Friday 25 October 2013

Our Cats Tour Around The Smallholding.

Domino exploring the Ferguson 20 tractor. 
Domino deciding on what restoration work is required.

Domino looking for rats around the cowshed.   Or maybe he's looking at the tyres?
My newly planted 'japs' Winter onions growing in a bath.  Well you don't think we keep coal in it, do you?

Saturday 19 October 2013

Smallholders Question Time. "Is it animal, mineral or vegetable?"

What am I?"
I pulled this farm implement from under one of our Fuchsia hedges this morning.  Do you have any idea what it is?  I think I will paint it up for a garden ornament.  Number one son wants it for his scrap metal pile.

Do you know what it is?

I always like reading about the people farming long a go.  One piece of equipment that you would see in any haggard (where the cowshed and haystack lived) was a Furze machine.  This was turned by hand.  You would pass Gorse ("Furze") bushes through it to crush it an make it palatable for the farm horse and cattle.  I believe you can cut down "Furze" with the loppers and bash it with a wooden mallet.  Anybody ever fed it to their cattle or horses?

Any road.  Many years ago.  When a bachelor met a young spinster at a dance.  He would always check if she had all her fingers.  "Why"? you ask.  It was very common for a milk maid to lose the top off her finger from the blade on the old "Furze" machine.  She would be know good for a wife for the farmer.  She wouldn't be able to milk his cows.


Tuesday 15 October 2013

Making Life So Much Easier On Our Smallholding.

We  have been busy lately making the old cow shed into a new slatted house.  This means that no longer do we need to clean them out with the four prong pike and barrow every day.  The cattle are in now for the winter.  I can't believe how easy it is.  The tractor puts in the a bale and we spread it about with a pike.  They are eating barley silage and straw in the above photographs.  Yes I know the straw is piked much too close to the head feeder.  

Cattle are making savage money at the moment.  The only thing is the small cattle are also making big money.  So if you sell your cattle you can't really afford to buy any replacements.  How can can this be so?  Dear cattle in a recession.  Me not understand?

When we were making the new slatted shed.  I kept thinking me or my son would get hurt.  We didn't though.  Oh no!  We took down the scaffolding last week and guess who split his finger open with a scaffolding plank?  Yeah it was me!

Number one son made (cut and weld) the head feeders and gates.  Not bad for a 16 year old eh?  

Friday 11 October 2013

Log Splitting Time On The Smallholding.

I spent last Saturday afternoon splitting logs with my son's home made tractor log splitter.  It's powered by my beloved Ford 3000 tractor.  Number one son made it with no plans.  A clever lad.  It's a shame there are no apprenticeships  for all these clever lads and lasses.  Ireland and England (UK even) need to start manufacturing instead of importing everything.

The log splitter saves the back breaking work normally done by ME and the axe.  Rather like the man who claimed he owned his grandfather's axe:

"It's had seven new handles and seven new heads.

But it's still my grandad's axe."

The old one's are the best aren't they?

Have you invented a useful piece of smallholding equipment?

Wednesday 2 October 2013

Rhododendron Television..

That's a photograph of Derreen gardens near Kenmare, here in Ireland.  I love Rhododendrons and Azaleas and visiting stately homes with their fantastic old gardens.  Most of the one's in Ireland seem to have belonged to Anglo Irish families.  A lot of the houses and gardens need lots of tender loving care.  It's a shame the National Trust isn't in Ireland.  Don't think it is.  Is it?

Derreen Gardens near Kenmare
If you tune into BBC 4 tonight at 7.30.  There's a programme called:  A Garden in Snowdonia.  Tonight it's all about my friends the Rhododendrons at Bodnant gardens in North Wales.  It costs the National Trust one million pounds a year to run and maintain Bodnant.  I once visited it many moons a go.  It's well worth a visit.  So is Heligan, (been there) Tresco (went there in an helicopter) and Cholmondley (fantastic refreshments and Italian garden).

Well done BBC.  Can we have a weekly television programme about vintage tractors?  Please!!

Two Charity Shop Vases Full Of Feverfew.

"The 18th Century Aspirin Plant." I have this plant growing in my veg garden at the moment.  It is supposed to be brilliant for al...