I used to curse the fact that our farm was at the top of a very steep hill on the trek home from the school bus, my back laden down with books like shanks mare.

But judging by the weather I have seen around the country in the last fortnight, I feel that I may have to issue a quick apology to my ancestors for their choice.

However I have to admit that somewhat akin to the story of Noah and the ark, I purchased a kayak a week before the storms hit us. Now I just have to figure out the transport arrangements for towing a boat filled with our sucklers in the event that the rain never stops!

Our calving season started in January. Our small suckler herd has a lineage better than our own family history with some nieces and great aunts side by side in the slatted shed. There are worse things in life than seeing a heifer standing over her first calf, with the granny cow in the background, looking every inch as pleased as the new mother.

Since the beginning of December, we have also had a daily visitor to our shed; a pheasant.

A handful or two of beef nuts a day keeps him happy. He has a knack for predicting the weather and parades around the silage bales squawking for more feed if a couple of bad days are on the way. I only hope we’re not feeding him up for someone else’s dinner table.

We plant a small vegetable garden in spring, just a small crop of carrots, onions, turnips and cabbages. We also had peas and rhubarb, along with a small crop of potatoes but those were the first to be used up.

The peas never even made it to the dinner table, being snaffled by me every time I walked by them, along with the occasional young carrot. A small plot of kale is also on one side of the garden, planted purely by accident by my father a few years ago, thinking it was a form of cabbage. That year he also planted white turnips and he still hasn’t lived that down! However, I persisted with the kale and now it’s planted every year. This year I am going to research more into planting a field of it and using it as an extra winter feed, though the suitability of the land in the north west may have something to say about that though.

Recently I have an extra job to do around here; babysitting my neighbour’s cat who happens to have an injured ear. Daily visits, inspections and occasional injections are helping to ease the owner’s anxiety. On the other hand, the cat is less than enthralled by my attention. It doesn’t help that he now resembles a lampshade with his collar. In fact, I have never seen a cat perfect such a look of contempt and loathing until I met this guy. I’d take looking after the cattle any day!