to JoAnne and Andrew for giving me an amazing experience. As I did say, it is a B&B as well as a farm, so as a thank you, here is a massive plug!
If you would like to stay in a quiet, remote location in a tiny, yet staggering part of Lakeland, then Mosedale is the place to visit! For more information please visit http://www.mosedaleendfarm.co.uk I promise you it is an amazing location for a short break. It’s Baarilliant!
That’s all from me for this week,
Thank you very much for reading,
*No sheep or farm animals were harmed in the making of this blog, just Thomas’ bottom when he fell over in the back of a trailer*