OPINION: Life on and off the farm - Daisy Snow

North Devon Gazette

This weekend was the first in about a year with nothing pressing on the to do list, so Scott and I seized the rare opportunity to leave the county and headed to the Cotswolds for a couple of days.Â

We didn’t plan to do much but did visit a few places we had been wanting to for a while, Daylesford Farm Shop being one of them- a place championing organic and regenerative practises with a fresh food shop, a café serving produce from the farm, a huge interiors and garden section, as well as offerings of wellness retreats and cookery lessons. They certainly were channelling a lot of meaningful messages and it was really inspiring to see something like this being so well supported.Â

The quaint, picturesque towns of the Cotswolds were perfectly formed from various old sandstone buildings which were filled with seemingly thriving independent shops and businesses, all of a similar calibre and for a similar type of customer. A kind of polished façade of a wealthy country lifestyle – nowhere near as exciting as the dishevelled rawness that North Devon beholds. It was an enjoyable trip, but I always seem to miss Devon.Â

Back home at the farm, I’ve been trying to get our well emptied out so that we can check it fills back up quickly enough to be an adequate supply to the house. Once it has filled and refreshed itself a couple of times, I am going to take some samples to send off to be tested. I find the whole process VERY exciting and have also ordered a little kit to run a side-by-side test myself, to compare the tap and well water – I’m really intrigued to see what the results show.Â

To get the water out of the 17 foot deep well, I borrowed a high-pressure bilge pump from my mum and joined up lengths of blue pipe to pump the water out – after 5 hours of pumping yesterday, the well was nye on empty, (and the field rather sodden!) it’s now a waiting game to check it fills up again.Â

I’m really keen to get the supply changed over as the amount of chlorine in our water supply is rather toxic, not to mention doesn’t taste that great. As a temporary measure I’ve bought the same type of in line carbon filter that I used in the cabin I lived in before moving to here – it filters out all chlorine, herbicides, pesticides and harmful metals out of all water that comes into the property - important, as you’d be surprised how much our skin will absorb just through having a bath.Â

Whilst waiting for the well to empty, I had to stay near to keep an eye on it so found some odd jobs to do around the farm. I pruned some apple trees that were catching my hair every time I took anything out to the compost bin, and whilst doing so, noticed the first daffodils I’ve seen all year in bud – what a beautiful sign that spring is on the way! My daughter and I also started weeding the vegetable patch, pulling up lots of young cleaver (sticky buds) which we saved to make into tonics and put into meals over the next few nights – cleavers are a great herb to eat towards the end of winter as they gently get your lymphatic system moving.Â

Outside of the tranquillity of wells and daffs, flu restrictions have finally been lifted in the UK. For most people, a change that couldn’t come soon enough, but as much as I welcome it, I can’t help but wonder why the sudden U-turn has occurred (not that I can make sense of much of what the government’s done in the past couple of years!).Â

That distraction aside, we should probably be concerned about what is currently unfolding between Russia and Ukraine at the moment– strange how it’s nowhere near as well documented in the news as Boris’ birthday.