Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Words of the Day/Week

Stone picking
Stone picking
Power harrowing
Stone picking

Edit: - forgot to say - muck spreading

Sunday, 28 April 2013


When we went out this morning we noticed the Meadow gate was open, so when we came back Henry went to close it. That's when we found out why it was open. Sometime last night someone driving from Old Hutton to Kendal on the B6254 had taken a shortcut at Limestone Brow Corner - across the road, along the verge, through the hedge and fence, down the banking, along the length of The Meadow and out the gate. There are no skid marks, just tracks made by a 4 x 4. Considering the damage to the hedge it's a wonder they were able to drive out. The only evidence left behind is the a silver overrider of a front bumper.

Edit - latest consensus is, it wasn't a 4 x 4. Tyre marks too narrow. No other forensic evidence available - only part of a number plate (not the number bit!).

Saturday, 27 April 2013

A satisfied customer

from email received

"Group of 22 bull calves all by Strickley perfect ten out of montbelliarde x cows. Sold them all last week at a average of £307 each top price was £425, they were all 6-8 wks old. We had 57 calves born in under 3wks all from the bull, he is a terrific stock getter. Best bull we ever had. "


Sunshine and showers today - and it was the showery bit when I stood by the corner gate in the yard as the dairy cows ran past on the way to fresh green grass for the first time this year. By now they have the sun (coolish) on their backs and new grown grass to graze.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Don't throw it away. . .

. . . it will come in useful sometime!

In 1972 we installed a milking parlour.
In 2002 we replaced it with a new one.
Several unwanted bits of metal from the old one - pipes and rails etc were stored (ie more or less abandoned to the elements).
April 2013. We need some specialist brackets to fasten some rails together.
They were still fixed to the original pipes (40+ years) and unscrewed with relative ease.
At last, the old brackets have their day "and come in useful".

Thrift at work!

Thursday, 25 April 2013

A not very grand opening

First thing this morning James went down to the road, opened the lane gate and closed the gate to the cow track. It's almost three weeks since the concrete was laid and we reckon it's now OK for (almost) all traffic. By the time the heaviest vehicle comes up (cake wagon) it will be as good as it's ever going to be. It's a big investment for us (got the bill yesterday!), but should last at least 40 years. Tarmac would have been cheaper and quicker, but not as long lasting. It's something Henry and I, and even James, will not have to worry about.

And the first vehicle to use the new surface? James - responding to a First Responders call during milking this morning.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Out to grass

At last!

A batch of bulling heifers and some dry cows turned out today

Sunday, 21 April 2013


Congratulations to young Robert

Making the most of the weather - part 2

Yesterday while the sun was shining and it was looking like summer was just round the corner, and Henry was busy rolling, I was not idle.

When we bought our caravan last year we fully intended to advertise and sell the old one right away. But somehow we never got round to it. And then it was winter and we reckoned nobody would be looking for a caravan. So the months went on and it sat parked next to the old cattle trailer in the Teapot Field. But yesterday I decided to make an effort. I took several photos of the interior and found a reasonable one taken earlier of the exterior. I carefully worked out a description and posted an advert on Preloved. There were hundreds of caravans, so I also put it on Gumtree. We had no real expectation of a quick sale, but an hour later the replies started to come in and the first viewing was arranged. Two hours later the caravan was towed out the yard to a new life somewhere else.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

The sun is shining . . .

. . . the days are getting longer -  so there's more time for farmers to work!

But, if you have the time for a holiday, why not make it a caravan holiday! Last year we bought a new (to us ) caravan and have finally got round to advertising our old one (you know how time flies).

You can see our advert here or get in touch with us. All serious offers considered!

Making the most of the weather

At last the sun is shining and the grass is growing, so it's a rush to get all the spring work done. We've ploughed three fields and will use the same seed mix as last year - wheat and peas undersown with grass. If the weather holds out the contractors will be coming  early this week. Meanwhile Henry and James are busy picking stones (not just off the ploughing, but also a very stony pasture) and rolling. One day the ground is too hard to roll, and the next it's too soft or the grass is too long (or so it seems). It's quite a small window of opportunity, so it's no day off today, or early evening finishes.

And now that the danger of frost seems to have receded, the builder is planning to start pointing the classroom this week.

We've no stock out yet, but surely it can't be long!

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Not exactly summery yet. . . .

. . . but James saw FIVE swallows down the fields today. There's been none around the farm building yet. And when they do arrive, they may have a bit of a shock. The old workshop that some used to nest in, is now a sparkling new classroom, with no open windows. No panic though, there's plenty more building with easy access.

And more good news - a cow has had twin heifers!

Thursday, 11 April 2013

All we have to do now is wait

Last week we began work on the lane. As anyone with a low slung car will know (e.g Arthur) it was very rutted, with deep channels and irregular humps and bumps. So the first thing to do was to level it.

The excavated spoil was loaded into trailers and taken down the fields to improve the road down to the wood etc.

Then on Monday we started concreting (when I say "we", I mean a local contractor).

These photos don't really do them justice, they levelled and smoothed in between loads and sometimes had time to sit and wait for the next wagon.

By yesterday afternoon there were just a few finishing touches to do.
And now it's just a waiting game. We laid about 100 cubic metres, 7 inches deep, reinforced with wire mesh and fibre (?),  and it has to have time to set properly. So it's "No Entry" until the 1st May. We've locked the gates top and bottom, and even put a big bale in front of the bottom gate. The cow track in the field alongside the lane is actually a much better surface than the lane ever was. But not as good as it is now of course.

Monday, 8 April 2013

A worrying Comment

Last year we knocked down an old woodshed and built a new small toilet block.
This year we knocked down an old workshop and built a new classroom.

On Saturday night when the family was winding down in the sitting room, grandson Chris slowly looked round and said "I wonder what we can knock down next?".

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

A not so long and winding road

Today marks the start of our latest project ("do you never stop?" I hear you cry). The lane at Strickley is not so very long and not so very winding, but it is very bumpy. Heavy rain tends to wash it away and low slung cars have to negotiate a bit of a slalom course to avoid grounding. Since we put in a cow track last year it doesn't get as "muddy", but it's not ideal. So, we have decided to concrete it. Contractors are coming today with a big digger to scrape and level and next week the concrete begins. It will be seriously deep and will have to be not driven on for 2 to 3 weeks. So, if the gate is shut at the bottom of the lane, drive up the cow track - probably a better surface than the lane at present. James will have to do some extra manoeuvring and reversing with the feeder for a while, but it will be worth it.

I'm hoping to get loads of photos, but here's some to start with.

First one from the 1940's

And then some from the 1970's when the lane was widened for the milk tanker.
(apologies for the quality - take from old slides)

and finally, one taken this morning


Wildlife at Strickley

Fox on the run.
Taken 23rd March at 17:59 in the wood.

I don't know if it was the same one, but a not-so-wily fox was found in the slurry pit this morning.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

A Chilly Easter

When I was a young girl, way back in the Fifties, I always has new clothes for Easter. I wore them on Easter Sunday whatever the weather. It can't always have been warm, but looking back I can't remember ever it being freezing cold. With the temperature struggling to stay above freezing this was not an Easter to be showing off new clothes, unless they were fleeces and thick jumpers. But with two woodburners doing there bit and lots of bodies to give off heat we kept warm and entertained.

On Saturday we celebrated the completion (almost) of the classroom. We had a bit of a party with games and prizes left over from Henry's birthday Do. I had planned for two games outside, and on Sunday we were not discouraged and wrapped up well. If you've ever been to a Strickley Party you will probably have played Fruit Bowls. This Easter we played a variant of the game - Egg Bowls. We all decorated hard boiled eggs and tried to get them nearest the "jack". Bumpy concrete and ovoid bowls made it a game of luck rather than skill. The other game, involving money and a bucket of cold water was a success despite the weather but we were glad to get back inside.

And finally, last night I was most chilled of all - relaxing in a huge bath of bubbles, drinking gin and eating an Easter Egg, with the setting sun pouring through the window. A fitting end to the holiday.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Latest weather statistics from Strickley

Latest weather statistics from Strickley. Only 10 days of rain in March, and not many inches (some was melted snow)