I don’t think I have ever seen my yard as muddy as it has been this winter.

I’m longing for the longer days and a bit of drying, because I am just about fed up of tramping through muck.

Now, unfortunately, I do have a few bales stored in a field next to the yard, something that I haven’t had to do for years and that probably isn’t helping the case either, as every time I go in for a bale, I’m taking some muck back into the yard on the wheels of the tractor.

My yard is quite spread out, so unless I somehow manage to win the lotto, it’s just not feasible to concrete it all.

I know we put 30 loads of 2in stone down on part of the yard in 2006 and another 30 loads down on another part in 2011 and that always stayed fairly clean, so I suppose we haven’t done too bad.

However, we hosted an Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) meeting on the farm in July 2022.


We tried to tidy the yard up a bit for people coming - as you do - and I put down a bit of 804 here and there to freshen things up a bit and that was the worst thing I ever could have done.

In the summertime when things are dry, the dust would choke you and, in the winter, everything turns to complete clabber.

The outside of the jeep is a mess, the inside of the jeep is a mess.

My wife drives through the yard to come and feed her horses, so the car is a mess.

We park the jeep and car at the back of the house, so the concrete at the back of the house is a mess and inevitably we are tramping mud into the house as well!

It was my intention to put down more stone when things dry up a little, but I was speaking to a farmer I know a few weeks back, the same man would have done a bit of concrete work and shuttering in his time.

He said to me, “Whatever you spend on stone, spend it on concrete.”

He said, you don’t need to be putting down massive depths for it to be a good job, but it will be a much longer-lasting job than stone and at least when it get dirty, you can wash it.

Concrete dreams

I started thinking about his advice and it started to sound very logical.

Maybe it would be the way to go. If I got myself organised, would a couple of loads of concrete every year be beyond the realms of possibility?

If concrete continues to rise in price the way it has for the past couple of years, then probably yes, but we must be optimistic!

So, I’m away with a new plan in my head that I’m eventually going to end up with a fully concreted yard.

You know what they say, you’ve got to have a dream!

The fact that I have a wife and three daughters that want a new roof on their stables and a sand arena to ride their horses in is only a small barrier to achieving my dream.