I start the blog then leave the farm! Typical. But it's only temporary, for this weekend Humbug and I have headed to Dorset for the Sturminster Newton Cheese Festival, and of course to see my sister and brother-in-law. It's a big step for me. I haven't made it out of a one mile radius for several weeks, so world here I come!
The Rogers moved here about 5 months ago. Now, moving is a nightmare at the best of times, but we're talking about moving on a whole new scale (think Monster Moves on Channel Five). They moved their dairy farm, cows and all, from Oxfordshire to Dorset. Logistically speaking, this is an incredibly impressive and highly stressful undertaking. With a heck of a lot of hard work from everyone involved, everything made it in one piece, and I think the last load (of what I'm told isn't actually scrap), arrived today.
It's been a long process, but the amount they have achieved in the past few months is phenomenal. A testament to the strength of the community in Oxford was the number of people that gave time, many of them farmers, to help pack up and unpack, document the move and provide tea at just the right time. For many this was on the back of, or even before a day at work or milking and chores on their own farms.
My role as "general help and provider of emergency chocolate" was rewarded eternally by the sight of the cattle trailers at Stonehenge with cows sticking their heads out of the two-tier lorries to have a look. You'll have to believe me on this one, it was a classic Kodak moment missed. I also got to fulfill my childhood dream of milking cows, which was just as amazing, and mucky as I had imagined! Our herd at Lower Dairy Farm is directly descended from the pedigree Ayrshire herd my grandparents introduced in 1951. And the more time I spend here, the more I think a dairy cow, at least one, would be a good idea...but watch this space...
The family produce milk for Waitrose and delicious milk it is too. Never mind the family connection, the raw milk alone is reason enough to visit. That and the back catalogue of Holstein International magazines and my bedtime reading tonight (because I've misplaced the HI), British Dairying. The latest news on livestock paint crayons? Yes please!
Don't worry, I'll keep that one to myself.