Thursday, 30 October 2008

Movements On and Off

This afternoon two of our bulls are leaving us for another life. We are selling Goldfinger and Flurish to a Bull Hire firm in Lancashire. I only know in the most general of terms what this entails - but I assume it's like Temping at different companies, as they spend time with different herds before they get too jaded and move onto pastures (and cows) new.

And last night we brought home another bull - Dwersylt Lord Oxford 74th. He has several advantages

  • no vets bills

  • no expensive organic feed

  • no special housing

  • no six-day-rule

And the only real disadvantage

  • needs occasional dusting.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Water water everywhere . . . .

. . . except on our records! *

Despite installing a new Rain Gauge (which worked for a couple of days) we're once again showing dry weather at Strickley. Take my word for it - that's not the case. Thursday was the worst day for years. It took me longer than usual to get home from work as the road was flooded at the bottom of Bannerigg and the Police were directing cars through one at a time. But yesterday was worse and the floods came up sooner. One of the problems with heavy rain around the farm buildings is that it all runs down into the slurry pit and with the water from the heavens the pit was filling up alarmingly. There was much checking and diverting of drains and we didn't overflow. Today looks as though it's going to be better, but with the ground so waterlogged we're still on flood alert. Henry's about to go round the stock, if the becks have gone down enough to cross.

* there's even about 5-6 inches in our cellar. We're wise to it now and everthing is on shelves or in plastic boxes. The bottom layer of coke is underwater but eventually the water will retreat the way it came in. The floor of stone flags is laid on the earth and when the field behind can't take anymore the water rises. We thought we had sorted it when we dug out the patio behind the house, but the rain this year has been exceptional.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Not just a pretty face

They may look cute and doleful (and apparently the calves really have the "Aah factor") - but come next May they'll be earning their keep.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Neue Ankünfte

With a few pounds burning a hole in his pocket, James set off for Dumfries this morning. The fact that he took the cattle trailer showed he was serious. So we’ve got a few “foreigners” at Strickley – four in-calf Brown Swiss heifers. Looking at the Brown Swiss website, it seems they have many of the same advantages as Dairy Shorthorns - as it says –

The main attractions of Brown Swiss are:
Longevity - reduces replacement costs.
Temperament - cows that are a pleasure to work with.
Calving Ease - reduces health problems associated with difficult births. Less Vets bills!
Legs & Feet - Good locomotion and strong, black feet, reduce the incidence of lameness.
Flatter Lactations - Cows hold more condition meaning less stress on udders and easier to get in calf.
Forage Capacity - aggressive feeders that do especially well on forage based systems.
Protein - Higher, naturally occurring, proteins.
Better General Health - Lower incidence of Mastitis. Milk Fever, Ketosis and displaced abomasums are rarities. Lower vet costs + lower replacement rates

These heifers, due to calve in April/May are from the Kedar Herd near Dumfries. They’re fully organic and we’re sure they will settle in well at Strickley. I’m not sure about the names though – they’re nothing like we’ve had before – definitely have a hint of foreign parts. I’m hoping to get some photographs soon (and they’re very photogenic).

Welcome to Kedar Alfi, Kedar Special Tinke 2nd, Kedar Jolt Terz and Kedar Beretta Her Linde.

Have you worked out what the Blog title says? "New Arrivals".

Virtual Rain

Despite the fact that it never seems to stop raining, today has been fine (so far). So where has the rain on the Weather site come from? Not from the pressure of rain drops, but from Henry's finger on the "tipper" on our new rain sensor. The new part arrived yesterday, but it was far too wet to be fiddling about with wires, sensors and transmitters. So now we need a heavy downpour to put it though its paces. (N0 - forget I said that!)

And what else is happening on this rare day? Slurry spreading of course. There's a bit of an agricultural whiff all around.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008


Yesterday the Strickley Herd was classified.
Overall there were 3 EX's, 21 VG's and 27 GP's

Singling out a just a few -

Pansy - EX92 3e
Starlet 51 (by Winbrook Diamond) - EX90
Goldie 169 - VG87 (3yo)
Merrymaid 3 and Dairymaid 2 - VG88 (4yo)
Goldie 175 and Starlet 90 - VG86 (VG87 mamm) (2yo)

Apologies to James if I've misinterpreted what he told me! If you want more details, just get in touch.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Progress Report

After moving transmitters, changing batteries, resetting every component several times, we think we know why we're not recording rain. It seems to be the main rain collector that's faulty, so I've ordered a replacement and hopefully we'll be up and running one day next week.
Yesterday was wet - very wet - and I'm sure there was more rain than last Saturday (which was a record day) but have no way of proving it.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Don't believe the computer!

If you've looked at the Strickley Weather lately you might think we're enjoying a spell of fine weather. Not so. It's pouring down (as it did on Tuesday). There's still a slight problem with the transmitter that sends the rain totals from the measuring gizmo in the Teapot Field to the computer in the office. It may be as simple as the batteries (though it is transmitting other data) or we may need a new sender unit. As it's best investigated in daylight (and I'm at work till 6 this week) we've not delved too deeply.
We reckon there was well over half an inch on Tuesday, and if it carries on like this, there'll be more today.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

It never rains but it pours . .

. . . but then it doesn't register it!
Apparently it has poured down for hours at Strickley today (but what do I know in a nice dry office?) but hasn't been picked up by the Weather Station. Even pouring water from a jug into the measuring cup had no effect.
More investigation needed.

And not only but also - when Henry switched the tumble drier on today, a circuit in the house fused. The drier is quite old, but I hope has a few more years left in it.
More investigation needed.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Since Records Began

We knew that yesterday was wet (we huddled under umbrellas as we scuttled from car to Church for Christine and Fred's Wedding), but we didn't realise how relentless the rain had been till we got home and looked at the Weather Station. And if you look on the Weather site you'll see scrolling across the top the All Time Records. 1.614 inches of rain yesterday (41mm). This link shows the graph with the rain line moving steadily upwards.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Shame about the rain

As you will have seen if you check out the weather at Strickley, today has been particularly wet. Steady horizontal rain all day. Which is a pity, because after waiting over thirty years Henry's sister picked today to get married.Despite the wet and gloomy conditions outside (and we didn't hang about between church/car/hotel) it was a day filled with brightness and joy. The church was packed with family and friends (from 3 months to I hesitate to say how old), and we celebrated the marriage of Christine Ruth Wilkinson (nee Robinson) to Frederick Frank Kingsley-Chase.

I apologise for the quickly snapped photo, but I'm a fair weather photographer! This is Christine and Fred and the grandchildren - who all played a part, either as bridesmaids, ring bearers or ushers.