Our daily routine starts at 5.30am. Going to milk the goats and feed the sheep is lovely in the summer, watching the beautiful sunrise. However, in the winter, it isn’t such a blast! Walking down the lane in the dark, muffled up in our waterproof coats and wellies, I often wish I could win the lotto. But then I see my darling goats and any negative feelings just disappear...
They are always so happy to see us (or more accurately, their breakfast!). People say “familiarity breeds contempt” and this could become the case with any daily routine. But for us, no two days are the same. There’s always something to be done or some animal needing special attention.
Visitors to our Farmstay B&B often say that our life is “idyllic” and I suppose to a certain extent it does look that way. But they don’t get to see the all-nighters during lambing time and the dramas when things don’t go to plan.
The seasons follow on and I love to see the changing landscape through the year. Just this week, I have noticed the daffodil shoots appearing, giving us hope that the winter will soon be over. At the moment, we are also planning our goat and sheep breeding plan. It is an exciting time, deciding which ewes to breed and which ram to produce the best lambs.
Each season of the year brings its own specific tasks. Even moving the sheep from one field to another is a simple pleasure. Pip the sheepdog is always so pleased with herself when the job’s done. Seeing the sheep happily settling in and enjoying the fresh grass and new surroundings. It is important for everyone’s mental wellbeing to take a moment every day and notice simple pleasures. No matter where you live, make a point of noticing a lovely sunrise or a beautiful, clear, moonlit night. Get outside no matter what the weather and observe your local surroundings. Even though the shortest day is not too far away, we can already see next spring’s buds on the trees. And so the circle of life continues. Far from becoming mundane or boring, we look forward to planning what’s next.
Vanessa Drew is a highly experienced garden designer based near Rathfriland, Co Down. Vanessa is also a part-time farmer, animal lover and owner of Ballyroney Cottage farmstay B&B. She enjoys hiking, mindfulness and is a wildlife and conservation enthusiast. In her blogs, she shares her passion for horticulture, animals and country lifestyle.