Saturday, 31 July 2010

Email restored

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If you had any emails "bounce back" yesterday, please resend them - we're back in business
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Friday, 30 July 2010

Email problems

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We are having a few problems with email - so I'm sorry if I haven't responded to anyone.
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Thursday, 29 July 2010

Beating the weather

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The weather this week has been that well used word "changeable". It has also been very localised. We seem to have been the one farm to have been selected (see last post re "Lap of the Gods") to stay fine. We could see rain showers all around us, only a mile or so away, but yesterday was fine all day, and by six o'clock last night second cut was in the pit. And by seven o' clock Henry and I were on our way to a Wedding Party.
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So remember, if you're thinking of taking the plunge and starting some weather-dependant venture, "Fortune favours the brave" and "Who dares wins" etc.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

No one said it would be easy - part 2

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Apologies for 2 posts in one day. Yesterday my mind was too numb to type.
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However, we can make as detailed plans as we like, in the end fate steps in and does what it likes.

1. Today Victoria and Michelle were taking 4 excited boys on the train to Manchester (Science Museum plus other stuff). The train was part of the treat. So what happens? All train services are terminated at Preston (someone jumped from a bridge further down the line). Buses were provided, but it's not quite the same.

2. Rob and Claire packed the car with daughter, dog and luggage and set off for Derbyshire. An hour and a half down the motorway they find they've left a vital bag on the settee (nothing much in it - just phones, cameras and wallets etc!). So they came back north and Henry and I went south. We met on a motorway bridge - if it had been a misty we could have been spies exchanging secrets.

3. Nothing so far - but remember "It's in the lap of the gods".
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Coming down to earth

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P + 2

Life returns to normal.

On Sunday the barn was full (95 friends and family). We talked, ate, drank, danced and talked some more till midnight. By then my voice had gone and my legs were exceedingly wobbly (dancing not drink). We cleared the tables and stacked the tables and chairs, and after a small nightcap in the house went to bed not long after one o'clock.

No lie in next morning - a difficult calving meant the Vet was here at 6.30. The pantry was stacked with leftovers - so meal planning was easy. The glasses are washed and put away until another time (but did I say "never again?"). The tablecloths are washed and put away, the drink is still sitting on the floor until I find a home for it. The bunting's down and the balloons burst.

Today the barn is back to it's real guise - the missing sections of the wall between the two halves are back in place and it's ready to be filled with silage (if only it would keep fine!)

Monday, 26 July 2010

10 young girls

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In 1967 10 young girls met up at Edge Hill College of Education. After 3 years we were launched upon the world as newly qualified teachers. Henry and I were married that summer and the others followed our example over the next few years. Forty years on we are still in touch regularly and yesterday all met to reminisce, then dance the night away at our Ruby Wedding Party
. And we do let the husbands join in (plus one grandson that sneaked into the picture.
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Sunday, 25 July 2010

Almost ready. . .

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An early start

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No lying in bed today - loads to do before the guests arrive. But we didn't need an alarm clock - the cows decided to get over a fence and wander up to the yard at 5.30. Farmers have an inbuilt extra sense of hearing and the cry went up "There's cows everywhere! They're heading for the corn!". But the corn is so high - not quite as high as an elephants eye - but high enough to deter the cows, who moved on into the Paddock and circled the tent there.

More later.
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Penrith Show

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While half the family were busy with bunting and balloons, the other half were having a good day at Penrith Show. We just took 2 young calves, an in calf heifer and dry cow. Robert and Chris had been preparing the calves and practicing handling all week and were well rewarded. I just have our results so far -

Junior Calf - 1st - Strickley Geri 18
Junior Calf - 4th - Strickley Geri 19
In Calf Heifer - 1st - Strickley Starlet 103
Dry Cow -2nd - Strickley Starlet 91

Saturday, 24 July 2010

P-1

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From an empty barn - to a Party Barn
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Friday, 23 July 2010

Counting down

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Not much left on the list now (though I do keep adding to the bottom as I cross things off higher up).
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Two fine days has meant the grass dried up enough for Victoria to mow the grass in the Paddock (and James' garden), and for Bill to strim the patio. Who is Bill you may be asking - our latest farm apprentice from Australia. The barn has been swept and is ready for bunting and balloons. The tables and chairs are stacked and ready to decorate (thank you very much, Kendal Boys Brigade). Photographs are printed, to remind us of when we were young with doubtful fashion sense. Cakes are baked and being decorated (thank you Victoria and Michelle).

The last bedroom will be full tonight, and first tent will be pitched. It's almost a mini Glastonbury.

All (!) I have to do is dust and hoover and watch everything click into place - but what have I forgotten?

But first, it's Penrith Show tomorrow and Henry and James are busy preparing some cows for their first outing this year. Just James and family are going while Henry and I blow up balloons and climb ladders.

So, see you in the sun where a cooling glass awaits you
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Update - dusting (not "a bit of light dusting" but heavy industrial stuff) almost complete - and thanks to Elliot for reaching places my creaky bones won't reach
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Wednesday, 21 July 2010

It's a bale Jim, but not we we know it

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Now that we've got our shiny new silage pit roof, and the latest state of the art covering on the grass, we don't need the hundreds of tyres that we used to use to weigh down the plastic sheet. Putting them on took all day and was a wet and dirty thankless job. But it's not so easy to get rid of the heap of old tyres. Today part of the solution arrived - a baler to compress them down to a neat solid shape (that apparently we will find a use for). James moved the tyres from our heap (with the Manitou) to another heap nearer the baler. One operator stacked them, and another loaded the machine, periodically pulling a lever to squash them down. Eventually the bale was wired together and moved away by James.
It must be something new round here, as we even had spectators - here's Jim wondering how many tyres in the bale.
How many do you think? First right answer wins a (virtual) prize.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

What's big(ish) and yellow?

The new (to us) toy being tested round the back of the house. We have plans to extend the patio blocking right round the back of the back kitchen, but time is running out before our deadline (Sunday) so the new Big Boys Toy is scraping and levelling before we put some gravel down.
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It really is the wettest month

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Monthly rain this year (re our Weather Station). Today it's still wet, but the sort of rain that doesn't settle in the rain gauge.
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Monday, 19 July 2010

Wet wet wet

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We may still be in thrall to a Hosepipe Ban, but I'm not having to resort to buckets to water the plants.

Yesterday we had an inch of rain, and today it's almost one and a half inches (and it's still raining to it could be more by midnight - zero hour).

Click on the link on the left to keep up to date on our Weather Page.
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No one said it would be easy

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Busy day - get on top of all the paperwork and clear some space (on the desk and in my head) for the weekend.
A stack of envelopes - cheques enclosed - ready to post (for those suppliers who don't do Online).
Quick job before I start supper - print some helpful signs for guests (car park/toilet etc) and laminate some Farm Walk maps I printed last week.
Low ink warning. Carry on. No ink message.
Never mind, I'll start the laminating.
Cheap laminator (worked perfectly for years) starts to eat the paper and pouches, and then refuses to work at all.
Hardly any paper left to reprint.
I blame the Office Consumables Manager.

Thank goodness for the Internet - paper, ink and laminator ordered.
Start again tomorrow.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Virtual vs Actual Reality

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In my minds eye I have this vision.

It's a hot sunny day (but not too hot).
I'm drifting round the paddock in a long floaty summer dress, wearing a straw hat decorated with fresh flowers.
People are sitting around on the closely mown grass sipping cooling drinks, or sheltering in the shade of the marquee.

But my minds eye is starting to let me down.

It's raining. The forecast is more rain. The grass is growing and it's too wet to cut. The marquee is still at a Country Fair and too wet to take down.

The solution - use the barn - still in pristine condition after the Grayrigg Barbecue (see earlier post)

Don't worry . . .

. . . . about the weather, if you're coming to our party - we've got all eventualities covered.
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In the next day or two a gang of willing (I think) volunteers will be erecting a marquee in the Paddock. Not only will it keep the rain off the festivities, but also keep the hot sun of the chilled wine when the weather changes.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Counting down

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Almost sorted - there's more crossed off on my list than uncrossed.
And if it's not already done, it's scheduled for a day next week.
The alcoholic drinks are in the shower.
The soft drinks are coming via a "home delivery" tomorrow.
The "Wedding Cake" is made - just waiting for someone more artistic than me to decorate.
Afternoon Tea cakes are chosen and my volunteers are making them next week.
Beds made up.
Most rooms dusted (no point doing the kitchen till the day - re dusty old Aga).
Caterers confirmed - salads and more importantly puddings, chosen.
Band confirmed (I think . . . . )
Marquee floor collected - marquee itself scheduled for next Tuesday.
Balloons and bunting ready for able bodied volunteers to blow up and hang.
Mower and strimmer on standby for a final whizz round.
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And Henry has finished off the right hand side of the steps - it may look a bit new now, but will soon weather to match the rest. No time to lay any blocks - just a quick leveling off with the digger to be done.


Monday, 12 July 2010

Porch Watch - the never ending story

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Not looking as smug this time round - more worn out and weary - our blackbird is sitting on her third clutch.
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Saturday, 10 July 2010

The gathering of the clan begins

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Today the first guests for our big extravaganza start arriving. Bill and Margaret will be getting to Strickley later today - about the time I get home from Windermere, but they will have travelled a few more miles (over 10,000 from Australia).
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So the house will be filling up - in two weeks there will be 12 in the house and another 7 in tents and caravan (I think!)
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Book your bathroom slot now!

Friday, 9 July 2010

Suspicions confirmed.

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or how to choose the right moment to tell someone something.

I was just about to get in the car this morning, and as Henry was opening the gate after getting the cows in for milking, he said "Oh, I forgot to tell you. We're getting that digger from Dobsons. It's a JCB".

There was no time for further discussion (but it's a fait accompli and is being serviced and delivered next week).

Big (and small I expect) Boys Toys.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

A worrying conversation

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Me - "Where's James?"
Henry - "Just popped down to Dobsons for some hydraulic oil"
Me - "It's not one of those times when you go for a spanner and come back with a tractor is it?" (said in fun!)
Henry - "No, I don't think the Mini Digger has come in yet"

I think there's something they're not telling me . . .
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Monday, 5 July 2010

Work in progress

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Not one to hang about when there's deadlines to meet, Henry has been busy on the retaining wall on the right of the steps.
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And he's not the only one busy building - our blackbird family are back, tidying up the nest and adding another layer on top ready for Brood 3. I expect they too have a deadline.
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Sunday, 4 July 2010

Three years on

In June 2007, we stopped work temporarily on the patio and steps . . .
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The break lasted a bit longer than we had planned, but yesterday work started again - and maybe it's impossible, but we have a deadline - 25th July. Watch this space to see how we get on . .



When everyone had gone

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It might not look it - but this empty barn was packed with about 200 people on Friday night. Tables spilled out into the yard at one end, and at the other seven large barbecues were kept busy cooking the meat (no veggie option!). The bar was at the back of the silage pit, and Man and Guitar (plus a lot of electric bits and pieces) where the dry cows are in winter.

Grayrigg Social Committee did a wonderful job. All we had to do was provide the space, and then bit by bit all the pieces of the jigsaw were slotted together. The drink arrived Wednesday night, followed by a chiller van the next day to keep it cool. A cattle wagon arrived full of trestle tables and chairs. By we had finished milking on Friday the tables were set up and a succession of bowls of salad and puddings were making their way to the chiller van. By eight o'clock it was in full swing and everyone had a wonderful time, talking to people they saw last week, or had not seen for 10 years
And then as midnight approached the well oiled machine swung into action again and cleared all the leftovers and rubbish. The drink was packed away, the tables and chairs loaded back into the wagon. The musician disconnected all his gear and by we came into the house at quarter to one, all that was left to show it ever happened were a few black bags of rubbish.

Well done to Grayrigg Show.
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Thursday, 1 July 2010

Fancy a night out?

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If so, then come along to Strickley tomorrow night (2nd July).

Selside & Grayrigg Show
Barbecue
7:00
Food served 7:30 - 9:30
Bar
Raffle
Games
£8.00
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We can't guarantee a fine night (though the forecast is looking good), but we can promise a clean and tidy barn and yard. We've been busy tidying, moving, getting rid of, burning, mowing, strimming, creosoting, painting, for a couple of weeks.
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It does us good to have an Event once a while. It galvanises us into getting organised and tidy. But all this effort has a dual purpose as in a few weeks there'll be another Big Event at Strickley. This one is by invitation only, and if you've had yours and not replied - why not? We don't want to run out of food and drink (though having too much won't be much of a problem). So find your sun hat (we've ordered a sunny day) and dancing shoes and get ready to reminisce.