Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Sexual stereotyping

Much as it pains me to say it - I think I have been conforming to a perceived sexual stereotype lately. The work on the sitting room fireplace is progressing (steadily - not fast) and should be finished by Christmas. While I am present for discussions on stonework, plaster, chimneys and flues etc, I know that I don't have strong opinions on what's behind the whole look. As long as it's sound and won't need touching for the next fifty years or so, I'm happy. But while I maybe can't visualise what is going on in the chimney, I can visualise how the room will look when the builder has left and dust finally swept away. It will be warm and cosy, with comfy chairs and no clutter. Thick dark red curtains will shut out the wind and rain and strategically placed lamps will light up the pictures and few pieces of china we've brought back in. But in my mind it's not the existing chairs and settees. Over the years we've acquired a fair few chairs and own four settees and six armchairs of various degrees of comfort. And the comfiest are not always the best looking (no disrespect to my late mother - but the washed out terracotta colour was a definite mistake). And now I've seen a sofa on EBay that is just meant to be in our sitting room. The deadline is looming and it's near enough to pick up. I can just see it in the sitting room. If we get rid of the uncomfiest settee (a low backed Chesterfield that you can't fall asleep on), it might squeeze in. Or so I thought. Maybe spatial awareness is male thing, as when we got out the tape measure it proved (almost conclusively) that it's too big. The sticking point seems to be the piano. When I got married I wanted three things I never had as a child - a dog, a real Christmas tree and a piano. We don't have a dog now, but still have the other two. I bought the piano for 50p at an auction in 1970 and I'm loathe to let it go. What we need is an extension.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Moving On

The Land Rover and trailer have been busy today - moving cows and heifers about. Some - a batch of fifteen heifers - are going down the road a bit to their winter B & B. We haven't the space inside to house all the stock so some get to go on a winter holiday a few miles away. And like travellers everywhere, they need to take their passports. A few clicks on the BCMS website and Defra knows where they are.

But for four older cows it was a one way ticket this morning. These tickets are given to cows for various reasons - sometimes if we can't get them in calf. The oldest of this batch was 13. She had 10 calves and produced over 84000 kg of milk. At this point I should say "enough to fill Wembley stadium" or "20 double decker buses" etc. But I've no idea. I'm sure you get the gist, that it's a lot of milk, and it illustrates one of the traits of the modern Dairy Shorthorn - longevity.

Friday, 25 November 2011

New Homes Ready For Occupation

Following the government's announcement on housing, we've been doing our bit. There's a range of sizes and choice of location (especially selected to suit the new occupants). All handmade from locally sourced timber.

So if you're a small bird looking for a new home - we've got 56. Larger birds are also catered for, with 6 Barn Owl boxes and 5 Tawny Owl boxes.

Small mammals will have to go on a waiting list - there's 30 Dormouse boxes still to set up.

Monday, 21 November 2011

New Project - Day Three

In the absence of a small boy or Dick Van Dyke . . . .

Sunday, 20 November 2011

New Project - Day Two

Give a couple of farmers the tools of mass destruction, and they can't wait to attack a fireplace and wall that has stood innocently for a long time. The photographs below show the "progress" as the fire surround and then three fireplaces are removed. The air was a bit thick with dust towards the end, so they are not the clearest of images. We're ready now to start the making good and construction. The aim is to plaster above and round, but leave the  actual opening as stone (and a bit round it).  More updates to follow over the next few days.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

New Project - Day One

For a while we've had a plan in the back of our minds to improve the sitting room, so we would use it more. In Summer it's a cool retreat from the heat of the day and the hustle and bustle of farming, but in Winter (or even Spring or Autumn) it's too cold to sit in comfortably. There is a coal fire - but you need to light it first thing in the morning to get the room warm enough by evening (and then it only really heats half the room). So, following on from the success of the stove in the kitchen we are putting in a wood burning stove.We've spent quite some time this morning boxing up and removing to safe places the myriad of collectables (some just of sentimental value) and pictures. Not all of them may come back - I'll never be minimalist, but perhaps it's time for "less is more". Small furniture has been moved or stacked, cupboard doors sealed and everything shrouded in a "high density dust sheet" (to quote the packaging - though to me it looks like flimsy plastic).

Tomorrow the fun begins when Henry attacks the existing fireplace, before the builder comes to create an opening for the new stove (ordered yesterday and due at the end of the week).
The absolute deadline for finishing is Christmas - so loads of time!

Friday, 18 November 2011

A New Project

And this is the "before" picture

Monday, 14 November 2011

It's that time of year again . . . .

. . . . when all the cows queue up for the hairdresser. Wendy and her Clippaholics team (07785 971 614) are here to give them all a Winter Clip.

Only trouble is, when they come into the parlour tonight, will Henry recognise them? Especially as he is usually looking at the business end.

Friday, 11 November 2011

11th November

In Remembrance.
One of many

This is my father's elder brother, who died in Singapore aged 21.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Forgot to say yesterday . . .

. . now that most of the leaves have fallen (and it's a good fine day) we've started hedging.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Return of the hawk

A couple of pictures of the Harris Hawk you may have seen over Strickley this morning.

Friday, 4 November 2011

More birdwatching

This is becoming a frequent visitor to the feeders in the garden, but I'm usually too slow getting the camera out. Snapped it this time - but only the once, then the battery ran out.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Hawk Eye

Did you see a different bird swooping over Strickley this morning? Not one that comes to our bird table, but a Harris Hawk. His handler (is that the right word?) said he was only interested in rabbits, so was surprised and pleased when he got a carrion crow.

I saw a strange car pull up outside the house, and wondering who it was peered out the window, and got quite a shock when the driver got out, rummaged in the back and stood up with a large bird of prey on his arm. (He had already seen Henry down the yard)

Tuesday, 1 November 2011


It's a new month and I've been looking back at last months weather. I've been using the same software for several years, but keep finding new reports and features (maybe they really are new, or maybe I've just not delved deeply enough before). This picture is a screen shot of "Local Climatological Data". There are some empty columns (either we don't track, or have no previous records), and I'm not absolutely what some of it means - but it's here for those of you who like numbers.