Thanks to everyone who entered the Farmers Weekly children and teenagers writing competition.
We had more than 150 submissions for the contest, which we launched to help keep farm kids entertained while they were off school during the coronavirus pandemic.
We asked you to write a story in any way connected with the theme “My Favourite Day on the Farm”, and your efforts, a mix of fact and fiction, show the imagination of rural youngsters.
The winners in each of the three age categories will receive a £50 cash prize, plus a goodie bag from competition sponsor Isuzu.
Winner age four to seven category
Betsan Jones, age 7, Aberdare, Mid Glamorgan
We’re Going on a Sheep Hunt
I like walking. Do you?
Once we went to gather the sheep but they were in the woods. So off we went up the Hounds Path, through the rocks to the top of the Graig.
The view was amazing. I scrambled down a mountain, through the crispy bracken to the old quarry.
There is an ancient oak tree there that balances on a rock.
We walked on into the woods and heard a cuckoo. In the woods we saw two drift mines and a yellow stream with iron ore in it.
The leaves crunched under our feet and the trees swooshed in the wind. It was very peaceful but only one sheep!
Then Daddy came up with a bunch of sheep and we pushed and followed them out of the woods and over the tips.
I had a stingy on my finger and my legs were aching so I sat on an anthill and listened to the skylarks.
We climbed up and up into the Old House Field and chased the ewes back onto the Graig.
Then we sat on the top and looked down on to the whole valley below.
A buzzard swooped by and I was happy and tired.
Winner age eight to 11 category
Caoilinn O’Connor, age 10, Douglas, County Cork
I always wake at 5am.
I am very proud of that information. I told Mrs Goose and she was very impressed. I’ve known Mrs Goose since she was a gosling and I was a pup. Of course, back then she was Ms Goose.
Anyway, I always wake at 5am because I have to wake Farmer Jaonnie. I like Farmer Jaonnie because she always rubs me first thing in the morning and says “Good boy”.
This particular day (yes, i know the word particular) I was up extra early. I always woke Farmer Jaonnie at 5am, no earlier. If I did I would be a bad boy, but really I’m a good one.
Today was sheepdog trials. All the sheep dogs get to do a series of challenges. I’m not entering, I’m the example. I’m proud to say I won last time. Farmer Jaonnie was very proud of me.
My sister, Gertie, is entering. She belongs to Farmer Molly. Oh! It’s five o’clock. “Argh! Argh!” I bark. Ooh, I see Farmer Jaonnie getting up. I better tell the rest of the animals.
“Get up! Get up, everyone,” I say.
“Oh, shush, Baker, let us sleep,” Sally the horse said.
“It’s your B-B-BIG day,” Mrs Goose cried.
“Good luck, Baker” chorused everyone. I think they forgot I’m not participating, but I don’t mind. “He’s just an example, you fools!” Sally said, bitterly.
“Be quiet, Negative Nancy!” Mrs Goose scolded.
When we arrived, I had the jitters. I was scared out of my skin. Or… fur. Skin or fur, I was scared out of it! What if the judges thought I wasn’t good enough to be an example. Oh no.
I got out of the truck cautiously and looked around. There were a lot of other sheepdogs.
“Hi, hi, hi, hi, hi, hi, hi, hi, hi, HIYA,” Gertie (my sister. remember?) said, jumping up and down, up and down.
I wondered if Farmer Molly had dropped sugar in her bowl. Farmer Jaonnie accidentally did that to me once, I hadn’t stopped moving for the whole day.
I was about to reply to Gertie when there was a voice talking in the speaker. “Now, we have the reigning champion, Jaonnie Mitchell’s dog, Baker.”
I bolted up the hill. The sheep protested. “S-s-slow d-d-down,” they croaked. “Sorry,” I said to them. I had them all rounded up in record time. “There we are, Baker,” the voice said.
Farmer Jaonnie packed me in the truck again and we went home. I expect the rest of the day to be normal, but I could be wrong.
Yes I can see them now. They won’t leave me alone for the rest of the day. Farmer Jaonnie decided we’d take a rest day. I’m shocked. Farmer Jaonnie never takes rest days. I plan to relax for the rest of the day.
“Baker, Baker, How was it?” Mrs Goose asked.
“Great,” I mumbled then I fell asleep instantly.
Winner age 12-16 category
Ena Holt, 12, Church Stretton, Shropshire
I can see the sun creeping through the cracks of my curtains, dancing on the floor as the clouds pass.
I hear mum getting ready downstairs, pulling on her crumpled waterproof trousers and funny green jumper.
I quickly roll out of bed, grab the first things I find on the floor, throw them on and rush downstairs. It’s lambing time.
I fly down the stairs, trying to be quiet and not wake my brother. I smell breakfast. Warm syrup and fluffy pancakes slide down my throat, as I quickly as I can shovel them in!
As soon as I finish I push my feet into my welly boots and run out into the yard.
Running past the sheep dogs, I reach the barn where all the Shropshire sheep, Texels and Blue-faced Leicesters have their lambs.
I fill up each water bucket for the ewes who have had lambs, then go on to do the rest of the sheep.
Now here comes my little brother, running into the barn and trying to do his jacket up at the same time, looking for farmer Bob, who was going drilling.
I tell him farmer Bob is in the barn and he’s gone in a flash.
I sit for a while, watching the sheep just in case one starts lambing. Mum is busy with the cattle, dad is log splitting and my brother is with farmer Bob.
I start to fill up the hay cratches when I notice one of the Shropshires start to scrape at the ground with her hoof and she won’t stay still, she is lambing!
All my family are busy so I guess I will have to do this myself. Two hooves started to come out, I hold them tight and pull the lamb out in a rainbow kind of shape. It’s a girl.
I clean her nose off so she can breathe and put her in front of the ewe so she can get cleaned up. I grab some temporary fencing and put it around the ewe and lamb, put some clean straw on the floor and put a water bucket in the corner.
That’s the hard bit over and done with. I run outside back through the yard around the back of the pig pen to the cattle where my mum is, I call her and tell her “I’ve just lambed a ewe!”
She asks me: “What do you want to call it?”
We walk together across the yard back to the sheep shed to check on the ewe.
While mum moves the ewe and lamb to one of the smaller pens where it is just her and the lamb and checks she’s sucking, I think about what I want to call it.
It’s been a hot and sunny day today, like it was summer, so I decided to call the lamb Summer.
A word from our sponsor
Isuzu and the award-winning Isuzu D-Max are proud to sponsor the Farmers Weekly writing competition helping to support farming families at this difficult time.
Thanks to everyone who entered, we hope you enjoyed taking part – and congratulations to the winners.
For more information or to find your nearest dealer, visit the Isuzu website.