It's been very cold on the farm, like everywhere else in the country, and the weather tends to dictate everything that happens here. There are always pros and cons to these frosty conditions and the trick for us is trying to turn it to our advantage, where we can, particularly as the days are much shorter so we are kept very busy. On the upside it's given us the chance to give some of the yards and cattle beds a good clear out of manure and tip it, although we can't spread it just yet. It was a beautiful sight when there was a flurry of snow earlier in the month and a hoar frost which left a coating on the trees for a while, particularly in the early mornings, but it meant the ground has been very solid for digging up some of the vegetables. Parsnips in particular need to be dug up fresh and are best stored in the ground, so we've had to pick our moments for this job, aiming for around two in the afternoon before the ground starts to ice up again. And celeriac needs to be handled very gently so that it doesn't snap off when it's picked.
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Jan '09 20
Sep '08 15
Looking ahead to sunnier days, we'll start harvesting as soon as the dew is off the crops and the combine has had its daily service, which involves cleaning air filters, checking oil and greasing all the bearings. Then we'll continue harvesting until at least 10 pm, sometimes working into the early hours.
Jul '08 7
Although we're not logging yet we are starting to get our two horses, Emperor and Duke, fit enough to mow. We're doing a little bit of mowing with them a few times a week to build their strength up.
Jul '08 4
We try to muck spread just before or during the growing season so it can be utilised by the clover and grass. Why do we muck spread? Well, it feeds the soil, particularly the composted manure. In a nutshell, it's the law of return and forms part of the nutrient cycle.
Jul '08 2
We've mown some grass and started tedding it (spreading it around to get the sun on it). Although the weather is not completely settled it's good enough to risk knocking some grass down. We mow it with the doors on the mower open which means the grass lies flat on the ground, then you give it a day or two and you turn it once or twice a day until you've got hay.
Jun '08 20
We are doing a lot of weeding at the moment. We've got our motorised hoes going up and down the vegetable beds to try to reduce the weed population.