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Ianthe, freezing and pork...

Emma Heseltine - 02 December 2012

This weekend we are hosting the Northern Longhorn breeders herd competition lunch and AGM. The judge has a look at all the herds which have entered and gives prizes for different categories: best senior bull, best calf born this year, etc. We are not a herd that produces breeders, we produce beef, but it’s nice to enter anyway, and its certainly nice to have 30 Longhorn breeders over for lunch and a good old chin-wag. There are a lot of complaints about the weather. Susan provides a sumptuous four course lunch; I think most people can’t move after. Then its prize giving and we get a couple of surprises, our bull Jeremiah comes 6th in senior bull out of 14 entries. He came from Aberdeen and after the lunch I take Graham who bred him on a little trip to say hello and see how he is doing and admire some of his calves. The other surprise is that Ianthe comes 5th in the senior heifer category. She is a home bred heifer that we decided to keep. Susan and I spent ages studying all the ‘I’ heifers to decide which was best. We finally independently came to the conclusion that Ianthe was the one for the job; it’s nice that the judge thought she was great too. We must proudly display her rosette somewhere.

This week the cold finally arrives. There has been so much rain that everything is a swamp and I’m over the moon that its frozen. The temperature gets to -2 during the day and the sun is shining. I love the crispness of the frost, it makes everything so much cleaner and festive, yes I’m getting in the Christmas mood.

We are on a big cattle moving mission this week, all the cattle from Penrith and Bowness are coming home for winter. There are four little heifers at Thacka Beck who we manage to fit in the trailer, there was some doubt as they have certainly grown since we took them there. We bring them to Wallacefield. Then it’s time to get the four out of Bowness, where they have been playing hide and seek. They are actually quite easy to find and are soon loaded up and on the way to Aglionby. That’s everyone in the right place now.

On Friday I pick up my pork. My pig was a bit smaller than I had hoped but when I get the meat I have a chat with Jane at Askerton Castle (our butchers). She says that although small she looked very good, not over fatty. She has put quite a lot into curing for bacon and gammon so I will have to go back next week to collect that. Bacon is one of my favourite things ever.

Emma completed a degree in Creative Imaging at Huddersfield University before working for a photography studio as an editor. Taking a break from the office world she worked in outdoor education for several years, climbing, abseiling, shooting, trampolining and even life-guarding with children of all ages. When Emma found out about the apprenticeship scheme with the Soil Association it seemed the perfect chance to do something worthwhile and fulfilling. After much searching and badgering farms in the North of England she found a position with Hadrian Organics and started in July 2011. So far it is living up to her expectations, every day is a new challenge and every day is different.

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