Saturday, 30 April 2011

jumping competition

This weekend Notley Livery Yard has been running a jumping and dressage competition for friends and clients. It’s good to see everyone out in the sunshine having fun.

Across the farm, the hedges are full of blossom and we've been picking hawthorn flowers from hedges like the ones above to make all sorts of drinks and puddings. If you’d like to try some recipes for hawthorn flower recipes click here.

The warm weather means the crops are growing with the beans in Grove Field just coming into flower  – though of course we’re still desperate for rain.

Thursday, 21 April 2011


Phew. Warm isn't it?

The big wheels have been taken off the tractor and rowcrop wheels fitted. These tyres are narrow and won’t damage the plants as the tractor drives along the tramlines (the strips in the fields with no crops) but changing the wheel size means the sprayer has to be recalibrated so we’ve been measuring out a 100 metre strip to work it out.

The beans in Grove Field have grown considerably since January, but some rain would be good. Though maybe after Easter.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Sheep Rustling

Sheep rustling is on the increase. Apparently a car stopped by police on the M5 had 16 lambs inside it.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Dry weather

Monday 3pm – watered the Christmas trees  that were planted in February as the ground is so dry.

Monday 6pm – rain. Hurrah.

Monday 6.15pm – rain stopped. Not enough to do any good.

The fine weather has been good for doing some maintenance on the buildings this week. The side of the old workshop was in a bad state, so the carpenter has repaired some of the uprights and replaced the weatherboarding with new boards that Ruth has been painting.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Improving gateways

This week we've been

spraying crops and spreading fertiliser

improving the gateways to the grass paddocks as they get very wet and muddy in the winter where the horses go through

moving scarecrows and bangers around and put up another artificial hawk in an effort to deter the pigeons, which are still feeding on the oilseed rape crop.

enjoying the sunshine but ...

hoping for some rain as it would be good for the crops. 

Monday, 4 April 2011

Wild watercress

A few years ago, an old lady who had lived in our house as a child came to visit. I showed her around the house and in each room she clasped her hands together and sighed "You've got a radiator in here." Our house could never be described as a warm house – the ceilings are high and the wind whistles under the doors – but before central heating it must have been bitterly cold. Then she asked if the wild watercress still grows by Horse Pasture and I was pleased to tell her, that yes, it still grows in the same place seventy years later. I didn't tell her that the children called that corner of the field The Humming Wires, as it's under the high voltage electricity line that buzzes in damp weather. Horse Pasture sounds so much better.

Along the same stretch of the field, everything is bursting into life.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Improving the track

Over the years, tractors using the track through the farm have made quite deep ruts and in the winter some sections became wet and muddy where the water couldn't get away. This week we've had a digger levelling the track and though it looks a bit odd at the moment, it will soon green over and make it much better for walkers and horse riders in the future.