Tales of the Mongrel
My First “Real” Trip to England
(Story 3 of 4 - My Brother….Ted the Breeder)
NOTE: This story is in 4 parts as there is enough material from 30 days in England to do that. This is Part #3 with Part #4 following next month.
Sarah is my wife Susan’s youngest sister and is married to Ted Clover. Ted works as consultant in community planning in the Cambridge area of England which means he acts as the go-between for people or organizations looking to build on a piece of property and the local planning commission or board. There are not just zoning-type issues but environmental and emotional ones that Ted must address on behalf of his clients. It is a highly specialized skill that requires not just a broad knowledge of rules and regulations but excellent communication and people skills as well. Needless to say business is good for Ted!
Ted’s passion is not consultancy but farming. He and Sarah bought Flat Road Farm in November of 1998 and at the time the farm was a rather run-down 3 acre place (the Haney Place). A lot has changed since then. Flat Road Farm is now a 75 acre farm (and growing) with not just new out buildings but a new 5 bedroom house. A major transformation to say the very least!!
The farm has chickens, ducks, sheep, pigs and cattle. I believe Ted would reject the idea of being a “gentleman farmer” and he would probably be more right than wrong as he is truly serious and passionate about what he does.
Ted’s focus is Britain’s rare breed livestock. His focus is to a sheep breed called Norfolk Horns and now has over 100 head. The sheep are raised principally for their meat.
For several years he raised Tamworth pigs which is another rare breed. Recently, he had trimmed their numbers to orient to cattle called Red Poll. He has adolescents but is working with 3 mature cows and a bull (Freddie) to increase herd size. Our first day with Sarah and Ted was to go to a regional farm show known as the Weyland Show near South Norfolk. There Sarah and Ted entered 4 of their Norfolk Horn sheep and took a first place for best of breed. In fact, Ted has quite a collection of ribbons and “Best of Show” cups. In looking at what Ted does and how he does it, the term “gentleman farmer” fades into the sunset.
Ted hopes to show his Red Poll cattle soon but wants to be sure he can “contain” the animals he brings…don’t want those guys running around!
The show also featured how sheep dogs are trained (by herding ducks) and how fox hunting hounds are trained and used. I found both demonstrations extremely interesting and especially with the sheep herding down right amazing.
There were antique tractors but I was also treated to a British sports car exhibition which featured 2 beautiful MGBs and 3 MGB-GTs.