Its not every Christmas that its as cold as last year 2010, when we had sustained cold and frost for some six weeks along with more snow than we had had for years.
Looking back in the diary just fifty years ago we had a very frosty spell over the run up to that Christmas 1961, we had turkeys to kill pluck and dress.
The surplus went live to the turkey sales live, and the rest we killed for private sales and orders. On the 22nd December we had a killing and plucking day, that night we had a hard frost that froze all the hanging birds bird solid, they were in a zinc roofed shed, the next best thing to a blast freezer.
This threw the spanner into the works for drawing and trussing the bird the following day, in fact it took two days to thaw them in the house, just enough to be able to draw them and an almighty panic with blue and frozen hand and fingers to get them out to customer for the 25th
The Millian Brook froze over where it crosses the road (the ford) down to our fields, and some folk with a car decided to try and ride over the ford on the ice, but it dropped them in and the car would not mount the ice step at the edge of the ford.
|Church Farm was just up round the bend of the road to the right, all traffic , mainly farm traffic had to cross the ford, most of the cows used the foot bridge because the bottom of the ford was all round stones and hard on their feet|
As with the times when the ford is in flood, cars get stuck and invariable came up to the farm for as tow out. One young couple had spent the night in their car them came early when I started milking, as the car came up out of the water they opened the doors and the water flooded out, it had been almost up to the squab of the seats.
I see also that we were still feeding Marrow stem kale over Christmas 1961 to the cows, this was chopped and loaded by hand and strewn onto the exercise pasture near the buildings. After milking cows and washing up the milking units in boiling water and having warm hands, this cutting frozen kale put the old hands to the other extreme. Each stem chopped brought down a shower of frozen droplet off the leaves and all over the person chopping, this kale in a good year would be up to six foot high.
|The same butter churn that mother used all through the war years|
The following is one of many timely hint that are printed in the diary for every day of the year, this one is the last hint for the Farmer & Stock Breeder year book and desk diary 1961
If you Churn for the house and are troubled with “sleepy cream”, the trouble is usually traceable to the cream being too low a temperature, too thick cream, overfilling the churn, or using cream from cows that are at the end of their lactation.The butter should come in 20 to 40 minutes