For the past 7 weeks I have been lucky enough to intern at Knockaloe Beg farm in Peel and welcomed into the home of the absolutely lovely Anderson family.
A typical day for me would begin with loading the Polaris full of pig food and containers of water with farmer John as well as prepare Pippin the pony’s food for the day! John and I would then drive the Polaris around the farm to feed the animals. This was always a favourite part of my day as guests that stay at the various different self-catering accommodations the farm has to offer such as the Stables, the Wigwams, the beautiful Tower, the Byre, the Bunkhouse and the lovely B and B, all have the opportunity to come on a trailer ride with us to help feed the animals, check on the sheep as well as feed the chickens and collect the eggs for the day!
There are ponies on the farm too and a donkey named Eeyore! A particularly great morning of mine this summer was facilitating a surprise visit from a unicorn for a little girl who was staying at the farm with her family!
Once all the animals have been fed, most days farmer John and I go and replace all the logs and kindling for the hot tubs before any new guests arrive and then we would make a plan for the rest of the day.
Farm life I have learnt is VERY unpredictable, but that’s part of why I’ve loved it so much! It’s weather dependent and so varied but you always know there’s going to be something good to be done, or that you’re going to feel satisfied after doing it at least (I’m referring to mucking out the barns when I say this!)
John and I would often move and sort sheep from the various fields or bring them over Peel Hill by bringing them into their pens with the help of Meg and Tilly the trusty sheepdogs. We would then either separate the lambs from the sheep or sort them into different fields such as rare breeds or potential mothers for the future.
I have learnt lots about the different breeds of sheep, some of my favourites are the Herdwicks and the brand-new Jacob sheep which I was fortunate enough to experience the purchasing off at my very first sheep auction!
Other tasks on the farm we might get up to include removing Himalayan balsam from the hills. This is a huge pink flowery plant that’s a very invasive species. John and I spent a long time on this task over the summer, but it definitely was one of the most satisfying to complete!
Other personal favourite moments must be learning how to build a stone wall and construct wired fences, along with helping to capture escapee pigs and round up batches of chicks when they hatch out of nowhere! It was also really interesting to learn more about the hospitality side of the farm and just how much work goes into making sure the people who come to visit really do have the most special time on their stays.
I’ve helped paint fences, cut grass, collect apples and pears, look after poorly sheep, clean hot tubs, clean wigwam rooms, learn about the production of home grown produce such as honey and help harvest the huge array of vegetables the Anderson’s grow!
I can’t express how amazing the experience of working on a farm (particularly this farm!!!) has been- quite literally the best summer job I could have ever asked for. If you’re thinking about visiting and being a part of all of this…
I can’t recommend it enough.