Tuesday, 27 March 2012

The Green Green Grass Of Home

What comes in a multitude of different shades, all called "green". Grass of course. And at this time of year it's woken from the dormant winter stage and is shooting upwards. I know that our readers understand that it doesn't just grow on its own (well, it does, but only in a feeble lackadaisical sort of way), but there may be someone out there who doesn't realise that grass isn't free food for cows. We've been spreading muck and slurry (and you do know the difference don't you?) for a few weeks, and now we're busy going round the fields with a variety of implements behind the tractor - harrowing, aerating, levelling, rolling. Some fields get more intense treatment - we reseed some every year, with carefully chosen varieties (some undersown with other crops).

And what about all these different shades? The grass is definitely greener our side of the fence.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

The culmination of 9 months waiting

Once again it's been a busy week at Strickley with tractors out and about in the fields. The ground is drying up and we're getting into Spring Work. There's been a definite  agricultural whiff in the air as the fields are given a dose of good organic slurry. The toilet block is coming on apace, with builders and plumber both busy.And James has started the painting (the door will match the red paint on the other Strickley buildings). The electrician is coing back this week to finish off, then it's just a few minor touches and we're good to go!.

But the main event this week was last night at Harrogate. Last June we booked tickets to to see Chris Rea and it's been something to look forward to during the gloomy winter months. We made a weekend off it and booked a hotel. The Holiday Inn has one great advantage - it's on the same site at the concert venue, so you can walk from one to the other in less than a minute. With underground parking we were sorted. But it's not a "luxury weekend" hotel. We've stayed there before so sort of knew what to expect, but maybe we had forgotten the "averageness" of it. Or maybe our expectations were too high. But while we weren't expecting an enormous plasma screen television, we were expecting something a bit more up to date than this -

A CRT TV - about 19in, with a limited choice of channels (about 6) and an idiosyncratic remote control.
(The white square on the screen is the refection from the window) A good job we weren't there to watch television.

But Saturday night made up for all shortcomings. The concert was abolutely amazing. We had good seats (booked as soon as booking opened) and an uninterupted view if the stage. The sound and energy from Chris was the best we've ever experienced. I made a concious decision not to try and film any of it; to to enjoy the moment. But I have looked on You Tube and someone has already posted a couple of videos from Harrogate last night. If you click here  or here or here you will get some idea of what it was like. But connect to some decent speakers and turn the sound up! I think there will be more similar videos by the end of the day. And it looks like they were taken by someone just a few seats to our right. So Ididn't need to take my camera! No doubt I would have got it wrong and videod Henry's feet!

Roll on the next tour!

Saturday, 17 March 2012

A Busy Week

There seems to have been a lot going on at Strickley this week, so this is just a brief summary. I'm sure I've missed something out (and as well as all of this there's milking/feeding/mucking out etc).

Muck spreading - most days. We've done the pastures and fields we'll be reseeding, and are now onto the meadows.
Chain harrowing. Henry would have liked to have done some aerating, but the ground is just to heavy and wet.
Tidying up the new soakaway extension (covering with soil).
Covering the reinforced beck banking (see a previous post) with top soil.
Redirecting a land drain in the Big Field (getting bunged up with tree roots).
Sending three cows to Dunbia at Sawley (their final journey).
Taking three bull calves, one British Blue Cross heifer calf and two cows to Kendal auction.
School visit from Crosscrake school.
Project managing the final stages of the Toilet Block. The plumber and builder have been here - but things would be so much easier if suppliers delivered the right stuff, with no bits missing.
Mole catching.
And today there's a group of keen photographers here. In his spare time (what spare time I hear you cry), James is doing a photography course, and has invited the class here for some practical work.

Thursday, 15 March 2012


The mole catcher is out and about!

Mole count = 3 (so far)

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Restoration and Recycling

While the south may be suffering from years of low rainfall, we've had more than our share. Over the years sudden floods and raised water levels have damaged or washed away beck bankings. One of the worst affected is St Sundays Beck in what's now known as "Bottom Field at Over Bleaze" - or to give it it's Sunday name "Colly Garth". There's a bend in the beck that's less than 90 degrees and needed to be restored with something heavy that could withstand future onslaught from rushing water.

As you know we are building a new toilet block. This is on the site of an old shed, which we demolished. It was not a pretty building - made up of miscellaneous blocks, bricks and concrete. Just the sort of materials needed to keep the water at bay.

So this week Henry and James have been busy building up the banking and uncovering an old drain. It may not look very natural at he moment - but when it's covered with soil and planted up with hedge plants, it will blend into the landscape.

And as ever, a few photos. But taken while the sun was shining!

Monday, 5 March 2012

Spring on the way

The temperature may have dropped a bit (and there was snow on nearby hills yesterday) but it's starting to feel that Winter's on the way out and Spring on it's way.

Today the sun is shining, the grass is green and the wintering sheep are going home. We're not putting away our winter woollies, but just making the most of the good weather. No doubt there's more wind and rain to come.

We've been moving the wildlife camera around to see what we can capture. Last week it was pheasants, pheasants and more pheasants. With one blackbird, grey squirrel and a rat. Here's the most photogenic.

And if you want to listen to some soothing birdsong, play this short video.