" Problems, problems, problems. Don't give me your problems."
Classic Neo Progressive rock fans will recognize those Marillion lyrics from "He Knows You Know." If I remember right it's from that brilliant album: "Script For A Jesters Tear."
Any road. We have been digging out for a new concrete base and we hit an old flag drain. It's one of those stone tippler drains and it was squeezed to the last in the Haggard (where the cattle and the feeding lives during Winter) and blocked with clay. I think the drains must have been dug by one of my ancestors. I recently found out that my great great grandfather was farming this farm in 1830. So the drain was either dug by my great great grandfather, my great grandfather or my grandfather. All dug by hand with shovel and pick. Wonder what they would think of our Smalley digger?
Number one son dug the trench (with the digger) in less than an hour and we placed some black 4 inch corrugated pipe in the trench. The black corrugated pipe is much better than the yellow plastic pipes of the last 20 years or so. I believe the Romans use to use brushwood for drainage. It's rather humbling to work with drains that your ancestors dug with a pick and shovel for nothing. They stood their test of time and sometimes we find an old broken smokers clay pipe in the drains.
Today's modern tractors, track machines and silage bales squeeze the old stone drains to the last and then we end up with blocked drains and lots of soft rush and buttercup. I reckon we have nearly paid for our Smalley digger with the work she's done in the last few months. She's nearly 40 years old and her Lister engine runs off a thimble full of diesel, not quite, but you know what I mean. My ancestors horses that carried the flags would have run off Oats and Mangels in the winter. Not forgetting the Furze (Gorse) and Hay. They didn't rely on oil did they? Have you any drainage plans for your smallholding this year?
I would love to dig a small fishing lake and stock it with Coarse fish like: Perch, Tench, Crucian Carp and may be a few trout. Then I could make a few pegs to fish on and spend my mornings and evenings fishing. What about you?