A Farming Family in Atherstone

Lambs near Atherstone, 2008.
Photo © Mat Fascione (cc-by-sa/2.0). Originally uploaded to geograph

My family have always lived in this area, my dad inherited his farm from his father and he still runs it to this day in his 80s! I loved growing up on the farm with all the different chores that we had to do. Farm life is very cyclical so there was always something to look forward to in the year.

My favourite times of year were always the lambing in the spring and the preparing the poultry for the Christmas season. Two wildly different times of year but being on the farm and understanding that cycle of life from a young age it has always made sense to me. I know people feel squeamish about it but the fact is if you’re eating meat it’ll have been alive at some point! But I love the springtime with the new lambs, feeding them and taking care of them always made me love that time of year. I also loved the poultry season because it meant that Christmas was coming. It was also a challenge to get all the animals ready for when they would be delivered to customers at the end of the season. My family and I would work hard to ensure we got those out to make people’s Christmas.

Everybody helped out

I loved working on the farm as well because it was always full of my friends from the village. We were quite a small community so everybody would come help out on the farm. They would come along for the lambing seasons and the poultry seasons. We also used to pick blackberries for my mum during the summer so that she could make jams and the like. I loved those summers out in the fields picking berries, kids these days just don’t get those experiences with their parents I think.

I remember my Gran would spend all her time making us tea, and sandwiches, and cake. She always made a cake. Every single day she would come out to where we were picking with a new cake she had baked. It was always lovely to sit in the fields in the sunshine enjoying home made cake. However, it was always our mum we were begging to make us summer pudding during the blackberry picking season. Her puddings were amazing and it was a real treat when she did make one.

Escaping cows

Things would mostly go smoothly when running the farm as we all pitched in to help, but we had a field of cows that would always manage to escape onto the main road near our farm. I remember we would often be out in the middle of the night, in our pyjamas with wellies on, chasing cows off the road and back into the field. Cows can be quite stubborn when they want to be! As the years have gone my dad has had to reinforce the fence that surrounds that field as the traffic has increased around his farm.

There also used to be a train line at the bottom of the farm that we would go to as kids and wave at the trains that came by. It was always fun to run across the field to see whether you could wave to anyone before the train went by. Unfortunately the line closed down when I was just a teenager, but this meant that we could explore the abandoned tracks which we enjoyed. When it wasn’t dismantled properly, we would jump the fence and nick the wood off of the slats so that we could make a fire for ourselves. Very naughty but we were just kids having fun.

My later experiences of the farm can be read here.

This article was published as part of the Warwickshire in 100 Objects project, part of Warwickshire Bytes.

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