Sunday, 30 December 2007


Listening to: Bohemian Like You (The Dandy Warhols)
Cooking: roast lamb
Weather: absolutely beautiful
Birdwatch: Turnstones, Redshanks, Herons, Common Gulls, Lapwings, Black-backed Gulls, Whooper Swans, Teal, Mallard, Wigeon.

Here's good news. The farm earned its first cash yesterday when we managed to offload some hay onto unsuspecting neighbours.

It's only 20 quid so Sally and I will not be packing our skimpy swimsuits and heading for Uncle Fidel's Caribbean hideaway just yet, and we've no illusions that we will ever be able to do much more than break even here, but it's a start.

The hay was cut just as we arrived here in July and had been put aside to feed Xena (Sal's Welsh Cob mare), but the appearance of strangles on the yard in Essex where she is staying means there's no chance we can get her to Westray until Spring. And Teddy doesn't like hay, in case you were wondering.

So, while we've got enough hay to fulfil a vegan's wildest fantasies, our neighbours have a shortage and two hungry mares (the ones Teddy has been preening himself for every morning). They phoned and promised to pop round to inspect 'the goods' before agreeing a price.

Now both Sal and myself are from the Brian of Nazareth school of haggling. Sal was all for giving them the hay as a favour, but I said we should settle for a nominal amount, seeing as they'd suggested it.

So, once hay was seen to be good, I said: "How about 50p a bale, so just bung us a tenner for the 20 you want?" We then went into haggling in reverse with the neighbours deciding this wasn't nearly enough, so they would pay £1 a bale. Who were we to refuse and the £20 note offered and disappeared into Mrs TPF's back pocket at alarming speed.

What are we spending it on? 2,000 penny chews? That Undertones compilation I've had my eye on for a while? A ticket for half a Premiership football game? A new studded collar for Spike? Ideas please.

Pig farmer and neighbour debate the price of hay


Ginni Dee said...

How about a halter and lead line for little Teddy? Or you could put it in a jar and save it to buy Sal's cob some hay when she does arrive!

A money-making farm...Well done!


Reg Pither said...

Sorry to hear about the "strangles in the yard. We had the Garottes round for Easter and they didn't leave for three weeks while Ronnie and Ruby Stab are still in the spare room!

ziggi said...

give it to the vet now, might as well.

Strangles - oh heck, sorry to hear that.

and a £1 a bale - what a bargain (for them) the current rate is £3!

Malc said...


Don't know about money-making. It's £20 in the plus column compared to thousands in the minus.


Sorry, that should have read Strangles of the Yard. Hello, hello, hello.


Think the strangles is over now, but we're not going to try and move her until the weather is more reliable.

They are small bales, put together on a museum piece of a baler. They're about half the size of the bales we were paying £3 for last year.

dinahmow said...

Yes, set up a Futures Fund cos you'll need it in the future.

Dave said...

Penny chews? Last ones I bought (admittedly as a small child) were farthing chews.

The farthing had, it must be said, been withdrawn as legal tender, but you could still get 4 chews for 1d.

elizabethm said...

Great news - the business kicks off. We too are experts in reverse haggling. I was so pleased to find your comment on my blog as my total absence of short term memory had me wandering arouind vaguely looking for your blog but unable to remember the name.

fiwa said...

I think you should spend it on fur collars for the hens. Maybe if they were warmer they'd lay more eggs. ;)

Malc said...


Too late. . . Sal's spent it already. I was going to have it framed.


Sadly I never had the courage as a child to go into the shop and order just one.


Know exactly what you mean about the short-term. . . um. . .


You've been at the beer fridge again, haven't you?

Richard said...

Hay prices comment thread! I heart blogger. £2.80 my mum paid today but farmer Des next door reckons anywhere between £2.40 - £3.