Halloween Sweet Treat

Halloween Sweet Treat Award

I am thrilled to receive this fun Halloween Sweet Treat award from one of my photo hunt pals, TeacherJulie, who regularly visits and comments on my photo hunt posts.

A great halloween treat are toffee apples and as I have an abundance of apples from my orchard I am going to make toffee apples to give out to the trick or treaters who call at my door.

I would like to share this Halloween Sweet Treat Award with the following;

SI from Sunk Island

Fiona from The Cottage Smallholder

Lorna from Family Natters

Louise from This Is My Patch

Maiylah from Picture Clusters

This award was created by Anni.

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Farming Songs

I thought it would be interesting to compile a list of farming songs both old and new.

  • The Combine Harvester (Brand New Key) – The Wurzels.
  • Thirty Years Of Farming – James King.
  • Daddy Won’t Sell The Farm – Montgomery Gentry.
  • We plough the fields and scatter – A Hymn.
  • Old MacDonald Had A Farm – A Nursery Rhyme.
  • Farm on the freeway – Jethro Tull.
  • Farm Aid Song – Neil Young.
  • Maggies Farm – Bob Dylan.

This is only a starting point – if you have a favourite farming song that you would like adding to the list then please leave a comment.

Photo Hunt: Theme Practical

This weeks photo hunt theme is practical and I have struggled with this as every task on the farm is a practical task so I had lots of photos and situations to choose from, so what should I choose?

I have decided to show two objects that my husband has made and which are used on the farm.

A Frame Chicken Hut The A frame chicken hut was made for me when I got Hatty & Hetty my two white leghorns back in 2004. The hut has since been home to a partridge and many guinea fowl. Hatty is now living with the guinea fowl in a larger hut but she still pops over to the A frame to see who is living in her house, I’m sure she would take up residence like a shot if I gave her a chance.

Owl BoxThe owl box was a Christmas gift a few years ago as I love to see the barn owls flying over our fields. I also enjoy hunting out the owl pellets. Steve thought that if we had an owl box the barn owl might nest in the box. as yet we haven’t had any owls, only pigeons nesting inside.

 

If you would like to join Photo Hunters then click on the image below for more information.

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Bottle Feeding An Injured Calf

Calf With Injured LegTwo weeks ago a calf was born which was unable to stand on it’s own. This has meant that the calf has been unable to suckle from the cow and has had to be bottle fed.

My father-in-law has been milking the cow regularly and then transferring the cows milk to the bottle. We have a special calf teat for the bottle so that the calf can suck comfortably on the bottle.

Calf BottleCalf Bottle and Teat

In addition to the cows milk, we have been giving the calf extra milk made from special calf milk powder.

Although the calf has a weak back leg and until today has struggled to stand independently, the calf has been feeding well and is steadily getting stronger.

This morning the calf was standing in the field without the aid of a human. Now we just need to get the calf to continue to do this and then feed from the cow on it’s own.

I’ll let you know how the calf gets on.

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The Power Of Schmooze Award

The Power Of Schmooze Award 

Thanks to The Cottage Smallholder for this wonderful award and kind words. Fiona said the farmingfriends “blog is a real down to earth breath of fresh air. I have learnt so much from it as it is packed with useful, highly readable interesting information. Sara co hosted our Interblog Guinea Fowl Breeding Event.” As you can imagine I was thrilled and honoured to receive this award from Fiona whose website I admire and enjoy greatly.

The Power of Schmooze Award is for bloggers who “effortlessly weave their way in and out of the blogosphere, leaving friendly trails and smiles, happily making new friends along the way. They don’t limit their visits to only the rich and successful, but spend some time to say hello to new blogs as well. They are the ones who engage others in meaningful conversations, refusing to let it end at a mere hello – all the while fostering a sense of closeness and friendship.”

I was honoured to receive this award. Here are my nominations;

Farming And The Environment

Today is Blog Action Day when bloggers from around the global will unite to write about the issue of the environment. I have enlisted the help of my farming husband to write this article about farming and the environment for Blog Action Day.

This is some what of a short title for a very large subject, and one which can only be touched upon in this article.

So where do we start. Obviously farmers and the agricultural industry work with nature and natural processes; the farmer’s ‘factory’ is not in an enclosed environment such as a glass bottle factory contained within a building on an industrial estate, but in fact is in the open landscape and everything the farmer does has an effect on the ecosystem. Clearly in the heavily populated world in which we now live there must be agricultural production in order to sustain the supply of food. In fact the European Union have recently announced that set-aside (land left by farmers which must not be used to grow a crop) will be suspended in 2008. This is because world food reserves have been depleting as a result of a growing population, changes in diet, loss of land to biofuel production and poor harvests across the world. This leaves us in no doubt that agricultural production must be at least maintained at current levels, if not increased.

Society does however have a responsibility to the environment and farmers in the EU must comply with a long list of environmental rules and regulations. There are limits to how much nitrogen fertiliser or animal manure can be applied to the land and at what time of year this can be applied. Pesticides are heavily regulated and there are strict limits on their application. Farmers are given regular spot checks to make sure that they are complying with these regulations.

It is probably true to say the majority of farmers are content with striking a balance between efficiency of production and ensuring that wildlife habitats are maintained. In fact in recent years there has been a greater number of farms converting to organic production. These are probably individuals who prefer to farm organically and without chemicals, but also they are fulfiling a demand which has been created by consumers who are either buying organic produce because they feel the food is safer, because they perceive the production system to be more environmentally friendly or a combination of both. It is certainly true to say that most organically grown crops will have more weed or wild flowers growing within the crop which is beneficial to insects and insect eating birds. Furthermore, organic production necessitates a rotation consisting of a wider variety of crops and thus creating diversity of habitat.

On the other hand yields from organic crops are typically 1/3rd of conventionally grown crops – this would mean that more than three times the amount of diesel will be consumed by the tractors to produce a tonne of grain (for example) in comparison with a conventional farming system which uses pesticides and artificial fertilisers. So if we had one acre of conventionally farmed land then two more acres could be left as wildlife habitat compared to 3 acres which would be needed for organic production. It is for the consumer to decide which system is the most appropriate and gives the greatest environmental benefit.

What farmers must be aware of is that they work in the countryside. If the glass bottle manufacturer drops a bottle in his factory then it is contained in the factory and can be easily swept up. Conversely, if a farmer accidentally spills some pesticide then it is immediately released into the environment and could quickly enter a water course and cause untold damage. There have been many incidents in the past with pesticides, fertilisers, fuel, silage effluent or slurry where these pollutants have escaped into water courses. No doubt accidents will continue to occur in the future and it is always the case that although most individuals are very conscious of their responsibilities, there will always be a minority who do not give such issues the priority that they deserve.

Farmers continue to look more closely at their inputs from a business perspective. This can result in finding more efficient cultivation methods which results in a reduction in fuel usage. Scientists produce thresholds for crop disease and insect infestations to reach before it is economic to use pesticides – all valuable information which can reduce the unecessary use of pesticides.

The fact remains that consumers have the overiding power to manipulate what happens in the countryside by their choice of foodstuffs. If there is demand for a product that is produced to certain environmental standards then this demand will shape the management of the countryside – a model which has already increased the area of farmland that is managed organically.

Policy that clearly doesn’t work is where a government enforces environmental compliance in their own country but does not specify that imported food is produced to the same standards. All that happens in this case is that imported food is cheaper (due to the lower environmental standards of production) and also has to be transported around the globe adding further to the environmental footprint of that product.

It is clear that environmental performance has improved on UK farms over the past few decades. This is partly because of education and awareness and partly through more stringent legislation and the policing of these laws. The challenge is to maintain a continuation of this trend whilst also ensuring that food production keeps pace with demand. If the whole of agricultural production were to convert to organic methods then there would only be enough food to sustain approximately 1/3rd of the world population, so clearly this is not an option.

As I become older and wiser I realise that the land will be there long after I am gone. As a farmer I am only a custodian of the land and it is my responsibility to ensure that it is cared for in an appropriate way. This concept of custodian (as opposed to owner) is always highlighted to me when I visit a livestock sale in the uplands of Britain. If you read the catologue the name of the farmer is not listed alongside the animals, but rather the animals are catalogued with the name of the farm from where they were reared – i.e. it is the farm which is of importance and not the farmer who happens to be farming that land at that moment in history.

What are your thoughts about the countryside and how we treat it?

Fuchsia – Green Thumb Sunday

FuchsiaI have a fuchsia planted in a pot near my back door and this week the blooms have started to open out. I particularly like this fuchsia as it has pinky red outer petals and then white petals forming the bell shape with pinky red stigma and stamen.

Do you have a favourite fuchsia?

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Gardeners, Plant and Nature lovers can join in every Sunday, visit As The Garden Grows for more information.

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Herb Day 2007 @ TopVeg

Today, Saturday 13th October 2007 is Herb Day and over at TopVeg you can learn all about it.

Here are some of the herbtastic posts and activities TopVeg has in store for you;

  • Articles about how to grow herbs.
  • Downloadable herb growing cards.
  • Interactive herb jigsaws.
  • A create your own herb character competition.
  • Articles about the benefits of herbs.
  • A herb wordsearch with a hidden message.
  • Articles about the culinary uses of herbs.
  • Herb recipes.
  • Podcasts about herbs.

For this and much, much more herb mania visit TopVeg right now!

How To Grow Herbs For Cooking eBook

How To Grow Herbs For Cooking eBook For Sale Only £3.00