Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Planting Christmas Trees

Bill has been planting Christmas trees this week. These Nordman firs are only 30 centimetres high but are already four years old. They are raised in one bed for two years, then transferred to another bed for a year, then to another bed for a further year and then transplanted into their growing space. By moving them every year, the root growth is restricted which should stop the tree growing too vigorously and so will produce a tighter tree.

Once the trees have been planted we need to keep the ground around them clear so will hand pull any weeds that appear. Our most damaging pest is the rabbit, so the field is netted to keep rabbits out. Over the years, we will give the trees some fertiliser and prune them to a good shape.

On our heavy soil it will take at least seven years for these trees to grow to 1.25 metres, which is the height we will start to cut them for selling at Christmas time.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Corrugated tin

We have corrugated tin in various places on the farm - old tin on the Essex Barn

and  new tin on the garage, but what I'd really like is ...

this rooster or

this goat and sheep or

this very desirable pig


We have several horses kept here on the farm and it's good to see them out grazing again after the bad weather. Their owners were very patient when it was too wet to turn out as feed costs increase when the horses are kept in the stable all day and they can be a bit frisky when they're ridden. It also makes a lot more mucking out for Terry and Helen of Notley Livery Yard who look after the horses.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Pigeon Patrol

Despite the scarecrows, gas guns, pigeon shooters and regular walks around the fields, the pigeons have managed to eat a lot of oilseed rape over the past weeks. So now every day is pigeon patrol day in an effort to keep them up in the air and off the crop.

The plants in the left photo have had their large green leaves stripped by the pigeons; they should look like the second photo. 

The bird scarer is having some effect as the field is much greener there than in the other part of the field where the pigeons have been grazing.