Pony club camps, harvest, show jumping, bale carting, packed lunches galore, stay away shows, four children in four different places, combining, a quick dip in the pool at the end of a long day harvesting, sleepovers and so much more.

Ted’s bedtime used to be quite religious at 7pm, but since the school holidays began it could be 6pm or 10pm. I struggle to know what day of the week it is and “Sunday roast” could be on any day of the week now.

As we turn our thoughts to going back to school and the end of harvest, it always feels that September is the start of a new year. Well, a new growing season at least. This year seems to be about grass, grass and more grass; it just keeps on growing. We have enough grass baled to see us through to silage season 2023! It really is amazing after last year’s yield. The price of good quality hay will be good, although I fear a lot of sub-standard hay has been made.

After a very stop/start harvest and the weather being its usual unhelpful self, we seem to have completed most of this years harvesting. Looking back to the 2020 harvest, we were completed by 4 August and this year we hadn’t even started by that date. The yields seem to be down a little, but the straw is of good quality.

Supplies still seem to be an issue even down to taking delivery on school uniform. In my attempt to be super organised this year I ordered school uniform as soon as the children finished school. Unfortunately, I am still awaiting the arrival of most of my order. Many factors have been blamed for this, Covid-19 being number one, followed by the Suez Canal blockage – and every industry would appear to be short of staff.

While researching for this article it would appear that plenty of people are looking for work but not many have the necessary skills or are willing to learn a new trade. Is this because we are stuck in our old ways?

Making way for a new generation of farmers seems to be a very difficult thing to do. Some farmers seem to make the transition seamlessly, while others cling to the purse strings for as long as possible. The Government’s “retirement” scheme uptake has not been as popular as expected. Taking a lump sum of up to £50,000 and then not receiving any Basic Payment income doesn’t seem to appeal to the majority of farmers.

Traditionally farmers don’t retire; it’s a way of life. They may have a slower pace of life but continuing to walk the crops or check the cows is a habit that is hard to let go. The younger generation has new ideas and needs to be allowed to make mistakes (this is a way of learning). In this day and age many children have everything they need/want in life without having to work for it. Is this why we seemingly have a labour shortage? We all strive for a better life for our children but is this our downfall?

I’ve always explained to the children that “if you work hard, you must play hard”; a work/life balance is essential in maintaining a happy life. Looking back, I may have partied rather hard in my youth, possibly too hard, and I’m sure my children will do exactly the same. After a long day harvesting, a trip to the pub with your friends and a pint of beer, or orange juice in some cases, is the best tonic to get you up in the morning to do it all again.

School is about to begin and I have one little boy who is adamant that school doesn’t start for another 380 weeks. Wish me luck on getting him to school on time.

Until next time take care and I’ll see you at the pub!