Bringing Up Baby On The Farm

My wife and I honest hadn’t considered starting a family when we first got the happy news.

We had just put our first deposit down on our first slice of land and were eager to get going. The land was a good stretch of pasture, perfect for our purposes: rearing and milking dairy cattle. What we hadn’t counted on was an extra little pair of hands that would be arriving to make matters a bit more complicated!

Jessica and I met at a Young Farmers’ Dance back in 2006. Those were fun, care-free days. I was still a lad at school, struggling to keep up with his homework whilst getting work done for his parents early in the morning. My parents never pushed me into the farming life, it simply presented itself as the most logical option. I’d spent my whole life, it seemed, rising early, putting my boots on and stepping out into the fresh air with my parents. In truth, there was no other lifestyle that I could think of.

Those were fun, care-free days. I was still a lad at school, struggling to keep up with his homework whilst getting work done for his parents early in the morning. My parents never pushed me into the farming life, it simply presented itself as the most logical option. I’d spent my whole life, it seemed, rising early, putting my boots on and stepping out into the fresh air with my parents. In truth, there was no other lifestyle that I could think of.

I’d seen TV series and movies, of course, which depicted American Dads getting home late with rolled up shirt sleeves and tired, dejected faces. Salesmen, managers, shop assistants: these were the jobs that I was familiar with and they seemed stressful and joyless. I didn’t make a conscious decision to become a farmer, it just seemed like the life that would be right for me.

Imagine, if you will, an awkward chunky teenager shuffling along to Gnarls Barkley’s ‘Crazy‘. The sweat is seeping through the white shirt on his back and he’s desperately hoping the girl in front of him won’t notice. There’s a greasy flop sweat beading on his forehead too, but he’s able to casually wipe that away with a sleeve whenever he feels it collecting there. He’s trying hard to smile and look relaxed like his Mum told him to, but it’s difficult to do so many things at the same time. What a mess.

Luckily Jessica didn’t see a mess that night, she saw a friendly (if a little bumbling) teenager, who was a good foot taller than everyone else and trying gamely to dance to a song that he’d never heard before. Two years later we were sat next to each other in an Agricultural College equidistant to both of our homes. We both learned about how to run a Dairy business and decided that one day we would have our own land where we could raise our own cattle.

It’s funny that we never once talked about having children, I suppose we both saw it coming, just now quite as quickly as we thought!

A week into moving into our new home, a month into starting our first business together, we found out that Jessica was pregnant. From that point a clock began ticking. 9 months. 9 months until we had a new member of the family to feed. 9 months until we’d be waking up throughout the night, with the ever encroaching dawn-rise just a few hours away. 9 months to take our patch of pasture and transform it into a business.

I thought they were the busiest 9 months of my life, but I was soon to be proved wrong!