Hedge Laying at Stour Cross Farm

March 23rd, 2011

There’s an art to good hedge laying.  As with many things, the theory behind laying a hedge is easy; the practice is much harder – requiring skill and experience. The aim is to reduce the thickness of the upright stems of the hedgerow trees by cutting away the wood on one side of the stem and in line with the course of the hedge. This being done, each remaining stem is then laid down towards the horizontal, along the length of the hedge.

This hedge is over 40 years old and has grown into spindly trees.This hedge is over 40 years old and has grown into spindly trees.
Whilst Martin and Dave have a few days spare to tidy up the farm, they set to work cutting out old rubbish such as Ivy and side shoots. A chainsaw, CAT and man power is all that’s needed.
Some of the hedge has growth so big, the only answer is to remove itSome of the hedge has grown so big, the only answer is to remove it
The hedge around most of the farm is over 40 years old and has never been managed except for being trimmed every year. It has grown into tall spindly trees now suffocated by ivy. Every year after heavy winds we find big gaps in the hedge where weakened trees have been blown over.
Coffee breakCoffee break

 

 
Tools down for a well earned coffeeTools down for a well earned coffee
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Maize Silaging at Stour Cross Farm

October 6th, 2010
Robert, aged 8, standing amongst the maize before it is harvestedRobert, aged 8, standing amongst the maize before it is harvested

October 5th 2010

Having been advised by a maize specialist that the maize needed another week before cutting, our attentions turned to the weather forecast for the next few days.  No rain……please!!   Sadly it did rain but thankfully brightened up just a day or two before the contractor were due to arrive. It was a poor crop this year because there was little moisture for the maize to grow. Martin had to buy in more maize to compensate for the inadequate quantity this year. The last two years have produced some excellent maize forage but that was all down to the wet summers we had. This year, completely different, but from my point of view I was so pleased for my holiday guests that they could enjoy their weeks full of sunshine. Unfortunately one industry suffers whilst another gains.                                         

The maize should be twice the height of my 8 year old son Robert seen in the photo.                           

 
The contractor came with no less than six tractor drivers and trailers as the maize needed to be hauled from several miles away. 
One of the tractor drivers following the forage harvester around the headlandOne of the tractor drivers following the forage harvester around the headland
Tractors and trailers ready and waitingTractors and trailers ready and waiting

       Click on the youtube link below to view some of the maize silaging.

The video lasts approx 8 mins.  There are a few wobbly bits but Martin was driving at the time!!

Cow Calving at Stour Cross Farm

August 25th, 2010

I couldn’t resist the opportunity to video one of our mature cows calving her second twin calf. The first one was born only minutes before but unfortunately I missed the delivery. The calf was up on its feet shortly afterwards and I was mistaken to think that the calf belonged to the white cow you see in the video as the calf is of similar markings but it was later made obvious that it was the first of the twins. These are our fourth set of twins this year and all of them are doing fine. 

Click on the video link below and watch the wonders of nature. The video is about 8 mins long.

The second twin calf being born The second twin calf being born

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLgeMcDoKNU

Twins Born

August 9th, 2010

Martin decided to bring a cow, who was close to calving, into an empty barn as he thought she was having problems. We left her for an hour and then intervened with the help of a calving aid. Two male calves were born, our third set of twins this year.

Calf # 1 Aug 8th 2010Calf # 1 Aug 8th 2010

Calf # 2 Calf # 2 The mother immediately licks one calf at a time

The mother immediately licks one calf at a timeThe mother immediately licks one calf at a time

Introducing the calves to the bottleIntroducing the calves to the bottle

An empty wine bottle always comes in handy!An empty wine bottle always comes in handy!

The mother has been taken away to be milked and her milk is saved in a separate vessel. It is vital all calves drink their mothers first milk called colostrum which contains all its nutrients in a very concentrated low-volume form. This is where I come in!!!

It doesn’t take long before the calves are up on their feet and gurzling the milk. I find a empty wine bottle with a rubber calf teat on the end does the trick. Tomorrow they will be moved in another barn where some other calves are being hand reared.

 

 

 

 

 

The smallest of the twins born taking her afternoon milk.The smallest of the twins born taking her afternoon milk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 26th and the twins are growing. The photo above shows the smallest of the two taking her afternoon milk along with her brother and three other calves. She is still quite small but stands her ground when it comes to feeding time.

Barn is Gutted at Stour Cross Farm

July 14th, 2010
 
 
Right side of barn showing mini slew with pecker to break up concreteRight side of barn showing mini slew with pecker to break up concrete
Left side of barn. Cubicles down left are intact
Left side of barn. Cubicles down left are intact

Our main wooden cow barn at Stour Cross Farm, which is nearly 30 years old, is now being revamped. The cubicle’s have been dismantled and the base that the cows lie on has gone.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Middle section of barnMiddle section of barn

The reason for this facelift is that Martin had bought a tractor that won’t fit down the aisle’s of the cubicles so major adjustments were needed. Four lines of cubicles had to be dismantled and moved over by a couple of feet. Concrete and chalk were pecked out and the wooden dividers kept to one side.

Once all lines have been removed the work will begin to make the bases again.

Duncliffe Chalet is finally finished!!

June 21st, 2010

At last – Duncliffe Chalet can now accept guests. Hooray. Talk about on tender hooks, I’ve never been so stressed in my life. Well here are some photos, not good ones, but at least you can see the inside which I hope will inspire you to make a booking.

Duncliffe KitchenDuncliffe Kitchen Duncliffe Master BedroomDuncliffe Master Bedroom Duncliffe Bathroom downstairs Duncliffe Bathroom downstairs Duncliffe LoungeDuncliffe Lounge

Silaging

May 21st, 2010

A tense week whilst attentions are fixed on all weather forcasts. Needing just a few days of  warm sunshine the decision was made. Everything in farming hinges on the right weather conditions whether rain is needed to make the grass grow or sun to make the winter feed. No wonder farmers are always moaning about the weather.

 Our first cut of silage went really well, no stressy husband, punctual workforce and the sun shone. It was glorious.

SilagingSilaging