Aye, one minute we're complaining about the wet the next we're complaining about the cold - not the farmers tho', no, this is good stock weather at the moment, at least it is in Tarset I'm not speaking for the rest of the country. We have snow, varying amounts depending on the height of the ground but none of it has blown and the rough ground is still breaking through so it ain't really too bad at all.
Okay, there's a few problems with frozen water and the likes but nothing too serious. Hay is being offered to some sheep who are only too pleased to receive it but fortunately many are able to scratch through the snow and still graze away, it is really only those on barer ground which are likely to suffer. There are no clarts (mud), which is a welcome change.
We haven't seen vast amounts of sunshine but the days definitely appear to be lengthening, although that may well be due to the whiteness all around giving us the impression of longer days. We're past the winter solstice so it is all down hill now, will be spring before we know it !!
Christmas Day will dawn white, at the moment we are shrouded in freezing fog so that ain't gonna encourage the white stuff to melt. It has been a difficult time for those wishing to do Christmas shopping, fulfil social engagements, or expecting family and friends coming to stay over Christmas, however it all pans out one way and the other. There have been some disappointments, visitors unable to travel etc., which just shows the power of Mother Nature.
You can not change the weather, just prepare for it and show it some respect. Farmers and shepherds are used to just that, although the weather of latter years may have caused a sense of complacency the natural grounding is always prevalent. Plenty of fodder in for the stock, fuel in for tractors/bikes and the house, pantries full - ready for winter and what ever it brings our way.
Shep and Co will be taking to the roads on Christmas day, shovel in boot just in case. We head out of the North Tyne and down into the South Tyne to spend a day with family, a treat we so look forward too. Should the worst come to the worst though we are prepared to bide at home and feast on beans on toast. Whatever your circumstances this Christmas I hope you're able to make the best of it, remember, there'll always be someone less fortunate than yourself.
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