From the author of bestseller Call the Vet, Anna Birch shares some thoughts from the Country with Country Child…
I thought summer was here to stay. Farmer Rob has been in shorts for weeks and the barn owls have just fledged. Both quite a sight!
But alas all that remains of that amazing unbroken warm weather is a circle of dead grass on the lawn where the paddling pool resided, and Rob’s sock line.
I know it is still summer though, from the amount of time I am spending scrubbing cricket trousers, in the vain hope of turning them back into cricket whites. (Autumn is heralded in our house by the change of a) leaves and b) the kit that needs scrubbing, as we move on from cricket to football. Oh why does Manchester United play in white shorts??)
Both our ten-year-old son and eight-year-old daughter play cricket. We have tried to avoid gender-specific games and toys and I thought we were fairly liberated and enlightened. Then I realised I have been guilty of tweeting ‘boystoys’ with reference to the enormous mowers and rakes used when we recently had silage made. Perhaps because we have, as yet, not had a female contractor make our forage. I don’t know why the job wouldn’t appeal: sitting down all day in a tractor cab eating chocolate and chatting on the mobile. Perhaps it hasn’t been marketed with enough pink.
There are plenty of women in farming and have been since the dawn of time. In modern times our involvement surely took off with the Women’s Land Army during the Second World War. It continues today with many women running the farm or its diversification. Minette Batters is the new NFU deputy and Helen Browning is the chief executive at the Soil Association.
And today I was a large part of the ‘manpower’ on our farm disbudding and castrating all this year’s calves. Despite the change in the weather it was hot work. So I was at a slight disadvantage when the alpha male took his top off for an all over tan. Is that cricket? There are some things I just will not do to overcome the gender gap!
Read more from Anna or buy her books at www.letterfromthecountry.wordpress.com/blog/