Monday, 27 September 2010

That's it . . .

. . .
no more silaging - the mower has been washed off and put aaway till next May/June (or so they say!)

Friday, 24 September 2010

Yet more grass!

Is there no end to the grass at Strickley?

Having filled the pit to capacity last week, and made some big bales, we had a few days off silaging (busy sawing trees up - see post from last week). But today the sky is blue, the sun is shining, the grass is green - so James is mowing about 24 more acres. Row up tomorrow. Big bale on Sunday - what can no wrong?

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Warm and Dry

Having snatched our silage while we could, the weather has turned, and tonight we laid the milk cows in. (Would you like to shelter behind a hedge to keep out of the cold rain?)

And - on a completely different subject what do you think of this idea ?

Can you think of any drawbacks? Such as fields of bulls in ten years time? Click on the link to "Cool cow milk"!

Friday, 17 September 2010

Is it really mid September?

I know that that last week I wrote about Autumn starting after Kendal Show, but after a few days of wind and rain, we're back into a dry sunny spell. It's a bit cooler than it looks, but it's perfect for getting our third cut of silage. I thought there were just a couple of fields to big bale, but it turns out there's about 90 acres! As much as possible is going for clamp silage in the pits and the rest will be baled. We seem to have grass for ever more and are the only ones round here silaging at the moment. So we're well off of helpers. We've even had someone ring up to volunteer (though we reckon he just wants to look at our grass and wonder how it's so good with no chemical inputs). Lots of helpers mean lots of packed lunches (and suppers) so I had to dash to Booths this morning to stock up on buns, pies, meat, yogurts, crisps etc and I've had a production line going on the kitchen table.
It's not just the meadows that are doing well - the cows are still out day and night and producing more milk than ever before. We must be doing something right! I know that some farms are giving up their Organic status, but it works for us, for our stock and for the way we farm.
About this time of year we have a bit of a count up of the stock and check if it will all fit inside come winter. So last week we advertised a batch of milking and in-calf cows. Within a couple of days someone had been to see them and today 15 have gone off to a new home in Yorkshire. So tonight there will be less milk in the tank, though with more cows due soon, it will creep back up. It was getting very near the top and I was thinking I would have to make rice pudding every day to use up some milk.

And finally, having mentioned the weather - this is the result of strong winds and a rotten tree at Over Bleaze.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Now I've got the hang of it . .

. . well almost.

Here are videos of the other Dairy Shorthorn classes from Westmorland County Show.

And to complete the picture - here's a glimpse of last minute preparations (I wasn't there early enough to film any more).

Friday, 10 September 2010

The videos!

For our wedding anniversary earlier this year Henry and I bought ourselves a present - an all singing all dancing camcorder. The idea is that we record Farming Life for posterity. So far the only real footage is of Henry calving a cow, but I went to the show yesterday ready to capture whatever might happen. If there had been any runaway cows or other drama I hope I would have got it in the bag - but the only action was in the ring. I took nearly 30 minutes' footage and I'm now trying to get to grips with editing. I have cobbled together the clips of the Heifer in Milk Class and hopefully you should be able to click and play (don't forget to switch your speakers on!). If this works, there'll be more to follow. You have been warned.
My first (and second) attempt to upload my video failed - so I've now reduced the resolution and quality, uploaded to You Tube and embedded here so hopefully it will play when you click.

Sunshine and Shows

James took a heifer and cow down to the Dairy Event this week, and in a strong showing of Dairy Shorthorns it was not our year to shine. On Wednesday evening he drove up to the showfield at Crooklands to join our other entries settling in for Westmorland County Show.

The weather was just right yesterday - warm and dry and visitors poured in through the gates in their thousands. Henry and I got up at half past four and were on the showfield by about 8.30 ready for the judging at nine. James and Sean (a friend who gave up his time off work to help us) were sitting relaxing having got the cows ready for the ring.There were not quite as many Shorthorn exhibitors as last year, but a strong entry. The overall consensus is that the Strickley contingent did as well as they could, but were beaten by a Winbrook cow for the Championship.

I was noting down the results, and as far as I know these are accurate -

Maiden Heifer under 18 months
1st Strickley Lily 13th
2nd Winbrook Vi
Heifer in Calf under 3 years old
1st Winbrook Peeress Rose
Cow in Calf
1st Strickley Pansy
2nd Winbrook Dewdrop 112
Heifer in Milk
1st Strickley Annabella 140
2nd Strickley Starlet 103
3rd Winbrook Cactus 7
4th Middle Bank End Ruby
Cow in Milk
1st Winbrook Peeress Rose
2nd Winbrook Digitalis 2
3rd Strickley Athena 3
Group of Three
1st W H & K M Robinson
2nd GA & D W Dent
3rd N J & C Barker
Breed Champion
Winbrok Peeress Rose - G A & D W Dent
Winbrook Digitalis 2 - N J & C Barker
Junior Champion
Strickley Annabella 140 - W H & K M Robinson
There are no photographs (yet) this year - but look out for the next post with videos! (well at least one)
And, as a postscript to the day, as usual Autumn starts the day after Kendal Show. Rain started at two o'clock this morning and has barely stopped!.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

As if we didn't have enough to do . . .

With James away at the Dairy Event, everything takes just that little bit longer, but by getting up earlier (and finishing later) Henry is on top of things. But just when you think everything is going well - fate intervenes.

The cows are grazing a long way down the fields this week and yesterday Henry set off in good time to fetch them in for milking. The most direct route is down the "Old Lane", behind James' house and onwards to Plucker. All was well when he set off, but by the time the cows had ambled back up the lane was blocked.

The strong gusts of wind that had been blowing all day struck down a tree and blocked the lane. A couple of cows managed to limbo underneath, but the rest had to be directed via the scenic route through the Teapot Field.

The lane's clear now and the good thing is we've got a bit of firewood for winter.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Revenons à nos moutons

Just to reassure you - I've not completely lost the plot and the next post will (almost) definitely be about Strickley and cows.

(And certainly not about sheep)

A soldiers story - part 3

If anyone is really really interested in Military History I found a link to a Google Book - "The Kings Royal Rifle Corps Chronicle". If you persevere past the blank pages, it lists the campaigns that James Garnett was active in.

Isn't the Internet wonderful!

A soldiers story - part 2

As promised in the previous post, these are copies of the Chelsea Pensioner documents for my Great Great Grandfather James Garnett. If you click on each image it should open up so you can zoom in and read it. Each one is followed by transcriptions. I've had to add these as images as Blogger resisted all my attempts are formatting at anything other than the most basic level. So, there could be lots of clicking involved. If the transcriptions display correctly, anything in Italics was handwritten in the original. I have made a bit of an attempt to read and transcribe the names, but most have defeated me. If anyone is really interested, I cam email them better copies.

A soldiers story

For the past few years I have been unearthing our family tree. I had a head start with the Robinsons as Henry's dad did a lot of research in 1975 and I have dug deeper and we now have considerable knowledge of Robinsons, Fletchers and their ancestors as far back as the 1700's (and tentative knowledge beyond). With my side of the family I almost had to start from scratch, but the Internet had made initial research much easier. Censuses from 1841 to 1911 are available online and give a lot of detail , for instance, this is the census return from 1881 for Strickley.


As it shows the place of birth and given age (though some are inaccurate) of all the occupants, it's a good jumping off point to records of Births, Deaths and Marriages (required by law to be registered from 1837). Things get a bit more difficult for people born before 1837, or not in the UK.

For instance, from the census of 1861 I know that my Great Great Grandfather was a Chelsea Pensioner and Shoemaker and his wife Elizabeth was born in Ireland.

The Shoemaker didn't surprise me (there were a lot of shoemakers in Kendal in the 19th Century), but the Chelsea Pension bit intrigued me. Somehow I couldn't envisage one of my ancestors wearing a fancy scarlet coat and tricorne hat. But further research (good old Internet) revealed that originally all old soldiers with more than 20 years service received a pension, and were known as out-pensioners. Those living at the Chelsea Hospital were in-pensioners.

As Wikipedia puts it -

In- and out-pensioners
During the reign of King Charles II, the Royal Hospital was still under construction, so he introduced a system for distribution of army pensions in 1689. The pension was to be made available to all former soldiers who had been injured in service, or who had served for more than 20 years.

By the time the Hospital was completed, there were more pensioners than places available in the Hospital. Eligible ex-soldiers who could not be housed in the Hospital were termed out-pensioners, receiving their pension from the Royal Hospital but living outside it. In-pensioners, by contrast, surrender their army pension and live within the Royal Hospital.

In 1703, there were only 51 out-pensioners. By 1815 this figure had risen to 36,757.

The Royal Hospital remained responsible for distributing army pensions until 1955, following which the phrase "out-pensioner" became less common, and "Chelsea pensioner" was used largely to refer to "in-pensioners".

I subscribe to a website that makes a lot of useful documents available and get regular emails about updated records etc. About 12 months ago each email had a section saying "Chelsea Pensioner records added" (from the originals held in the National Archives) and I logged on and searched for my ancestor. But each time the search came back "no results". However about a week ago, when another batch of records was released, my search came back with the record I wanted - James Garnett, by trade a Shoemaker, born in Kendal about 1813. So for the past week there has been much pouring over transcriptions in various documents, trying to decipher the different handwriting.

I have tried to transcribe these documents and hope to be able to post images of the originals and my transcriptions in this Blog- but Blogger can be a bit quirky in how it positions images, so I'll start a new post.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Last routine day for a while

The sun is shining and it's already 20 degrees (in the unshuttered glare of our weather station) , but there's no time to sit around relaxing. Tomorrow James heads off to the NEC with Annabella and Athena. The Dairy Event has moved from Stoneleigh to the NEC (and it's also changed the date, which just adds a bit more logistical pressure onto us). He has to arrive on Sunday and will spend Monday preparing the girls for their big day. Judging is on Tuesday, and late afternoon on Wednesday he can leave and head north. But not quite to home. Thursday is our big local show and James and cows will be joining up with the rest of our entries in the new big cattle tent, before settling down as well as he can for the night.

So, if you're in Birmingham on Tuesday/Wednesday or Crooklands on Thursday, come along and see us.

And, as a bit of an aside, I can't quite visualise cows at the NEC. I've only been twice and neither times involved anything remotely agricultural.

In 1984 we went to a Queen concert, and the wonders of the Internet brought up this link to it. I know that given 5 minutes I could put my hand on our programme and tickets - just like those on the web page.

We were there again in 1995 for a motor show. In a previous life I was a navigator in Historic Rallies (1966 Mini Cooper) and that year we won our class in the "Demon Tweeks Classic - Historic Rally Championship" and part of the prize was a ticket to the motor show (I can't remember the proper name, but it was all to do with motorsport), a posh dinner in a posh hotel (where we were actually in the same room as the whole McCrae clan), and small cup (that sits between the cattle ones). I can't find any relevant links, but one day I'll post some photos.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Ruby Red

When it was our Ruby Wedding in July our very kind family and friends gave us a wonderful variety of presents - some to eat and drink, some to look at for years to come, some to enable us to enjoy time away. Those who know us (well, me in particular) know that giving me things to grow and nuture can be a risky option. But so far nothing drastic has happened to the Apple tree that was one of our presents. In fact we've had our first crop of apples! We knew it was time to pick them when one fell off and the rabbits ate most of it. The rest are in a bowl in the kitchen.

I took one to work, and before eating it, took a photo with my phone. If you think a 48 piece jigsaw is too easy, you have the option to change the type of puzzle (up to 280 pieces of various fiendish shapes).

Click to Mix and Solve