Friday, 22 January 2010


Up to the minute news - there's about 4 feet of water in the tank (run off the new roof overnight)!

Back to normal weather

The snow has finally all gone (except for dirty heaps where we had pushed what was once white and fluffy and covering the yard) and we're back to "normal" January weather. Work on the new building (much more than just a roof over the silage pit) is nearing the end of the first phase as the builders fit the final panels. We still have gates and doors to make and fit, but it's gone up much quicker than I could have imagined. It helped having a builder who wasn't deterred by the snow and who only seemed to have Christmas Day off.

Part of the reason for the new roof, which covers not just the pit, but links up with the main cattle housing, is to reduce the amount of rainwater that runs into the slurry pit. Dirty run off water soon fills up the pit in bad weather and has to be spread - whether or not it's an optimum time for applying to the ground. This week we're having to spread slurry on fields that are not too wet, to keep the level down. With less water in the pit and tower, we would be able to wait a few more weeks.

We've now got the tank in place for the next phase of the project. We plan to capture the rain that falls on the roof - skillfully directed by a series of gutters and pipes - and use for stock in the buildings nearby. Things have moved on since I took this photo a couple of days ago, and the tank (on the right in this photo) should be filling up. Part of the plumbing is in place, and we'll soon know if it's watertight.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Snow Clearance

Last night New Hutton Parish Council managed to get hold of a load of grit and salt. While the "main" roads have been treated at some point in the past 3 weeks, the minor roads linking the B6254 and A684 remain treacherous. So this morning teams of locals (Parish Councillors, farmers and residents) took to the various roads and made every grain count, spreading on the bends and hills. These show the Beehive Lane Team in action and posing in the digger bucket when they reached Sedbergh Road.

Many thanks to Arthur, Henry, Tony, James (in cab) and Fergie.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Oh no it isn't. .

. . as warm as it looks on our Weather Site. You may think we've been enjoying the dizzy heights of plus zero temperatures. Not so. Everywhere is still frozen and it takes till mid afternoon to thaw out the pipes and water troughs in unheated buildings. We've been leaving electric heaters switched on in the parlour overnight for some time now, but today we've started to leave one on during the day. Our Weather Station is exposed to the elements - which in some ways is as it should be. But if the sun reflects off the snow and bears down on the thermometer it can give a higher reading than the air around. What we should do, is house the instruments in a Stevenson Shelter of course. We've got as far as getting the raw materials (louvre doors from a car boot sale) and one day it will be done.

And we're doing our bit to look after wildlife. While we were sitting warm and cosy by the fire, watching television, we were also watching a shrew scampering around by the bookcase. I don't like mice in the pantry - but a cute little shrew just coming in to keep warm? That's different.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

The Big Freeze . . .

. . .of 1940

I know we're all cold and struggling in the snow and ice, and it seems to have come as a bit of a shock, but it's not as bad as in 1940. Henry's Dad kept a diary, meticulously recording everyday life and work. Each entry began with the most important fact - the weather, followed a brief summary of the days work, and finally a brief mention of the war if it was really significant (e.g. "Germany invaded Poland").

January 1940 began cold and caused major problems as there was no water in the house or buildings. Water was carted daily from the beck for people and animals for over seven weeks and finally restored on March 11th. Read all about it on the Diary pages of the Strickley website.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Building update

Just a few photos to show the latest progress on our silage pit roof. Work on it has been put on hold for a few days - not because of the weather (the snow is still with us), but even our builder has the occasional holiday.