Over the past few months, two local farmers have come and helped us out in two different circumstances. Both never indicated how much of their time was taken away from their own jobs, both offering their time and knowledge which was great for getting a job done and also for finding out little, gleaned gems of info.
Murdo was the man first up back when our cattle food (on a pallet, don’t be thinking a Tesco’s delivery) got delivered to an estate several miles away. I faced the challenge of having to go and load 25kg sacks onto our trailer and then offloading them at our end. In stepped Murdo, Robert, and a John Deere tractor (with front loader- very important factor) and trailer.
The only problem we then faced was the pallet tipped on the drive back, meaning Murdo couldn’t just use the tractor to off load, but the two of us had to. Doing your back in over your own work is one thing, doing it for the sake of helping someone else is another. However, it gave the opportunity for chat: lambing, calving, etc.
The next up, was Ian. I called Ian the morning I had a run in with Breena, a very hormonal cow who I was concerned about the newborn calf (I had met the man once before when we went to look at his shed before designing our cattle shed; don’t be thinking I was phoning people I knew, and more likely be very pleased that I RANG someone). Just watching Ian around the cattle was useful and I learned a new trick for dealing with a fiesty cow. However, as much as I wish that was the end of our problems, it was not… Ian and Jeannette had to deal with me on the phone several times. Two weeks later and major incident number two of the year was declared. An hour with a vet and calf number two needed tube fed, which meant I preferred the idea of seeing it before performing it. Then, when we had to get an orphan calf, Ian was back giving us the lesson in getting the skin from the dead calf onto the new calf. Not a pleasant experience, something you can read in a book but seeing it in real life is what you need. That meant Ian lost quite a lot of his own time helping us out and we are indebted to him.
It also makes it hard to show them how thankful you are, there is little we could do to help them but if the chance was there I would love to (so if anyone knows of things that farmers and their families struggle with and could use some help with, let me know). They are the unsung heroes, the local heroes that never appear in the press or turn up on honour lists. They put in so much time, not just in their own work, but for others (pulling cars out of flooded roads, snow ploughing in winter when people get stuck, etc). Could someone whisper to the Queen to add them to next year’s honours list?