Monday, 8 October 2012

Some Of Our Smallholding Characters Having Their Picture Taken..

The lads (Bullocks) and Sooty (Heifer) posing at the Head-Feeder.  
Domino looking rather inquisitive.
Domino wrecking my model ships.  Hope he doesn't start singing a certain Rod Stewart song?

"I am sailing....."
The 'lads' still eating silage and Sooty  the black heifer still looking on.

Talking of 'the lads'.  A group of women can walk in to a  pub in Ireland and they are often greeted with  the following:

"Right lads.  What can I get ye?"

Surely it should be:

"Right lasses?"


  1. Domino looks a character, Dave. Does he love TV as much as Alan did?

  2. Hi Pat,

    Domino is a real character like Alan was. He's more into chasing and pawing moths and insects. Think he will be a great farm cat.

  3. The cattle are looking well, suppose they still have the attitude of "gentlemen first" and the lady looks quite content waiting her turn. And they're still outside. I like the smallholding architecture as well.
    Trees in the background looking green, ours are mostly brown, red and yellow. But it is the Emerald Isle I suppose.

    Nice to see the pics of Domino, he looks the part, sure he'll soon lose the awkwardness and stop knocking things over; hope the model ships survive until then.

    Don't know why the lasses should be addressed as lads, it must be an Irish barman expression. I'vs never heard it here, "Good evening girls, what's your pleasure" might be the accepted greeting, usually with a bit of flattery added.

    Had the last 2 days sunshine, probably the best weekend this year, dulling in again this morning though, a bit warmer as well, but autumn's definitely here.
    All my apples now fallen off the tree, I got 2 to eat, most of them eaten by the birds, and the rest by the slugs. They're only small as well. Won't be any home-grown apple wine then. Don't think it's been a good year for any of the gardeners this year.

    Raggy cat just come in, a bit of crackling from yesterdays pork joint, drink of milk and now sleeping on my armchair.

  4. Hi Cumbrian. It's normally Soot and Ruby pushing (head butting) the bullocks out of the way. Sooty decided to be a lady when the picture was taken (you're right about the leaves) a few weeks a go, when they came in for a week or so. The hedge is Olearia, a salt resistant evergreen sea side hedge with some native hazel in the background.

    Think Domino doesn't like being on his own. He will grow out of his wrecking soon, we hope?

    It's amazing how every country seems to have it's own sayings. For example my uncle once asked me:

    "Is the cow going to dairy?"

    Me not understand.

    Then the penny dropped and I realised he was telling me the cow was on heat.

    Sorry to hear about the apples. We got one this year. The wind blew all the blossom off. Think if you managed to grow vegetables or fruit this year, you are a good gardener. Talking of wine. I have a good crop of Kale and Spring Cabbage at the moment. Do you think I could make a wine with some of it?

    Raggy cat sounds like he lives a very good life.

  5. Glad you like the smallholding architecture Cumbrian. We try to make do and mend with what ever we have. The head feeder cover and sides cost me eighty Euros. Fifty for 2 old drive gates and the rest on some box iron and text screws. Already had the corrugated sheets. Number one son did the welding and charged me twenty Euros
    for labour.

  6. I think Domino will grow out of his vandalistic tendancies when he discovers the big wide world of smallholding mouse-hunting and staying out all night, might even team up with the dog, I think they'd make a good vermin eradication (or at least control) team?

    Yes I think most areas have their own sayings, little understood outside their locality. Cumbrian isn't only an accent, we have a lot of words that only seem to mean anything in Cumbria, and ways of saying some things that are totally incomprehensible to anybody not born here or living here a long time. Suppose most rural areas are the same.

    Never hrard of either cabbage or kale wine, nor any of the brassica family, don't know how it would turn out. Suppose the basis of wine-making is the yeast fermenting the sugar into alcohol, the other ingredients are to add taste and character to the finished product, so in theory any fruit or vegetable will make a wine of sorts.

    I really like to see the imaginative ways people recycle redundant materials, allotment architecture is a study all on its own; it's amazing what can be picked up for scrap value or just for collecting it, and re-used as something completely different to its original designed job.

    Still sunny but a cold breeze.

  7. Domino is no trouble what so ever. Thinks he's just going through his cat 'apprenticeship' at the moment.

    The Jack Russell attempts to sneak into the kitchen at every given moment. She likes to lie on top of the kitchen tiles, where the pipes from the Range to the radiators run. Then she gets too hot and lies at the back of the room on a rug. She's also a great character.

    Please tell me some of your Cumbrian words and see if we can guess them? The West Cork people say things like:

    "I am just going for the messages."

    Any idea what that means?

    Think I will leave the Kale wine alone and make some Saki, Jeddah Gin or Mead this week.

    Totally agree with you about allotment arti-tecture (Architecture). I really believe allotments are works of art - mainly working class. There's no better sight than an allotment gate made with a house front door, a shed made from pallets (lumps of concrete to hold down the roof, Asda shopping trolley to dry the onions, and old bus shelter for a greenhouse...

    Have you had a look at: Earth-ships Cumbrian? There's an American architect who builds and designs sustainable houses from recycled tyres, bottles.., just type: Mike Reynolds Garbage Warrior on You Tube. Thermal mass is an incredible concept.

    Been throwing it down today. Put my 'rainy day' suit and cleaned the cattle yard and stall out. Six wheel barrows of'Cow Curry' or vegetable fertiliser. Started giving them a bucket of beef nuts every day. They seem to be delighted.


  8. "Off for the messages" is also a Cumbrian expression, usually interpreted as "I'm going shopping"


    Sure you'll be able to interpretate these? Dunno if they're used in any other areas?

    Truly amazing where supershed trolleys turn up and what uses they get put to, I've seen them used as lobster pots. Also trawled one up about 3 miles out, we guessed one of the big boats had sent a somebody to Tesco to get some last-minute supplies, and they used the trolley to get the stuff back to the ship but didn't have the time (or the inclination) to return it, so gave it the float test 3 miles out. Got a left welly in the same haul, brand new, I kept it for ages hoping we'd get the right one. Never did.
    And another guy made rabbit hutches out of them, the possibitities are endless.

    The "Earth Ships", never heard them called that but I know exactly what you mean, it's yet another of my soap boxes, sustainable housing (and living in general). Just wish I was a few years younger and fit enough to have a go at one, I think I could build a livable eco-house with straw bales and green timber, round plan, reciprocal thatched roof, condemned pallet floor and glass bottle windows; or built into a hillside. I even had an idea using living mature trees.

    Still sun-shiney, lovely day it's been, but cold, very obvious it's autumn.
    Raggy cat gone out.

  9. Yes you're right about the "messages' Cumbrian. I had no idea what so ever about your Cumbrian words. I looked them up on Google and a lot of them seem to derive from Scotland, Cumbrian and Scandinavia. No doubt the Vikings had an influence on our/your language?

    It's incredible where the supermarket trolleys end up.

    I couldn't believe how much energy is stored in tyres filled with earth. We know so little about thermal mass.

    I believe years ago that the Romans used to graze Sheep on proposed dwelling sites. A sentry would notice where the sheep never lay down. This was interpreted to mean that there would be underground streams and this would would give the householder arthritis and rheumatics. So they never built there. There is a lot of research into Radon today. Cows are also said to have horns purely for water divination purposes.

    Nature never works with straight lines so why do we? I love the old wattle (Tudor) and daub, black and white, medieval type of houses. Once saw a programme about a house built into side of an hill with a stream running through the living room - magical.

    Back to my soap box about letting people live in the countryside and making it a real living place for people, not just farmers, the rich and the animal kingdom.

    Got saturated today doing my farm chores. Think I will make myself a hot whisky or two tonight.


  10. Thrang - Busy (what's tha thrang wid today?)
    Brant - Steep (it's a brant hill)
    Gelly - Very (it's gelly warm today)
    Marra - Mate (what's new marra?)
    Vanya - Nearly (we're vanya finished)
    Lowp - Jump (canst tha lowp a 5-bar yat?)
    Yat - Gate (shut't yat behind yer)

    Yes, bits of Scottish and a lot of Scaninavian from the viking raiders and settlers a few centuries ago, particularly noticed in a lot of Cumbrian place names. Thwaite - village, Ton - town, most of the tons are on the coast and the thwaites in the lake district.

    The radon is a big thing now, there's maps showing high risk areas, and if you fall within one, Building Regulations demand a radon report and suitble precautions taken when building.
    Never heard of cows horns being for water diving, I can't remember the last time I saw a cow with horns.

    Never seen a real Tudor wattle constructed house other than in pictures, but I did come across a barn built of mud and straw, cob I think they call it, on a farm on the Solway Plain, can't rmemeber the exact location, it was very old. Not many survive, the cob washed away easy if its head wasn't kept dry. It was riddled with rat holes where they'd eaten themselves litle tunnels.

    Like the sound of your own stream running through the house, especially if it was fit to drink. But you'd never get that one past Building control now.

    Try a drop of cow medicine, guaranteed to help a cold.

    Not a drop of rain today, been bright and sunny all day.
    Raggy cat gone out when I did some hoovering, it seems frightened of the noise.

  11. Yes you do have a lot of different languages and races influencing your words and names for things. We have a lot of Irish words for places and things.

    Read a bit about about Radon gas. Limestone areas seem to have the biggest deposits of Radon. I believe it can cause cancer and other physical and mental complaints. All new houses here in Ireland are recommended to fit a Radon membrane in the floor. You can also get a Radon detector to trace the gas. This is said to be the size of a matchbox. It's frightening really that rocks under the ground emit natural radiation and Radon.

    The cow is said to use its horns for finding water. The Kerry cow is probably the only cow in Ireland that is allowed to keep its horns. I know cattle marts are not allowed to sell cattle with horns. You even see dairy cattle with their tails docked. No doubt the dairy farmer got tired of being whacked in the face with their tails?

    There are plenty of Tudor wattle and daub houses in Shropshire and my favourite county, Herefordshire. Would loved to have seen the Solway Plain,cob house.

    Yes it would be great to fish for trout in the comfort of your living room. Building control would probably allow it if it looked like a city office block made from glass and steel girders. I like how in Spain they have 'white villages' and all the dwellings have to be painted the same colour. A lot of people in Ireland have commented on the 'bungalow blight' in the Irish countryside.

    Dry this morning, but feeling cold. Time to light the range. Think I will makes some soup today.


  12. The Regulations only demand a gas membrane barrier where recommended by the radiation report, obtained from the British Geographical Society on payment of their fee. So they must accept that some areas are more imfected by radon than others. We have some areas high and some low, we need the report to establish which, but once you've seen a few a pattern emerges.

    Never seen a cow with tail docked, but I can remeber how much a slap across the face (they're just the right face height) with the wet and filthy end of a cows tail stings. Not to mention the smell.

    Apparently cob was a favoured method of building on the Solway Plain, wherever there was readily available material, it was relatively quick to build with. The downside I suppose would be the thatch or sod roof which had a limited life span, and allowed rain into the top of the walls, so not many survive. That's the only one I've ever seen, I thought it was completely extinct.
    But I reckon an earth filled tyre built house would last for ever, they can't get shot of the tyres. And a green timber roof under a thatch covering, as long as the thatch was replaced, would last an awful long time; dunno so much about a sod roof, it would be very heavy when wet.
    Some research definitely needs to be done to establish the possibility of sustainable housing, but because it doesn't generate any money for anybody, it's not considered important by thr powers that be.

    I was told, rightly or wrongly, when I commented on the number of identical bungalows I saw in the corner of fields in Southern Ireland, that they were built to one standard design which had all the necessary approvals, so everybody just used this.

    Lovely morning here, blue sky, sunny, no breeze, cold.
    Raggy cat in, fast asleep on my kitchen chair.

  13. Thanks Cumbrian,

    I have seen a similar map for Radon in Ireland. Another concern of mine is electricity and the effect of radiation on humans and animals. I have read on the Internet about studies in Sweden concerning overhead power lines and their effects on cattle. Most utility companies in Europe say there is none or very little evidence of radiation from electricity. Yet every year we read that cancer is increasing.

    I remember my uncle hand milking his 7 cows and there was always two that liked to flick their tail in his face or wait for a bucket to be filled and kick it over. I think he put a rope spancil on it's back legs to stop this.

    I have seen quite a few houses in Ireland with corrugated iron roofs. We bought a goat from a house that was once a cowshed. I really like corrugated iron. Especially when they are painted red.

    Most of the farmhouses in Ireland used to be single storey cabins. Then in the 1920's they gave a grant for lime rendering and to make the 2 storey vernacular farmhouse we know today. We built a bungalow because it was cheaper and for when get old. I have lived in a flat in the past and its good to live on one level.

    Totally agree with you about sustainable housing. Why can't there be prefabs built again creating sustainable houses in rural environments. Rather than people having to live or commute to the city. I can't stand traffic and people not being able to have the time to stop and talk.

    Wet but not raining today. A typical Irish Mizzle day. Full of aches and pains and not in the mood for farm work or weeding the garden and veg plot. Going to make some tomato soup and do some fencing this afternoon.


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