Friday, 30 November 2007

No Water Yet

Just a quick update to those of you who were wondering if we had found water yet - no not yet (nor oil or any other valuable commodity).
We have decided to try another spot to drill (more of the reasons why later), but as it means the heavy drilling rig getting up a hilly field we are waiting for the ground to try up (or freeze). The driller has moved off site temporarily to another customer and should be back in about a month.

Watch this space for further updates.

Thursday, 29 November 2007

That Was The Year That Was

1967 – a year of major events whose legacy still reaches down to us –

Donald Campbell was killed trying to set a world record on Coniston Water
Strife in the Middle East with the Six Day War
Dr Christian Barnard performed the first heart transplant in Cape Town
The Torrey Canyon ran adrift off Lands End.
Foot and Mouth Disease was rife.

But for a group of girls 1967 was the start of new lives as they went from schoolgirls to teachers. We came from all corners of England, Wales and Ireland (it’s funny but I can’t remember anyone from Scotland) to Clough Hall at Edge Hill College in Ormskirk. Perhaps I can write another time about life as a student as the Sixties raced to an end, but it was the start of lifelong friendships. Some of us don’t meet up very often, but we’re still a group. Careers, marriages, children (and grandchildren), joy and sadness have affected us all and we’re probably very different to the carefree girls we once were. But inside I’m not a grey haired granny working in an industry I didn’t know existed in 1967, but a young girl free from the restraints of home and let loose upon the world.

Memories have been resurfacing in my mind as a group of us are meeting up on Saturday. It won’t be like the KHS reunion of a few weeks ago, as we’ve never really lost touch. But it’s like reaching out into the past and bringing it into focus.

Monday, 26 November 2007

In Action

It didn't stand idle long, and it will never be as clean again (at least inside).

Sunday, 25 November 2007

This Year I Will Be Organised!

I know it's still November but I've Made The Cake. After the shame of last year when I ran out of days (if only we could have pushed Christmas back a few days), I was determined to get ahead.

So my checklist is accumulating lots of ticks.

Presents - mostly bought (except for those difficult people who already have everything.
Cards - designed and ready to print.
Crackers - bought.
Wrapping paper - bought.
Cake - made
Christmas menu - planned (not difficult as it's mostly the same from year to year).

What's Big And Red. . . .

. . . . and can make an awful mess?

Just arrived and ready to go!

So don't stand behind it.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Dry as a bone

This week has seen the start of Strickley's bid for Independence - Independence from the Utility Companies, as a team of drillers (who have never failed to find water) sunk a test bore at the top of the Teapot Field. They quickly whizzed through soft soil, then the tungsten drill bit slowed down as it hit the blue granite. 120 metres later (below sea level) and no water. The consensus is that we're in the wrong place and today we will decide where to try next.

Our own geological expert (Dr. L. A. Robinson, B.Sc.Hons., Ph.D., PGCE, Adv.Dip.Ed) has been taking a keen interest and will I hope provide a full technical account in due course.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

No Happy Ending

Yesterday Henry found this buzzard down the fields with its wing broken in two places. We assume it hit a powerline and fell to the ground. He took it down to the vet, but unfortunately it died. But doesn't it look magnificent?

Friday, 16 November 2007

Yet More Excitement!

Watch this space for news of the Latest Happening at Strickley. Today men and specialist equipment arrived and unloaded in the Paddock. They are returning on Monday to start on a project that should have countless benefits. All will be revealed in due course.

Drama in New Hutton

Monday, 12 November 2007

A Week's A Long Time . . .

. . . but nothing really exciting has happened at Strickley.

After the concentrated hard work in getting the stock off to Somerset and the Beeston Sale, we've been glad of the time to catch our breath and catch up on routine jobs - like sawing up wood for our wood burning stoves. Our is a big house with a big kitchen with a big fireplace, so it seemed sensible (but when are we ever sensible?) to get the biggest stove we could. Basically it has three heats - cold (not lit), hot and very hot. We have a highly technical way of controlling the temperature - to turn it down a bit - open the hall door; to turn it down a bit more - open the pantry door; to turn it down even more - open the back door. Who needs a thermostat?

Saturday, 3 November 2007

And then there were . . .

. . . ten less.

Yesterday we took 5 milkers and 5 maiden heifers to the Shorthorn Society's Annual Show & Sales. It was scheduled to be held at Chelford Auction - but the extension of the Bluetongue Protection Zone meant that was impossible. So it was held at Beeston Castle Auction. James went down with the cattle yesterday afternoon and man and cows spent a comfortable night. We had another early start so we could milk and do up and still be there for the start of the sale.

We've just got back and had a quick glance at the post that came while we were out. Among the bills and circulars was this weeks Farmers Weekly, and this excerpt from an article on page 37 explains partly why we seem to be selling so much stock at the moment. (It's also because we had a good run of heifers in the past two years and our buildings don't have elastic sides)
Case study
James Robinson - KENDAL, CUMBRIA
Dairy herds which have switched to organic production on marginal land have limited cropping options. But that's not something deterring the Robinson family from Old Hutton, Kendal, Cumbria.
Their Strickley herd of 90 pedigree Dairy Shorthorns has a high-cost winter ahead as it switches to organic feeds in the final six months of its conversion set against a conventional milk price of 25p/litre. The pot at the end of the rainbow is 34.5p/litre, but in the meantime this winter's compound feed is costing £320/t - compared with the same supplier's conventional dairy ration at £170/t.
"We expected £280, but this is a big jump to £320 - and it's stinging," says James Robinson.
With no shortage of buyers ringing up for Dairy Shorthorn cattle, this Cumbria herd may opt to sell all its heifers and cut cow numbers a little to bolster income in the short-term and help cash-flow this winter.
"It'll soften the blow. We don't want to lose yield by cutting corners with the ration because we'll need plenty of spring milk to get us back on track. Although we're a marginal grass farm we'll be looking at growing some arable silage and crimping some grain next year."
If you want to read the full article click here

Friday, 2 November 2007

Did You Miss us?

In case you were desperate to look at the weather at Strickley - I'm glad to report we're back online!

A Little Bit Of Strickley In Somerset

It's half past five in the morning and we've just loaded 33 Strickley Shorthorns onto a large cattle wagon. They are heading for a new life in Somerset at Higher Stavordale Farm. If you're down in the South West, visit the Farm Shop and say hello from us.

So it's Goodbye to Annabella 118, Peeress Rose 13, Lily 7, Starbud 29, Oak Barrington 11, Lady Hermione 8, Goldie 168, Illa Princess 33, Annabella 129, Oak Barrington 8, Barrington Dot 11, Goldie 170, Crumble 9, Peeress Rose 26, Janet 49, Peeress Rose 25, Goldie 183, Starlet 192, Peggy 153, Georgina 55, Goldie 182, Janet 48, Peggy 151, Lady Barrington 20, Illa Princess 35, Lady Barrington 24, Starbud 27, Lily 11, Annabella 138, Annabella 139, Goldie 189 and two bull calves.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Strickley Website Down

Once again we are suffering disruption to normal service (I think our ISP is making changes) and the Strickley Website (and Weather) are unavailable.
I'm not able to investigate any more just now, but I hope that normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.