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Latest posts by hypercharleyfarley

Wartime Farm

Posted: 28/09/2012 at 15:46

Hi Muvs - there are just a few of us oldies round here who can remember quite a bit about how things used to be "once upon a time".  What the programme makers clearly haven't taken into account - for this series, as well as the previous ones - is that there are some practices which would have been much the same over several generations, as regards farming methods and livestock handling in general. So, they could have checked --  e.g.  by asking for some input via today's farming press - whose readers are likely to know about these things or would know someone who does.

My own Pa eventually had three farms each with a dairy herd - and had a retail milk business which began with twice-daily deliveries using a pony & float (milk ladled from a churn into the customers' own milk jugs), and went on to have a bottling plant on the middle farm which supplied milk to most of the local town.  The cattle were fed with our own home-grown cereals, hay, kale, mangolds, beet etc and we ground the cereals into meal ourselves.  Before the l950s sileage was a relatively new-fangled concept in the part of the country where we lived - and the stuff they fed to the cattle in last night's programme didn't look as if it was the product of what they'd sileaged in an earlier programme!  more like modern-day "haylage" to me.............. and as for that "cattle trough" they put it in.......well................   I was surprised that although they had the usual Alfa Laval milking machine, they didn't have that same company's little cup gadget which we used for checking for mastitis - looked like a half-pint mug which had a flat inset black "lid" with a hole on one edge.  Any mastitis-affected milk showed up clearly on the black surface & you tilted the cup slightly to let the milk drain down into the cup itself before testing the next teat.

Although some of our land was rather clayey, we did use horses for lots of the general farm work - including some ploughing, especially on the land where we grew new potatoes, as this was where the soil was much lighter.  The three farms meant that at one time Pa had over twenty men working for him - some of the older ones were those who looked after the horses, and others took care of the cattle.  A few years ago I was sad to say goodbye to the table which used to be in what we called "the bottom kitchen" - a big room which wasn't used much except for things like harvest suppers.  The table - when it had its extra pairs of legs & extra leaves put in - would seat 28.  One of my earliest memories is of being just about tall enough to see what was actually on the table for one of those occasions!

Wartime Farm

Posted: 28/09/2012 at 13:34

Hi Frank - I think the so-called "cottage cheese" in this last episode came about as a result of the programme-makers not knowing what to do with the milk once it had come out of the cow's udder!  They didn't mention the fact that it must be cooled promptly - not left in that milking-machine churn -  so my guess is that they found that soured milk a day or two later and decided to try to do something with it.  I noticed that the chaps didn't seem to enjoy their sandwiches!!  For "proper" cheese you certainly need rennet though, and for clean laundry you need to rinse it after you've put it through the mangle for the first time.................

As usual, the programme's contents made me wince at times.  I can't be bothered to check via i-player, but did they actually harrow the field after they'd sown the flax?


Wartime Farm

Posted: 14/09/2012 at 13:16

(In case Frank & DK think I've not seen any of the programmes!)  -   I finally got around to watching Episode 1 on i-player last night, after I'd seen the second episode.  As Frank says, it looks as though they've done a bit more research this time - though (to me at least) there are  still mistakes which make me want to throw something at the TV - part of the script last night seemed (I thought) to infer that barley had been more commonly used for bread-making than wheat.  I don't think that's the case.  The sileage-making attempt was dire..........people would have been much more likely to try to line a pit/clamp with the corrugated iron rather than stand it on top of the ground - and as for how they pitchforked the greenstuff into it - about passing the furniture in through a window whilst the front door's open.......................  I see that Ruth still can't find the nailbrush - and she hasn't looked at any of the ample film footage of the war years in order to learn how to tie & wear what we called "a turban".  I agree with Frank when he says that the kitchen range wouldn't have gone out, so there'd have been no need for the paraffin stove in a farm kitchen.  Portable paraffin room heaters for elsewhere in the house maybe....

I suppose they had fun trying to make that mole plough - but I'd like to have seen what the blacksmith's own version would have been.  Without some sort of brace + a whole lot more weight it was never going to work, was it?  Considering this was supposed to be the early part of the war and farmers wouldn't yet have got used to having The Land Army around (and therefore seeing women doing things on the farm that were always hitherto considered "Men's Work") I was surprised to see Ruth driving the tractor at this stage of the series. 

I suppose I'd have to say "improved, but could do better" if you asked me how I thought the two programmes so far compare with the previous series - but it does irritate me when I see things in the background that I know weren't around then - that coach-built pram was much later than 1940 I reckon, ditto the sort of hay-bale I saw one chap carrying. 

Frank's version of how things really were is, as always, well worth reading.  Thanks, Frank!

What's the weather like in your area?

Posted: 19/08/2012 at 23:04

Hi Frank!  Whenever I hear a weather forecast, I'm reminded of my ex (and now late) OH's versions of what we might expect .  As an airline pilot (ex R.A.F.) he used to say that the Met Office bods boasted that their forecasts were 40% accurate. .....................

I realise that that a simple 180 deg. version of that is too simple a formula  (in which case they'd be 60% accurate!)  but sometimes I think that I'd be better relying on a fircone/bunch of seaweed/achey bunion etc etc.................  Cheers!    Ma.

What a great series!

Posted: 19/08/2012 at 22:50

Norty DK!

Gardens for Dogs

Posted: 06/08/2012 at 18:37

Lovely photos!  Thanks for sharing.  


Gardens for Dogs

Posted: 06/08/2012 at 17:53

Hello again - so nice to hear about Rasta & Bonzo!  HCF was the only whippet I've ever had who liked water - most will tippy-toe round even the shallowest puddle, whereas HCF would run to & fro splashing like mad & loving it!  I still miss him dreadfully................

Gardens for Dogs

Posted: 06/08/2012 at 16:07

Hi again Obs - New dog (Pie) was just over 12 months old when I got him & had been an "only" dog so it took a while for him to adjust not only to a new home but also  having a "senior" dog too.  T.A. had become a bit clingy during the weeks after HCF died, so having a companion to run round with has been a good thing.  The pecking order has been established!  They get on really well but don't seem especially fond of each other - both vying for my attention I guess - so I'm wondering how long it will be until I see them curled up together on the sofa or squashed up on one dog bed.  So far they haven't done that, except when travelling in the back of the car.  No arguments whatsoever though, which I'm really pleased about.

Gardens for Dogs

Posted: 06/08/2012 at 13:04

Hi Obs - how are you these days?  Good to hear that Rasta's playmate has settled in so well. 


As far as choosing  a breed of dog goes, I reckon there are so many "fashions" these days that it's a pity people don't think first before they buy - e.g. if you don't have the sort of lifestyle that suits what was bred to be a working dog, you're probably asking for trouble if you can't give the dog the amount of exercise/work/entertainment it needs.  Ongoing maintenance is something people don't often think about much as well - I dread to think what it costs to have a dog's coat professionally trimmed, for example.  Have just paid over £70 this morning for booster jabs for The Accomplice - and, being a whippet, care of his coat etc is minimal! The late Charleyfarley's successor (whippet - of course!) is doing fine - he's a bit whiney sometimes, and I can't always "read" him the way I've been able to with all my previous whippets. He's quite like HCF in terms of wanting to be outdoors a lot, and not nearly so much of a couch potato as T.A. is.  Just goes to show that even dogs of the same breed can be quite different in terms of character.

Wysteria in a windy environment

Posted: 25/07/2012 at 14:30

I don't think you'd have any particular problems with planting wisteria on a south-facing wall - after all, we don't get much in the way of strong southerly winds in the UK - mostly north-westerly here, and I'm not far from NW Wales.  I think problems usually arise with those plants which have foliage all year round, & a south-facing wall might mean that any plant there would get damaged by winter sunlight on frosty leaves, which wouldn't be the case with wisteria - or roses, come to that!

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