Farm life on Oakwood Grange

A New Beginning – Oakwood Farms


It’s nearly December. Winter is here now and we’ve had a slight reprieve from the cold and snowy snap of last week. A year since I last wrote a newsletter for my web site. So much has happened this year, some major changes in my life and a change for my future.

As we make our way through our years, we learn to tread softly in case of waking some unwanted demon. Such demons can bend our lives in such a miserable way and we can never be prepared for the consequences. My journey this year proved to me that as resilient as I may have thought myself, I unexpectedly found a weak link in my inner self, an inability to bounce back from a personal disappointment.

From our disappointments it’s also possible to find some worthy and positive surprises. For me, it was the generosity, friendship and support of my three girls.

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Replacing the tin on the machinery shed

By late August, I realized that the time had come for me to make a move and start afresh, find a new beginning, move on from where I was and the life that I had made at Oakwood Grange. In early August, and with the HUGE help from my daughter Ceri, and her husband Darren, we worked hard for several weeks, improving buildings, cleaning out junk from the different sheds and preparing the farm for sale. By the end of August we set about advertising and marketing the farm on different web sites. ……….. I had an alternative, another farm of some interest and close to Ceri and Darren’s farm. So my plan was, in theory, quite simple. Sell Oakwood Grange and then to buy my new place at Manson.

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The finished machinery shed

To make this all work out, timing had to be exact and most of everything had to fit into place like some well-manufactured jigsaw puzzle.

In the world of rural real estate I really didn’t think any of these plans / hopes could or would be possible. I was wrong! A couple of stressful months resulted in everything coming up trumps. On November the 15th, the Lawrences took possession of Oakwood Grange and I took possession of my new farm at Manson. From my despair came a new beginning, a chance to smile again.

Trailers loaded, and with the help of a few good friends, my large accumulation of tools, household and video business paraphernalia headed west to my new home. On the 14th, Tony Atkinson with his semi trailer took my cows and most of my ewes on the same trail west. The remaining ewes, my chore horse and donkey, fitted into, my friend, Garry Paterson’s trailer and the rams and ram lambs filled my trailer. A smooth trip ending with both the Semi and my truck getting stuck at the new place. A great way to meet my new neighbors as they arrived to pull us out!

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A last look at Oakwood Grange

It’s always interesting and inspiring to find out the people who care and are prepared to help out. Two of my more senior neighbors at Oakwood Grange, have helped in many ways. Thanks to both Ted and Ralph. One day I phoned to talk to Ralph about the snow conditions and how I wouldn’t probably make it out on the more than 2 hour trip. Mildred told me that Ralph and Ted were already down at Oakwood loading my tractor, snow blower and FEL buckets onto a borrowed trailer and then would be heading out soon. I was surprised, to say the least. Ralph will be 80 this month and he and Ted became welcomed supporters, the traveling fix-it fellows. Later, that same afternoon, they arrived with a trailer full of my belongings.

All of my 3 daughters joined in to help with my move. I thank them all for their support and effort. To Darren and his family for their help, support and equipment. Many thanks. To Graeme, Damien, Rob, John, Garry, etc., another big thanks. To Heidi and Joe for looking after the boys and for making supper during the big “pack up and get out time”.

It has taken Ceri and I a few weeks to organize my new home, a small bungalow. Last night was my first night sleeping on the farm and my new life takes its beginnings as of now.

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The New Farm

I have included a photo of my new place. I’m not sure what I will call this place. My breeders name is Oakwood Grange but the word grange refers to the old homestead / farm in a district. That was suitable for my last farm but not for this place. I have to keep the word Oakwood (Oakwood Black Angus / Oakwood Clun Forest / Oakwood Berkshires ), so Oakwood Farm may work!

As things unfold here I will write again. I wish I had taken some photos of the trucks and trailers being loaded before they headed out this way. I can’t believe the amount of “stuff” I had accumulated over the past years. It mostly followed me here.

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