Women Farmers Can’t Rest on their Laurels!

Me with the smallest calf of the year (he was 2 weeks old at this stage and I could still carry him under one arm)

There I was, wearing a shapeless milking gown with (I discovered later) a splash of cow muck across my face, not exactly looking my most sophisticated or glamourous when Brian called me to get my thoughts on a decision regarding our ESB connection being converted to 3 Phase. The ESB guy said to me “there’s not many women doing what you do”. I looked at him, totally confused. “Doing what?” He flung his arm back to indicate the milking parlour. [...]

Claudia the Cow

Claudia, small in size and big in attitude

It has been a busy spring between calving, the building of a new milking parlour complete with rebuilt collecting yard and other ancillary expensive essentials, and now of course, we have coronavirus to think about. But this post is going to be about another C – a cow called Claudia.

Farm Memoirs of 2018 and 2019: Recommended Reads

Farm_Books__My_Recommendations

I have always enjoyed reading farm and rural memoirs. My copies of James Herriot’s books are dog-eared and have been reread many times since I was a teenager. The success of recently published farm memoirs proved that the rural memoir is as popular as ever, perhaps even enjoying a renaissance as various sectors of society (indeed, 47% of people in Britain) show an interest in leaving their city lives and dream of living on a smallholding or perhaps [...]

Event: Recognising Women’s Involvement in Farming

Sally Shortall, researching women's involvement on farms

It’s not just in the farming industry where women are making their presence felt with perhaps more determination than ever before, although when I think back to the ‘Votes for Women’ campaign, I don’t think we’ll ever reach their heights. In very recent years though, there has been a tangible change. Between sport (the Irish hockey team were silver medallists in the World Cup today), the MeToo movement, women now playing villain characters in films, it seems women aren’t content [...]

Farming: From the Frying Pan to the Fire this year

Dark clouds but no rain. The silver lining is the number of beautiful evenings we are getting  at the moment but at the back of our minds is the knowledge that once the weather breaks, it might not stop raining for months. A feast or a famine this year!

From the Frying Pan into the Fire

April 2018 was a tough month. Every week, we hoped that the rain would stop and each week, the weather forecasters dashed our hopes as fields remained waterlogged, grass grew slowly and livestock stayed indoors eating the last of the winter fodder. Many farmers, mostly those on drier land and accustomed to having their livestock out in February and March, ran out of fodder and had to purchase more.

The cows were indoors for months [...]