2023 has turned out to be the first year we've not managed to mow our hay meadows in July. We finally started mowing in August and now have delicious smelling hay bales sitting in the meadows. Weaning the lambs is also dictated by our harvest because we use the aftermath for grazing but we were fortunate to have new clover leys.
The wet July did mean that Jim could attend the Royal Welsh Show as he wasn't haymaking. Another first for me this year was judging and I'd like to thank Rob, the senior judge, for showing me the ropes.
After initially thinking it would be a one day job, I quickly learned that it took place over four days. I'll be the senior judge next year and am already booking the campervan in for the week to save on fuel. It was great to meet up with FG editor Olivia Midgley who was on the panel for the 25th anniversary of NFU Cymru's Wales Woman Farmer of the Year Award.
Huge congratulations to Katie-Rose Davies who received the title, very well deserved. Katie is hefted to her farm and dedicated to educating the next generations of farmers.
The Agroforestry show is next, the first of its kind in the UK and looks a good place to share ideas about integrating trees into farming. The Monmouthshire speed shear, an annual charity event, took place last weekend. Son Sam won the Monmouthshire open class & Jim won the veterans (over 50's) class. There's life in the old dog yet.
This would normally be the week I return to college. I haven't regretted the decision to leave and am getting stuck into our new ventures on the farm. We had our first campers this weekend and the cider honesty bar went down very well. We've also got a Dutch lady staying in the farmhouse as she is walking Offa's Dyke Path (which runs through the farm).
We don't normally offer B&B but she sounded so nice on the phone I started with ‘sorry we don't do B&B' but ended with ‘actually we might do it for people we like and I like you'. Sometimes you've got to go with your gut feeling, a stranger is just a friend you haven't yet met and she is lovely.
Finally, I am happy to announce that the King ‘does not disapprove' of my appointment as Deputy Lieutenant of Gwent. What an honour, I'll try not to let anybody down.
I don't get a sword (it was my first question) but I will do my best to assist the Lord-Lieutenant in carrying out his role as The King's representative. Life is an adventure and you never know what is around the corner.