I am very unpopular with everyone - we have had a long hard look at the Berry’s team and some have wintered better than others. Tragically, we feel Tiger and Traffic Light, our two Kune Kune pigs, are both showing their age and their trip up the steps to the day time pen is not an easy one. I am not a believer in keeping any animal if they are not in good health - they are going to be sorely missed and have been such a huge part of Berry’s from the start, I remember collecting then in a small box with my Mother when they were eight weeks old.
A younger Tiger and Traffic
And then looking at the hens with the bird flu ever present, they are all showing their age too, although Jeff the cream leg bar might join Tim’s egg layers. We will plan for some Easter chicks.
So, it was a huge relief to deflect from the awful me when the announcement came that The Wensleydale Experience had won the Best Rural Tourism Business in the UK at the Rural Business Awards! I don’t have a lot to do with running the six yurts on the farm, but I did breed the piglet in the main press photo. It is an incredible achievement and credit to the small, dedicated team who run the business. Better replace the stock!
Our Best National Rural Tourism Business Award
Main press photo (credit: Rebecca Munds)
Back to age - I do feel experience is sometimes overlooked. I was hearing about the occasional calf being born with an under-developed tracheae in the throat, leading to problems breathing. Our retired vet used a procedure that made a hole in the throat so the calf could breath, and by the time the hole healed, the trachea was fully developed and the calf could breathe normally. None of the new younger vets had heard of this procedure, so there were three vets listening in to the telephone call talking them through the operation - luckily only one vet was being paid.
For Rolo, the Shetland pony, his dentist is unretirable. I always hesitate when I text him worried he might have hung up his rasp, but no, he says some of his tools are 100 years old.
Ancient teeth filing tools
But he was given a new rasp from his wife, and it did look very shiny.
New rasp in operation
So Rolo has level teeth again.
And a relative had to retire at 70-years-old from the magistrate bench, all that experience lost overnight. I must be at the age where there is more talk of retirement than anything else, I am looking forward to a few more friends joining the Granny group! But it does mean you get the jab earlier, I am now fully vaccinated and hoping all my friends will be joining me soon.
The weather has been bitter; we had goats, llamas, ponies and piglets all shivering - everyone got extra rations, which the piglets were happy with.
Piglets with their greens
But the skies were so blue, even this nightmare tree causing havoc in a wall looked beautiful.
Unhelpful tree with disruptive roots
And sledging isn’t only for the young.
Summer in the Alps
My 31-year-old son went sledging, although he was a bit disappointed with our sledge selection, especially when I suggested a feed bag with straw used to work ok. But there have been some stunning skies.
Berry’s was also under snow, but all is looking good for April when Berry’s will be opening at last in the courtyard.
Berry’s under Snow
I was hoping to have more news of Highland calves, Sherlock’s last litter and the start of the lambing - but nothing to report yet.
It’s that expectant time of year when you feel anything could happen.