The Greatest Show on Earth!

Great Yorkshire Show

It’s the week of the Great Yorkshire Show, so we went along on Tuesday.  It’s THE annual agricultural show in the country and it covers a huge area covering animal barns for horses, cows, pigs, sheep, goats, alpacas, rabbits & other livestock; displays of agricultural equipment & business/grant information, stalls selling country wear, art & crafts, riding gear etc,  garden exhibits plus arenas for horse jumping and animal judging and lots more…

As we’re getting the house ready for the Retreat and we have 20 acres of land surrounding us, we are researching becoming a smallholding with organic veggie beds, the orchard, plus some animals such as cows, pigs and chickens.

CowsI’ve liked the idea of Dexter cows ever since I first heard about them about 5 years ago.  Why?  Because they are small – no bigger than the size of a normal calf!  Plus they calve easily and are good milk and meat producers for their size…  But there were also Highland cows at the show which I’ve also found very pretty but I assumed they were really big.  Well, they’re not!  They’re really quite small and very pretty with that shaggy auburn coat and long horns.  There was a calf there too and it was really cute J.  So now I’m torn between the two – The Irish Dexters are apparently a bit bad tempered and should be under cover in a snowy winter, whereas the Highland cows are more docile and very hardy since they’re originally from the Scottish highlands and can stay out in snow.  But I have no idea yet if you can milk the Highlands or eat them!  So some more research is needed…

Then there are the pigs – the ones being shown are huge!  I like the idea of heritage breed pigs, so I’m considering the Saddleback pig or the Gloucestershire Old Spots (even though that name sounds like a fungal disease).

AlpacasThe other animal I’m keen on is Alpacas…. They are very cute!  But I’ve now discovered from a long chat with a local breeder that they are hard to shear (due to loose skin) and they don’t like wet weather – which is not a good start in Yorkshire! Another subject for more investigation…

I did have to walk around the tractor stands with Mike, since we will need a small one soon, and I did pick up a lot of useful information regarding organic farming.

It was a great day at the Great Yorkshire Show.

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