The Archers at The Larches


A preview image life in rural UK.... real life, occasionally funnier...


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A glut....

Well, after a lovely long summer holiday with the sproglets, the animals, festivals and socials it's a shock to be back to the school run. The summer has been interesting weather-wise up here on the Shropshire Hills and we've certainly had enough rain, unlike those who live in the south and east of the UK. That said, we've had stunning crops thanks to the warm weather, soft precipitation and, of course, Lou's Poo from the alpaca.

I turned my back for a few days to get set up for Glee at Birmingham's NEC, the UK's Retail Gardening Show and this is the result!! 14 courgette/marrow monsters. It must be 'Ratatouille Time', a favourite mid-winter, nice and hot with extra Tabasco and home-made caraway bread. Yum.

The figs are so plentiful this year as are the raspberries, there's nothing better than a raspberry smoothie for brekkie so I'm squirrelling some of those away in the freezer.

Soon it will be time for tupping so I must pop off today and get some extra lick buckets for the chosen ewes before the gass starts to lose its prime goodnes. Though lambing is hard work, there really is nothing like it on a cool early spring night, I think its the most wonderful experience and one this ex-Londoner is thrilled to be a part of.

Ah well, lots to do, Lou's Poo orders to pack, animals to feed, land to manage; must off, let's chat again soon....

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A normal day..... !!!!

So, it was a normal Saturday. The children got ready for school (Saturday school and sport matches being the norm for us...) The 12yo had a singing exam in a far off place, a mere 50 miles from home after dropping the 10yo to school, so off we went.

Exam went well (fingers crossed for good results) and by 1pm we Archers were all back home.

After a snatched lunch in the baking sun, it was time to see to the sheep. We rounded them up, stuffed them in the stables and brought them out, one by one, to a makeshift race where we each had a job: There were ear tags to clip in, worming injection to administer, feet to check and a spray paint brand to be given to the lambs who would stay on farm as breeding ewes.

It didn't all go to plan; two lambs escaped in the process but were eventually caught and sorted.

By 8pm family Archer had showered, (absolute necessity, in fact; thinking of burning the jeans I had been wearing!!!!) and were sat in the garden, surrounded by cats and chickens, consuming a take-out Chinese.

By 9pm my back insisted I go and lie down and so we all piled into our bed. I conked out, no doubt snoring over Harry Potter film, but all family members seemed quite happy.

This morning a cat, Tabby, woke me at 4.30am... Being as I'd slept from 9pm (a mere 7.5 hours) I was ok about this and duly followed him downstairs to give him biscuits and make myself a coffee. Turns out he was actually telling me (Lassie-style) that the sheep flock was in the garden eating my flaars!

In pjs and wellies I set about rounding up 30 sheep from the garden who had discovered that self-seeded rocket was delicious! Tabby looked on, not interested in auditioning as a sheep dog.

And now I am sat, coffee in hand, so many jobs to do: cleaning, ironing, washing, plant those blasted tumbling toms into the hanging baskets, check on the soon-to-be-mums in the alpaca fields, pack Poo for customers, water garden, pick strawberries before the blackbirds do, mend fence where sheep keep getting through, wash floors and bathrooms, finish a business plan, sort lunch for Grandma visit..... So many jobs, that I can't do any of them.

So I'll just sit awhile and watch the flowers grow.

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Alpaca babies...

So, it's hot. The alpaca were sheared last Wednesday and just as well, as Bracken produced a stonking baby boy just three days later. Phew! (JIT: Expert planning obviously...... cough, cough)

Larches Enzo
Larches Enzo

Larches Enzo

He weighed in at 8.9kg and two days later was 9.4kg. Mum is happy and healthy and feeding him beautifully. All we need now is another few trainee Lou's Poo Producers playmates to be born.... keep your fingers crossed please.

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