If the bull gets frisky, running could be a life saver. Running comes in handy when I’m thinking it’s easy to catch the ewe that’s swinging a leg. It’s a sheep scam! She’s faster than Usain Bolt. After my achilles heel injury, I’m grateful to be able to run, but prefer not to be timed. Our eldest daughter and I enjoyed our run in the grounds of Ashburnham Place, a beautiful setting in which to raise money for ‘Out Of The Blue.’ A non profit organisation that supports charities raising awareness of depression and mental health, helping ease the affects of suicide and bereavement. This yearly event is well organised, with a 5k or 10k option.

In my youth I climbed Ben Nevis and Snowden. Two of my daughter’s climbed to Everest base camp. Admirable achievements which increase endorphin levels, but climbing to dizzy heights isn’t generally top priority for farmers. Speaking of heights, we’ve recently bought a safety platform, reducing risk when attending to roof repairs, leaking gutters, and light adjustments. I’ve never relished the job of swaying at the top of an extended ladder, or anchoring the bottom and wondering how soft a landing I will provide for the person above, should it all go horribly wrong.

How well you bounce is important. I remember our children bouncing on a bright orange space hopper. It had a smiley face and two antennas which they held onto. They had lots of fun and when they fell, we dusted them off and set them going again. Fingers crossed this has stood them in good stead for coping with whatever life throws at them. We all experience times that are more difficult to cope with than others. It’s comforting to know that you are not alone. Thankfully, in today’s culture there’s a refreshing trend to be more understanding of mental health problems. It’s good that representatives from the Farming Community Network often attend livestock markets. Talking with someone, admitting that life is not always sweet is a good start to recovery. Urban issues so often overshadow those that affect rural communities.

Metaphorically speaking bounceabilty is very relevant in today’s farming world. We’re used to dealing with adverse weather conditions, this causes us enough headaches without adding political chaos. The uncertainty regarding future marketing returns makes agricultural business planning difficult. As a lamb and beef producer, listening to an AHDB webinar on ‘the year ahead’, did little to reassure me about our future. As a shepherd checking our sheep I’m proud to see we’ve achieved some shapely lambs. But when they are finished, will there be a market for them? We may yet need to bounce back from adversity.

Middle daughter suggests ‘the sheep must go!’ Don’t worry I covered Brie the sheepdog’s ears when she said this. I’ve dug my heels in the mud. Right now it’s mud making weather, rain is bucketing down and the lightening is providing a spectacular light show, the thunder clapped and electricity has gone off. Maybe the heavens are taking my side. I’m glad that we have no grass cut at the moment. Discussions are ongoing regarding cattle versus sheep and the jury is out, but I suspect we’ll carry on much the same.

Sitting around the kitchen table, studying farm accounts, having a lively debate on the dubious merits of livestock farming. Someone made the classic quote ‘A sheep’s main aim in life is to die’. I countered that I’ve got sheep that buck that trend. Every time I see ‘wobbly legs’ grazing with the flock I feel so happy for him, he’s grown into a fine lamb. Born to a scatty young ewe, he was unable to stand, but keen to live. I had to pen his mother and literally hold him up to feed. However he gradually regained strength in his legs. His is a success story.

Contrastingly I feel desperately sorry for Badgeroo’s mother. She was so proud of her uniquely marked tiny premature lamb. He was also penned initially before being released into the field by the house. His mother didn’t realise that she needed to protect him. Early one morning the crows pecked out his eyes. His inexperienced mother was devastated, afterwards she mourned him for days. I’m so glad that the general shooting license has been reinstated.

Our cattle clearly didn’t receive the memo from the TB advisory service. We received explicit instructions that our cattle shouldn’t mix with any neighbouring herds. Bio security wise, this makes perfect sense. Previously we’ve gained uninvited guests, but this year four of our cattle have individually gone walkabouts mixing with four different neighbouring herds. Retrieving these wayward animals has been time consuming. One young heifer simply got into the waterbed and walked upstream until she found herself a bull! Who said, ‘only sheep are troublesome!’

Busy times are ahead, silaging, haymaking, shearing, harvesting etc,. It’s all go, I just want to say, while you’re rushing about be careful. Sadly farming in the United Kingdom is now the most dangerous industry to work in. On average, there’s thirty-two fatalities a year. The most common causes being a) moving vehicles; b) by animal;

c) falling from a height; d) struck by a falling object. So please take time not to put yourselves or others in harms way.

The Women’s World Cup Football has been a great watch. Also congratulations to ‘The Ladies that Pull.’ The Oxney Vines Cross women’s tug of war team, came home from the National competition with medals. My husband was a ‘Forge lane’ puller in the 1960’s and 70’s. Ladies teams were unheard of in those days.

Just thought I’d mention, Tigger is my role model.