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Posts Tagged ‘Farm’

I think winter is still here

Remember a couple of weeks ago we had that big storm overnight?  It took the roof off one of our sheds!  We woke up at about 4.30/5 o’clock-ish to a banging, flapping noise and Gordon jumped out of bed to go to the window, but it was too dark to see anything. Neither of us could go back to sleep so went downstairs and made coffee while we waited for it to be light enough to see the damage. 

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This was the end of the building nearest the house.  The wind had folded the roofing sheets over each other.

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The cows were still in overnight at the time and we were worried they may have been hurt, but luckily not one was even scratched.  The roof didn’t fare so well. Gordon and Dan spent the day unrolling the sheets and fixing them back down although the light sheets were shattered and still haven’t been replaced.

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The cows have gone out for the summer despite the cold and still-damp ground.  As usual they’re pleased to get back to grass, but need no persuasion to come in for milking twice a day when they get cake.  The grass doesn’t seem to be growing very well yet.  They’ve gone into fields we normally cut for silage to eat off the grass as we’ve been informed the solar panels are imminent.  Having waited such a long time for any progress we’re still dubious and cynical about whether it will happen, but supplies are starting to arrive which is progress.  

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A month on

I had an email to remind me that I haven’t posted for a month and debated whether to call it a day on my blog.  Obviously I reached a decision and it looks like you might be stuck with me for a little while longer so I hope that’s ok?

Since I last posted we lost Gordon’s mother, rather suddenly and unexpectedly as it turns out.  She was admitted to hospital with gastroenteritis and whilst there suffered a fatal heart attack.  The funeral was last Friday, the family gathered and caught up and now it’s over bar the sorting out.  Gordon’s sister and her husband are doing most of the work as they did when she was alive, and we’re helping if she needs us, but it was a shock.

I’ve been trying to maintain my more proactive lifestyle and have cleared a fair bit of rubbish around the house.  Things have been donated, sold, chucked out or given away but there’s a lot more to go.  Gordon has once again promised that the bathroom will be sorted this year.  We even got a quote from a builder but have to clear a room before anything starts – the room we euphemistically call our ‘box room’. I’m holding out hope for an airing cupboard.

We had a new door fitted in our back hall, which once upon a time was the front hall until a new road turned our house around. This one is clear at the top so we can see directly into the garden with coloured glass inserts which means when the sun shines it makes a pattern on the floor and fills the hall with light.  During the day I love it, but when it’s dark outside I find it a bit spooky.  I suggested a curtain but Gordon disagrees so I try not to look at it.  How sad is that?  A few years ago Gordon looked up from the television to see a face pressed against the window looking in.  It was a deer in the garden!  I may have died of fright at that stage!

Yesterday we TB tested the herd and the vet comes back on Thursday to analyse the results.  Once again, cross your fingers for us.

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Upcycling (part 2)

I realise that I never did come back with an update on my planter – the one Gordon made for me from the headboard and footboard of an old bed.  I planted it with lavender and geraniums so this is what it looks like today.

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It grew very well and is often commented on.

We decided today to take advantage of the sun and see if we could make a start on our second-cut silage.  The old forager was driven out – the newer one is still seriously broken – and promptly broke down after one round of the field.  Gordon was of the opinion that he knew exactly what the problem was but even after he’d made modifications it still didn’t work.  We gave up.  We came in for coffee to discuss our options and phoned a local contractor to come and round-bale it.  He’s very busy at this time of year but has said he’ll be here this evening if at all possible.  I hope so or we’ll be making hay with it. 

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Here Be Dragons

Or at least, dragonflies and they’re laying eggs.  This one is an Emperor Dragonfly I think which usually lays eggs directly into the water.  The eggs are protected by jelly and once the eggs have hatched they become ugly little larvae.  Sadly, this beauty will probably only live for a couple of weeks, but they’re something to see when they’re swooping up and down the ditches.

From what I read, they’re tricky to photograph as they rarely stay still, even eating on the wing, so I was lucky to catch this one whilst she was otherwise occupied.

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All Done

We finally finished silage making on Saturday although I wasn’t there for the grand finale as I’d arranged to do something else in the vain hope that we’d be all completed by then.  We weren’t but nearly, so between them Gordon and Dan picked up four more trailer-loads then sheeted down the pit.

As usual it’s left us drained and flopping about in a kind of anti-climatic state.  This year has probably been as bad as it gets although eventually the old forager settled into a pattern, stopped breaking down daily and just got on with it.  She doesn’t pick up anywhere near as much as the newer one and goes an awful lot slower, but it’s done.  We found it next to impossible to get anyone to drive for us this year so did all the jobs between us.  In an ideal world there would have been at least five people in total, but it was just the three of us most of the time and we multitasked.

Tomorrow sees Daniel leaving for a week-long break at the Glastonbury Festival.  This has become an annual break for him now and we were discussing it over breakfast this morning.  I reached the conclusion that at my age I need a little bit of luxury so roughing it in a tent with long-drop toilets shared by thousands of people would be more than I could stand.  If I need to see the performers I’ll watch the highlights on the tv, but somehow I suspect I’ll be catching up on my sleep instead so a few early nights are planned.

That and the paperwork!  Two and a bit weeks of not catching up with invoices has left me with a four inch stack of paper to sort through so that’s my priority today.

If I can stay awake long enough!

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Our new satellite system has finally been installed.  I was doubtful, but then I’m ever the cynic.  The installer came three times and the first time he spent nearly the whole day here trying to find a signal.  At one stage he even uttered those famous words “hmm, I’ve never known one be this difficult before”!  Story of our life really.  When he found a signal and installed stuff he had a ‘tah-dah’ moment and I raised an eyebrow and said “we’ll see”.  “No”, he said “it is actually installed”.  Again I said “we’ll see” and he laughed.  Poor fool.

The following day it stopped working.  It needed to be self-activated, it told me.  Strangely enough I’d watched the installer enter the self-activation code at least twice, possibly three times.  I rang the company and they gave me the code again.  It seems to be working for the moment.  Oddly enough, the old broadband has speeded up considerably and is outstripping the satellite equivalent since we have them both running until I get around to cancelling the contract.  It seemed premature to cancel it without having a little test run first, but I haven’t mentioned anything to BT so how do they know?  Do you suppose they’ve boosted our signal at the eleventh hour?

I may need to buy a new router.  I didn’t know I needed one to be honest since I know nothing about satellite broadband, but satellite guy tells me to think of the modem as ‘the phone line’ and this helps me to visualise it.  I still need a router attached to it to send out little wifi waves.  The only one I could lay my hands on at such short notice is ancient and although working, I feel this may be impeding the speed.  Does anyone know anything about this please?  Any advice will be gratefully received.

We’ve been silage making this week, but definitely limping along.  We had two major breakdowns on our first day, one with the mower and the other on the large forager.  The forager seems to have broken the gearbox so short of the engine blowing up it’s as bad as it could be.  The old girl came out of retirement, we brushed the cobwebs off (literally) and Gordon spent the day oiling everything back into life.  She rattles along and has ‘a knock in her coffin box’ whatever that means, but I know she feels out-of-sync so much that she sways from side to side.  It took me over an hour to get my land-legs back when I climbed down at the end of the first day.  It’s like being onboard a boat, but at least it is picking up the grass.  Today rain has stopped play, but the rest of the week is forecast to be better.  I hope so – Dan is off to Glastonbury at the beginning of next week and I have commitments on Saturday.

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AWOL

I didn’t realise I’d been gone for such a long time, but I can’t believe March went by that quickly.  At the beginning of the month we celebrated Steph’s birthday here with a party in the evening.  We were also celebrating dad’s 79th too of course and as usual it was a combined gathering.

The past week has been taken up with work.  Daniel departed on his holiday to Thailand and is expected back at the end of April.  He wasn’t going to go at all as he didn’t want to leave us to cope on our own even though his partner and several of his friends had made plans, but we told him he’d be silly to pass up an opportunity that probably won’t come his way again.  In the meantime we’ve become foster parents to the lovely Lola and although she’s coping well, it’s plain she’s missing him.  There are lots of long sighs and a fair bit of whimpering – I know how she feels.  Milking is fine when done twice a week as there’s a light at the end of the tunnel come Sunday evening, but at the moment I’m milking every morning for the next month and twice a week at least in the afternoons when Gordon has to ‘bed-up’ the animals. The last time I milked this regularly was about eleven years ago before Daniel came to work with us.  I found it hard then and I’m a lot older now!  Roll on the day when they can go out into the field – hopefully by the end of this week.

Our main herd started calving this week too.  The first calving didn’t go well and the vet had to be called to assist one of our old girls.  It wasn’t a good calving and she’s down now.  I think she may be despached this afternoon.  To add insult to her injury she had a very large bull calf.  The second cow to calf was easier, but also had a bull although the third has presented us with a heifer this morning.

Bring it on.

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