Only the best for our visiting sheep - Anne-Marie Hamilton down on the farm

Hunts Post Farming Column by Anne-Marie Hamilton, of Wood Farm, Hail Weston

Hunts Post Farming Column by Anne-Marie Hamilton, of Wood Farm, Hail Weston - Credit: Archant

One of the few benefits of lockdown has been that we have all had time to consider our surroundings, and whether or not they still meet with our approval.

Some have been so dissatisfied, that they have packed everything up and moved house; others have been content to improve matters with a lick of paint around the home, and here on the farm, we have had an opportunity to make life a bit easier, with a few simple changes.

The first will make a significant improvement. We are finally going to concrete the hay barn floor. It has had an earth floor since it was first put up, often resulting in the bottom layer of bales getting slightly damp, which spoils them.

It is a job that we have been considering for a long time, but was impossible until this year when, because of the late spring, there has been an increased demand for hay, and we have sold out.

For the first time in many years, the barn is totally empty. Now is our chance to get this long-overdue job completed. Rob has spent the last few days, sweeping the shed out, levelling the floor with stone, and preparing all the formers, ready for when we can bring in some help to lay the concrete.

Thankfully, the grass is very slow to grow this year because of the continuing cold weather, so we have a bit of time in hand, before we will need to use the shed again to store the new hay crop.

The second improvement is one that is very close to my heart. We are fitting self-filling water troughs into every paddock around the house, and they will all be connected to the mains.

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At last, the many hours that we have spent over the years, filling a variety of tanks and containers with hosepipes, will soon become just a distant memory, (and not a moment too soon)! This task has been given top priority, as the arrival of our annual summer visitors is imminent.

They were initially expected over the Easter bank holiday, but had to postpone at the last minute, which was just as well, as no holiday maker wants to spend the first few days of their summer break, in cold, wintery conditions with icy winds and snow flurries – even if they are sheep!