"Bora da, rwyn gobethio bod mae
I gyd mewn iechyd da"

Monday, May 5, 2003

Keeping warm

Being a farmer, spring is my favourite time of the year.

March, April and May herald the coming of summer. All growth becomes alive. Hedges and trees start to bud. And the grass in our fields that our animals need for grazing becomes lush and green.

Here in North East Wales, where we are 900 feet above sea level, our spring arrives a couple of weeks later than it does for the lowland farmers.

One of the great joys of spring is the arrival of snowdrops. But alas, this year there were no snowdrops at all. This is because we were recently forced to replace our herd of 70 Guernsey cows with around 400 sheep and lambs, and the little perishers ate everything, including my beautiful snowdrops!

You might wonder how someone with MS copes on the farm, with so much of the work being outdoors in the cold and wet. But nowadays farm work is so different from how it was in older times.

I began my farming career over 60 years ago. Back then, all physical work was done by hand. Cows were milked by hand at a rate of 16 cows per day.

These days there are machines to perform this task.

Before tractors were invented, all the land work was done (very peacefully, in fact) with horses. Someone ploughing with two horses, could plough about one acre a day. Now it's possible with the larger tractors to plough 30 acres or more per day.

As for keeping warm, I had two great coats. One was an ex-army coat and the other ex-fire brigade! I preferred the ex-fire brigade coat as it had a finer weave cloth so I could move about easily while still keeping warm.

I also wore three sacks about my person, one as a hood on my head, one as a cape over my shoulders, and the third as a skirt! Anything to keep warm!

Thankfully, farming is a lot less physically demanding these days, which means I have been able to keep working on my farm despite having MS!

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