2022…… another year older, another year wiser. Hey ho then, onwards and upwards. After all the trepidation about the Omicron variant causing devastation, things have started to settle down at last. Hospitals are full of Covid patients who have chosen not to have the vaccination. Some are medically exempt and some are pregnant Mum’s, which is an understandable form of  ‘medical exemption’. The majority are ‘anti-vaccers’. Come on guys, get with the program. It’s not rocket science – a hundred and fifty thousand people have now died from Covid 19 in the UK. It appears that just over a thousand people have passed away within two weeks of having the jab but most were elderly or vulnerable, so would possibly have gone anyway. As for No-vax Jokeavitch…..

Okay, rant over, did everyone have a good Christmas and New year ? We spent the Christmas week up a mountain in Italy. We very nearly didn’t go because of the travel restrictions due to the Omicron Variant and the threat of possibly having to self-isolate in a hostel somewhere in Italy. Our insurance covered everything apart from opting to cancel so eventually we all decided to go. We had to jump through lots of hoops, fill in loads of travel and medical paperwork and purchase a lot of very expensive health test kits but………..no-one made us go. We had to wear masks the whole time, even when skiing, and show super-green covid passes to go into bars and restaurants to show that we were triple vacc’ed and covid free. On the up side, there were very few people there so we didn’t have to queue for anything and there was plenty of snow and the sun shone all week, so apart from the stress we had a fabulous Italian Christmas. Now we are having a wet and muddy New Year……!

Unfortunately I have some bad news to share with you. My hunter, Matey, had a nasty accident in August. He managed to close a gate that was tied open and trap himself inside the field shelter. Because he then couldn’t see his stable mates he panicked and tried to jump over the gate. He misjudged things and smashed the gate to pieces and damaged his ‘under-carriage’ at the same time. After a hefty vets bill and a months ‘R and R’ he was well enough to start exercising, but his waterworks still didn’t appear to be functioning correctly. He was his usual enthusiastic self to ride but in the middle of December he suddenly went down hill. He stopped eating hard food and hay but was still nibbling grass. We gave him another round of emergency medication but to no avail. Four days later he went into toxic shock and lay down and died. He wasn’t what I would call a pet. The relationship that you develop with a horse that you have ridden and hunted and looked after for seven or eight years is more like a working friendship. We understood each others moods and requirements and communicated constantly when we were together. Animals don’t really have sentient thought processes but that doesn’t mean you can’t understand what they are thinking or what mood or ‘frame of mind’ they are in. Matey and I had hours of fun together over many years and I’d like to think that I gave him as much pleasure as he gave me. He liked being out in front, and so did I.

It is very quiet now, out on the farm. Three months ago we had two horses, three ponies, a dozen lambs, two pigs and Balti and Snowy, our two goats. Balti has gone to the great goat mountain in the sky.( It wasn’t Covid, he had chronic arthritis. ) That leaves us with Moo the miniature Shetland and Snowy the lonely goat………and Jethro and Denzil……our two new goatlings. Apparently that’s what you call weaned goat kids. Our ‘Name the Goats’ competition was a roaring success and kept us grounded whilst in Italy. If you aren’t familiar with two of Cornwalls finest, check them out on YouTube. They are keeping Snowy and Moo entertained at the moment, and us too. They have the most pathetic bleats you have ever heard and as soon as they see anyone within earshot they start bleating, loudly. If you were wondering about the physical irregularities that I may have mentioned last time, don’t get too excited. Goats usually have lop ears or prick ears and we were led to believe that Jethro had one of each, which may have made him worthless from a showing or breeding angle but would have given him more charm from our point of view. He just has two lop ears, but one of them is twisted around slightly backwards. They had been reared indoors so had no concept of wide open spaces. When they go out in the field with ‘Uncle Snowy’ they stand as close as possible to him whilst looking out for ‘danger’. So, not much hedge trimming going on there at the moment.

As well as the chickens and ducks, the geese are still with us. All seven of them. They survived Christmas, possibly because we were in Italy, and are now in danger of upsetting our neighbour. They like to swim up the stream and chomp away on his grass rather than ours. I will probably get a phone-call at some stage but at the moment I’m pretending that I haven’t noticed. I wonder if they ever read my blog. ( Not the geese – the neighbours. )

Anyway, moving swiftly on…… Tracey and I would like to wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year,
Cheers for now, Farmer Chris.