Another tranquil day today,
although as some stubborn, lingering low cloud threatened to spoil our day with rain we kept the goats in – just in case – frustratingly, we needn’t have bothered. Next time I’ll trust my insticts & turf ’em out for some fresh air! However I do actually consider us to be exceptionally lucky; as fellow cheesemakers in Pacific Northwest USA are having a far, far harder time of it, weather-wise. Tragically the Black Sheep Creamery in Adna (Washington) has been worst hit this week; storms ravaged the area & the farm lost all but 23 of their sheep, the house & barns flooded with 30 inches of water. It makes our bit of tin flapping around on the barn roof seem such a silly little thing by comparison; the strong winds & driving rain we’ve had being really just a breeze & a shower when you think of those poor folks. My heart goes out to them as regardless of any insurance pay-out it will never compensate for the tragedy of losing so much of their wonderful flock; I wish them the very best & hope they are able to rebuild their business & return to their cheesemaking, as soon as possible.
Tony did the daily chores whilst I shuffled piles of paperwork in the study; then once the goats were munching contentedly on their hay we perused the various digital cameras on offer. We eventually plumped for a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3, Tony managing to conjour up a real bargain which put it just within reach of the amount Mum & Dad had very kindly given me for my birthday. It’s a wonderful present, having a 10x optical zoom, 8 megapixels’ clarity & a 3-inch viewing screen. I’m so lucky to have been given such an extremely generous gift; & it will enable me to take far superior pictures for the magazine articles I regularly write. And possibly, for the book…..? Not sure whether I’m brave enough to take the plunge on that score though, as yet; I’d like a bit more confidence that what I write is worth reading!
After lunch Tony resumed work on crafting the window frame for the Long Barn, painting it in the same, traditional dark red as the others; after which he chopped some more firewood, as we seem to be getting through it at an astronomical rate (I can see us running out well before the Winter is over; we really need to collect the wood our neighbour has so kindly cut for us, although I doubt the ground is sufficiently dry to take the weight of a laden truck at the moment; & it’s a bit too much to ask of the ponies with the distance involved & the steepness of the slope on which they’d have to work).
Meanwhile I sorted out some ‘Design Wales’ questionnaires for us to go through as we need to carry out an evaluation of our ideas for branding our products, which proved a fascinating exercise. Basically, it involved trying to get into the psyche of the people who might want to purchase what we make: their age, income, magazines they read, cars they drive, family circumstances etc. Coupled to this, is consideration from the perspective of the business & the image we wish to portray – which for us is one of fresh, natural produce crafted using traditional methods on a farm in which the animals’ welfare is of paramount importance.
During the afternoon I received an email from a researcher of BBC Radio Wales’ “Good Evening Wales” programme, asking me to telephone them urgently, which I did. It was refererence the multi-bird roast we’d cooked for Christmas Dinner, last year; they were running a feature on the subject & had hoped to interview me to discuss it after reading about it on the Blog; but by the time I’d got the message they had unfortunately already arranged an alternative interviewee. However, chatting to the researcher, he was very keen that I should be involved in future programmes as a sort of roving rural reporter, for them – sounds like great fun! Basically if I come up with an interesting thread he wants me to let him know & they’ll consider running a story on it; & if he gets a potentially suitable story he’ll also alert me in turn. As it’s for their ‘Drive Time’ slot it’s very popular so I’d be heard by a big chunk of the nation – what an interesting prospect! I’d better go & sharpen my pencil…..