Thursday, 28 February 2008

Repairs and Renewals

Nothing lasts for ever. Everything comes to the end of its natural life and becomes a candidate for repair or renewal. And sometimes we just replace things because we fancy something better (or just different).

Recently we have replaced a mish-mash of metal gates on the roadside with made to measure wooden ones. We have replaced a motor in the feed bin auger, and solenoids in the parlour feeders. We have bought, but yet set up, new gateposts for a widened gateway at the top of the yard. We have bought a new slurry tanker (see post of 26th November), and then fixed up the old one (we're now a 2 slurry tanker family). We are in the process of making (from a variety of miscellaneous bits and pieces) a Volume Washer, and a handling pen on The Lots.

I'm sure there's loads more I've missed as it's an ever growing list. But the most important Renewal will happen in April. As I said, nothing lasts for ever, not even bone and cartilage. Henry is now on the list for a new hip. So later in the year watch out for him running after cows with renewed vigour.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Dad's Cow

Now that the dust has settled after the Birthday Party (but not a bunch of balloons that are still bravely hanging from one of the hooks in the kitchen), I thought you might like to see one of Henry's presents. This wonderful picture is an original oil painting by Thuline de Cock, commisioned by our children and grandchildren. It's actually of Strickley Peeress Rose 17, but called appropriately "Dad's Cow". More of her work (including more Strickley Shorthorns) can be seen on her website.

Sunday, 17 February 2008

From 0 to 100 in 30 years

Dear Reader

I'm sure you remember every word in this Blog (but if not look back at 1st May last year when I told you about cow families, names and numbers).

One of our most prolific families is the Starlet family. The first Strickley Starlet was born on 6th July 1977, and yesterday Starlet 38 (born 9th May 1998) had her eight calf - a heifer now known as Strickley Starlet 100.
Starlets not only have a high proportion of heifers to bulls (a good trait), but produce loads of milk and do well in the sale and show ring. This is Starlet 62 when she was Reserve Champion at the Shorthorn Society's Autumn Show and Sale in 2005.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Latest Updates

Mole Count = 17
and it's
O Day minus 108

Monday, 11 February 2008

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Last Night

I'm at a bit of a loss today - no lists to follow, no schedule to keep to.

What can I say about last night?

Much food was eaten.
Much drink was drunk
Much talk was talked
Nuff said

And thank you all very much whoever you are for helping prepare the food, for moving furniture (following my "beautifully" drawn plan), for your gifts to us and the North West Air Ambulance, but most of all for being there.

And special thanks to James for giving Henry a sleep in this morning.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Another Busy Day At The Office. .

. . except I'm not at the office. As you will know (if you are on the Birthday A List) we're having a bit of a do on Saturday. Way back last year I rashly offered to have a party for Henry and Arthur's 60th Birthday. As I'm better at catering for large numbers rather than intimate dinners for two I thought it might be not exactly a doddle, but not much of a leap up. As The Day gets nearer I'm spending longer awake in the middle of the night, trying to calculate (guess) how much food 75 people (from 9 months to 80) will eat.

How many are vegetarians? Are they complete out and out vegetarians or do they eat fish? We haven't asked, but should I be considering any other "dietary requirements". Will everyone want a bit of everything on the table or just a selection? And I know what the Birthday Boys' answer will be - if it's there, have a bit - especially the puddings.

The Aga is large and can hold enormous joints of meat - but not all at once. And as it's nearly as old as Henry and powered by dusty old coke it takes a while to turn up the heat. So I've got a list (well several lists actually).

Guest List - marked off with numbers accepted
Shopping List - broken down into sub-lists (can buy in advance, a few days before, day before etc)
Thawing List - when to take the large joints and stock for soup out of the freezer.
Cooking List - when to cook everything. The wonderful thing about the Aga is overnight cooking. Stick a huge piece of ham in the bottom oven before you go to bed and take it out the next morning. Foolproof (so far).

There's also a cleaning list - but my heart isn't really in it. Maybe with so many people they won't be able to see the dusty surfacea and straw on the floor.

And don't forget the Bedroom List - there will be twelve of us here on Saturday night. (Maybe I should have a Bathroom List - book your time now!)

75 people = 75 plates + 75 soup bowls (cups) + 75 pudding dishes + 75 knives + 75 forks + 75 spoons + 75 glasses.
Now we probably could find all of that in the cupbords round the house (did you know I was a bit of a hoarder?). But thinking of the washing up we've opted for paper plates (very posh ones!), cups and dishes. But I refuse to drink out of anything but glass.

But now the game's afoot and the clock is ticking. The fridges are filling up with chilled food and half-prepped dishes. The Back Kitchen is stacked high with bottles and cans. The Aga's raring to go. The first pudding is done, another batch is half done, the first roast is ready to roast tonight.

If you don't hear from me for a day or two I'm stuck in the pantry or collapsed in a heap.

As ever, watch this space.

PS - and many thanks to Jean for all her help.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

How To Tell I Am Getting Old

This week I am definately getting older. How do I know?

Our eldest grandson is 10 today and next week I will be married to someone old enough for his bus pass (which could be useful if buses ever passed by the lane).

But for a few months I will still be a fiftyish women. I had better make the most of it.

Mole Count