The hens and guinea fowl have been skittering along the ice with legs in all directions

John and I are working together here in companionable silence. Me at my computer. Him dressing a pile of plucked pheasants and ducks. Both of us pleased to be doing what we are doing and not envying each others task. A good team.

He makes a brilliant job ( as I never tire of telling him so that I do not get the chore) of dressing game and poultry. I have a roasting tin ready for the plumpest of the pheasants to star in tomorrow’s lunch. Do not say that I do not play my part.

Even when the days are dark so early, there are still so many jobs to get finished around the farm. Feeding up is all done under lights both at the beginning and end of the day.

Fortunately, despite the cold snap, none of the water troughs have frozen up in the yards. That does make for a long day when they all need thawing out so that the cattle can drink.

But it has created a skating rink of the yard, when rain has fallen onto ice, frozen, and then rained and frozen again.

Watching the dogs, and especially our puppy Fizz, trying to negotiate the ice reminds me of the scene in the film Bambi when the fawn’s legs shot away from under him as he slithered across a frozen lake.

I teeter around the edges of the yard hoping not to lose my balance and dignity. So far no bumps but I was amused to see the hens and guinea fowl skittering along the ice with legs and claws in all directions. And the occasional tummy glide when all sense of balance was lost.

With the pheasants and ducks safely tucked away in the freezer, John has just gone out again with a gun under his arm.

The sodden fields and rising water levels have driven a large number of rats into the buildings.

Millie, our terrier is beside herself with excitement for most of the day ratting. She is constantly in a filthy state because of digging holes and investigating under sheds.

As her bed is under my desk, my nostrils are currently assailed by a putrid aroma of muck, drains and decay. Lovely. And to think once I get sat down on a sofa she will want to be on my lap.

Perhaps before we get to the evening doze I ought to give her a quick shower and rub down.

Change of plan and end of sit down. Several of the heifers are bulling.

They are too young to be served by the bull as they were only born this year. Promiscuous lot.

That has not stopped them bouncing around in their yard and pushing their gate open so that they have broken into the main foldyard.

So now it is game on to get them all back in their own yard and well away from temptation.

Nothing ever goes to plan round here.

Mrs Downs Diary