Saturday, 28 January 2012


This morning the weather is a bit more seasonable - cold (well coldish) and clear. The warm wet winter presents different problems to last year (ice and snow). Work in the fields is more difficult, and in some cases hazardous - eg hedging on a steep slippy banking - but has to be done if possible. We do have some very wet fields (good in drought years), and yesterday set to and made great improvements in one of them Henry and James cleaned out about 220 metres of Strickley Beck (in The Meadow). It was running very slow, but is now flowing as it should be. Several eels and fish were picked up in the clearing, but returned to the water.

We're not really moaning about the weather - but it is something that farmers tend to do. We must be greatful it's not as bad as it was in 1940 - click here to see what a real winter was like at Strickley.

Meanwhile the builders have continued on the new toilet block and are almost ready to begin on the roof.

Monday, 23 January 2012


to Victoria on getting a job

Well Done
on going out and finding it yourself

Good Luck
on your first day

Monday, 16 January 2012

Another fine frosty morning . . .

. . . so it's good for muck spreading, but not so good for blocking. But, as promised, here's an advert for our builder.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Making the most of the weather

Another fine sunny day, so Sunday or not, we're making the most of it. You may remember that last year we grew two fields of Tritcale, undersown with grass. We got the Triticale in September (see Blog post for 2nd September) and the grass was left to grow on. Trouble was the Tritacle stalks were still there - if you drive along the Old Hutton road you can't fail to see them. I think we hoped they might rot away. Or that the wintering sheep might nibble them (they had too much sense - ate the grass instead). So today we're doing something about it - James has the flail mower and is "topping off". Hopefully once cut down, they'll break up and rot away.

Meanwhile - I'm trying to prove "you're never too old to learn". We've had a piano for over 40 years and I can't really play it. I can read music to a certain extent (recorder and trumpet at school), and I can pick out a tune with my right hand. I can even do the left hand (on it's own). But doing both at once is a bit of a challenge. So I've temporarily swapped one keyboard for another to write this post.

And finally - if you see a large bird swooping over Strickley today, it's the Harris Hawk back again (see posts in November)

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Earlier today

An amazing sky this morning - photo taken about 7:45 from the step, looking over the top of Wellbank  towards the weather station on top of the hill.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Concrete and Clay (well, almost)

Monday was more or less fine all day, so the concrete arrived for the new toilet block. We're just doing the initial site preparation and digging out (and moving a few things around with the Manitou), but it's now down to our builder.

I know that it's a small structure, but by the concrete was poured and levelled it looked even smaller.

The weather improved all day yesterday and by today the sun was shining! So work started on the blocking.

Our builder, Will Nelson of Old Hutton is going to park his van differently next time, so you can see his name and contact details. All exposure is good advertising.

By the end of the day the building was taking shape.

And while this work has been going on, there's been plenty of farm work as well - seasonal jobs (muck spreading and hedging).

And finally, I couldn't resist including this clip from YouTube

Saturday, 7 January 2012

New Year, New Project

For once it's not raining, so we're digging out the footings for our latest project - a small toilet block for when we have school visits etc. It is too cold for spectators to hang about outside, so just one photo today. You can look at the plans on the SLDC website, and (weather permitting) I'll be out there with my camera on Tuesday when the concrete is poured.

Thursday, 5 January 2012


This morning it's a Christmas tree.
This afternoon it's firewood.


This morning the Strickley Herd was classified. This is done by an independent classifier. This link explains most of what is involved and the benefits to the breeder. (It talks about Holsteins, the principals apply to all breeds).

Once again we are pleased with the overall results, and these are a few of the highlights. The results are uploaded to the Dairy Shorthorn Society's Database, so clicking on the names will show you all you ever wanted to know. I'm not sure when today's details will show up - sometime soon I hope.

In no particular order:-

Strickley Lily 13 VG85
She was the Junior Shorthorn Champion at 2010 Westmorland Show.

Strickley Starlet 51 EX94 (again)

Strickley Starlet 94 - a new excellent - EX90
(note the spelling mistake on the database - Starley not Starlet)

You'll notice on the Shorthorn site, that some cows have "stars" - clicking here shows the full "league table".

As well as our Dairy Shorthorns we have a couple of Brown Swiss, and this was the first time that any of them have been classified.

Strickley Her Linde 87 points

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Weather records

Just a quick reminder, in case you've forgotten (or never realised) that our yearly weather records (and of course all time records) only show data from 8th June (see post) when we setup out new weather station. The previous 6 - 8 months with the old equipment had been very hit and miss, so we started with a clean sheet.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Into 2012

It's been a while since my last post (Christmas is coming, but are we ready?) - the answer is, of course we were. Because it doesn't matter if every little thing is done perfectly and on schedule - but that we all find time to relax and enjoy ourselves. Christmas Day was very traditional with turkey (and all the trimmings) - a joint celebration between Strickley and Wellbank. Do farmers get a lie in on Christmas Day? No, of course not. But they do get up at  a different time - even earlier (so they have more time off during the day!). So after the traditional snooze in front of the fire (while pretending to read a book) it was back out to milk etc.

Over the past few days farming has continued at  more leisurely pace than usual (partly because it's been so wet and muddy that no hedging was possible). Victoria and the boys are now at Strickley and yesterday all nine of us went bowling at Morecambe. I think I've been once since the Sixties, but I still managed the first Strike (and the only other one was from Henry!). After a meal out (KFC - a first for me) it was back to work. We didn't stay up to watch the year move onto 2012, but had an early night to prepare ourselves for partying tonight..

We've cooked and baked all day and now have a spread for about 50 (though there will only be 15 of us). And after supper I've a raft of party games (from Pass the Parcel and Musical Chairs to Keys on String and Mummies).

So, a Happy New Year to you all. May it bring everything you hope for and deserve!