Every Wednesday afternoon I go to an over sixties exercise class. Sometimes there are twenty there, sometimes only ten - the latter today but by golly after an hour's concentrated exercise to music I come out feeling as though the blood is coursing through my veins faster than it has done all week. I wish the class was held every day. Yes, I know there is nothing to stop me doing the exercises at home, but the flesh is weak and we are all agreed that we never do. Still, once a week is better than not at all and I continue to go and to thoroughly enjoy it. There is a lovely lady who always bakes small cakes for us at the end (coffee and walnut today) - defeats the object I suppose but it is such a treat. Today I took her some of my hens eggs as a thank you for the lovely treats.
My hens are laying very well; in fact they have not stopped throughout the Winter and now that the nights are drawing out the farmer has to make a special journey down to the hen house after tea because before tea they are roaming far and wide across the fields. I do hope I am not tempting fate by saying it, but in twenty years we have never lost a hen to the foxes and yet we know there are always foxes about. But then, judging from the large numbers of half grown bunnies, who are still a bit green behind the ears and probably easy to catch, perhaps that is the easy option for Mr and Mrs Fox rather than a scraggy old hen (many of the remaining hens are eight years old - I think it is probably three years since we had any new ones.)
Yesterday the weather was absolutely dreadful with blizzards and a bitterly cold wind. Today it is much warmer and has been a pleasant day. But tomorrow a wet day is forecast again and I notice that the two cornfields directly opposite our farm are actually standing in water. The farmer says they have always been very wet fields, but the farm concerned changed hands the year before last and the farmer who bought it has a very large milking herd of cows and needs a lot of corn for feed, so he can't afford to leave these fields as grass (they are too far from the farm to make it viable for him to bring the cows there to pasture every day in Summer).
Do you eat Wensleydale cheese? It is produced in Hawes, about fifteen miles from here along through Wensleydale and most of the dairy farmers round here sell their milk to the Wensleydale Cheese Creamery. The Creamery is a real success story having been subject to a management buy-out some years ago when it was threatened with closure. Now there is also a restaurant and a shop where you can buy every sort of cheese they produce - all are available to sample before buying.
Well that is from exercise, through coffee and walnut cakes, to hens, foxes, farms and then to cheese. I think that is enough to keep us going for today, don't you?