London (change)
Today 22°C / 13°C
Tomorrow 21°C / 13°C

hypercharleyfarley


Latest posts by hypercharleyfarley

Chester Visit

Posted: 14/07/2015 at 20:34

Hello DK - I think the best thing to do is to walk round the City Walls, probably best to begin at the Eastgate, in the centre of the city close to the Grosvenor Hotel.  You can get up on to the Walls level via some steps there.  The Victorian clock on the Eastgate is one of  the best-known features of the city itself. 

With the hotel behind you, if you walk to the right (clockwise) along the city wall  you'll go down towards the eastern side of the city and will see the remains of the Roman Amphitheatre on one side and and the hippocaust on the other, where the Newgate goes over the road.  If you were to walk to the left you'd pass the cathedral.  There's a new-ish belltower there.  If you were to walk down Eastgate Street with the clock behind you, you'd reach The Cross, with Bridge Street on the left, going downhill a bit to the river. Watergate Street's straight ahead, and it goes down to the Roodee & underneath the Watergate itself.  You can access/leave the Walls at a number of points, so a total circular tour isn't absolutely necessary!

Either way, it's a fair distance along the Walls from the Eastgate to the part where you can look down on the Roodee Racecourse.  A bit of the wall's missing between that point and Handbridge,  but if you go further  (anticlockwise from the racecourse & past the County Court building on your left) you'll end up alongside and above the River Dee.  There's an old bridge which crosses the river and upstream there's a weir which might make a good photo.

In any case, I guess the best-known feature of Chester is probably what are called The Rows - shops at the upper level and covered footway over those at street level.  You probably know already that the city's Roman name was Deva, but The Rows date - I think - from the Middle Ages.  Near the Newgate and just beyond the amphitheatre there's a Visitor Centre, so that might be a good place to go and pick up a guide book.  It's probably less than 100 yards from the Newgate, and you can see the building from there - it looks as though it was once a school or something.

Hope you have a good time - Ma.

Rabbits

Posted: 30/06/2015 at 08:38

It looks as though Charlie November and I have the same problem with rabbits!  The solution ref digging/mesh won't work for my garden either!

It's a bit of a myth that dogs will control the rabbit population - my whippets are very good at catching them but - of course - the dogs aren't outdoors 24/7!  There are two rabbits just outside the window beside me as I type this, even though the dogs have already done what you might call their "morning patrol".  One of the dogs actually caught & killed a rabbit the other day - and the dog was on the lead at the time - when we walked down the lane.

I have found that even those plants which are supposed to be what you might call "rabbit proof" get nibbled a bit - maybe the young rabbits taste the greenery and then decide  that that didn't like what they'd tried.  They don't, however, seem to touch wild poppies, foxgloves, euphorbias or hellebores.

Until a few years ago I had two semi-feral cats and I've no doubt at all that they dealt with the problem far more efficiently than I could have imagined, because since the demise of the last cat, the rabbits have taken over completely. 

There have been several outbreaks of myxi during the time I've lived here, but the reduction in the rabbit population then doesn't seem to have lasted.  I now have a theory that those rabbits which survived the outbreaks were probably those which had a tendency to stay above ground more than the rest, so didn't come into contact much with the affected ones.  I gather that the disease is spread by the transfer of infected fleas from one rabbit to another - probably down in the burrows.  Years ago I never saw rabbits at all during the daytime - it was only at dawn and dusk - but the current population seems to be above ground for most of the time, so maybe they inherited this trait from earlier generations which had that inclination.  The adult rabbits are also far smaller than they used to be, so again perhaps it was the smallest/weakest ones which didn't "fit in" with the rest - and became some sort of outcast, resulting in the breeding of smaller ones.

swallows

Posted: 16/04/2015 at 14:07

two here yesterday, and another one this morning.  I don't think they are the "local" ones, just en-route to somewhere further north.  This time they're about a week earlier than last year.  I think it might have something to do with whether or not the prevailing wind has been coming from the south - must help them a bit.

Can You Identify this Bird?

Posted: 10/04/2015 at 11:46

Could it be a buzzard?   much more "bulky" than other birds of prey and the mention of "White" feathers makes me think a buzzard's more likely, especially as red kites aren't seen everywhere in the UK - mostly the SE I think - at least that's where I usually see them - near the M40, but never round here (much further north).

Hedges - anyone else noticed....

Posted: 22/03/2015 at 08:34

Yes, it's one of those.  It can reach over the hedge and cut both sides if necessary, as well - of course - as doing the top! There are problems if there's anything in the way - e.g. trees along the hedgerow or things like telephone poles, which is why you'll see growth still close to these.   Most farmers these days don't have the specialised equipment for things like hedge-cutting or combine harvesting, so these are usually  done by contractors who are often chaps from farming families anyway & who've set up a business when they themselves don't actually have land to farm - e.g. younger sons or those who are more interested in machinery than animals.

Hedges - anyone else noticed....

Posted: 21/03/2015 at 19:16

Are the  hedges being cut by the council or the landowner?  If it's country roads, it may well be the latter.

This is the proper time of year for hedgecutting around farm land - farmers are not allowed to do it during what the Powers that Be call "flowering and fruiting times", so this is the time of year you'll see it happening.  If there's a very overgrown hedge which is deemed to be affecting the traffic, the council can step in and do it - they may charge the landowner for this.

If hedges have been properly maintained - and you're not supposed to cut both sides in the same year - the use of a flail hedgecutter is fine - a good contractor will take the trouble to make several cuts - each taking a little at a time, so that there are only small pieces of twigs etc taken off at any one "go".  For example, I get the hedge around my land cut by a local contractor who does a really good job, leaving the hedge wider at the bottom, and taking a lot of trouble to see that the debris consists of small pieces.  I can tell which of the other people round here use him - the hedges look fine.

On the other hand, the person who owns land adjacent to mine has not cut the hedges for 10 years.  This had led to the sort of overgrowth which means that the farm tractors/trailers go off the tarmac surface and on to the verges, causing the tarmac at the edges to crumble away.  The local council were told about this and all they did was repair the tarmac (badly) with the result that it hasn't lasted - the hedges have grown even more, and the verges are badly damaged and a sea of mud.  For some reason they haven't tackled the landowner about this, which is surprising as they did contact another person I know and told him to see to his hedges - or else!........ 

Septic Tank Drain Field

Posted: 19/03/2015 at 11:40

Can you perhaps explain what type of system you have?  If your house is a "new build" it probably has one of the modern "digester" systems (e.g. Klargester type) and as far as I know, the run-off from these is supposed to be considered "safe". 

I can tell you how the old-fashioned type of system works, but have no direct experience of the new sort.  Maybe someone else can help.

Farmyard manure ....what exactly is it these days?

Posted: 15/03/2015 at 14:22

The stuff you bought could have been produced on a farm where they just have large numbers of calves.  Lots of dairy farmers don't keep the calves their cows produce, but sell them on to those who specialise in growing youngstock.  The calves are often sold at auction and dairy farmers will buy heifers ("youngstock") to add to their herd - once the time-consuming stage of looking after them has passed and the animals themselves are nearing sexual maturity and can live outdoors.  Cross-bred calves (usually the offspring of a dairy cow and a beef-breed bull) are sold on to the people who produce beef animals, and the bull calves will have been castrated.  The pure-bred dairy heifer calves are sold (to dairy farmers) when they reach what's called "bulling" age and the farmer will then most probably use a beef-breed bull for the heifer's first pregnancy.  This is because artificial insemination isn't either successful or advisable for what's called "a maiden heifer" - the heifers will "run with the bull" in the fields, nature takes its course, and the resulting calf will be sold for beef production.  Subsequent breeding is usually via A.I., when the farmer will chose semen from a bull whose bloodline is that of a proven successful dairy line in terms of milk quality/quantity.  Farmers keep records of their cows' lactations and will only keep a pure-bred dairy breed bull calf if it's a really "special" one which they might go on to use to further their own particular "bloodline".

Farming has become so specialised these days - for reasons of economy and efficiency - that it doesn't pay to rear all your own home-bred calves, unless of course you are breeding a particular "line" and want to retain the offspring (heifer calves) for eventual inclusion in the dairy herd itself.  Calves will be housed indoors and thus create a fair amount of waste - usually straw-based.  People who keep horses nowadays seem to use wood shavings for bedding rather than straw.

potatoes

Posted: 15/03/2015 at 13:39

Years ago - when my Pa (who was a farmer) used part of the land for potato growing - we did actually "chit" potatoes.  The seed potatoes were stored foor chitting in wooden crates.  These were slatted crates, with an upright "brace" in each corner which allowed some space between each crate when they were stacked one on top of another.  You see a modern version of this sort of thing these days in some greengrocers' shops etc - it means that the contents of the crate don't get squashed.by the one stacked on top of it.

The machinery used for planting had a sort of shelf along the top of the axle, and this was big enough to accommodate the boxes of chitted potatoes.  There were  two seats behind the shelf, which is where the workmen sat.  They picked each potato up and dropped in down into the furrows which had been created by the part of the machine in front of the axle.  This way, it was possible to use chitted potatoes without damaging the new growth, because the potatoes didn't actually come into contact with any of the machinery's moving parts.

p.s.  the people round here who grow "first earlies" commercially have already got them  in the ground - there's a sort of covering made from plastic - on a sunny day it makes the fields look a bit as though someone has laid down a whole lot of strips of white carpet!

potatoes

Posted: 13/03/2015 at 21:44

I doesn't seem to matter much whether you "chit" or not these days.  e.g. the commercial growers round here have planted about 40 acres of potatoes over the past day or so.  I checked the contents of the potato boxes at the side of the field, and no sign of any growth on the seed potatoes.   They couldn't use chitted potatoes with modern machinery anyway, because the processes would rub the shoots off.  They even use GPS to find the most economical route to cover the acreage/ ref time taken/turning space for the tractor etc etc  so my guess is that if it were really worthwhile chitting potatoes before putting ithem in the ground, they'd have come up with some way of doing it by developing the machinery to cope.

Discussions started by hypercharleyfarley

hypercharleyfarley has not started any discussions