Wednesday, 25 November 2009

We're back!

After Windows failed to load this morning I've been brooding on the complications if I couldn't get the PC back to full health. I'm meticulous in backing up (one of the effects of working in a commercial IT department), but I knew it could be a long and tortuous process to restore all the programmes and data. In the end I needn't have worried. It was my backing up that caused the problem. I called on a young IT expert (nephew-in-law to be Leon) who came round armed with disks and advice. We watched the PC sit in sulky silence with only an occasional flicker of drive activity. I then mentioned my external backup disk. Was it switched on when I did the updates/restart? May have been. So I switched it on, and away it went! Sighs of relief all round; especially when I started up the weather programme.

So thank you Leon. I feel I've been dragged back from the edge of an abyss.


This morning I checked the office computer as normal (to see that the weather was updating the website etc) - all OK. I noticed there were Windows updates waiting to run - let them run (3 downloaded and installed) and clicked the "restart now" option. The computer shut down and seemed to start to load - it found the drives and started to load Windows - then nothing else! I've tried a few things but so far it's not working.

So, sorry - no updated weather statistics until further notice.

I'll be taking advice at work today on the best way forward, and hoping that someone has a magic bullet or wand to restore the status quo.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Virtual Show Results

At the end of the show season The Shorthorn Society holds a photographic competition. Not only does the stock have to be top class, but has to be photographed in such a way that there is no doubt of it's show winning qualities. We start each year with the best of intentions to take proper photos at shows (or even at home) - not just interesting snaps. But best intentions don't always come to fruition. Of course the entries can also be taken by professional photographers. So this year when James was at The Dairy Event he took advantage of the available photographer to get a decent photo of Athena 3rd - see the result on the post of 24th October. It was a good photo of a good heifer and the judges liked her - she was first in her class (heifer in milk to first calving) and Reserve Champion. The Champion was Marleycote Peggy 10th (a cow born in 2005 now in Mr & Mrs I L Harries' herd). We also entered some home made photos of Strickley Goldie 192nd (2nd in class) and Strickley Starlet 90th (3rd in class).

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Water, water everywhere

It may feel as though it's never stopped raining this month, and statistics from our Weather station bear it out. This is a graph of monthly rainfall so far this year. I think we've forgotten already how dry October was.
If you open up the Weather page, and scroll to the bottom of the page, you can click on "Daily update of averages/extremes to date for the month" for the latest information.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Farming - every day is different . . .

. . . .
or so it seemed last week - every day was busy with something different.

Sunday afternoon - we started the Winter Clip of all the adult stock. While James helped, the real work was done by Wendy and Rachel (Clippaholics)

Monday - clipping all day

Tuesday morning - checking and amending the latest RPA "Remote sensor" maps.
Tuesday afternoon - initial meeting with a "Fepper" - ie an expert that will help us complete a FEP (Farm Environmental Plan); a necessary step along the way to applying for HLS.

Wednesday - warm and sunny all day, so rebuilt a wall on The Lots (allegedly knocked down by a neighbours cows)

Thursday - rain. Repairing/replacing/improving spouting round the parlour

Friday - classification. The last time was 14/10/2008, and this time we were equally pleased.
There are 3 new EX, and 2 more were classified as EX again.
Overall there are now 6 EX's, 31 VG's and 31 GP's.
Special mention must be made of -

heifers -
Strickley Athena 3 - VG87
Strickley Starlet 91 - VG86
Strickley Hermione 12 - VG85
cows -
Strickley Pansy - EX92
Strickley Fillpail - EX92
Strickley Starlet 51 - EX92
Wreay Dainty Princess - EX90
Strickley Dainty Princess 3 - EX90

If you click on the cow name, it should take you to the Dairy Shorthorn database details. At the time of writing the latest results have not been uploaded. If you want to look up any other Strickley cow, just use the wild card % to fill in the blanks.

Friday, 6 November 2009

A load of rubbish

Maybe it's because it's November, but the weather has definitely taken a turn for the worse. At the beginning of the week it was very heavy rain and for the past two days we've woken up to frost. Not quite below zero, but cold enough to know it's winter.

Now that the cows are inside, it's time to get organised for the rest of the stock. All the young stock (apart from young calves) and dry cows are still out and room has to be made for them. We've been clearing out the barn and putting up pens and moving groups of calves around.

Over the summer we tend to dump stuff in the barn that we haven't quite got round to throwing away. Perhaps it will still come in useful? But what use is an old mattress? Discarded in the barn when we got a new state of the art one in September. So thick that by the time it's on our high wooden bed frame I almost need a step ladder to get into bed. The old one has been bounced on by Robert and Chris but it was time to take it to the tip. Henry loaded it into the back of the Land Rover, along with some newspapers and magazines and set off into town. Twenty minutes later he was back - still with a fully loaded Land Rover. Unless you have a Permit - applied for at least the day before - you can only take rubbish into the tip in a car. And "car" does not include Land Rover of any body shape. (Ours is a twin cab - with children's seats on the back seat). So he drove home, got the Discovery, put the seats down, moved the mattress and paper into the back and went back down to the tip. How un-green is that? Apparently, you're not allowed to walk in on foot carrying rubbish. Even if you live next door. I have heard of another authority's tip which is near some allotments. And no, you can't take in your garden waste in a wheelbarrow.

The one good thing that came out of all this - I found a hat I lost last winter. My old very-lived-in rain hat was squashed under the back seats and revealed when we made space in the back. All well and good, but having given up looking for it, I bought a new one two weeks ago.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

The end of summer

This year the cows have been going out during the day, much later in the year than in the past few years. The milk yields have been holding (even rising), but yesterday the time came for them to stay inside. It's not just the grass, or even the weather, but the mess that nearly 100 cows can make walking through gates. I had hoped we could say "the cows were still out in November", but looking at the rain today, it's perhaps as well they're warm and dry.