Well, 2016 has been quite a year for the McKenna family but it does seem to have flown by. We have crammed so much into it and have achieved such a lot, as we continue to build our life in the country. The year seemed to start even before it had even begun with us getting flooded out for the first time, last boxing day, I still can’t believe that we had so many good samaritans turn up, out of the blue to help us out, in our hour of need, that’s the power of social media in action.

It wasn’t long into the year when we experienced the highs and lows of lambing for the second time and this year, there was a low. Hypothermia and lambs isn’t a good mix at all and since losing Jeremy’s twin sister to the cold, we have been through it a hundred times, how could we have changed things or what could we have done differently, so as to not lose her. We can only learn from these experiences and endeavour to make sure we are prepared for the next time.

As spring was unfolding, we were furiously trying to get our vegetable patch up to last years standard and at the same time get everything completed ahead of opening the teashop. Seeding, fencing, paving, plumbing, turfing, painting, ditch digging, pruning, marketing, planting, bramble clearing, nettle spraying, shepherds hut siting, gravel levelling, drain laying, tree felling, log chopping and hedge cutting have been a few of the tasks we have been working through, alongside our day to day jobs and not to mention getting a wedding arranged in between all of that!

So, this year we leapt into teashop world and it could have been a struggle, with a lack of experience on our part, but as usual, our Wendy has pulled it out of the bag and she’s won an award for her teams efforts too. The signs were good, with us being contacted almost every day in the weeks leading up to opening, with people requesting an opening date and on day one we had cars queueing up outside the gate. Once again, the support we have seen from people, from all over Yorkshire has been wonderful.

We see ourselves as extremely blessed, living where we live and so it has always been in our thinking to share this adventure with others, which is why we opened up to the public and had our beautiful Shepherds Hut built for people to stay. We took long enough just deciding on the right place to site our hut in order that visitors could get the best views from their window and have the most memorable experience from their stay on ‘Long Meadow Farm’.

As we roll into 2017, putting the past years struggles behind us, we are excited at what’s in store for us this coming year. For sure our antiquated heating and plumbing system, in our home, is definately on it’s way out, and hopefully buckets of coal are going to be a thing of the past! We are looking forward to lots of youngsters being born on the farm in 2017 and we could have a Highland calf or two, lambs, a couple of pygmy goat babies, a baby llama, some ducklings and at this stage we are undecided but potentially we may have piglets too.

So, we have a very busy year in store in 2017 and in closing can I take this opportunity to wish everyone a prosperous 2017 from all of us at the Ginger Cow Company.