On Wednesday and Thursday last week myself and the farmers headed to Europe’s largest outdoor festival ! . When I think of festivals I think of summer time, loads of music, face paints, shorts and fancy wellies and very trendy famous people with farming being the last thing I would think of. Europe’s largest outdoor festival is actually all things farming, food and enterprise with a little bit of music and dancing thrown in but no muddy fields full of tents. The National ploughing Championships this year were on Tues, Wed and Thurs the 19th to 21st of September and was held in Screggan in Co Offaly. The ploughing is a yearly event that over the three days attract over 200,000 people, they come from far and near to see millions of euro worth of machinery, livestock and food. This day out is planned from one year to the other in a lot of houses and we haven’t missed it in years. This is an event for not just the farming community but for everyone as there is just so much to see and do and even though the weather this year on the Wednesday was crap we still wouldn’t have missed it, after all isn’t that what rain gear is for ?
This year was also a little special as the eldest farmer ( on the right) received his award from Dairymaster on the Wednesday and was presented it to him by the Minister for Agriculture, Micheal Creed. The two lads worked hard ( partied hard )on their thesis and it payed off in the end, they both started college together and received their awards together as well.
There were lots of cute animals to see and also a pink Valtra tractor for breast cancer, I couldn’t convince the farmers that we really needed this tractor.
For the last couple of years I have curated the @IrelandsFarmers twitter account on the Wednesday of the ploughing, taking photos and some videos during the day to share with the over 12k followers the account has, this year I got to curate for two days, the Wed and Thurs and it was made extra special as on the Wednesday it and myself were number 1 in the top 5 journalists to follow for the plouging which I was delighted with as its a great account giving people a inside view of real life on a farm. Here is the link below.
We put together a list of the top 5 journalists tweeting from #ploughing17. https://t.co/MLUMACCPCH
So that’s the ploughing over for another year and we are all looking forward to next year already, Roll on September 2018.
Above photo by Elisha Clarke of some of our cute cattle.
This is a subject that from time to time plays on my mind and I know as I write it I will possibly have a hit put on me for not standing by my fellow females. I was born and raised on a farm and from a very early age I was never made feel I couldn’t do anything on the farm I wanted to do, I was never told I should stay inside or that a farm wasn’t really a place for a girl/woman. I went everywhere with my dad from sheep sales to shows and never did I feel I was somewhere I shouldn’t have been. As I got older more and more responsibility was given to me and I was left at times to deal with vets or cattle dealers and what I said to them stood and I was always backed by my Dad. I grew up knowing that I was equal to any man if I so chose to do a certain job from driving a tractor to lambing ewes and all the men I dealt with treated me the same.
I now live with a house of men and I still feel I am treated as an equal, I am not given any special treatment because I am female and am expected to muck in when needed as is everyone else. I am treated with the same respect as the men in the house by anyone who visits and if I happen to meet someone who is old school, and they are a few I make sure they get a little education about women on a farm before I am done with them. Now this is where I think other females are falling down and they are just feeding into the old views of females on farms, I don’t think they are helping change age old views of females on farms. The other day I saw a post on Facebook about men complaining about why do women get cheaper car insurance than men and why have they got their own company who only insure women? this person asked was this not defeating the whole drive for women to be equal? that having groups that were just for females was keeping them isolated , which I am in total agreement with.
I think in farming this isn’t any different ( sorry women ) it is great to have groups where women can meet and socialise, this I agree with but I think to be seen as an equal we need to just mix with the men to be honest, why do we need to meet as a group to talk about what we do for farming or how we are not treated equal at home/ in our community when we should actually be getting out there and going on the same farm walks as the men, going to the same conferences as the men and to local discussion groups so to be honest we become part of the furniture and no one looks twice at us.
There is an old saying in the farming community that women are only good for stopping a gap, taking down tag numbers or doing the paperwork and that is not going to change unless we show just how important those little jobs are to the running of the farm. If we didn’t stop a gap when we are asked the stock would not go where they were supposed to so our input is just as important as the person herding the stock from behind, it’s pretty hard to read tag numbers and write them down at the same time and I am sure no one wants to do paperwork after a long day outside so if we can do it then that frees up time for other jobs, so it’s time for us to show that all those tiny jobs, the ones that have been a laugh over the years are just as important to the running of the farm and should not be a joke and going to all female group meetings is not going to change how we are treated and I am pretty sure if the male farming community started their own men only groups their would be up roar.
I feel as a female in farming us women are our own worst enemy, we love to complain about not being treated equal but to be honest we don’t do much about it and I don’t think female only groups will change how we are seen but will only serve to keep us separate. The best way to change how we are treated is to start at home with your own farmer/ farmers and then start to work outside of that and eventually you will be treated no different to anyone else. We are the only people who can change how we are treated and being involved is the only way to do that, if it’s from keeping the house running, bills paid and a clean supply of work clothes to stopping gaps or milking or tag reading each is just as important to how everything else runs and a progressive farm is going to be the one where it works as a team.
So where are you going to start ?
(Photo by the main farmer, I robbed it off his twitter account)
For the next week the @IrelandsFarmers twitter account is going to be stuck listening to me, God help them all. It won’t be my first time to curate the account for a week and I will be doing it again the Wednesday of National Ploughing Championships which runs from the 19th to the 21st of September this year.
The @IrelandsFarmers twitter account is a huge source of information about all aspects of farming in Ireland from Dairy to sheep, beef to snails, honey to pigs, all you could ever want to know is shared here weekly by a different farmer. It’s a place full of statistic and numbers, profits and losses and everything in between but this week I think we will add a little girlie touch ( sorry men but you are still more than welcome to share your girlie side as well).
I love being on the farm, being involved in everything that is going on and pulling my weight the same as anyone else when it comes to work but I am not good with the technical side to it. I could go measure grass but don’t ask me to work out the end result, when the farmers here talk about machines I can understand what they are on about but don’t ask me to tell anyone else, and when it comes to DM in grass, acres to hectares, growth rates, EBI’s in cows or anything else well that’s what I have my three Farmers for.
So this coming week I would like to share the other side to the farm a little, the behind the scenes, the little things that keep the whole place running, the sometimes very over looked jobs by the women, the things that make me girlie and why I think women in farming are sometimes their own worst enemy ( I might have a hit on me after this one). All technical questions you want to know I will ask one of my three Farmers for you guys.
I will share our week, our farm and give you a very honest look at how we run our little farm and why team work is very important to us. I am planning on using my Instagram Stories to share daily clips which you will find Here so go follow now I gave up on Snapchat and if you don’t already go follow the @IrelandsFarmers twitter account so you can share your stories as well.
Looking forward to the week ahead, see you all in the morning.
As I type this I am on my last day of my summer nine week break, the time has just flown by summer days creeping into Autumn days. I am back to work tomorrow but this year after four years I am starting in a new school, new kids, new parents and new staff to work with. This is a school I have hoped to get a job in since I started back Montessori teaching six years ago and tomorrow is my first day.
I can’t wait to get started but one of the main reasons I am really looking forward to it is I think my new hours are going to free up my time so much more that I will be able to help on the farm and do more with my horses. I have always worked mornings, leaving home at 8am and not getting home till 2pm, this left me with no time hardly to get anything else done. I had to go collect Sid at 2.40pm and again he was home, had a snack, got his homework done and clothes changed it could be 4.30pm before we were ready to do any work and then it was nearly time to make the dinner and that was it, day done. I missed out on so much that was happening on the farm and even the horses missed out because I only had time to see them at feed times and even that was rushed most days.
Now I will be working afternoons, home every evening by 6.10pm, Sid will be with me and will have his homework done so when we are home we will have nothing to do only make the dinner and relax for the evening and I will be off for all school holidays. I will be free in the mornings till 12.30 once Sid is gone to school to do what ever is needed from jobs on the farm, riding some horses, doing the food shop to just drinking coffee for the morning in peace before I go to work. Our lives this summer have started to move at a fast pace and I don’t want to be so busy that it all happens while I am in work, I want to be part of the changes and also have time to some things I enjoy as well. My new school also has no uniform to get ready and no work to bring home and spend my weekend trying to get done which is also a first for me.
So tomorrow the adventure begins, new routines and excitement for all the possible things I can get done, roll on 6.30am !.
It’s only me and him now heading to school in this house the two older farmers are all finished school and college, where does the time go? . Today it was Sid who headed back and into 2nd class. He looked so handsome in his uniform and so grown up it’s nearly heartbreaking, what has happened to the littlest farmer.
We had a great summer, doing loads and having fun which made going back today feel a little less hard because we really made the most of our time off. This is a big year for the littlest farmer it’s his Holy Communion year which also means a busy year but that’s nothing new to us, being busy! .
I still have a few more days till I start in my new school, I am not starting back till the 4th of September and this year I am working afternoon’s which is totally new for me. Since Sid started school I have always worked mornings, coming home nearly the same time as him and then getting nothing done in the afternoons between homework, lunch and dinner making there was never any time. So this year I am home all morning to get as much or as little done as I like while Sid is in school, gone to work for the afternoon and home by 6.10pm to make the dinner and relax for the evening, Sid’s homework and all done before I ever get home. I am hoping this will free me up so much now the farm is starting to speed up and even the horses are getting busier I will have the time to get lots done before I ever go to work or that’s the plan.
So this term is starting off with lots happening and lots of changes which I am really looking forward to ( remind me I said this when I complain about being too busy) , here’s to a new beginnings and a busy school year.
Hello everyone, it feels like ages since I have been here or on any of my social media to be exact. I started doing Susannah Conway’s August break and then I took a total break from all my social media just about. I totally unplugged for most of this month till today and it has been great but I do miss you all and I have a few bits I need to tell you all over the next few blog posts. I won’t put it all into this one or to be honest you would be here reading for the next hour so here it is in point form !.
Over the last few weeks so much has happened and things in this house are moving fast in all directions at the moment it has been a month of changes. The farm is moving at a huge rate at the moment at times my head starts to spin with all the talk, I have moved jobs to a school I have wanted to work in for years and can’t wait for the 4th of September to start that, I spent the full five days at the RDS Dublin International Horse show, I took out my Canon 1300D and have signed up for a diploma course in photography which I am studying from home and I am also trying to grasp how to use Lightroom, I started a second Instagram account to share my photography journey from the start its here if you would like to give it a follow Moments I Capture and I started a blog to also share my journey which is here Moments I Capture but I haven’t posted there yet and lastly the magazine I will be writing in has launched its Facebook page and the first edition will be hopefully be ready for the end of September.
God when you write it down its a lot for one month ! but thats a quick summery of my unplugged few weeks but I am back now rested and with challenges set .
How has your month been so far? Are you ready for back to school?
- It’s a dogs life ! This is my shadow who follows me everywhere she can and most mornings sneaks upstairs for a snuggle.
- That the old ways are still the best sometimes, like leaving Sids porridge out on the window sill to cool down because he is STARVING as he is always telling me.
- That its good to meet up with family and friends you haven’t seen in years and just catch up.
- That if you get an invite to one wedding in a year you will get an invite to ten.
- That its just too warm at the moment for porridge for me.
- That when the farmers are spreading slurry I need a room that they can leave all their clothes and boots in and get a wash before they come into the house !. The slight smell of slurry in the house is not pleasant.
- That this years potatoes haven’t reached that burst open dryness yet and they are still really expensive.
- That you can be a tourist and have a lovely day away less than two hours from home if you set your mind to it.
- That my gluten free cornflakes has so much more added sugar than just normal cornflakes, which I don’t understand.
- That the best cup of tea I have had in a cafe in ages and the best gluten free scone I have ever had I got in a little cafe in Kilkenny just across the street from Kytelers Inn in the city. The scone beat the ones I get in Avoca hands down! and the farmer said their normal scones were amazing and only 4.95 for tea/coffee and a scone.
So there is what I have learned this week, how has your week been?