It’s not only summer’s lease, which hath all too short a date;
time itself is fleeting, as we realised today. This is because we are already celebrating our second aniversary here at Ffarm Fach. Despite my best intentions the clock did indeed get the better of me, as I indulged in slumber until almost 6.30am; luxuriant in my personal extreme.
As I penned my characteristic dawn blogscribblings, I watched in dismay as morning greeted the valley in the same haze of obfuscating wind & rain as had bid us goodnight, the previous evening. Thankfully the blustering showers soon ceased; though to be replaced once more with silent drifts of damp, ponderous mist. Then, on the emergence of Tony’s bright smile, the heavens themselves seemed intent on challenging the cornflower glint of his eyes with the cerulean of cloudless blue as he bounced out with the autumn sun to complete the morning’s brisk farmwork.
I checked the rain gauge at the western end of the house & was dismayed to see that the cup – which holds a full 50mm of water – was literally brimming over. However, I realised I hadn’t recently emptied it; so there was in fact around two days’ worth of precipitation therein. But that’s still a fair old soaking even so….
Tony spent much of the afternoon working on Nanuk’s kennel complex as she really needs the free space. With the persisitently inclement weather & the work we need to carry out indoors – whether crafting cheeses, conjouring ice creams or struggling through the accounts – we have so far been unable to complete the required work to make the run fully escape-proof. So rather than cementing in the lower blocks we we have come to a temporary compromise by doubling their number, to ensure she cannot push them out & wriggle underneath. She certainly seems much happier in there although she has not yet worked out she can in fact go inside the kennel, despite our best efforts to encourage her to do so. However as the run itself is roofed over, at least she is able to stay dry. I had to spend some time educating her to sit to command whilst she’s inside the run, however; something she doesn’t yet do particularly well. But she’ll have to learn; as I cannot get in & out easily if she comes bounding up to the door, as is her characteristically effervescent nature.
Apart from the odd sulky bank of pendulous cloud, the day remained sunny, bright & uncharacterisically mild for autumn. However, on looking out across the wooded valley, it is clear that the onset of autumn now has a much stronger foothold. The ravages of the wind over the previous couple of days has taken its toll & amongst the now russet & umber hues of beech & oak, bleached skeletal branches of ash & sycamore stretch to the sky like starved supplicants at a public feast. Every day now, the picture the wood presents, is different, restless; ever-changing as we plough onwards toward winter.
The week ahead looks promising & is predicted to be mainly sunny; however the unseasonably warm temperatures are also unfortunately set to persist; which will not do the Bluetongue virus situation any favours in farmers’ eyes. Thankfully there are no restrictions in place in Wales as yet; what with FMD zones as well, the defra website has got increasingly complicated & it can be no easy task for farmers within the various Zones, to work out whether & to where they are permitted to move livestock. As Tony’s place of work – Heathrow – falls within a whole variety of Zones he not only has to clean & disinfect his vehicle every time he returns to the farm, he also has to check the inside of the car for flying insects in case he unwittingly brings a Bluetongue-infected midge across the border. It just doesn’t get any easier….
Meanwhile I checked up on a batch of Cilrhedyn Chevre I’d made a few days’ earlier; it had matured very nicely although it looked a little dry. On tasting it the reason was unfortunately all to apparent as I’d significantly over-salted the smaller cheeses (I’d cut them into a variety of sizes as an experiment). This demonstrates what happens when you’re trying to do too many things at once – on that occasion I’d been speaking to a friend whilst salting cheeses in a great hurry as we were about to go out. Trying to keep to many balls in the air means that one or two will inevitably fall to earth with a resounding THUMP!
We enjoyed a lovely, relaxed celebratory dinner this evening, to mark our two years here on the Ffarm. After the sun had set, rather than resuming work on the accounts we chose to indulge in watching two of our favourite films which were coincidentally showing on TV: Star Wars IV (the original, very first film in the series & still a classic); & Chicken Run – no matter how many times you watch it you cannot fail to laugh – & pick out a yet another humorous nugget you’d missed before. On the subject of cinema, I observed to Tony that I feel sorry for William Shatner as he apparently will not be appearing in the next Star Trek film even in a cameo role; it’s a mistake, as for fans everywhere, he is the one & only, James T Kirk. I happened to meet the actor whilst riding in an equitation World Championships in Kentucky a few years ago – he is a keen horseman – & found him a delightful, soft-spoken gentleman. But I’m sure the director of the film will soon realise his mistake when he’s hit in the box office pocket for his oversight.
What a perfect end to our ‘Toothyversary’ – two whole wonderful years here at Ffarm Fach. Despite the many ups & downs which have coloured the threads of life’s rich tapestry here, overall we count ourselves indeed fortunate: like the rain gauge this morning, our cup certainly runneth over….