Latest posts by hypercharleyfarley

Where to start on a big old sloping plot

Posted: 14/01/2015 at 19:26

Gosh, Gemma - I didn't think cats or foxgloves & euphorbias were "chemicals"  and, as far as I know, rabbits weren't here until the Normans  (most people believe they were responsible)  brought them to this country .................!

My suggestions - only "suggestions",  not "instructions" -  were an attempt to help the original poster avoid continued disappointment regarding the loss of plants. 

Sorry if you misunderstood.



Ma.  (AKA HCF)

Where to start on a big old sloping plot

Posted: 14/01/2015 at 18:00

Sorry to have to disagree with Gemma, but the rabbits WON'T just be content to leave things alone!  From bitter experience I know that they'll nibbleand/or totally devour almost anything they can reach.  The best plan to begin with is to plant things which are in fact poisonous to them - e.g. foxgloves, euphorbias etc and they seem to leave these alone - even though I reckon some of baby rabbits do actually nibble things before learning the hard way!  At any time during the day I can see at least two rabbits in my garden - it's more or less surrounded by fields and because of the lie of the land I cant keep rabbits out by the conventional means of using part-buried chicken wire around all the boundaries.  It's not a good idea to encourage foxes, especially if you have dogs (which I do) as foxes often  have mange.

In my opinion, the best way to discourage and destroy rabbits is to have a couple of semi-feral cats.  When I had two, the rabbits didn't come close - and those that did try were caught by the cats.  Despite the efforts of my dogs (whippets) the rabbits flourish simply because they have access to the garden 24/7 which - of course - the dogs don't!

I can no longer even keep summer bedding plants in pots - the rabbits stand on tip-toe and munch whatever's within their reach.  I've watched them do it!  I think the only solution - which I intend to try this year - is to keep the pots at the sort of height the rabbits can't reach, so am going to see if I can buy some old chimney pots big enough to put the plant pots in, so that the rabbits would actually need a ladder!

Regular contributers.

Posted: 11/01/2015 at 16:00

I'm (sort of) retired though still do some part-time work.  I usually look at this message board at some time during the day - after checking e-mails etc - and only contribute if I think I've got something helpful to say!  There have been times - on another topic - when Frank, DK and I had "a bit of a go" at the producers & presenters of an historical-type series which was full of absolute inaccuracies which we found annoying!

Daily Bird Sightings 2015

Posted: 11/01/2015 at 15:53

Not quite as many as usual today, but have had the following visitors

blue tits

great tits

coal tits

long-tailed tits

a magpie

a cock pheasant

a blackbird

a wren

a robin

and about 30 geese flying overhead towards the lake nearby.

Room 101

Posted: 04/01/2015 at 18:57




yes - I did repeat that on purpose!  They're the bane of my life - garden-wise, but I'd also add the following more general stuff:

People who begin each sentence with "So...... "   and those who say "like" several times in a sentence. 

The words Iconic and Graphic.

The phrase "lessons will be learned".

Politicians who appear - from their words & actions - never to have had what I'd call a "proper job" and so don't seem to have any real experience of life.

Cosmetic surgery courtesy of the NHS.

Broadcasters who emphasise the wrong syllable when using words like "contribute".

False fingernails.

Whoever it is that chucks their rubbish (drinks cans/food wraps etc) into the hedgerows round here.

and most of the other stuff people have aready mentioned................!



kitchen worktops

Posted: 28/11/2014 at 12:32

Some of the man-made alternatives are in fact more expensive than granite - e.g. Corian - but they can be made to suit quite quirky spaces and have no visible joins/seams, so few places for germs etc to lurk.  As some of you probably know, I still work (for an estate agent) and over the years have probably seen more kitchens than most people!  I absolutely agree with one of the earlier posts which explains the problems with wooden surfaces, especially around the sink/taps, so wouldn't recommend it.  The other things to think about are the type of sink you have, and also to allow some sort of "upstand" at the rear of the worktop where it meets the wall.  If there's no "upstand" you eventually get marks on the wall itself where cleaning cloths and counter-top spills leave marks.


If you have a Belfast or Butler's sink (mounted beneath the worktop surface) there can be nasty things lurking there, especially when the sealant isn't done neatly - I've seen some truly disgusting things where this particular aspect hasn't been considered. There are "belfast-type" sinks which are made so that they actually sit on top of the worktop and this seems to be a better option.  I think they're made in France.


You can get granite in lots of different colours now - and some of them look really lovely and are quite forgiving in that they don't show every single grain of spilt sugar!  For my own part I wouldn't want black granite.  - not only because it shows every little streaky mark when you wipe it, but it also reminds me of our family's  grave - the headstone's black granite!

Fragrant tree

Posted: 26/11/2014 at 10:27

I can remember when dairy cattle in this country weren't "black and white cows"!  In farming terms they're a relatively new introduction (post WW2) when the dairy industry changed radically following the introduction of farm machinery and even - just think about it - the National Grid (!) - extending into rural areas.  This was the biggest change for producers of milk since the building of the railways - which enabled farmers to send milk from the countryside into the towns, something which wasn't possible before that.

My father was a very successful dairy farmer  - 3 farms - and a milk bottling plant.  The introduction of those "black and white cows" came about because these breeds (Holstein/Friesian) produced milk in larger quantities than our traditional dairy breeds.  The problem then arose that the milk quality they produced didn't satisy needs as far as milk quality was concerned.  e.g. not much of a problem with "solids non-fat" but the fat content was low.  As as interim measure, some farmers introduced Channel Island cattle into their herds, as the fat content in their milk is high, so the resulting mix of milk reached the required standard.  It took many generations of selective breeding - and the keeping of incredibly complicated and detailed records ref each cow's lactation period - to arrive at today's milk quality standard. 

People aren't aware these days ref the fat content of milk, because all the milk you buy in supermarkets etc has been homogenised.  Who can remember milk in bottles?  I can - and also the days when it was sold direct from the churn to the customer, from the back of horse-drawn milk-float.  

Fragrant tree

Posted: 26/11/2014 at 09:25

There may be a decrease in consumption of milk "per se" in the UK, but over the past few decades there has been an increase in its use in other ways - e.g. in my childhood, yogurt was unheard of - yet now it's on many shopping lists!

The real problem arose with the demise of the Milk Marketing Board and that, together with what seemed like an almost random introduction of milk quotas, caused a series of problems for dairy farmers.

If we want good quality produce, we have to pay an appropriate cost.  The EU hasn't helped either.  My neighbour had to dispose of his dairy herd a couple of years ago as it was costing him more to produce the milk than he was being paid for it by one of the "major players" who have - for the most part, got an  inappropriate degree of control over things. It's no use going down the "efficiency" route cost-wise when things like animal welfare have to be taken into account.  I don't imagine that many people who pour milk into their teacup realise just how it gets from the cow's udder to the supermarket shelf.  In order to compete price-wise, dairy farmers have to use what I'd call extreme conditions in relation to their cattle.  This can mean a completely automated milking system with little or no visual and actual contact with the animals concerned.  It means that things like lameness and possible mastitis can often go undetected.  The cattle are used as machines by machines,  and that's something I for one don't like one little bit.

If we value quality produce, we have to pay for it. 


Fragrant tree

Posted: 23/11/2014 at 17:26

Hi Welshonion - I did say "friendly"!  My neighbour - dairy farmer - is certainly the sort of chap who's utterly what you'd call "approachable" and he'd certainly explain how things worked on a dairy farm if anybody asked him.  Getting to know the neighbours is something we all need to do when we find ourselves somewhere new to us.   I know that my own Pa (dairy farmer) was much loved and respected by everyone.  He'd have said "come on in and tell me what's your problem whilst we have a cup of tea, and then I'll show you the shippon". As I said before, you need to think about it a whole lot before you move to the countryside - and realise that people have to make a living from the land they farm - and all that this entails.  You might not like being held up on a country lane by some cattle moving from field to milking parlour, or having to put up with muddy lanes from time to time, but that's part of what it's all about!   No use moving to a house near a railway line and then complaining about the noise when a train goes past.................

Fragrant tree

Posted: 23/11/2014 at 15:56

I too grew up on a farm and still live in the middle of the countryside.  I'm a bit puzzled as to whether or not JR is concerned ref the general "animal" smell or whether it might have been something which only lasted a day or two - farmer spreading slurry over the fields etc.  If the latter, the smell will soon go away but - if it's just that "warm animal" smell he means, it won't!  There's the offchance that the slurry pit on the farm itself might have drainage/run-off issues and if that's the case something probably needs to be done by the farmer himself to sort things out.  There are all sorts of rules & regs these days about storage and disposal of farm waste and I expect that if JR were to have a friendly word with the farmer and explain the problem maybe some sort of solution can be found,

p.s. forgot to say that the "animal smell" won't be around much at all during the time the cattle are mainly outside - i.e. from late spring until late autumn.  It's only really noticeable when they are housed inside during the cold months and even then the effects are modified by the prevailing wind.  Maybe JR only moved into his present home earlier this year when the cattle were outside for most of the time - apart from when they're being milked - so perhaps the smell "issue" is only something he's noticed recently.  One of the things people don't anticipate when deciding to move from urban areas to the countryside  is that there are likely to be all sorts of rural surprises! 

Discussions started by hypercharleyfarley

ID please!

looks like a cross between grass and foxglove 
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