Just before Christmas I was asked if I would like to come on board with the online publication of the Irish Country Living section of The Farmers Journal as a contributor. They asked me to write about life on the farm. I was thrilled.
The Farmers Journal has been a part of my life growing up for as long as I can remember. My father would read it cover to cover every week. This added to my pride when I got asked to contribute.
The following is the first piece that I contributed, I hope you enjoy.
I will post the subsequent pieces as they appear.
Hello and welcome to the adventures of Hushabye Farm.
We are fortunate to farm beautiful Alpacas here at the foothills of the Slieve Bloom mountains and every day working with them is a privilege.
So who are we and how did we get into this?
We are Elizabeth (me), chief meal producer and mamma supreme, Paul, head farmer and super dada. We have four gorgeous, exhausting, crazy, but ultimately adorable little mini farmers.
We both come from farming backgrounds but never set out to become farmers.
Having left himself unattended at Tullamore Show, for all of fifteen minutes, resulted in the purchase of our first three alpacas.
Lesson 1; Never leave your impulsive husband unattended at an agricultural show.
When Paul came bounding back to the family area,where I was stranded with our two daughters, the excitement in his face meant that I couldn’t object. Although I knew nothing about them, I wasn’t even sure what they looked like, all I knew was that they were coming home.
One of the first things that we were told about Alpacas was that they would never challenge a fence, therefore the low wall that we had in the back paddock wasn’t a huge concern. The only problem was, nobody seemed to inform our Alpacas of this!!
Lesson 2; Do not believe everything you are told.
One frantic phone call later, where my husband relayed that the alpacas had been stolen, resulted in a CSI type of analysis of the area, to determine where the burglers got in, how they had managed to transport them etc, the truth was no less dramatic and ultimately more entertaining.
The ‘on the run’ alpacas had taken a wander around their new townland and had managed to make it down to the main road. They pottered happily across, only to be spotted but a passing squad car! I would love to have seen the guards faces and even more so the report they would have submitted!
“Suspects were apprehended jay walking, in broad daylight, across the main road. Due to their reluctance to provide their addresses they were dispatched to the nearest sheep farmers yard in the hope that someone would claim them”
Lesson 3;Alpacas will challenge a fence, they like a good wander around. Many a mornings dash around the neighbours fields in my pyjamas will testify to this.
Luckily for us the alpacas have allowed us to move from being ‘the new people up the hill’ to ‘the family with alpacas’. This is great in rural Ireland where you can remain ‘the new people’ for a long number of years if you are not born and bred there.
They provide a great talking point and Paul’s work outside is taken up a lot by people stopping and asking to rub them, asking what they are, and reassuring people that they rarely spit. His most frequent expression is ‘no they’re not llamas, they’re alpacas’.Twitter
It is a lovely way to meet people and it is a great way to farm. It is sociable, the children are hugely involved and thankfully because they are such docile animals there isn’t the usual worries when children are around farm animals.
For us,as a farming family, it doesn’t get much better than this.
If you would like to follow our adventure you can do so on