Monday, 20 December 2010
The cold weather is really starting to cause problems on the farm now after the enjoyment and picturesque beauty of the fields and farmland when it first arrived. Water pipes are frozen up and with up to 8" of snow in places we are having to feed hay out in the fields. This wouldn't be so bad, except that the fuel in the tractors is turning 'waxy' and blocking up the fuel filters. Pershore, only 6miles away, recorded a temperature of somewhere near -19 Celsius of Saturday night. This morning I went to Chris Tallis Farm Machinery to get some diesel anti-freeze and we're adding it to the tractors and farm trucks as we thaw them out. I have never experienced problems, to this degree, before although I'm sure it's nothing compared to Scottish and Northern England farmers who would experience this much more frequently. Just a case of wrap up warm and keep the home fires burning ready to thaw us out when we return!
Thursday, 9 December 2010
No not the cricket, although that has been riveting watching, listening and googling, but a row of Ash trees in one of our orchards. The trees have not been pollarded (trimmed) for a number of years and so whilst we were replacing the fence line we trimmed up two of the trees. We didn't do all of the row in order to keep some existing habitat for the wildlife in the area. We'll get back to those in 4 or 5 years or so. Some of the wood will be dried out and used as firewood. The tops and some smaller branches will be left to rot down in the field where they will provide food and habitat for a wide range of insects, fungi, mammals and bacteria, all living in and feeding on the decaying material. They are very old trees and host a wide range of insects and birds. There is even a little owl living in one of the hollows.
Thursday, 2 December 2010
This is a shot I took last week (18th MOvemeber) of the Sesame OSR planted with our direct subsoiler drill. The plants are growing nicely with most of the field ranging from between 7-10 leaves. They are now 83 days old. There is some predation around the field margins from rabbits and some game birds, but most of the field is looking well. They have been treated with a single fungicide application, some trace elements and a grass weed herbicide mix. Now all we need to do is keep the pigeons at bay. We are experimenting with a few different bits of equipment this year to do this, as a large block of rape is near our local village. There is a wide range of prices for bangers, kites and day ropes so it is paying to shop around.