Monday, 19 December 2011

Christmas is Coming . . .

. . . but are we ready?+

The food and drink is sorted (more or less).
The cake is made (still to ice).
Cards are finally printed, written and sent (running out of yellow ink so our grass looks a bit blue).
Presents bought (quite a few still to wrap and deliver).
Tree brought into hall and decorated (and for the first time, I held back and didn't use all the baubles).
Trees in bedroom windows (one set of lights already replaced).
Sitting room tastefully decorated (i.e sparsely).
Kitchen decorations on kitchen table (maybe making it to the beams tonight).
Slurry pit level lowering (tractor and tanker going past the window as I write).
    update - now abandonned re heay rain
And later today I'll be getting right up to date with bills and paperwork so I can, hopefully, forget about it for a while.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

North West Herd Competition

Earlier in the year Stephen Girvan from Northern Ireland judged the North West Shorthorn Herd Competition. Over the course of several days he travelled round our region (from beyond Dumfries to Weardale and down to South Cumbria), looking at whole herds and individual animals. And last night was the culmination when we held our annual dinner and prize giving. Fifty Shorthorn families converged on the Greyhound Inn in Shap, and after dinner were entertained by the Dairy Shorthorn president Graham Madeley, updating us on the Society and giving an insight into his childhood, and Stephen's reminicences of his tour of our region. He then presented the cups and certificates. He said he couldn't please everyone - so he pleased one person - himself.


NORTH WEST HERD COMPETITION 2011

JUDGE STEPHEN GIRVAN
  

CLASS 1 - BEST LARGE HERD


          1st    Winbrook Herd  - G A & D W Dent

          2nd   Strickley Herd  - W H & K M Robinson  

          3rd    Brafell Herd  - J Teasdale

          4th    Whitchester Herd -  C Hall


CLASS 2 - BEST SMALL HERD


          1st    Briscoll Herd  - I Coulthard

          2nd   Moorriggs Herd  - S Armstrong

          3rd    Screel Herd  - S Wilson

          4th    Oakthwaite Herd  - M Dobson


CLASS 3 - YOUNG STOCK (LARGE HERDS)

          1st    Whitchester Herd - C Hall

          2nd   Winbrook  - G A & D W Dent

          3rd    Strickley Herd - W H & K M Robinson

          4th    Brafell Herd  - J Teasdale


CLASS 4 - YOUNG STOCK (SMALL HERDS)

          1st    Screel Herd - S Wilson

          2nd   Newpark Herd  -  D Craig

          3rd    Moorriggs Herd  - S Armstrong

          4th    Tahuna Herd  - D Jackson


CLASS 5 - BEST HEIFER IN CALF


          1st    Winbrook Dewdrop 129th - G A & D W Dent

          2nd   Whitchester heifer - C Hall

          3rd    Strickley Athena 5th - W H & K M Robinson

          4th    Moorriggs Starbud 2nd - S Armstrong


CLASS 6 - BEST HEIFER IN MILK

          1st    Moorriggs Lady Barrington - S Armstrong

          2nd   Winbrook Dewdrop 128th - G A & D W Dent

          3rd    Nejay JD Anne - I Coulthard

          4th    Kirkbryde Goldie 2nd - M Robinson


CLASS 7 - BEST COW TO HAVE CALVED TWICE

          1st    Briscoll Graceful Lady 3rd - I Coulthard

          2nd   Strickley Starlet 94th - W H & K M Robinson

          3rd    Winbrook Royal Kathleen 19th - G A & D W Dent

          4th    Brafell Lady Laura 11th - J Teasdale


CLASS 8 - BEST PROGENY OF ONE BULL

          1st    Winbrook Diamond - W H & K M Robinson

          2nd   Winbrook Gilly - G A & D W Dent

          3rd    Marleycote Lucky Man - C Hall

          4th    Moorriggs Cosmic - S Armstrong


CLASS 9 - BEST BULL ON PRODUCTION AND INSPECTION


          1st    Breckney Gregory - S Wilson       

          2nd   Nejay Amazon - W H & K M Robinson

          3rd    Middlebankend Digger - N J & C Barker

          4th    Moorriggs Cosmic - S Armstrong


CLASS 9a - BEST BULL ON INSPECTION ONLY

          1st    Breckney Gregory - S Wilson

          2nd   Lisnamulligan Star - M J Dobson

          3rd    Marleycote Lucky Man - C Hall

          4th    Nejay Amazon - W H & K M Robinson


CLASS 10 - BEST COW ON PRODUCTION AND INSPECTION

          1st    Strickley Pansy - W H & K M Robinson

          2nd   Winbrook Vi 114th - G A & D W Dent

          3rd    Winbrook Peeress Rose - G A & D W Dent

          4th    Winbrook Digitalis 2nd - N J & C Barker


CLASS 10a - BEST COW ON INSPECTION ONLY


          1st    Winbrook Vi 114th - G A & D W Dent

          2nd   Winbrook Peeress Rose - G A & D W Dent

          3rd    Winbrook Digitalis  - N J & C Barker

          4th    Strickley Pansy - W H & K M Robinson



Monday, 12 December 2011

By a Babbling Brook

A couple of short clips of deer early one morning (sound and vision!)


Warm and cosy

At last - a sitting room that's warm enough to sit in without extra heaters and layers of jumpers.
We lit the new stove at dinner time on Friday and by evening we were enjoying what seemed like a new room. We've declutterd a bit (all the ornaments and stuff are still boxed up somewhere and the Chesterfield has gone to a new home via Freegle), and rearranged some furniture. There's no TV or HiFi etc, but we do have music. With the magic of a wind up gramophone and a crackly 78, Robert, Chris and Izzy were able to dance to "MacNamara's Band", then entertain us with excerpts from their school Nativity plays.

And on Sunday afternoon when the visitors had gone I could shut myself in and (almost) not here the farm work going on outside

Friday, 9 December 2011

Almost there . . .

The new stove for the sitting room arrived this morning (just two weeks late) and is now setup in the "new" fireplace. Despite our best efforts the room is full of dust and the parquet floor has almost disappeared beneath footprints. The furniture is still piled up at one end and there are chairs and boxes in other rooms (I was amazed to realise we had 10 dining chairs downstairs). Christmas starts about 3 o'clock this afternoon when Rob, Claire, Izzy and Quinn come for the weekend, so so frantic cleaning is in order. I'll take another photo when it's tidied up, but here's one to prove we're getting there.

P.S. - decoratting is postponed to a (much) later date.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

The fields are empty . . . .

. . .  except for the wintering sheep.

We've just brought in the last few heifers and everything is now squeezed into the buildings. No more going round the wet and soggy fields to check stock - but more to feed and muck out.

And Christmas is coming to Strickley.

The cake is in the oven (at last). And I'm printing out Christmas cards. Last year I thought that when I retired I would be much more organised and on top of things. Not so. We've also put up four Christmas trees in the front bedrooms. Rob, Claire, Izzy and Quinn are coming up this weekend so we're trying to have at least a little bit of sparkle.

New Project update - the wall is plastered and today the builder is fitting the plate thing that goes in the chimney and pointing all the stone work. But - we've been a been let down by the stove supplier (not the retailer who is doing everything he can) who keeps putting back the delivery date. Plans to be finished by Friday look totally unrealistic now. After the stove is fitted there's a mountain of cleaning and sorting to do.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

New camera - more features

I'm sure you've been missing the wildlife pictures over the past few months. After the original camera met with an unfortunate accident in September we claimed on the insurance. We sent the camera away to be assessed and it was declared "not worth repairing " - or words to that affect, and we had a cheque from the NFU. We didn't rush into getting a replacement but did a bit more research than last time, now we knew a few pros and cons. Eventually we decided on a Bushnell Trophy Cam. We shopped around and found a good deal (it even included a bear guard -  and you don't know what might be lurking down the wood). But it was such a good deal that it had sold out - but, instead they sent the new improved version for the same price (but no bear guard). This version has more bells and whistles and we are still trying out the different options and settings. One great advantage is the built in screen, so we can check the images out "in the field" (with the old one we had to bring the SD card up to the house). It also has a microphone, so the videos come with sound! We've tried it in a couple of places round the pond and these are some of the results so far.
And the next ones should be better quality!

Note - I forgot to save the settings when I set the date and time, so the date, time and moon phase are wrong. And note - it even shows the temperature when the photo/video was taken.

Badger


Yet another retreating deer

Pheasant


Fox


Pheasant


Jay

Monday, 5 December 2011

First Snow

Half past nine last night - but look back at the Blog for this time last year to see real snow.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Hedging

It's that time of year when we try to get our hedging done. Henry and James have been out in the bitter cold today, in the field we call "Bottom Field at Over Bleaze". All the fields have up to date field numbers (eg SD5488 3273) but these are only ever used in anger on Defra/RPA or HLS etc forms. Some names have stayed the same for years, but some are more prosaic and modern. If you click here, you'll see photographs of most of them, with the original and current names.

So just so you can visualise what's been going on today, here are a few photos.