Spring is such a wonderful time of year when all around us plants, trees etc come back to life after the winter months.  It hasn’t been a terrible winter in so far as ice and snow, in fact the grit heap the  Council kindly left outside our gate has not had one shovel dig into it, here in the countryside we have to do our own gritting!!  Everytime I venture outside the garden has sprouted yet more plants and all the shrubs are bursting forth.  Apart from a whole load of Holly Hocks that I ordered from a catalogue and arrived like dead sticks, still waiting for some life to appear!!   A whole bed of Alliums which I thought I had moved last year, I dug up loads,  have come back with avengeance.  I will be ready with my spade once more after they have flowered because I would like to create a new herbaceous border, minus Alliums, I hadn’t realised they were so prolific! I always move everything to different parts of the garden, waste not want not and the said Alliums will be relocated into what we call the Secret Garden, a area around the back of the house which isn’t a secret at all it is just a name we gave it when we came to live here.

It  is a very busy time on the farm.  We do not lamb sheep but plenty of our neighbours do and the little lambs are a delight to watch especially when the sun shines and they all start to gamble around the fields with their friends until Mum calls them for dinner, in other words when her udder is feeling rather full.  It amazes me how in a field that is full of sheep and lambs how the Mum’s and babies are reunited but obviously like us they will all have their own distinctive voices.

Here at Castley Farm things are quite hectic.  All the cattle have been turned out to grass, it is a joy to see them run around in the fields munching on the lovely spring grass and soaking up the sunshine, when it shines of course.  However, the weather over the last few days has turned very cold again  and our bovine friends would no doubt prefer to be back inside their cosy barns.

A new project is developing swiftly as Messrs Lishman are putting up a building to house Robots to milk the cows, yes Castley Farm is going all high tech!!  My dear husband is really struggling with his knees, he is waiting for an appointment to see an orthopaedic surgeon.  He has milked cows twice a day every day of the year apart from the odd few days here and there for holiday since he was 16 years of age and he is now 56.  A few months ago whilst in the milking parlour he was thinking about the future.  The parlour is a good place to ruminate and cogitate thoughts and ideas and how he wouldn’t want the daily routine of milking for much longer but we have to milk cows on this farm, that is what we do.  Richard, at this point came into the parlour to collect the calf milk and Ian apparently muted the idea of Robots.  Well that was all it needed for Richard to return to the farm the next day with ideas, basic costings and emails sent requesting Robot companies to visit us for a chat and here we are in the midst of construction!!

For those of you unsure of the Robotic milking system the cows will basically go and be milked at a time when they wish to be milked.  Approximately two or three times a day they will visit the Robot to be relived, the enticement is a reward of some food automatically dispensed on arrival, a little like going to a sweety shop I presume.  This system does not however mean Messrs Lishman can just sit with their feet up in the office over seeing their Ladies, heavens no there will still be plenty to do but what it will do is relieve the daily grind of standing in the parlour twice a day  and offer the freedom to do other things and hopefully a better lifestyle, all very exciting.

Now lets talk about feet, yes it is that time of year again when we all examine our feet a little more closely as the summer shoe season is imminent and a little tlc is required.  Our poor little feet are much neglected at times.  The structure of the foot is really complex with 26 bones and over 100 ligaments, tendons and muscles and literaly carry us around all day in what ever activity we choose to do.  We all think about excercising our bodies but do you ever consider excercising your feet, you should it feels really good.  One thing I like to do is to rise up onto the toes, one foot at a time and gently lower back to the floor, repeating this several times, this gives a lovely stretch through the foot, my pilates tutor calls this prancing pony.  Also rolling your foot on a tennis or golf ball or if you have one of those fancy ones with nobbles on is a good one for massaging the sole of the foot.  Clients are beating a path to the door at the moment for foot health pedicures.  What could be nicer than having a foot soak in some lovely herbal bubbles and then your nails, hard skin and corns etc attended to,  finished off with having all the skin smoothed and then a massage.  Having your feet maintained in this way is a treat, but on the other hand it is not because maintaining the health of your feet is so beneficial to how you feel, comfortable feet, comfortable you.

Any how I have rambled on enough for now, will write again soon,


Gillian x