Tag Archives: wind

Day 51

We finally got round to having the carrot and ginger soup today. You couldn’t notice the ginger, but I managed to find some coriander, and added a handful of that to the pot. It was a great improvement. Next time I will try lentils, as suggested by Helen.

Well, next time I will try celery. Next time I use carrots I will try the lentils. I haven’t used them for a while as Julia always feels the need to mention them, a sign that she’s on the verge of a complaint. The trouble is that she just doesn’t appreciate my exotic cookery.

We had Storm Franklin today. It’s the third named storm of the week, and it is all getting a bit stupid. Whatever happened to the days when we just had wind and rain? Weather is not improved by having a name and I really can’t see the point. It rained. Then it was windy while it rained. Then it was dry and windy and then it rained again. The ornaments on our mantelshelf vibrated every time we had gusts from a certain direction, which became wearing after a time, but that was really the worst of it for us.

Unfortunately, when I check up, a lot of reports say that it is going to get worse, which is worrying as I thought it had passed over. That’s the trouble with all the detail you get in weather reports these days – they tell you a variety of things and they don’t always agree with other reports.


Day 49

If I finish this in the next 15 minutes I will get a note from WP congratulating me on 13  successive days of posting. I’m not sure what business it is of theirs, or why they think a condescending pat on the head contributes anything good to my WP experience.

What would contribute to the experience is an editing system that worked as well as the old, non-improved version, an an absence of improvements that cause more problems than they are worth.

It was a quiet day at work, apart from the wind. Storm Eunice, having arrived in the night and blown a few things about, blew a bit more about in the afternoon, then made a comeback in the evening but as far as we are concerned has not been a great nuisance.

The fastest gust recorded was 122 mph,  the fastest round here was 68, so you can see how much of it we escaped. When I lived out in the Fens we often had winter gusts stronger than that – you could actually see telegraph poles bending in the wind when it got going. Of course, that was in the days when we didn’t have “amber weather warnings” and the internet.

This film is quite impressive, but apart from that I’m not sure that the internet is a great benefit in times like this. I just need to know the weather is bad – I don’t need up to the minute coverage.

Looks like I’m going to sneak in and post before midnight, though it always surprises me how long it takes to finish up. At least I don’t need a title!

I hope that everyone reading this has escaped too much disruption from the storm, I’m always grateful when the wind drops as I tend to worry more as I get older.

First World Problems

The were piles of leaves in the sheltered streets of The Meadows this morning, but apart from that there was not much seen of the 100 mph death storm promised by the tabloids.

“How and when deadly Ophelia will affect your area today” is how the Daily Mirror puts it in the website headline, though it tones this down to “blustery” in its forecast for the Midlands.

It has been bad for some people, with three deaths in Ireland already, and high winds in Scotland, though I can’t help wondering what a resident of the Caribbean would make of our “problems”. It’s difficult to know, because there seem to be no recent reports on the situation. Newspapers can only give so much space to disasters and the Caribbean is so last week. After all, they have a blustery day in the Midlands to report.

I think the term “First World Problems” sums up the situation.



Where have all the Buzzards gone?

I didn’t see a single Buzzard today on the way to Peterborough, just three Kestrels and a Red Kite.  My first thought on seeing an increase in Kestrels and a decrease in Buzzards is that the Kestrels must have eaten the Buzzards.

According to point 4 in this document I couldn’t be more wrong: it looks like Buzzards may actually be eating Kestrels. As the ones I see are mainly lurking round roadsides waiting for a car to kill something, or even walking the floor looking for worms, I’m amazed they have the energy, or the speed to take a Kestrel.

This sounds wrong to me, as I don’t really think of birds of prey eating each other. I tend to think of them eating less well-armed prey. A quick look at the diet of the Eagle Owl demonstrates that birds of prey do eat other birds of prey – one record of a nesting pair in Scandinavia tool 13 other raptors in a single breeding season. Their favoured prey is the Buzzard. If we ever start a reintroduction process for the Eagle Owl they won’t be short of food for while.

In the end I’ve been forced to conclude the Buzzards were just somewhere else, possibly sheltering from the wind. On cold, wet days I’ve often noticed that they tend to hunch down at lower levels, and are more inclined to take to the fields looking for worms. On previous windy days I’ve also noted a lack of birds. I suspect that, like me, they look for shelter when it’s windy.

After seeing my father and being soundly beaten at dominoes I went to the services on the A1 for a bean burger (for research purposes only, you understand). I took some photographs of the Roman antiquities they found whilst excavating the foundations. I’ll load them tomorrow as I can’t get them off my phone.




I knew it was going to be windy today because it was windy all last night. I know this because  the wind was coming from the north and my bedroom faces north.

This week last year one of the tents blew down as we prepared for Open Farm Sunday and our runner beans were ravaged by the Arctic blast. This year we have paced ourselves better and won’t be putting the big marquee up until Thursday. We have put the awning up in front of the kitchen, and that is firmly tied to the verandah of the centre and variously weighted down with breeze blocks and gas bottles. Despite this it’s still showing ambitions to fly.

As for the beans, I haven’t even put one out this year.

As you can see from the main picture, the bird feeders have been swinging at some strange angles and feeding birds have been clinging rather than perching. Even they had it easy compared to one of the farmyard poultry, though I didn’t mange to get a picture, so you’ll have to imagine the picture.

Think of a chicken making its way across the yard as a gust of wind catches it. Then think of tumble-weed. Put the two images together and you are close to what happened. Fortunately nothing was injured except for a little avian dignity.

As for other matters, we had a visit from a teacher (who seemed to like us), we have four new pigs, a tail on our pigsaw and I have just completed an internet training course on COSHH in a Food Environment. That’s Control of Substances Hazardous to Health in case you were wondering, and no, it doesn’t include my cooking.



Bird feeder blues

It’s bank Holiday Monday, and as there is nobody in today we are taking the opportunity to catch up.

Julia is planting the new vertical planters (also known as adapted pallets) and I am doing a few odd jobs, including fixing a broken bird feeder, answering emails and writing this.

I have the  better of it, as the wind is playing havoc with the planting. The planned row of lettuces is looking particularly floppy after an hour of being battered by the wind. We will have to see how it goes.


Over the years I’ve accumulated a number of bird feeders of various designs, including a number of cheap ones that feature a plastic hanging loop.  I suppose it’s obvious, when you think about it, that continued exposure to the elements would eventually cause the loop to deteriorate and break.

It’s a nuisance rather than a problem, but as luck would have it, I cannot find any wire or any binder twine in my drawers to make the repair.  That is the trouble with being tidy.

Whilst writing this I’ve also been Googling “bird feeders”. I was immediately attracted to this site. I will include the link  because it’s interesting, though I’m not sure how practical many of them are. The shoe feeder looks interesting, but I’m not sure that my neighbours “are sure to think that you are the most creative person ever”. They would probably think I’m an idiot who nails shoes to trees.

Meanwhile, the jackdaws have discovered the feeder with the suet pellets in it. Is there nothing that they can’t do?


It’s an example of how man interferes with nature. It isn’t such an obvious example as some, but it is a fact that before we brought the pigs to the allotment we didn’t have jackdaws round the centre. Though there were jackdaws about the village they didn’t interfere with our bird feeding and we were able to feed a variety of birds in feeders and on the floor. At the time we fed a lot of fat pellets, because we’d been given several buckets of them, and had no trouble with jackdaws.

Now, after drawing them to the area of the centre with pig food, they won’t leave the bird feeders alone. They are birds, but we don’t need so many large, disruptive birds at the feeder. it seems that anything with fat in it is like a magnet to the jackdaws and that as a result of trying to limit jackdaw activity we have fewer chaffinches, hardly any dunnocks and no wrens. There is very little for robins and blackbirds to eat either, as they like to feed off the floor.

It isn’t just the amount they eat, but that they scare other birds away. They even mobbed the woodpecker when it came for its second visit of the day, though it stood its ground and gave as good as it got.

I’m onto Plan D now, I think. All will be revealed after Open Farm Sunday. I am

Meanwhile, for a discussion on whether we should even be feeding birds, have a look at this.






Time passes, things change

Returned to work today, to find that the view has changed slightly after the high wind at the weekend. The Neighbours are now Man leaning on fence and Woman lying down.


That’s a job for later, as it’s all about lambing on the farm at the moment.

If we put her back up all will return to normal, but if not you will be able to date pictures of the farm to pre- and post- Easter 2016 depending on the number of statues you can see.

Imogen comes to call

Things are looking up. We actually had a pause in the wind from Storm Imogen and the sun came out for ten minutes. After that it was back to normal.

The Farmland Bird Count has got off to a bad start despite the new feeders, with hardly a bird seen today. The ones we did see were clearly struggling in the wind. A long-tailed tit went past so quickly it looked like it had been fired from a bow and several crows have been seen flying sideways. Apart from that we’ve seen a blackbird, a pied wagtail and er…nothing else.

It was all looking so promising too. In the last two weeks we’ve seen a great-spotted woodpecker, a sparrowhawk and some good flocks of redwings and fieldfares. We thought we might be on for some good sightings. Plan B is now in operation – do the count on Wednesday.

We’ve also had pancakes, put new bedding down for the chickens (I think most of the old stuff has blown away!), finished the Chinese New Year masks and completed a grant application form.

We are applying for money to support a community arts project based on bread and baking, and the application contains more waffle than an American breakfast.

It’s not that it’s a bad project, just that the way they ask questions encourages a less than precise style of writing. Half the time I want to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ but they’re expecting 250 words so suddenly I’m peppering it with things like inclusivity, diversity and mindfulness. George Orwell would have been ashamed of me, though Big Brother would have been proud.



A day of sound and fury

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
Macbeth – William Shakespeare


We arrived today to find that we now have a sheep dog on the farm. Well, in theory at least. What we actually have is a nine-week-old Border Collie pup, which might turn out to be a sheepdog. It’s doing well so far, showing clear signs of intelligence and an inbuilt need to round people up. However, she’s being treated like a pet by members of the group, and I hope it doesn’t spoil her as a working dog.

It was clear that neither the proud owner, or the group, are interested in the nitty-gritty of dog ownership as they all ignored the inconvenient puddle she left on the floor after her visit. Isn’t that always the way?

Outside, Storm Henry is giving us some stick. It sound like a raging storm, though the weather station has shown a maximum of 60 kph (40 mph) and is currently showing just 35 kph despite the noise.

The polytunnel covering isn’t doing too well, and we can’t get the clips back on in this wind. We’ve weighted it down as much as we can and are now crossing our fingers. We can’t complain as we’ve used this cover for four years and we haven’t maintained it as much as we should have done.

It did better than the outdoor chicken coop, as you can see in the photos.


A result of Storm Henry

Sixteen eggs today, so production is looking up. I suspect it may be down in a day or two due to wind and temperature, but that’s what happens when you produce your own.

In preparation for the birdwatch next week we’ve been reading bird books and making birds to hang on the “tree”.

No more lambs at the moment, though we did have the main flock scanned last week. 195 ewes in lamb, including 120 with twins and 33 with triplets. Sounds good, but in the words of the old song there may be trouble ahead. The trouble with sheep is that they can only feed two lambs, so triplets are a mixed blessing. That is one of the reasons I prefer pigs. sausages and bacon being the others…



Back to school

Last night, when we double-checked everything ready for the school breakfast presentation this morning, we found we’d miscalculated. It wasn’t 300 children, it was 600. As a result we had to go through all the breakfast samples we had and divide them in half. We were still able to feed a multitude without recourse to loaves and fishes, and our outputs are going to look immense this year.

We left 600 happy children behind us, most of whom (according to their answers) have either cereal or waffles for breakfast. It’s a lot  better than a class we asked a couple of years ago who all seemed to have Nutella on toast.


It could have been worse, I once turned up with a lesson designed for 11-year-olds and gave it to a class of 7-year-olds. According to the teachers, it makes a difference. In my own defence, I didn’t realise they were that young, I just thought they were smaller than usual. Or possibly far away.

Short post today – I’m feeling lazy. We’re on the farm now but after the school stuff, lunch, admin and blog it’s time to weight the polytunnel down again (we have the end of Storm Jonas passing by at the moment) and go home while it’s still light.

I’m using a stock photo because we forgot to organise photographic permission for the school this morning – oh for the simple days when all you needed was a camera.