When you’re living and working in the countryside winter often means you’re likely to get some amount of snow – although the British weather can never fully be relied upon.
A big dump of the white stuff transforms our country landscapes into stunning scenes, but any significant snowfall tends to make life on the farm that little bit trickier and has the potential to wreak utter havoc.
Here farmer’s wife Noreen Wainwright lists 15 frustrations farmers have when everything gets covered in a thick snowy blanket.
1. Keeping the drive clear is vital, but hugely time-consuming. The milk tanker or the straw wagon has to get through. You fashion your own version of a snow plough and wonder what they would make of your invention on Dragons’ Den.
2. You walk with extreme care when you first go outside in the morning. A few minutes in, you relax your guard – and the inevitable happens.
3. One moment’s carelessness, a gate is left open, and an animal escapes, and to your frustration you realise that you can’t run after it without coming a cropper. You can almost imagine the smile of the feeling beast’s face.
4. Water pipes, milk lines, sensors and water troughs all freeze in turn – and sometimes, just for a change, they all freeze at once.
5. You attempt the world record for wearing the most layers of clothing – only trouble is, you find your movements seriously restricted.
6. The fodder is flying out of barns and the straw is disappearing at an alarming rate – and hey, it’s only January.
7. The muck freezes to the ground as you scrape the shed out.
8. You ponder why water pipes are located in the most awkward parts of the sheds to reach, making your efforts at thawing even more frustrating.
9. You find yourself having to carry water to various sheds as water troughs freeze – just what you need, even more work.
10. Someone gets stuck at the end of your drive and requires pulling out with the tractor.
11. The east wind gets absolutely everywhere, despite your best efforts at insulation, which sometimes involves the use of sack bags.
12. All those small jobs that you meant to get around to in the summer come back to haunt you now – with a vengeance.
13. Snow and wind cause a power cut while you’re milking; getting the generator going adds another 20 minutes to the job.
14. The weather’s too bad to go the market so the calves are now more than 42 days old and have to be TB tested.
15. The bit of a social life you have (the pub) has been suspended due to the inclement weather.