Sunday, 28 July 2013

Family Photo

Today was our Grandson Quinn's Christening in St Stephen's church New Hutton. After the service, and before some of us changed smart attire for "smart casual" we had a photo session. With the wonders of a posh camera, tripod and timer we managed (amazingly) to get everyone in one shot.

In the interests of varying broadband speeds, this is quite a low resolution version. And the heights are maybe a bit skewed as the yard slopes (though grandsons are beginning to tower over me).

It won't stop the party . . .

(clickable link)

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Births, marriages and deaths

It's a time of mixed emotions at Strickley this week. Last Thursday was Henry and I's 43rd Wedding Anniversary. Do you recognise the two older bridesmaids? They were in the Class of '67 photos last week. They haven't changed a bit!

Tomorrow will be Quinn's Christening at St Stephen's church in New Hutton, where Rob and Claire were married and Izzy was christened. We'll all be dressed up in posh frocks and sharp suits (and maybe a hat for me . . .), then changing into something less formal for a Bit of a Do in James' garden (much better kept than ours).
And looking back 35 years here's me and the children ready for Rob's Christening. It's a bit fuzzy (well, very fuzzy), but pre-digital it's the only one we have.
Tomorrow will also be James and Michelle's 12th Wedding Anniversary. It will be a day to look back at with bitter sweet memories. Michelle's father Bill (on the left of this photo) died this week, so we will be thinking of him and Jean.
And finally, we'll be remembering my mother who would have been 90 tomorrow. She loved family gatherings and sitting with all the family talking at once (even though she couldn't really hear so well).

Sunday, 21 July 2013

All is safely gathered in . . .

Second cut safely in the pit

Health and Safety

A warning from the past.

Don't act recklessly and let children travel in unsuitable transport. Were these children supervised? Strapped in? Wearing protective clothing?

A report from the Westmorland Gazette of July 1890.
It doesn't give the outcome, or what happened to the waggon driver, James Blamire (my great grandfather).

Saturday, 20 July 2013

All go

The contractor has come with his forage harvester and trailers and pick up has begun. Henry is whizzing round ahead of the action "rowing up", and trailers of grass are now coming in to the pit where James is buck-raking. The heavyish breeze could be a bit of a problem as the grass is blown around as it is picked up and directed at the trailers. But, mustn't grumble. Just be thankful for the dry fine weather.

I've been packing up packed lunches - ham buns, sausage rolls, crisps and yogurts. Plus plenty of weak orange squash of course. I don't think they would comply with the latest government guidelines for healthy lunch boxes. There is a bit of lettuce in the buns as a token gesture.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Farm Walk

Copy of email from Soil Association
Dear all
We have a few places left on our farm walk at Strickley Farm, Strickley, Old Hutton, Kendal, Cumbria, LA8 0LU.
This farm walk will be held Tuesday 30 July from 10am – 1pm.
Farm Background: Strickley is an organic dairy farm which has been in the Robinson family for 5 generations. We have a pedigree herd of 100 Dairy Shorthorns plus followers. We have always taken a keen interest in wildlife and conservation and the farm has an ancient oak woodland and a 2 acre wildlife pond, plus many miles of hedgerows. We also host farm visits which are run by my wife Michelle who is a primary school teacher. The school visits are focused on either organic milk production or on the environment which can include a spot of pond/beck dipping in our healthy waterways!
10.00  Arrival with refreshments
10.30  James Robinson 
will provide an introduction to the farm
10.45  Farm Walk
12.45  A complimentary organic lunch will be provided by the Soil Association.
Competition Time
We all know that farming can be thirsty work so our kind friends at
Vintage Roots have offered a case of the finest organic wine (12 bottles) as part of our 'Farm Walk Photo Competition'. All you have to do is to book your place on a free walk, go along and take some snaps and submit them for entry into our competition. Full terms and conditions will be circulated upon booking.
Booking your place
This event is open to all farmers and growers (organic and non-organic) and free to attend. Places are limited on a 'first come first served' basis. 
Please email if you would like to attend. We will send directions to delegates prior to the event. You can also download a full list of all our farm walks here.
With best wishes

Astrid Toner | Senior Producer Advisor | Soil Association | South Plaza, Marlborough Street |  Bristol BS1 3NX | Direct line: 0117 914 2400
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Seven weeks later. . .

. . . the mower is out again. 2nd crop silage has begun in glorious sunshine.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Catching up

Warning - this is rather an indulgent post, as it's just about a group of friends who met as young girls in 1967. Pure chance, or the machinations of some administrative department, brought us together in Clough Hall at Edge Hill College at Ormskirk. In 1970 we were let loose on the world as fully fledged, but inexperienced teachers. Most of us stayed true to our training for the next few decades (the government definitely got it's money back), but one of us veered off in a different direction (eg farming!). We've all kept in touch and met up whenever we can (easier for the teachers than the farmers). Now mostly retired grandmothers life is changing, but we're know that we haven't really changed a bit. We can almost pick up conversations started over 40 years ago.

Last Friday was a big "do you remember when" day, as we had A Bit Of A Do at Strickley. Amazingly 10 "girls" and their partners (two couldn't make it from Switzerland and Wales) gathered in the sun at Strickley. The weather was very kind to us (though we did have a Plan B) and we spent the whole day outside. Everyone brought contributions to the feast and the day began as it continued, with food, drink and talking. There were several keen photographers amongst us and by the end of the day I had a large folder of files. These are just a few to give a flavour of the day.

After a relaxing lunch we took a guided tour of Strickley. The former teachers were as excited by travelling in the trailer as the primary school children that visit us.

After more food and drink (this time it was tea and cakes) we were ready for some sport. No one was allowed to just sit on the sidelines as Dave organised a Croquet tournament with a draw not dissimilar to that for the FA Cup.

There was plenty of constructive criticism from the spectators.

After early rounds, quarter finals and semi finals, a grand final was played out. There was no trophy, just the "honour" of hosting next year's Garden Party - so maybe that's why Henry won - or maybe it was his magnificent stroke play and follow through.

Such exercise demanded more food and drink.

A wonderful sunset after a wonderful day.


Wednesday, 10 July 2013


Maybe we should have stayed away a bit longer - when we got back yesterday afternoon there were still hundreds of bales to fetch in. So Henry and James worked on after milking - with a couple of helpers. As James drove back to the field, he was heard to comment "There's  a bit of age on that trailer" - not the trailer, but it's occupants - two sixty five year olds, and another seventy-plus. Thank you Arthur and Ian - I hope you're OK today.

P.S. - the bales are still coming in, but we're nearly there

Home and Away

Yesterday we came back from holiday. Eight days away, including six in glorious sunshine! (More holiday thoughts later).

Meanwhile, James was holding the fort at Strickley. We had planned to go away that week, but not anticipated the weather. But James took the most of it. The text he sent on Monday afternoon did make us feel a little bit guilty.
"15 bale silage, 40 round hay, 839 little bale hay, 27 Celsius"