Greenheyes’s Weblog

First post 1st January 2008
January 1, 2008, 11:20 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

10.7.10 19.07 BST
A huge apology for my lack of posts over the last few months I do have a large picture file in my mobile phone which will be diaryed however at present the phone won’t talk to my new netbook even though they are both made by the same company (Samsung). Here on the farm we are being affected by the dry weather as are all our neighbours. The winter barley put up it’s seed heads by the end of may and although a fine looking crop the grain itself will be light in weight. We have about half a clamp full of silage after we finished 1st cut but normally I would expect three quarters full. We have big baled some rough bits we would have normally left for the cows and also half the left hand meadow giving us another 32 big square bales of silage and also have made 300 bales of hay. My next plan is to sow about two ha of forage rape on the stubble as soon as the Barley has been harvested and if it is still very dry we will use dirty water to irrigate it to make it germinate the aim being that this will free up more grass to silage in the Autumn as the cows will be grazing the rape. As I often say this is a plan so best laid plans and all that.
More soon now the netbook is partly up and running PHIL:))
28/7/10 18.02 BST. We have had a very welcome wet spell so grass is now starting to grow again so we should get some second cut towards the end of August. On a problematic note the IH 784 has overheated a caught fire burning out the wiring system this would have been fixable however the damage to the engine is beyond salvage so it’s time to look for another. This had happened while Bob was topping thistles and I was out collecting a radiator for the Landrover as the last one was damaged when the engine mount broke sending the cooling fan into the radiator. It must be a thing with our machines at present as the car’s water pump packed in as well when I returned from an afternoon at Blakemere craft centre with the trailer. More soon when we finish the repairs PHIL :))
15.8.10 23.58 BST We have bought another 784 as it should be the quickest solution to our tractor problems and also we have sent the Universal 445’s injection pump for a repair/service at Dales in Burslem. July saw 56mm of rain so I think the drought is now comming to an end the only problem now is that we can’t seem to get three dry days together to combine and bale the barley. Last week saw us joined by David a prospective vet student from Birmingham and I think he has enjoyed himself and is planning to visit during the winter to see the bigger picture of dairy farming. Speaking of vet students Nat is now officially no longer a student having PASSED her final exams she is now a practising Vet in Newcastle Under Lyme. Congratulations to Nat.
Tomorrow I am starting to clear the yard by the classroom as Sarah’s 21st is only two weeks away. Also I have been converting a shipping container into a staff toilet this seems to be well on it’s way and I should be able to site it this week removing the old mobile whose walls are now somewhat fragile. Junior quiz round one tomorrow night so good luck Middlewich. More soon PHIL 🙂
9/9/2010 18.03 BST The young farmers won both the first and second rounds of the quiz and are now in the semi-finals of the competition so good luck MYFC. We held Sarah’s 21st birthday party on the 28th of August and JD Marquees lined the shed out for us and it looked fantastic we now have some friends looking at using it for their wedding next year. Back on the farm all the Winter Barley has been harvested despite the rain showers through August which gave us 44mm of rain in total Alan baled the straw on the sunday (30th) and having l;oaded as much as we could on the trailers Monday saw me stacking the rest with the loader on the field and it then rained for the next 3 days and took us until the following week before it could be safely stacked in the loft. Next move will be muckspreading as silaging will have to wait until Simon returns towards the end of the month from his trip to China. Our back yard needs some more sweepings and a good rolling and so our latest favor to a friend involves parking up a steam roller. This is a real 1924 STEAM powered roller so very interesting.
More soon PHIL :))
19/09/10 15.46 BST It currently seems to be currently seems to just be rain all the way but not heavy downpours just steady light rain. Yesterday saw my last trip out with the trailer to Wythenshaw Forum and we were well recieved it we a cold day and trade was steady. We are hoping to silage next week and the spreading should finish this week. Warwick is hoping to update the site’s journal page so we should be back on track soon. We have been joined by James and Will from Middlewich HIgh School for extended works placement and at present I think we will be preparing the cubical shed for Winter rather than leaving it to the last minute. Middlewich YFC are in the quiz semi-final tomorrow and one of the speech titles is Public Relations certainly close to my heart. More soon PHIL.
06/10/10 08.17 BST . Last Wednesday was the last of September and of course that meant the Cheshire ploughing match. There were a few showers during mine and Simon’s time there but nothing to write here about and september ended on a rainfall of 58mm so not too bad. Last weekend Dorothy and I spent OFF at Holsworthy in Devon. While we were away it rained both in Devon and here at home and the river was virtyally over by Monday I calculate about 47mm fell over the weekend. We are still waiting to silage but the next few days forcast is drier so perhaps we will get it over the weekend.
More soon PHIL.
13/10/10 15.29 BST.
We are just in the middle of a dry spell and now all the silaging for 2010 is finished and I have just finished tyring the clamp. apart from a couple of small breakdowns we were trouble free. Next on my neverending list will be final sawing up for the wood store and then it will be cubical shed preparations ready for the cows in and the Winter months to come.
More soon PHIL.
1/11/10 15.47 GMT Last month was our wettest so far for 2010 with 167mm about 80mm of this falling in one 24hour period during the first weekend of the month. Back to the farming and we have spent yesterday putting some more tarmac sweepings down on the back yard helped by Gary with his 1924 Avling and Porter steam roller. This machine weighs in at about 10 tons and he soon had the grit compacted as we spread it out. I think he was really pleased to be asked as normally these days rollers such as this only appear at shows and to actually use it for it’s intended purpose was a real bonus. Andy was also on hand camera in hand so we will have some pictures to post soon. Today has been spent electric fencing on the roadside of the drive field ready for the cow to clear up the stubble.
More soon PHIL.
08/11/10 18.36 GMT. Bonfire night went well and thanks to John for providing us with some branches for the bonfire . The next day however saw some rain and today after some gales during the night it has rained during ALL the daylight hours. Besides this the temperature was only about 7c. Undeterred however the cows who only stayed in at night for the first time last night were soon wanting to go out however they changed their minds at about 4.30 and decided to return I think their being on the drive field made them see me putting fresh silage out and they soon headed for the gate. Tomorrow sees Henry from Middlewich High School starting his work expirience placement lets hope the rain keeps off for him as I don’t want to put him off as soon as he starts.
More soon PHIL.
29/11/10 18.52 GMT The old saying is “Ice Before Christmas To Hold a Duck. The Rest Of The Winter Will Be Slush And Muck” Well we certainly have had the ice over the last few days with lows of about -12c so the frost has penetrated the buildings and so as during last Winter it’s thawing out water pipes and carting water to heifers. The forcast last month was ” mild and wet nothing like last year” Hmmmmm.
As I write I have just had my latest foray onto Ebay looking for interesting antique hand powered farming machines and have just won a Bone Grinder these were used in the 1800s to grind up bones from any slaughtered cattle, pigs and sheep to feed to chickens as the bones were used as a source of calcium but this was replaced in the early 20th century by the addition of oyster shell instead as they had obiviously realised the possiblity of disease in the practise. We have finished the big bales and on Sunday we opened the clamp. The cows seemed impressed with the change to clamp silage and given the weather conditions the milk hasn’t dropped so I think it must be OK. However the problem was with the 784 loader tractor as we bought our last supply of diesel in September but this is Summer grade and we have just a small ammount left in the tank but the pictures will show the results of what we call “Waxing” in the fuel filters an how they become completely blocked. I still don’t know how the tractor started in the first place.
More soon PHIL.
27/12/10 17.11 GMT The lowest temperature this month has been-
-17.3c and Christmas has been spent with only the tap in the AI pens working as a water source. Today it has thawed a little with it making a dizzy high of about +2c The water in the dairy taps has thawed and my plan was to spread some of the muck on the yard however the muck left over Christmas in the spreader is still so solid that we cannot get the spreader to work yet. Christmas has brought me another addition to my vintage collection a bone grinder it seems to be fully operational not bad given it is at least 100n years old. Bones were ground up to provide calcium in poultry feed before the inclusion of oyster shell during the early 20th century. On a good news note I see us giving the Australians a good thrashing at the Boxing day Test match in Melbourne. I notice not may of their fans staying around for the last hours play I’d be drummed out of the Barmy Army if we were to take that atitude when we had a bad spell.
More soon as 2011 beckons PHIL.
30/12/10 13.27 GMT. We have all had either flu, colds or in Sarah’s case sickness for Christmas but at least the weather has warmed and I now plan to start muckspreading once the half full spreader thaws out enough. We certainly have enough to do as the yards are swimming since the thaw. On a cleaner warmer note WE HAVE RETAINED THE ASHES having burried the Australians in the 4th Melbourne test on to the SCG to leave us with a 3-1 win More soon PHIL 🙂
5/1/11 22.21 GMT. The spreader has de-frosted so it’s muckspreading at last. We have had some damage with the frost the worst being the parlour washer pump split open on it’s cast iron body by the ice. Also in a galvanised water water storage tank in the loft the filler valve had split making it impossible to turn it off also the bank holiday making parts impossible to get. It did however make a spectacular ice display out on the yard where the overflow was landing. My 3-1 test match prediction seems well on track more soon PHIL.
14/01/11 18.29 GMT. Carl from the NFU and I spent wednesday afternoon at St Antony’s RC primary school in Wythenshaw presenting a prize to Megan who had visited us along with her class and teacher Mrs O’Brian an afterwards had entered the NFU/Britains models farm visit report essay competition and was the winner in the Northwest region. We were treated to a full school assembly for the presentation and I am very pleased that one our visitors was able to win.
Back on the farm itself we are still spreading and the rancho is now finished with 23 loads having been spread over it. I would be further on but a loader wheel bearing and then a welding job on the bucket has slowed us up for the last couple of days. I was complaining about the damage to the volume washer this has now paled into insigificence with the damage to the classroom toilets with three out of four toilet cisterns splitting open as the ice melted. This will prove a costly fix. I intend re-plumbing the coldwater pipework with blue mdpe as although not as pretty it will at least not split every time it freezes unlike the current copper pipes.
More soon PHIL.
30/1/11 13.27 GMT.
More muckspreading has seen the yard emptied and the Long Field finished with 27 loads spread on it on with the Milestone next. I have also re-plumbed the surviving toilet into blue plastic pipe and also the sink in the ladies this does give us a very basic functioning toilet I am just waiting for some more connectors from Witter Farm Supplies and we should have the rest of the cold taps working and the hot as well. Today’s aim is to sort out the cows as we are entering February and there are several due to calve so I had better put them with milkers so we can keep a closer eye on them. More soon PHIL
13/02/11 18.04 GMT January saw 7 7mm of rain falling and we have had a total flood over the meadows and I’m expecting another one tomorrow as it started raining at about 10.30 today and it hasn’t stopped yet. Alex ( one of our work expirience people) and I have been sorting out close to calving cows and putting them in with the milkers as calving will commence at the end of next week or very soon after. Our first one to calve is the “dalmation” who those who follow this site was pictured in 2009 having been shot by an irresponsible air rifler. Today I breathed a big sigh of relief as I have power washed down the parlour walls and the washer although in a farm building doesn’t seem damaged by the frosts of December 2010 unlike the parlour washer. One of this weeks projects is a new gear levr to be fitted on the Landrover as I managed to snap the other and so it has been abandoned on the yard and hit by a passing car during the last 2 months. The driver who shall remain nameless had 10m to pass through so I suspect lack of attention to blame the landover is fine with just a slight bent to it’s bumper which can be straightened however the car has a scratch/dint running from the passenger door full lenght backwards. I think he has cost himeslf enough with that lesson. More soon PHIL.
25/3/11 18.25 GMT February was quite wet with 53mm of rain however so far March has only managed 15mm with little more on offer for the month. We have sowed the drive field with spring oats and I am currently waiting for the grass seed to be delivered for the under-sow. I am now officially a pig farmer again we have bought 4 pigs from regular supplier Mike with 1 large black, 1 Gloucester old spot, 1 hybrid and one tamworth x middle white. A real mixed bag and at a price to make any pig farmer wince. I was showing them to Keith the farm assurance man who said he was buying similar pigs at that price 40 years ago. He went on to as “do they want a UK pig industry” I do wonder. Our ” rescue sheep ” is hopefully pregnant so we will see come July. Today I have been putting solid muck in the muck store while George the works expirience has been rolling ( I think my views on rolling are well documented) He has enjoyed himself. Tomorrow sees England take on Sri Lanka in the quarter final of the cricket World cup so COME ON ENGLAND.
More soon PHIL.
31/3/11 22.53 BST March has finally ended and I must say it has been one of the worst months in my memory. Through 1 (injury) 1 ( mastitis) and two (feet) we have lost 4 cows they were old in fact one of them was the oldest in tghe herd but when you have nursed them over the Winter and are virtually at turnout you expect at least a 50% winning score. Mother nature however thought diferently. The plan was for these to fatten on grass until June/July and then sell them in the Beeston Market Cull cow section. Never mind.
March has only seen 18mm of rain falling and 10mm of that was over the last two days this has however been enough to start the Spring Oats sown on the Drive Field to put in an appearance. We have had 6 calvings 4 Angus bulls 1 angus heifer and one Jersey/Shorthorn cross heifer. According to our recent visitors and works expirience people she wins out on the “cute” stakes. The Damson blossom has burst out over the last two days so I suppose we will be seeing some night frosts until it falls off. Tomorrow I am hoping to start doing some fencing ready to get the cows out. Although we have plenty of silage I and they will be glad to see them back out in the fields.
More soon PHIL :))
8/4/11 17.38 BST 61mm of rain was March’s final total and since then warm sunshine perfect for grass growing so I’m sure we will pay for this nice start to Spring later on. The cows have gone out today for the first time having opened the field gates rfeady I went to get them from the shed and they met me on the yard. Who says animals are stupid ?? More fencing with Alex this weekend and soon we will be starting with the roadshows
More soon PHIL.
20/4/11 18.29 BST. The cows are still in at night as we still have silage left and due to the unusually hot and dry spell I’m waiting for it to start to rain otherwise we could end up being short of grass. I have just bought a milk churn for my collection and talking to the seller a dairy farmer in Gloucestershire he was exactly in the same frame of mind. Back on the farm Liam and I have been fencing today but yesterday Andy went out with his camera and found a swarm of honey bees settled on a hawthorn bush by the river. I called in Brian a local bee keeper and he duly collected the swarm at dusk however Andy has been back for another look today and ended up being chased off by the remaining stragglers. I’m just not going to comment on that one!!!!.
More soon PHIL.
2/5/11. 18.39 BST.
It stayed dry and we ended April with 18mm of rain not much. Today several of our neighbours have been mowing for silage I think their aim is to clear the grass and get the regrowth assuming it starts to rain next week. At present it is sunny but there is a strong Easterly wind blowing making the dry conditions even drier. Seven weeks ago we bought 4 ” freezer pigs” and Simon commented that one of the females “looked pregnant” as the last three weeks have gone by I have decided he was definatly right ( I was hoping him wrong). This morning I got up and opend the back door to let Holly and Smidge out at about 6.15 I heard a pig squeal however I knew this wasn’t an adult. Straight down to the piggery and there was a mix of piglets amongst our fatteners. Straight back in and rouse Dorothy and Simon and we rushed to set up a pen to seperate them as the others might decide to put them on the menue. Alex came in with Brother Paul and pepared the proper pen and we set it up with a heat lamp. The mother has had TEN piglets all doing fine at the time of this report. Pigs sorted on with the cows and we had a case of what we call ” grass staggers” ( shortage of magnesium) in one of the cows. I had treated her last night but she needed the vet. John our builder friend and “partner” in the freezer sheep enterprise rang me at 11.00 He had bought 3 lambs at Chelford market. More pen preparing and we now have some bottle feeding to add to the list. It’s all good fun !!!! more soon PHIL. P.S I forgot to add emptying the dirty water tank as it was full and backing up the yard drains. Happy Bank Holiday.
8/5/11 17.27 BST. The lambs and piglets all seem to be going on well and two days last week was sorting out a ditch the cow had bkocked up for us during the autumn and I have also obtained some pipe to sort it out with so they can’t mess with it again. The dry spell had seen our earlier efforts rewarded as it is now dry enough to far easier to work around than the 3ft deep mud. This week sees our first school visit of the year so I’d better finish tidying the shed. This should be easier as I’m being helped by Mitchell who is with us on his works expirience placement for two weeks. More soon PHIL.
13/5/11 19.04 BST.
We have had our first on farm school visit on Wednesday and it managed to stay dry for us. We haven’t had a lot of rain but it keeps comming as heavy showers. So everything is beginning to look less parched. We did however have to dip from pondside as the water level has dropped making the leaning out from the platform too dangerous. I have spent most of the week re-building the frost damaged toilets and the disabled and Ladies are now finished so only the gents needs finishing. Back on the farm and Guy came trimming feet this week and we have also had two calves an Angus female and a Black and white male.
More soon PHIL 🙂
10/6/11 18.43 BST. Last month gave us 42mm of rain and this month has started with just light rain showers. However last week we were offered a dry weekend and continuing week as a ” large high pressure was moving in” according to our weather forecasters. so we booked the hire tractor and mowed off 24 acres of silage and then from noon Saturday it rained and on Sunday it rained ALL day. Monday was dry and tuesday showery so we have done all we had mown. I have sheeted up the clamp and the remaining 16 acres can wait for some finer weather.
On Monday we also hosted a workshop for the sensory trust and I must apologise to Jen and Sarah for my pre occupation with silaging but talking to some of the farmers attending they had a successful day.Back to the farming and I’ve spent my day log splitting and next on the agenda is sorting out some heifer damaged electric fencing they had done while we cut the power while silaging. More soon PHIL.
27/06/11 19.06 BST. Second phase of first cut silaging now planned for weekend in the meanwhile I have Emma now a first year vet student who came for works expirience when she was putting together a portforlio for her application 2 years ago ( and we didn’t manage to put her off !!).
Last weeks Cheshire show was one of the busiest second days I have seen in years and Thursday I’ll admit to being a bit tierd.
Today Emma and I have weaned the piglets from their mother and I think I will keep her for a month for her to put on a bit of body condition and then we hope to send her to stay with a friend’s boar !!.
Our ” rescue ” sheep has been shorn by Alan ( better known for his skills with the combine) and under the wool she is definatly pregnant and expecting early nex month.
More soon PHIL:)

8/10/2011 17.43 BST.

Finally I have a few minutes to post something of a Summer’s update.

Our rescue sheep lambed in early August and had one large male lamb unaided I got up one morning and there he was and they are both doing fine. Our pig did go on he holidays and is now back and looks pregnant. Back at the farm and we have combined the oats and during last weeks exceptional late september/early october temperatures we have finished silaging. 27 acres in 1/2 a day Simon really motoring on the forager and he made me sweat on the buckrake. At the end of september we attended the Nantwich food festival for the first time in two years and it was very well attended. Also the start of setember saw my first appearance at Romiley young farmers show. This had missed a year due to bad weather in 2009 and had reduced itself to a one day show and I must say it was possibly my busiest day all season with the trailer though thoroughly enjoyable. We have also hosted a wedding in association with our friends Danny and Jen from JD marquees for bride and groom Zan and Chris this was a “wackey weekend”  at the bank holiday and a good time was had by all. I can see more of this in the future !!

This afternoon Dorothy has sent Mike and I picking sloes for sloe gin no doubt we found a huge ammoung on the hedge at the bottom of the banks so we now have two jars on the make. Once the pictures get put on imagine the other laugh we have had as I have been given a life size ( 15 hands approx) horse from a closed down saddlery shop which my auntie Carol has just taken on. I was helped collecting it by Mark our builder friend we thought it would get it in his transit van until we arrived so it was lifted on to the roof rack on it’s side.  Picture that going through the centre of Winsford  it certainly turned a few heads.

More soon PHIL 🙂

26/10/11 17.08 BST.

21, 24 and 27mm 0f rain for the last three months and looking similar for October. I have never seen our pond level so low at this time of year. Our forcasters are predicting a similar winter to last so I’ll now nail my colours to the mast and predict mild and wet…….. probably VERY wet as nature has a habit of balancing things out.

The cubical shed needs a couple of roof sheets replacing and I’m going to layer all the beds with some free sawdust we have been given by Paul our friendly skip man and then a covering of straw. We had left two loads of straw in the feed passage under cover and last weekend we unloaded them. Three rats had decided this was a good home for the winter however as they jumped of the decreasing load Holly was waiting. Holly 2 rats 1.

Tomorrow should see me fitting new flails to the spreader ready for emptying the store onto the Humpety back now the cows have grazed it down. I’m hoping to put Barley on it in the spring.

More soon PHIL.

17/11/11 23.09 GMT

Spreader flails fitted and working perfectly shame about the wheel bearing on the spreader yesterday though. The cows came in at night on Monday as up till Sunday night I was opening the gate at the end of milking and off they went but on Sunday they stood at the top of the cow drive and needed a start to get them going. Time to open the shed door then. As I write I’m sure they are well settled and full of silage. I ( breakdowns permitting) finish the humpety back tomorrow It has currently had 31 loads spread. This dry weather is quite phenominal you would sink out of sight as it is the wettest field in the rotation.

The cows have been grazing the drive field as the undersown grass on the oat stubble was about a foot high far too much grass to leave on for the winter I expect it finished over the next day or two. Back to the building work and I now have the plywood to line the shed “kitchen” ceiling. A good project if it starts raining. Also we missed last week’s quiz due to yet another landlord leaving. It re-opened today after three days closed.

Bye for now PHIL.

30/11/11  12.58 GMT.   The cows are still going out for a couple of hours during the day and we have finished spreading the Humpety back and I have so far spread 3 loads on the milestone.

Yesterday I was scraping out the cubicals when what I will describe as a squall lasting about 20minutes hit. I retreated into the shed and put out the bedding while it hammered down the rain and blew at I’d guess at about 70+mph. Geoff who was helping me rang my mobile asking if it was just the workshop or was all the farm’s electric off.  All was off and power wasn’t restored until 10.00pm (from about 2.00 pm when it went off). Trees were blown on the wires but this mornings light revealed one of the electric poles on the humpety back blown over but not enough for the wires to touch the ground they are currently hanging about 6ft obove it and I’m waiting for Scottish power to arrive as I write this. More soon PHIL 🙂

04/12/12   19.36 GMT   Scottish Power isolated the problem and came back on Friday and put in two new poles and we had another fault and switch off this morning with FOUR cows left to milk and the parlour to wash down. This was our fourth disrupted milking so setting up the tractor and generator have become second nature now. The cows are now in for the winter and the next projects other than farmwork will be a partition and door to fit in the classroom shed.  If you care to look at my tests I have now started a greenheyes twitter account the aim is to tweet during the summer 2012 roadshows.

More soon PHIL.

09 /12/ 11 18.54 GMT.   Five more days since my last post and four more power outages. We now have another new pole and this is in a completley new place and aimed at keeping tension on the wires as due to the heavy damage sustained during the first major wind  blow had left the line slack enough to touch together when the wind blew beyond about 30mph.  Given the state of the rest of the poles I’m reserving judgement on this fix if we get a gale although I can’t fault the hard work of the Scottish power staff on call but I’d like to get my hands on the person who cancelled the line’s renewal five years ago.

Back on the farm and I’m currently spreading on the Long field on a daily basis and so far it’s had 6 loads. I was hoping to start the partition project without electricty that job hasn’t started yet. Another project is I’m aiming to put in a generator isolator switch in the dairy which will mean we can power the lights, feeders, pulsators and milk transfer pump with our small generator directly into the existing system. More soon if the power stays on PHIL.

16/1/12  17.00 GMT

A Happy New year to all. How diferent Christmas 2011 to 2010 12 degrees centigrade  in 2010 it was minus 8.2 at the warmest it just shows how the British weather can be variable.  December saw 78mm of rain and so far this Winter’s rain has been steady not comming in great downpours this is allowing it to soak in to the ground rather than running off. This is better as groundwater levels really need it. Our partition is finished and next will be some trough repairs in the milking parlour. Our pig has given birth to 8 live piglets last friday and all seem to be doing well.

More soon PHIL 😉

23/1/12  17.44 GMT

Our pigs are all still well and growing fast and Friday saw Shane and I get the last heifer group in from the fields. We aren’t growing any Winter cereals so they have had all the farm to roam over but it’s time to house them. The mild weather has let them stay out for a couple of wekks longer than “normal” lets hope theyaren’t in for too long.

My work with the RABI charity has seen us register for one of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Beacons on June 4th see   For more information.

This means I’m setting up the “bar” we have used for Simon and Sarah’s 21sts again and have just been given some breakfast bar worktop for the purpose. I’m hoping to hold an event for the charity on the night so JD marquees will be lining the shed out and we’ll hope for a dry night. Given the last couple of summers being wet perhaps we are due for a drier one :).

This weeks quiz at the Three Greyhounds  is with yet another landlord the fifth since we started so we are welcoming him with a “Burns night special” mostly written by Margot and Dorothy.

More soon PHIL 🙂

26/2 /12  17.24 GMT  February is a quiet month for farming particularly now that we can’t spread muck until after the 15th ( EU NVZ rules (google it and if you understand them fully let me know!!)

So those looking at my tweets will see I have been visiting Wythenshaw schools. However since the 17th we have spread 14 loads on the long field and 32 on the Rancho both fields are now finished. Just the milestone to go. This should see us until the cows go out again in April. March is looming together with Manchester University visiting, our annual farm assurance visit  and a whole herd BTB ( bovine tuberculosis) test something I have NEVER know us to have during my lifetime. Our parish has now been put on annual test requirement so I’m afraid BTB must be closing in. It’s always a good source for me to get a few more grey hairs and annual testing will accelerate this process 😦  I’m also looking at getting the Humpety back sprayed to kill off all the grass and weeds (docks) and then we hope to plant some Spring Barley. If it stays dry quite soon.

All this is happening our the next two weeks all good fun (?)

Bye for now PHIL 🙂

06/07/12  17.34 BST

136mm of rain for June wet wet and more wet. We silaged 16 acres then stopped for rain then a dry Cheshire show then another weeks rain ( making me wish I’d been able to silage Cheshire Show week ) then finished silaging. We only got stuck once so not too bad. This year I am hoping to make more hay so that is certainly a waiting game for fine weather. Today Alex and I visited Wistaston Church Lane primary school and as I write this it’s still raining and the Roses Twenty  20 cricket is definatly off. A nice surprise this morning was a visit from Rob Linda and family frinds of ours who these days reside in the USA albeit brief as I was preparing for ANOTHER TB test. Make sense of this one.

We had a cow recorded as an “inconclusive result” in March’s test so re-test 60 days later then Inconclusive again so treated as a failure and taken for slaughter . Slaughtered and postmortemed NO VISIBLE TB SIGNS so now we have to wait 6 weeks for a tissue culture test result ( 19th July) in the meantime we also have had another whole herd test today if the culture is negative then our movement restrictions will be lifted. What I don’t understand is this is the culture test is negative why did we need a second test as the herd had therefore passed it’s annual test and they killed a healthy cow. sorry for the rant but I think the wet weather must be soaking into my usually thick skin.

Saturday sees us visit Holmes Chapel primary school ( they assure me it is still ON) and Sunday Wilmslow show. I do hope it drys up for them as I do understand the amount of work that goes into organizing these events. Back on the farm and another project is we are fitting a cattle handling race along the side of the collecting yard as we feel that now TB tests are to become an annual feature at the least the parlour and AI pens aren’t enough so a proper faculity needs putting in. This can however only happen when it dries up to allow the concrete to set .

The Spring Barley crop although rather patchy where it has been so wet otherwise looks well. Yesterday I rotorvated a patch for an extra wild bird seed patch (I think they will need it after this summer) and it was sown that evening The rain today should cover any seeds left on top.

More soon PHIL 🙂