Monday, 30 May 2011

chicks have hatched

The little brown hen has hatched her eggs. She started off with five chicks but two had died within a day  so she just has three left. She's very protective and disappears into the broody box with them as soon anyone goes into the henhouse, so it's very difficult to get a photo.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Still no rain

Still no rain.

A combination of low water levels and erosion has meant that the island in the middle of the pond has almost disappeared and this is the first time for years that a wild duck hasn’t nested on it.

At the Essex Young Farmers Show on Sunday, the main topic of conversation wherever we went was the lack of rain. The newly planted Christmas trees are dying, the flowers on the beans are really low on the stalk, which means they will be difficult to combine and the yield from our wheat crop is predicted to be cut by half. Across the area, farmers who have forward sold their crops are buying themselves out of contracts as they won’t be able to produce enough grain to fulfil them and those who have expensive storage agreements with large co-operative grain stores will have charges to pay even if they have little to put in.

And today there is a burst water pipe down the road so we have no mains water either.

All a bit doom and gloom.

But at least we aren’t being showered with volcanic ash cloud.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Bud Rubbing

This week we've been bud rubbing the Christmas trees, which involves taking off the buds on the top row of branches. Removing this bud stops the tree shooting a branch outwards and instead the side branches will develop so that we get a thicker but narrower tree.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

watching foxes

This morning I watched two young foxes running along the bridleway in the Ley and then run and jump along the tramlines. They wheeled around and chased a bird and then one fox ran back to the country park and the other along the farm track and into the hedge. A lovely sight. Not such a lovely sight though is the pile of feathers I found in the garden this week. Another guinea fowl killed. I wish the foxes would stay in the fields.

Meanwhile, my little brown hen is sitting on ten eggs in the hen house and I hope 

that as the cockerel ushers his ladies around the garden he's keeping an eye out for any lurking predatory foxes. Last year the foxes picked off six of the hens and two guinea fowl.

This week we've been watering the most recently planted Christmas trees and using the knapsack sprayer to kill the weeds around the trees in the plantation. And we're hoping that it's going to rain. Last weekend we were forecast rain and all we got was a miserable 1.5mm over the two days. Barely enough to wet the ground.

Friday, 6 May 2011

farmers and hedgerows

The beans in Grove Field are on flower and the smell is wonderful.

The view this morning from the mound at Great Notley across our neighbour's oilseed rape crop to The Ley

and the view up to the farm. The tall Wellingtonia tree (just to the right of the picture) stands in our garden.

All those hedgerows and trees. So it seems that farmers haven't ripped them all out after all.