Thursday, 22 April 2010

How Green Is My Valley(Hill)

As you know we are investigating the possibility of a installing a wind turbine sometime in the future. As well as the necessary funding and planning approval, what is need most is of course wind! So we have made a small investment in a Power Predictor. The anemometer measures the speed and direction of the wind and stores the data in an SD card, which is later used to upload to a dedicated website that gives us the results.

To get the best results the Predictor should be in more or less the same position that the turbine might be - so for us that means by the hedge at the top of "Field at back o' barn" - and as high as possible.

So we started by building a 15 metre pole
We took it up the field and attached the stays that would hold it in place
Laid it out ready for lifting

This is the bit that creates the data

And this bit records it

Ready to raise up

In position and gathering data (we hope)

The longer we leave it, the more accurate the results will be. The controls are lower down the pole and in about a month we'll check the SD card to see that it's actually working, then leave it for at least 6 months.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

No contest

Yesterday I had an email from Tesco's asking me to complete a survey as to why I had not shopped online with them for over 3 months. I've never shopped frequently, prolifically or exclusively with them - but did find it handy at Christmas (mainly for bulky and heavy essentials - ie drink).

I ticked the relevant boxes in the survey - mainly the ones a the bottom of each page called "other" and tried to explain in the small space allowed my reasons for not using them.

This morning my reasoning was perfectly illustrated. The fridge was exceedingly bare (partly as I've just done a 5 day shift at work) so I needed to fill it with something. For real food shopping, rather than drive 2 miles into Kendal to Asda (parking miles from the door, overwhelmed by crowded aisles and too much choice of food I don't want anyway), I go to a smaller northern supermarket at Kirkby Lonsdale. It might be 8 miles away, but it's 8 miles of quiet road (no traffic, just pheasants) with views to miles of glorious countryside. My kind of driving. I had no idea what I was going to buy (apart from staples like bananas for Henry's early morning snack). But the first thing I saw when I went in the door was English asparagus. The rest followed on from there - Jersey Royals, local tomatoes. local rhubarb, Scottish salmon, an enormous joint of local ham, Waberthaite bacon and pancetta, Lancashire cheese. The cheese was cut to the size I wanted (while I discussed the many different Lancashire cheeses with the assistant). I could buy the exact amount of mince etc and know it hadn't travelled far. And the "boy" on the till was even older than me!

I didn't mean this to sound like an endorsement of a particular store - it's just to say there are alternatives out there to the faceless multinationals.

Now all I have to do, is unpack my bags and decide what to cook first.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Porch Watch

Where's Kate Humble when we need her? Or even Bill Oddie.
After much toing and froing with nest materials, a blackbird has taken up residence in the porch. She's practiced sitting in the nest but we don't know if there's anything yet to sit on.

Watch this space for more news - and hopefully better photos.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

It's Good News Week

At last, after much delay, we have got our 2009 SFP!

Defra/RPA have been saying for several months that most farms had been paid - but a small (but significant) number of farms, mainly in the South Lakes, have been delayed because of "Remote sensing" of the mapping data.

Now all we have to do is fill in the forms for 2010

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Local wildlife

Spotted by James when picking stones on the Lots this afternoon.
And just in case you haven't got your "I Spy British Wildlife" book handy, it's a leveret. And if you don't know what that is - well. . . . .

Every Picture Tells A Story

We had planned to let the cows out later this week, but when James when to "shove the silage up" after dinner, they were all outside (they can wander in and out to the "loafing area"). The sun is shining, the sky is blue, the grass is green and the cows can smell it. So we checked the gates and fences, and opened the yard gate . . . .
The Great Grass Rush

Enjoying the sun in the Teapot Field

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Nearly there. . .

When I came back from town this morning, I saw something that I've not seen since early December - cows in the fields! So far it's only 16 dry cows, but it's a bit less feeding and mucking out twice a day, and it won't be long before the joyous charge through the yard of the milk cows, means that it really is the end of winter.

Another sign of the season - broad stripes in the the fields that Henry has rolled (and yes, there's enough grass to to see where he's been).

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Looking for the summer

At last the grass is growing - we finished putting muck on yesterday and this morning Henry is chain harrowing, while James is going on a grand tour - checking gates and fences and generally seeing that everything is as it should be.

From the bathroom (good view from the "seat" in the corner) I can see our neighbour's spreading fertiliser - but when it matters our grass will be just as green and maybe more nutritious

So, we're just Looking for the Summer

Thursday, 1 April 2010

A fond farewell


Strickley Geri

23/08/96 - 01/04/10
My favourite old girl, now gone to where the fields are always green and there's only gentle rain at night.
She was obviously in pain and struggling to get up. It's a good job farmers with dodgy hips have alternative treatment available.