The last time we wrote about remaining positive in uncertain times we were referring to the weather and the effects of Brexit. Well, what a difference a few weeks make. The sun has been out long enough to get on the fields to put some much needed fertiliser on the crops that have suffered so much over the extremely wet winter months. We have also been able to get our spring crops in most of the fields so now we just need to have the weather on our side to give these crops a chance. However, with recent events around the world, even on the farm we have felt the implications of the coronavirus, but we must remain positive and above all we must remain safe.
The first few weeks of the lockdown period saw many people drive into the countryside to go for walks rather than staying local as advised by the Government. People that had never been to the area before were parking their cars quite inconsiderately sometimes in gateways obviously not realising that farming cannot stop during this time.
The estate has many farm tracks that are not open to the public. These tracks are private property and can be dangerous places when farm machinery travels along them. In recent weeks we have seen many people walking along these tracks and where we can we have redirected them to the public paths. We just do not want anybody hurt.
Deliveries of basics such as fuel and other farm essentials have all be affected by the lockdown but we are glad that they have continued up to now and we are able to operate the farm as near normal as possible.
To see how the residents in the village have been supporting each other is lovely. Just one email from us to all our tenants to inform them of changes we needed to make with regards to how we would be responding to any maintenance or repairs of the properties triggered such a lovely response with offers of help to pick up supplies or look after animals.
We decided to put together a small newsletter to inform the Estate’s tenants of all of these offers. From a resident being able to supply eco-friendly household products, one of the farm workers arranging deliveries from a local brewery to the residents whose business of selling cheese now being able to supply meat, vegetables as well as their cheeses to those who cannot leave their properties, it has been amazing to see how this small community has been able to help each other.
Then the unfortunate incident where a resident’s car burnt out on the driveway showed this community spirit once again, with more offers of transport and help and all when everyone is having to be extra careful due to the fear of catching and spreading the virus.
Let’s hope the fight against the coronavirus is soon won. If it is teaching the world anything at all then it is that we cannot take anything for granted and that we must be grateful for what we have. And above all we need to be ready to support each other in times of need, something that farming communities have done so well for so long now.
Margot Smith, for West Tisted Manor Estate