Monday, 31 March 2008

What Does British Summertime Mean To You?

Well as well as losing an hours sleep and getting up in the dark again, does it mean it's now Summer?

It did yesterday for us, as it was the first time we had sat out on the patio - after milking - since last Autumn. We checked to see what plants had survived the winter (and our neglect), then toasted their survival with a glass (or two) of fizzy pop.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Shh . . .don't spread the word

I'm not sure if I should be advertising this, as I've no idea what it will be like, but listen to Radio Cumbria on Easter Monday (9 - 10 I think) and hear us (among others) talking about the weather. After our baptism of fire with Border TV * a couple of years ago (now I know what a rabbit caught in the headlights looks like) I thought Radio could never be as bad, so agreed to a "pre-recorded interview" today. Someone once said "the pictures are better on radio" so you won't see my twitching eyes (or holes in my jumper), but you should still be able to "see" the kitchen at Strickley as you hear the clock ticking (it's more of a star than us!), and imagine walking down the Foddergan to the Ten Shippon with Henry to look at the calves.

Radio Cumbria is not yet digital, but can be heard on FM, or via the Internet. As far as I can see it won't be featured as "listen again" - so no lying in bed - get up and switch on the radio!

* PS - it's only me who will never be a TV star - some members of the family took to it like a duck to water.

The Grass is Greener . . . .

. . . on the other side of the fence.

Well it's true with some of our fields at the moment - not because there's anything wrong with the way our grass is growing, but because the recent fine weather has brought out three different spreaders - so the green green grass may be a slightly different colour depending on weather it's been treated to a load of FYM, slurry or lime.

O Day minus 71

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Never Let The Truth Spoil A Good Story

We've always believed that Henry's Great Great Great Great Grandfather was a Jacobite rebel, who dropped out of the rebel army on the retreat from Derby (see post of 3rd October 2007 for the full story). In a family full of farmers it provided a bit of an edge. Maybe we just wanted to believe it so we could celebrate Burns Night in style. But as with most things in life, the truth is not so romantic. I've just been given proof that his origins were much more prosaic. He was the illegitimate son of a stone masons daughter from Brungill Moor. We may have lost the link to the mists of Scotland, but can now go back a few more generations to Henry's Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Grandfather William Fletcher who was married in Slaidburn in 1631. Of course it's not the irrefutable proof that would satisfy a died-in-the-wool genealogist, but enough to put on the Strickley Tree.

(Many thanks to Sheard Sumner who like me married into the Fletcher family)

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

An Inspector Calls. . .

10.30 - 16.45 - but well worth it as it's all systems go for 1st June!

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Goodbye Cold Concrete

Fancy floor coverings are not just for house makeovers and interior design magazines - look at the new stylish floor in the parlour.

Of course it's not just because the blue matches the walls and the grey the pale morning sky - the tiles are there for a serious purpose. No more standing on cold hard concrete when milking, with no spring in the floor, storing up problems for the future - but stepping out onto easily wash-downable interlocking tiles.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

A First

Organic Conversion is a gradual process. It started for us on 1st June 2006. After that date nothing inorganic was applied to the fields. Over the next two years other elements of conversion would become relevant - including land management, buildings, welfare, veterinary treatment, feed and record keeping. Two years isn't long in farming and it's now only 88 days till we will be selling organic milk (1st June).
But - any calves born after 1st March are classified as organic, and last night our first Strickley Organic Dairy Shorthorn was born. Unfortunately it's a bull, so it was a muted celebration.