Thursday, 5 July 2012

Oh How We Love the Land

Oh How We Love the Land,

Each day that we wake up, on the farm we love,
Seeing what the weathers like, look at the sky above,
Breathe in all the fresh air, as from the fields it drifts,
And hearing all the bird songs, your heart it does uplift.

How the village looked when I was growing up
Its now (2012) been fifty three years since I started farming at the age of twenty one. At that time, and fresh out of Farm College you are prickling with enthusiasm to bring in the latest ideas and the new ways of working.

 In hindsight its always a bit rash to commit to new ideas before they have been proven, so it was my fathers frowns and disapproval that tempered my enthusiasm at some of the thing I wanted to try out.

Silage was just being “trialled” at college , this was hand fed with a pitch fork into a chopper blower and blown into the top of a concrete tower silo. This was reined back to a weld mesh circle with tarred paper lining, the story of that is told here

Cow cubicles had just been invented, and we went on a farm visit with the college to see the very first cubicles and the cows using them. At home we were tying up cows by cow chain in stalls twice every day, which limited the number of cows kept, and of coarse the milking parlour came in hand in hand with cubicles

 On my third year of farming on my own, I had four more calving than I had got stalls for, and proceeded to built a timber block of four cubicles, the pattern and dimensions were taken from the Farmers Weekly, they published all the new ideas and up to date information of that year.

Sugar beet had never been grown in our immediate area, and to my fathers credit he went for it, ( late 1950’s)  the beet all being hand pulled (we did have a lifter that lifted the beet a few inches enough to break it free from its anchor tap roots) then topped and loaded and taken down to the local station to be loaded into 20 ton rail wagons.

 I recall that we were trained as students on how to correctly pull and top beet to maximise the weight of sugar beet loaded for sale to the factory, and while we students pulled and topped the entire headland round the college field of beet. We were then told a sugar beet harvester was coming on trial from a manufacturer. This was the first beet harvester ever seen by almost every one at the college.

 I grew a few acres of sugar beet for a few years until the stock number grew and the land was required for kale and mangols for the cows.   

Another new invention that first appeared around then was the disc mower, up until then it was all finger bar mowers, which had themselves had had a good fifty years run of unopposed monopoly of grass and corn (wheat oats barley) cutting before that.

The funny thing is that the most up to date combines still use the finger bar blade for cutting the crop. 

 A Good Old Way of Life
 There are the wise and the old, and the young who want to learn,
There’s the hard working not so olds, their fortunes try to earn,
Farming’s got a grip on them, they know no other way,
Come hail or rain or sunshine, it’s just another day,

From early in the morning, till after dark at night,
For crops and stock their caring, they are their delight.
Working hard day by day, in a green and pleasant land,
Don’t have time to stand and stare, have a good look around,

Take in the beauty of where they work, the fields the trees and lanes,
All the years of care and sweat, well out weighs the pains.
It’s just a good old way of life, their families there to rear,
Health and hope and happiness, the harvest brings good cheer.

Countryman )Owd Fred)

A life spent making mistakes is not only more honourable, but more useful than a life doing nothing.
George Bernard Shaw  (1856 – 1950)

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