Sunday, 30 May 2010
Tuesday, 25 May 2010
This morning I was sitting at the computer (monthly accounts) and idly looking out of the window. As I watched the swallows swooping round the yard a familiar brownish bird landed on the gatepost with a beakful of dry grass. Yes, it's our very own porch guest back to raise another family. Obviously the bedding needed freshening up after having had 6 babies in it, but she's now back on the nest looking smugger than ever. Where has the last brood gone? Somewhere safe I hope.
And this is copied from Wikipedia for those who might doubt that the blackbird would come back.
The male Common Blackbird attracts the female with a courtship display which consists of oblique runs combined with head-bowing movements, an open beak, and a "strangled" low song. The female remains motionless until she raises her head and tail to permit copulation. This species is monogamous, and the established pair will usually stay together as long as they both survive. Pair separation rates of up to 20% have been noted following poor breeding. Although socially monogamous, there have been studies showing as much as 17% extra pair paternity.
Nominate T. merula may commence breeding in March, but eastern and Indian races are a month or more later, and the introduced New Zealand birds start nesting in August. The breeding pair prospect for a suitable nest site in a creeper or bush, favouring evergreen or thorny species such as ivy, holly, hawthorn, honeysuckle or pyracantha, and the female builds a neat cup-shaped nest from grasses and similar vegetation, which she then lines with mud or muddy leaves. She lays three to five (usually four) bluish-green eggs marked with reddish-brown blotches, heaviest at the larger end; the eggs of nominate T. merula are 2.9 x 2.1 centimetres (1.14 x 0.93 in) in size and weigh 7.2 grammes (0.25 oz), of which 6% is shell. Eggs of birds of the southern Indian races are paler than those from the northern subcontinent and Europe.
ChicksThe female incubates for 12–14 days before the altricial chicks are hatched naked and blind. Fledging takes another 10–19 (average 13.6) days, with both parents feeding the young and removing faecal sacs. The young are fed by the parents for up to three weeks after leaving the nest, and will follow the adults begging for food. If the female starts another nest, the male alone will feed the fledged young. Second broods are common, with the female reusing the same nest if the brood was successful, and three broods may be raised in the south of the Common Blackbird's range.
Montane subspecies, such as T. maximus have a shorter breeding season, smaller clutches (2–4 eggs, averaging 2.86), but larger eggs than merula. They produce just one brood per year, and have a slightly shorter incubation period of 12–13 days, but a longer nestling period (16–18 days).
A Common Blackbird has an average life expectancy of 2.4 years, and, based on data from bird ringing, the oldest recorded age is 21 years and 10 months.
Sunday, 23 May 2010
Having found our water it needs to be pumped down to the buildings. Colin returned last Thursday with a truck load of cables, pipes, fittings and a pump etc. Henry was on his own all day (I was at work and James at Legoland) so there's not as many photographs as usual . (Though Arthur did come over to take some later in the day).
We had worked out a route (bearing in mind the borehole is in the middle of a field) and dug a trench straight across to the hedge, down the side of the hedge and along the bottom of the field behind the buildings.
This was later filled in and will soon be invisible
The hole was then uncovered and we were ready to connect.
The submersible pump was connected to the pipe, tied to a rope and lowered into the well. (sorry some of the photos are in the wrong order but it's awkward rearranging things in Blogger)
The other end of the water pipe was connected to a pressure vessel. It's here that the flow is controlled (I think)
And by I came home from work Henry could demonstrate real live water.
Saturday, 15 May 2010
Friday, 14 May 2010
Last year on Saturday 30th May we started mowing for the first silage cut (see the Blog entries).
We always make a note of these dates, but just in case we forget it's been immortalised by the Eye In The Sky (aka Google Earth). The picture below shows the empty silage pit, James mowing Strickley Hill and Henry rowing up in the Barn Field. The date on the bottom of the screen confirms it was taken 30/05/2010. I would have liked to have put a link to Google Earth, but failed miserably. If you have Google Earth - search for LA8 0LU. That will bring up Bleaze Hall (same postcode) so move a bit northwest to Strickley.
If you use Streetview you can tell that the street level cameras captured us later in the day as the grass is rowed up and we're just waiting for the contractor to come and start picking up.
It's fascinating what you can see - hours can be idled away. If you scroll down to our pond, you can even pick out a swan on the bottom island!
Thursday, 13 May 2010
It doesn't matter what the date is, or to some extent what the weather is like - today is Summer at Strickley. Last night the dairy cows stayed out, and today the rest of the youngstock is going out. So there's only the younger calves inside. That means, less time doing up, and more time to do other jobs. It doesn't mean more time off!
Sunday, 9 May 2010
Do you know what your Parish Councillor actually does? Well, among many and varied duties one of the members of New Hutton Parish Council is charged with controlling the mole population in the Parish Field (a small wind blown outpost up near Lambrigg Wind Farm).
Saturday, 8 May 2010
The blue liner has been pushed down the borehole fixed in placed with 2 metres of grouting.
It will then be covered with a inspection chamber
Wednesday, 5 May 2010
Today when I was at work missing all the action we finally found what we were looking for - real, wet, gushing water. These picture were taken at about 60 - 64 metres. We're going to continue to about 80 metres then I'm not sure what happens next, but a Blue Liner comes into it. I must find out out more!
Tuesday, 4 May 2010
It wasn't all Boring at the weekend. Spring Work still goes on. At the end of last week a contractor came and ploughed the Teapot and Barn fields, so Henry and James have been busy disking, levelling and stone picking. The contractor was due back this morning at 06:30 (I assume he came - I was already at work by then) to sow the seeds - grass undersown with oats, or is it oats undersown with grass? I should have been paying more attention.
What did you do on Bank Holiday Monday? Went to the seaside? Walked in the country? Queued at a DIY store or Garden Centre? I bet not many of you stood on top of a hill and watched a drill bore slowly into the earth.
After waiting so long for the return of the drill I was really excited and was on top of Wellbank with my camera to capture all the action. I had forgotten how long it took to get anywhere last time (or to accept that we weren't getting anywhere) and had not realised how cold and exposed it was. The drill was levelled up (so it would go straight down to Australia and not veer off and come up in the next county) and we were ready to go.
One by one lengths of pipe (not sure if that's the right word) were screwed onto the drill bit and it slowly bored itself into the ground.
Monday, 3 May 2010
Saturday, 1 May 2010
. . . . or that's what we thought when we started this project in November 2007 when we started to look for water. I didn't publicise the whole process (maybe because of the non-scientific side to it). But the drill went deeper and deeper and found nothing.
So we investigated a more left field approach and called on a Water Diviner/dowser. His equipment was a bit smaller and simpler that the drilling rig and he started in the Teapot Field where we had been drilling (in hope that the source would be near the buildings)
He walked backwards and forwards and moved his pegs as he homed in on the source.
So we sat back and waited for the drill to return "in about a month". Thirty months on the marker pole is still in place (despite silaging/muck spreading/cows/snow) and today there rolled into the yard the same big dusty drilling rig.