Until last summer I was what you might call a keen observer of our farm life.

I took great interest in the stories our children came in with, I celebrated each new cria (baby alpaca) born and loved our farm life. All this was very much from where I am most comfortable - our kitchen.

I'm a great believer in the wisdom that we each have our strengths and while I couldn't tell the difference between Amadeaus and Arizona (two of our very similar black cria) my husband wouldn't know his tarragon from his turmeric so I thought we made a pretty good team.

However when a back injury, late in the summer, put a halt to my husband’s gallop I found myself having to step up-to the plate and drag myself, metaphorically speaking, out of the kitchen and get hands on in the farm.

I would be the first to admit - but not in Paul's earshot - that I assumed that there was quite a bit of pottering that went on outside. I knew he worked hard but I really didn't think he was quite as busy as he was.

It was a steep learning curve and not helped by himself channelling his inner dictator to 'direct' proceeding with the aid of his walking stick! Who knew that the tapping of a stick could incite such rage, one of the many lessons I learnt, and here are a few more.

  • To start the tractor one must turn the key to position 3-8 seconds, no more no less, and then try starting the engine.
  • It is of great importance to actually elevate the transport box BEFORE moving the tractor forward.
  • The ride on lawnmower is capable of reversing....some very funny scenes played out before I discovered this.
  • Despite what my husband says, it is possible to fence the turkey field using a lot of ingenuity and copious amounts of cable ties.
  • Alpacas have very different personalities...it is well worth getting to know them.
  • On the rare occasion that you get caught in the crossfire of an 'alpaca argument', avoid the spitting phase…it STINKS and does not wash off easily.
  • It would appear that the so called role reversal is a one way thing. Despite being required to step into himself's wellies, it would seem he has no need to step into mine - there was no ceremonial handover of the apron!
  • On a wet and miserable morning the thought of heading out is less than appealing, however on the many other glorious, crisp morning there is no better way to start your day than an hour outside farming.
  • All in all I am delighted to have seen farming from the other side, and while I was just keeping the chief farmer’s boots warm, I'll be happier to walk beside him than be left behind from now on.

    Until next time from all on the farm...happy new year!

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