Sunday, 9 October 2011

Down on the farm.

The swallows have finally all gone. I am not surprised when I look out of the window and see the disgusting weather - windy and wet. Their going heralds the return of our car to the garage; we can't put the car in in the Summer as the swallows nest in there and make such a mess of the car.

The cattle are still out in the fields. Silaging is finally finished on all the surrounding farms and there is still plenty of grass, so the cows will stay out as long as possible to eat it off. They seem to prefer to be out in any case. What will finally bring them in is the state of the ground. If there is a lot of rain then the ground gets wet and soggy and they paddle it up.

The hedgehogs don't seem to have gone into hibernation yet. Tess seeks them out when she goes out for her final mooch under the Scot's pines. They seem to take absolutely no notice of her and all she does is bark at them. The ones we have here all seem to be fat and healthy. This is hardly surprising as they eat the food we put out for the farm cats and any apples which are past their best I throw out under the bird table for blackbirds and hedgehogs. When they finally go to bed for the winter it will probably be in the hay barn where it is snug and warm.

The new gates are not fitted yet. The posts are in and the concreting of the gate way is completed. Now the farmer is waiting for it all to set really hard. The hens are therefore having an extended birthday as they can come up every day with no need to fly over the gate. For some reason they seem to find sunflower hearts, niger seed and mixed bird seed preferable to poultry wheat and layers pellets. But then, stolen fruit always was the sweetest.

The farmer is already inside for the day and has just lit the wood-burner - it is that miserable outside. When I questioned how early he was he just informed me that he was not staying out in this weather. It is only 10.24 but he has all yesterday's papers to read and the Grand Prix is on shortly after lunch, so he will be happy.

I am baking our own onions for lunch. I bake them in their skins and we eat the insides at the table - like one would do with potatoes - they have not been taken from the groundn long and are still very sweet. Served with pork chops, apple sauce and mashed potatoes they should make a tasty lunch.

Tomorrow the farmer begins to clean out the loose housing - two feet of manure in there from last Winter. It will all be put in a heap on one of the fields to mature and will then be spread in the Spring. The farm cats will be furious as it is by far the warmest place to spend the day - the heat has built up considerably over the Summer. But it is necessary to clean it out and put in fresh deep straw so that it is ready for the day when those girls have to come inside.


H said...

There is always work to do on a farm. I don't think city people realise what hard labour it can be! Good to be able to spend the occasional day inside when the weather is too foul though :)

I haven't seen any hedgehogs here this year. They are not regular visitors to my garden, but pop by from time to time. Even so, when I burn the garden debris early next month, I will move it forkful by forkful.

Tanya @ Lovely Greens said...

I'll bet the kitties love the warm barn for more than bunking down in - mice and other 'chase-toys' were probably attracted to it too ;)

Heather said...

It's good to know that the farmer is having a day off - he'll enjoy your lunch, it sounds delicious. Preparations for winter seem to be well in hand and more necessary for you than most of us. We haven't started to use our heating yet but it won't be long.

Mary said...

All that hard work makes my petty gardening chores seem rather insignificant! Fortunately I'm still having gorgeous weather when working outside and am still in shorts and tank top, it's really warm by mid-morning.

I cut down all those moonflower vines enveloping the front porch yesterday - had to do it, as much as it hurt, because they will die back while I'm away and look so ugly. I'm saving the seeds in hopes they will grow next year - these were so beautiful!

Today, as hubby's away for a few days, it's my turn to water the new grass seed - a 2 hr. job repositioning the sprinklers around front and back lawns - so pouring another cup of coffee and heading outside into the cool morning sunshine!

Sending warming thoughts to the farm - loving the stories - hoping the rain lets up soon.

Happy day - Mary X

Rachel said...

Hi, yes, it rained here all night too. I lit the woodburner at midday for a little comfort although it is quite mild outside and I now have the door open! My cats are asleep indoors although they were mousing all night and I was presented with a live mouse in the bedroom in the middle of the night. This morning I am left to clear up dead mice remains and muddy footprints. There is still one live mouse hiding in the kitchen; I am hoping a cat will come down to catch it soon. Life on the farm is such fun don't you think! (The word verification is catinet!)

Crafty Green Poet said...

Always sad to see the last of the swallows go, a sure sign of the changing seasons.

Your baked onions sound wonderful, must try that some day

Pondside said...

No hedgehogs here, but the raccoons are thick on the ground. We've caught and re-homed four in the last two weeks, but the hens have remained safe. Your lunch sounds delicious - probably eaten and cleaned up by now!

Gerry Snape said...

Your baked onions sound wonderful...ours got that fungal disease this year so not as many as usual...we usually get through to the late spring on ours.

ChrisJ said...

Lots of hard work,, but even the cats will appreciate a clean barn.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I realize Edward and Apple would not agree with me in the least, but I wish we had hedgehogs here!

Rare Lesser Spotted said...

Lovely blog Weaver. We've had a very damp weekend in Liverpool. Our hedgehog hasn't been around for a month or so and we're wondering where he/she might have gone.

angryparsnip said...

I love Hedgehogs and wish I could have seen some on any of my trips around the UK.
We used to bake onions like potatoes in tinfoil many years ago and then I stopped... but now you started me thinking about trying this again. I have never baked them in the skins sounds really great.

cheers, parsnip

Robin Mac said...

I have always peeled my onions before baking them, must try leaving the skins on next time, though I love the caramelly, crispy bits on the peeled outer skin - does that make sense? I do love reading your stories about life on the farm. Cheers from hot and dusty Queensland, we could do with some of your rain.

The Weaver of Grass said...

The baked onions were very good - creamy and mild, but I think I preferthem crispy on the outside which would mean peeling them first.
The rain is still with us today so washing is drying inside - always a miserable occasion.
Thanks for replying.

John Gray said...

wet day here too
I have spring cleaned the kitchenx

Lucky Dip Lisa said...

Hi! Long time no see. I love the fact that you allow the swallows to stay and keep your car out. It's great to read your post and hear how connected you are with your environment.