the usual

Well, looks like all is going well on the shop, building has well and truly started now, planning all went through and we got the drains done and the foundations are in, so building proper starts next week, quite pleased about that. Fergie 2’s clutch has gone so that’s in the shop for servicing, damned if I am going to do it, back’s been playing up and i don’t have the right tools toi change the clutch anyway.
The fox or badger has been back, there was a big hole in the chicken fence and 2 chickens missing, feathers everywhere, have to put more traps out I suppose, or go out hunting with the dogs, last time I did that all they caught were rabbits, I hate rabbit, don’t matter how you cook them I just don’t like them at all.

Vegetable garden’s doing well it’s on its third year all organic as well not used a single bit of chemicals on it, that was Fran’s idea I wasn’t sure but turns out you get much better crops in the end, just a lot more weeding, and you have to be more inventive when it comes to dealing with pests. Companion planting they call it, where you put stinky plants like onions and garlic which the insects don’t like right next to things they go for like strawberries, seems to work so far and haven’t noticed any garlickiness in the strawberries yet.

Cucumbers have been a disaster though, slugs have eaten most of them, might start planting cucumbers at the north edge of the vegetable patch just to attract the buggers and put plenty of beer traps for them, that always gets them. Tobacco plants I planted last year have all bolted so I used them to make organic pest spray and it’s worked really well, completely forgot to harvest them so they ended up being organic insect killer.
Gone off the idea of Alpacas now as they are supposed to be quite a pain to keep and the vet bills are a worry, sounds like you don’t make much off the wool anyway and so I thought what’s the point. I promised the kids so I will get just one pair next year some time but keeping with the sheep as they are hardy and better suited to the british climate, ie rain, which we are expecting a lot of this month. Reckon now the lower field is drained it shouldn’t get so waterlogged now so it should be good pasture in the summer.

new shop on the way

So the weather’s finally started to improve (not before time either) finally the lower field has started to dry out and I can safely put the animals out to graze there, well sheep at least as the cows would churn it up too much. Just about had it with that field so am thinking of getting a firm in to put some drainage pipes under to fix it once and for all.

The engine on fergie one has been serviced and it’s running pretty well for an old girl now and I can actually say things are looking good on the old farm now, both the wife and I have been looking into getting a shop going, it’s going to cost us a lot but she reckons it will pay for itself in a year or so, as long as we get the customers, we will have to invest a load in building work to convert two of the barns into stockroom and shop space and then buy stock but she is trying to get as many deals to spread out the payments so we don’t go bust in the first year, if it takes off we will cut back on the more time consuming areas of the farm and maybe even rent off a few acres to other farmers who need the grazing and cut back the herd.

So I have been talking to a number of construction companies about putting down new concrete yards and paneling and had a few surveyors round to look at the sites we want to build on. Had a couple of quotes for the concreting and even thought of just doing it ourselves and renting the equipment for a few days. It looks cheaper on paper but not decided yet.

Had a look round at a place called Fairport construction and priced up hiring the equipment and it looks like we would be saving a good few thousand on the initial flooring and paneling plus we could gravel up the car parking and access roads while we were at it – might as well take advantage of the gear while we have it.

John Evans and his crew are up for it and we’ve done some building projects on his farm a few times so we are fine with the concreting as long as we get the plumbing properly installed first – I had some plans drawn up by an architect who John recommended who did his cattle sheds a while back and he seems to think we should have no problems with the planning so as long as the bank’s behind us it’s looking like the shop’s a goer, just hope the bloody customers show up when it’s open, which we reckon on about September with any luck…

Alpacas

This has been the worst bloody spring I’ve ever seen…Fields are still flooded, snow only melted properly last week. Price of milk is at its lowest yet, no money in dairy farming any more, waste of time it is. Had 4 new lambs born this week, that’s 12 so far, another 10 or so on the way which is good. Lost 1 to badgers or foxes the other night, I will put more traps out for them buggers, I’ll get them sooner or later. That horse meat panic has actually going to do us beef farmers some good as it means more people will be buying british, about time if you ask me, serves them right for buying cheap imported meat… Glad of the extra business though..

Went over to Manor farm last week to have a look at Steve’s Alpacas and Llamas, weird looking things but easy enough to keep by the looks of it and less trouble than cows too so I might just buy a few of them and see how it goes. He says he will give me a good price for a breeding pair so I thought why not and the kids are mad about them so we will have to talk money next week and get the fences mended don’t want them wandering off and getting run over not with how much they are worth that’s for sure.

What’s appealing about keeping them isn’t the wool that doesn’t make a lot at all, hardly even covers the cost of having them sheared, but they are worth a lot for hiring out to stud and for breeding and selling - another thing is they won’t churn the fields up like cows do and they aren’t as susceptible to all the diseases that have been going around like TB and the like so definitely interested in trying them out..They are getting very trendy these days as people have been using them as an excuse to build on arable land and exploit a nice little loophole in the law, good luck to them I say…if they start to show a good profit I’m getting out of the dairy business and breeding alpacas and llamas, if people want them I’ll breed them if that’s where the money is and they don’t mind the cold either!

spring, what spring?

Bloody weathers still awful, 2 of my fields are still flooded, one of the cows got put down this morning bloody TB again. Getting right sick of keeping cows, just no money in it these days, in fact there’s hardly any money in farming neither. All the time you have to get up really early (and these winter mornings have been harsh) mess about with tractors, muck out bloody cows, get them all milked, fed and all then its fence repairing, half of the crops I’m growing are all GM and no good of it will come I tell you, whole worlds going mad is how it seems to me. Back’s always hurting, wife’s off spending money every day you can’t win in this life, only peace I will ever get is when I’m six foot under, bloody farming I’ve had enough of it wish I could just sell up and just do something normal like run a shop. Always fancied selling bike bits and having a workshop but these chinese bikes everyone’s buying are total rubbish no one wants to work on them because they are made of such cheap low grade metals and silly plastic bits there’s hardly anything to service, just throw them away and buy another one, thats the way the world’s going I hate it. Think I will hit the cider and whiskey tonight and burn the whole place down.

new crushers

On my farm, waste disposal is a major pain.. Always have stuff arriving in packaging, fertiliser mostly but after every job theres always loads and loads of packaging materials all over the bloody place. Get right fed up of it I do, I always try to reuse it whenever possible but a lot of the time the plastic bags and sheeting gets ripped so its useless for keeping bales dry and sometimes it partly rots down leaving me with horrible half rotted plastic bits blowing all around the place.

You can’t burn it because of the smoke and fumes being poisonous, it never rots down properly and ends up getting caught up in the machinery, combines the worst it can take me all day to clear out all the rubbish that gets caught up in the blades and whatnot. Anyways Steve on manor farm just got himself a new compactor and I thought I would go and give it a lookover and I was expecting it to be a lot bigger but was surprised how small the thing is.

So I said to the wife I will have to let some greasy salesmen to come round and do a sales job on me see if I can get the buggers to try and outdo each other on a deal, reckon I need one though.. I got a couple of Waste compactors from Dicom Ltd last week in the end and they have been doing a good job as long as the workers remember to use them that is. Got a good package though, not too costly and they come and pick up the bales of plastic every month which is a bonus so no complaints there. Let’s see how well they last the winter anyway, bet they go wrong in a year or so, probably just after the warranty runs out, bet they aren’t made in this country thats a certainty! Probably built in China and shipped over here in bits but then what with the state of things over here they probably can hardly assemble them properly, I had to go over miner and make sure they’d done it right, 3 parts I had to chase up that were bloody missing, useless.

Anyway turned out I was wrong they told me I didn’t need them but if it says they should have them in the owners manual I say they should have been there not that anyone takes any notice. So far so good with the compactors though they seem to have held together alright so far and I have made them work pretty hard surprised they havent broke yet.

snow’s gone at last

After the last load of snow I thought this just has to end soon, checked the weather forecasts and looks like we might have seen the last of it thank god, now I just have three flooded fields to drain.

Glad I brought the cows in otherwise they would have churned it into an unusable mess. Aches and pains haven’t been so bad this week so that’s a relief and today we even have a bit of sunshine, with grisly looking clouds on the horizon of course, no surprises there. Ah well can’t moan, least we don’t get meteors like them Russians did last week, that was a bit nasty by what I saw of it, fancy that a ruddy great meteor smashing into your town, makes you think doesn’t it?

The wife’s been busy making pies for the freezer, steak and kidney, hotpot, cornish pasties you name it so we are well stocked for those. Keep thinking we ought to start a shop but the building, refitting, health and safety and insurance expenses are absolutely crippling and then we would most likely have to take someone on maybe even two, so although it seems a good idea it probably just isn’t unless you are going to go the whole hog and turn the whole damn farm into an adventure playground, garden centre and weekend shopping mall and I’m not quite ready for that. I reckon I will keep on ploughing, harvesting and running the dairy for as long as I can and see what happens.

So over the winter just been getting all the machinery ready for the next potato crop, been down to the seed warehouse looking at seeds trying to make my mind up what to plant this year, not the easiest of choices and I’m not sure I trust these GMO seeds at all even if they do claim to come up faster and all ripen at the same time, reckon there’s loads they aren’t telling us so I’m keeping away from them for now anyway. Best get on anyway, the tractors won’t fix themselves, got to fit a new PTO shaft on the fergie.

winter tractor fun

Well, all the cows are in their barns now for the rest of the winter, you might wonder why we left it so late.
Reckon probably the coldest weeks behind us, well the answer is that it’s not for the cows benefit it’s for the fields.
With the fields get so waterlogged, the cows will just churn them up, won’t be any grass for them to pasture on later in the year.
I am aching all over, some muscles I didn’t even know I had are aching, now my sleeping’s bad and all, if things weren’t bad enough already.

With all the planning needing doing for the coming year I need to be in good form, I wish.
Had colds and coughs all winter and made no difference the doc giving me prescriptions for antibiotics, (bloody steroids, you name it) just made me feel worse is all.
This winter and all these floods have been really bad for the fields, the rivers are still overflowing everywhere and the forecasts keep promising us more rain, more snow, and I have to go out and help local idiots in their cars that are stuck in fords and what have you, they should have read the flood warnings but I have to go out in sub zero temperatures and tow them almost every day just because I have a tractor for gods sake. Think it’s fun having to start up a tractor and go sliding around in mud and snow half the day?

Nobody pays me to do that, or pays for me diesel neither..Like as if I want to go out all hours on me tractor doing that they think I got nothing better to do on a sunday morning? Damn fools ought to know better, they all got radios and bloody SATNAVs they need to listen to them, flooding means flooding, cars don’t drive on water do they?

howdy..

… ok - first things first - not ‘that’ Mumbles - not that place in Wales - this ‘Mumbles’ is ‘me’ - I have had the handle ‘Mumbles’ since before Google came along, and before I even heard of that place in Wales (nothing against it, but it isn’t a person and so can’t blog right?)

This is my blog - and its going to be fun.