It was self-service at Persabus on Sunday morning. With no guests requiring one of the Happy Farmer’s delicious cooked breakfasts he made the terrible mistake of opting for a lie in. Lie in and farming are not words that ever go together. It would have been seen as an absolute sin in bygone eras. Farmers are expected to be up bright and breezy at the crack of dawn, just as the cockerel is bursting into a Sunday morning ‘cock-a-doodle-doo’, at the very first glimmer of first light. Luckily after years of nagging on my part, and having come from a very long line of farmers throughout the generations, the Happy Farmer is wise enough to know that the farm will survive for many years longer than he ever will. He has always opted to try and get a healthy balance of work, rest and play, or maybe play, work and rest. With no guests on Sunday then and having celebrated his team’s exciting rugby performance on Saturday into the wee small hours, it was a good reason for a long lie in and a late breakfast. A time to really savour and enjoy sizzling bacon and eggs, potato scones, black pudding, sausages and hot buttery toast, and all served on a lovely hot plate. Just the breakfast to set you up for the day.
Lie ins and late breakfasts for the Happy Farmer do not however go down well with the rest of the residents on the farm. Muffin the pony was most disapproving. I met him cheekily sashaying his way across the farm to the shed. Here he duly stuck his head into the bucket of sugar beet which had been soaked overnight. He was more than delighted to see that what was on offer was not just a scoop of sugar beet, his usual rations, but a whole huge tub of sugar beet. It was just waiting at the ready for his snout to muzzle into. He greedily guzzled away whilst I ran for help from the Happy Farmer. A bucket at the ready and Muffin was gently coaxed away from the shed and taken back to barracks. Hansel the horse could be heard neighing away impatiently from the other side of the fence, waiting for his friend to return with the farmer and his breakfast. Hansel is not as keen to go skipping away from his field, unlike Muffin who is far cheekier and more inquisitive. The horses fed and the rounds continued. The Happy Farmer could then be seen zooming across the fields with a whole flock of sheep in his wake, and tups racing in a line behind the quad bike. At the very end of the line was Markus the bull, who, despite his cumbersome size, was even managing to break into a trot, such was his delight that breakfast was finally being served.
Later as the dogs and I returned from our run across the farm we were met with eldest’s flock of Hebridean sheep gathered at the front of the farmhouse, happily munching their way through the garden. One glance at the dogs and they decided the grass wasn’t so tasty there after all. They took the option to make a run for it. By the time I had put the dogs in, those ladies had managed a complete disappearing act. The Happy Farmer and Hughie taxi meanwhile could be seen happily chatting away beside the bales of silage in the front field, all gates left open, oblivious to the whereabouts of the escapees. The Happy Farmer always has time for a blether and Hughie always has lots to blether about. Those sheep then were determined not to miss out on such an exciting opportunity. An open gate and they decided to take themselves off on a wee sightseeing tour of the farm. Hughie gone and the Happy Farmer eventually managed to track those sheep down. A little coaxing with the ‘magic bucket’ and a few shouts of ‘ladies’, eldest has trained them well, and the Happy Farmer was seen leading them skipping back in a neat little line along the single track road to their field once more.
There are so many characters and personalities on the farm at Persabus. Ruby the dog never misses an opportunity to form part of the Persabus ‘welcoming committee’ along with the three cats. The first sign of a new arrival and, given the chance Ruby, our black flatcoated retriever, will be seen wriggling and squirming her way across the yard, tail wagging away at speed. She then launches herself onto her belly at the feet of our unsuspecting guests, a huge smile on her face.
Over the years we have had the privilege of getting to know our lovely animals and they have had the pleasure of keeping us on our toes. From Marmite the highland cow, who used to pirouette over the cattle grid and take a wander down to help mow the grass outside the pottery, later teaching her calf to follow in her footsteps. Charlie chicken who was one of the family and thought of herself as anything other than a hen. Living to a ripe old age she used to sleep with the sheepdog, Mist, in her kennel. In the mornings, hen and dog could be seen sat patiently at the French windows, watching the entertainment of the Happy Farmer making breakfast. Charlie would often join us for morning coffee at the front of the farmhouse. She would perch next to the Happy Farmer on the arm of the bench, clucking merrily away and she would then sneak into the farmhouse at every and any opportunity. Which with young children at home was often. There have been several horses, numerous pet lambs, calves and not forgetting Sheba and Twinkle the pet goats. So many stories.
Until next time…