Sunday, 30 September 2012

September wildlife

We've had the camera setup in the wood most of September and I've finally put together some shots of deer. We've also had the camera positioned near a badger sett. Last week we had a school visit and were looking at where the badgers live. They obviously left traces of themselves as the badgers have been doing an awful lot of snuffling about. Apologies in advance for the extreme closeups.

And - apologies for the low resolution videos - our upload speed is abysmally slow and I had to reduce and reduce the size of the file.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Is this the wettest year this century?

As you know we've been observing and recording the weather for several years now. If you look at the statistics on our weather page it will only show details since June 2011. From December 2010 to May 2011 we had increasing problems with our weather station and the PC on which the software was running. So when we took the plunge and bought a bigger and better weather station, and connected to an up to date reliable PC, we decided to start with a clean slate and a new data. The old data was not entirely lost as I had most of it backed up onto an old laptop. This week I have been looking at that data, and especially the rain totals. I've put them in a spreadsheet - along with the corresponding details from the new setup - and created a Rainfall Report. I will update at the beginning of each month, but as a preview, click here (it should open a pdf). As I said the yearly totals for 2012 are only up till today - there's another 3 months yet!

The report is still a work in progress, and I'm not sure if the link will always work, so if this post disappears you know why.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Would you like to be outside in this weather?

Winds up to 46 mph (and increasing)
Rain - 0.32in since midnight (and getting worse) - Edited at 5pm - now over an inch - and rising
Temperature not so bad if you can stand the wind and rain.
Grass - wet and muddy.

So, would you like to be outside? No, neither would the cows. They are coming inside now, rather than wait till milking time.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Uncle Wilson

Henry's uncle Wilson has written a column for the Nostalgia section of The Westmorland Gazette.

Different place - same weather

On Sunday we set off for a few days in our caravan. The weather was atrocious as we drove down the motorway, but the farther south we got the better it got. By we got to Buxton and unhitched and setup it was fine and sunny (but not exactly warm).

And by we got down to Rob's in Belper it was warm enough to go out and admire the garden. But, driving back up to Buxton the heavens opened and that set the tone for the next few days. Bright sun (lovely and warm pouring through the caravan or car window - not so warm in reality), interspersed with torrential rain. It didn't really stop us doing anything - as we had planned to to nothing anyway. We drove around some spectacular roads and sometimes the views were visible - eg Ladybower reservoir. If you look closely, you'll see I didn't venture out of the car. Lazy photography!

Based on this very short holiday - a few recommendations (or not)

Grin Low Caravan Club Site
A quiet campsite (apart from the colony of Jackdaws in the rocks above us). Wikipedia says the collective noun is "a clattering" - very apt. But be advised, the mobile signal is about the same as in our house (i.e non-existent).

Buxton Tandoori
Very good takeaway - just the job as the skies darkened and the rain poured down.

M & S and Waitrose in Buxton.
Next to each other and both offering "dine in for a tenner" deals - ideal for trying to to nothing on holiday. Waitrose just edged it by offering the choice of starter or dessert, instead of just a dessert.

Chatsworth Farm Shop Restaurant.
Very busy, but fitted us in. Friendly service, good food and wonderful view (including beef on the hoof destined for the shop)

Matlock Sainbury's
A non-recommendation - mainly because I couldn't find any red onions (for the night when I was actually cooking)

Snake Pass Inn
Another non-recommendation - almost empty, yet a wait of 40 minutes for what was really just a Ploughman's Lunch (called a Ramblers Platter as they don't get many passing ploughmen).

Buxton Opera House
A wonderful over the top venue. Comfy seats and for us, uninterrupted view of the stage.

And finally
Live music - especially Spiers and Boden. Go to see them if you can - in venues as grand as Buxton and as humble as Arnside Educational Institute.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Wartime Farm

Have you been watching Wartime Farm on BBC2? We have, making comments such as "we used to have one of them" and "we've still got one of them" etc.

If you click here - the website for the company making the programme - and then on Your Stories on the right, you may come across something you recognise.

Interbreed results

Taken from the WCAS website, overall dairy results. We can't remember Strickley doing so well (but maybe my memory is not as good as it was!). I'm sorry about the formatting - I cut and pasted.

Overall Dairy

Home Bred Champion - Carrs Billington Dairy Stakes

JD & JA Holgate Aliann Empire Sonya

Home Bred Reserve Champion - Carrs Billington Dairy Stakes

Messrs WH & KM Robinson Strickley Dairymaid 5th

Procter Trophy (GPC 14) - Home Bred Dairy Champion

JD & JA Holgate Aliann Empire Sonya


Messrs WH & KM Robinson Strickley Dairymaid 5th

Ellis Trophy (GPC 15) - Overall Dairy Champion

D & M Holliday Whiteoaks Julian Nonette 2


JD & JA Holgate Aliann Empire Sonya

Windermere Agricultural Society Trophy (GPC143) - Overall Junior Dairy Champion

JD & JA Holgate Aliann MX Elegance


Messrs WH & KM Robinson Strickley Dairymaid 5th 



Friday, 14 September 2012

Thursday, 13 September 2012

A Grand Day Out

Henry, James and Robert are back from the show (Westmorland County Show) laden down with cups and rosettes. Briefly Strickley Shorthorns (all 3 for them, it was a quiet year for us), won all the classes they were in -

     Heifer in Milk (having calved under 3 years) - Strickley Dairymaid 5th
     Cow in Milk (having calved twice) - Strickley Lily 13th
     Cow in Milk (having calved 3 times or more) - Strickley Starbud 35th

We also won -

     Champion Shorthorn - Strickley Dairymaid 5th
     Reserve Champion Shorthorn - Strickley Starbud 35th
     Junior Shorthorn Champion - Strickley Dairymaid 5th
     Group of Three Shorthorns
     Best Udder - Strickley Starbud 35th

and, in the interbreed -

     Reserve Junior Champion - Strickley Dairymaid 5th
     Reserve Exhibitor Bred - Strickley Dairymaid 5th

 I hope to get copies of some "professional" photos, that show off the cows.

It was the first time since Henry's father was alive that we've had three generations showing. Robert did brilliantly and here's a couple of photos to show him in complete control.


Read all about us - at last

Back in the middle of June Jennifer MacKenzie visited us  to talk about an article she was writing for Northern Farmer. The article was duly published and we eventually saw it. It's now online at Stackyard - so read all about us by clicking here.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

A better photograph

And here's a photo taken with a better camera, and pointed in the right place. Courtesy of James.
Click on it to see it full size.


All go at Strickley

Tomorrow is Westmorland County Show, so today was always going to be a bit hectic. We are cutting back on our entries this year, so it should be manageable. Because the show is fairly near, and we can take stuff down the day before, and then the stock the night before, we have tended to take more each year. It does mean there's a good show of Dairy Shorthorns, but it's hard work - especially for James who sleeps in the cattle tent overnight. So this year we decided to be sensible and just take a few. In the end, the few is only three (the in calf cow calved a couple of days ago) and we've made the radical (for us) decision not to take the stock the night before. So Henry and James have just gone down to the showfield with a landrover and trailer full of straw and other essentials. And James will take the cows down tomorrow morning (4:30 am). Henry will milk and feed and follow on about 8.30 ish with our youngest team member (Robert). The food is ready packed (we didn't like to leave that on the showfield overnight) and we're hoping the weather will be at least fine (sunny and warm would be good as well).

Most of today has been spent getting the cows ready, but we took time out after an early dinner to go down to the road and watch the Tour of Britain whizz past. The rain had stopped by they got to us, but they looked a bit wet and mud spattered. We stood near St Sundays Bridge to get as good a view as possible. James and I both took cameras - mine rather basic (to go with my skills), and his more souper douper (to match his skills). I pointed the camera up the road and kept my finger on the button. It all happens very fast - dozens of police bike and marshalls flash past, then the breakaway and then the peloton. There's no time to refocus or change the zoom, just click. Out of the vast number I took, here's a small selection.
One of the many police bikes

The breakaway

The Peloton (6 minutes behind)  - with stage winner Mark Cavendish surrounded by the Sky Team
Lots of cars, imcluding Commissaire President
and then the last police car

Sunday, 9 September 2012


On Wednesday we'll be going down the lane to cheer on the Tour of Britain cyclists as they whizz by on their way to Blackpool. Maybe they'll be going a bit faster than this group from 1939. The Highgate Road Club used to regularly cycle to Blackpool. No Lycra shorts then.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Another job to do tonight

Tonight marks the start of the "winter" routine - last thing at night Henry or James check that the cows are OK for the night. They should be happy enough tonight - in the new updated B & B. New spacious cubicles, comfy mattresses, food and water on tap, and no wet grass to walk through to get there. It's not much of a photo, but it gives you a bit of an idea.

Belated photographs

As promised a couple of photos from Grayrigg Show last week. Many thanks to Jayne Knowles for these.

Strickley Dairymaid 5th

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Just beat the rain. . .

As the last load was coming into the yard the rain started!

So that's three crops got in dry.

Only a few big bales to go now (I think)

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

It's that time again

25th May - first cut

11th July - second cut

5th September - third cut

Monday, 3 September 2012

Best of

The wildlife camera has been lying idle on a shelf for a few weeks, but it's back out in the wild now. So hopefully there will be lots more exciting (or at least interesting) stuff to come.

In the meantime, here's a compilation of some of our best bits.