Monday 10 June 2013

Maggie The Tractor Gets Her Nose (even exhaust!) Pushed Out.

It's been fantastic weather here in southern Ireland for the last couple of weeks.  I have even been too busy to write the blog.  But don't worry other blog writers.  I always find time to read yours.

We have been topping and spraying and harrowing and trying to make the smallholding look like it's loved again.  We have even managed to sit on the benches on the patio (made for nowt) and have a few drinks, (Sangria and Newcastle (not together) Brown Ale!).  Whilst watching the bay and the farmers harvesting silage in the distant fields. We also sampled our first 'Orla' new potatoes last week.   They are about the size of a pigeons egg and tasted fantastic.  You can't beat fresh and homegrown  food.

Any road.  Maggie the Ford 4000.  Came home with a crooked exhaust the other day.  Number one son had been topping in the 'Corn Field' (all our fields have names) which doesn't have any corn growing in it and he caught her exhaust under a Blackthorn bush.

When I first started smallholding.  Once was tempted to go round the fields and cut down any overgrown branches.  Then I realised that cattle use the branches for sheltering from the rain and sun and having a scratch and eating the Ivy.  So I decided to leave the branches alone.  Maggie needs a new exhaust (second hand probably) and  now I am not so sure.

This morning (Monday) I went for my morning mile saunter to see if they cattle and the Shetland pony were OK?  I traipsed up and down the fields looking for them in the pouring rain and very blustery wind.  Eventually I found them all sticking their noses out, under some OVERGROWN Blackthorn branches.  They look at me with facial expressions that seemed to say:

"What's he want?


"Wouldn't you think he'd get some shelter under these overgrown Blackthorn branches?"

You just can't win, can you?

Will post a picture of 'Maggie' the tractor, when it stops raining.  Free Nitrogen from above?


  1. Think maybe the dry cattle and Sheltie might have more sense than the wet smallholder?

  2. Hi Cumbrian. You're probably right. I always check the cattle every morning to see if they had injured themselves on barbed wire, fighting, falling in streams or just gone walk about. It's back to the rain and showers again here. Perfect weather for potato blight.
    We are eating ours now. Thanks!

  3. Think our weather is about the same today; cool, dull. damp and showery.
    Returned home yesterday to notice the last 2 weeks seems to have been the best growing weather this year, trees in full leaf cover, grass growing as I watch it. There's been a bit of sunshine as well, maybe I should go away more often.
    No 2 son came to see me with 2 Fathers Day cards (one from grandson) and bottle of decent Rioja, he commented on the sturdy growth by my grass and how green and healthy it looked, so maybe he'll be coming to mow it in the forseeable future.

    Good to hear you're lifting some new potatoes, get them eaten before anything happens, bet they taste marvelous, especially with spring lamb, mint sauce and petit pois, even better if you produced it all. My peas in a pot are growing very well, about 18" high in the last 2 weeks, not bad for dried peas from Asda, hope they get some good pods.

    Raggy cat resumed its hedonistic fireside lifestyle, came running to meet Mrs yesterday, all miaowing, straight in to the biccies. Seems to be surviving well, very sleek and plump it is, a good sign the vermin are being eaten.

  4. Hope you had a good holiday Cumbrian? The eight cattle yearlings seem to be keeping the grass short so I don't think there will be much silage grown on the farm this year. The Barley is now about six inches high. It's got rushes and some weeds growing in it. Probably should of sprayed it first? Neighbour rotovated another field and we are going to plant Kale for the cattle to strip graze it in the Winter. Have you ever grown it?

    New potatoes are really good this year. The rain seems to be swelling them nicely.

    Cattle being tested for TB this week. Friesian cross cattle are doing very bad at the marts. So I probably won't sell until they are really big.

    Glad to hear Raggy Cat is sleek and plunp. Domino caught a mouse yesterday. He's started coming in the kitchen via the open window.


  5. Can't remember the last time I saw kale, it was a winter green feed but cut and carted in to the milkers, a horrible cold wet job it was. Don't think it lends itself to large-scale production, too labour intensive for the big farmers. Strip grazing sounds good, probably get a bit muddy but they won't mind and sure you're used to it?

    Good to hear Domino's earning his keep, he looks a good mouser, sure he'll find a nice warm place in the kitchen.

    Got a bag of Jersey Royals for dinner tomorrow, they're about the only ones with any taste, be better to dig them up fresh though. I planted one in a pot, dunno what it is, just one from a bag that was sprouting, it's about 6" high, so maybe one dinner in a few weeks.

    Nights getting shorter, it's a bit warmer as well, but keeps damp here.

  6. I have heard that you can even round bale Kale. But there's not many contractors who will bale it for you because the stalks are so thick and it plays havoc with the machinery workings. I think you sow in a spreader with fertilizer and lots of slug pellets thrown in. Rabbits will also be a problem along with rooks and wood pigeons.

    Domino is turning into a fine hunter.

    Jersey Royals are excellent. Think it's the soil that gives them their exquisite taste.



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