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August 2009 - Posts - Owd Fred's Blog

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August 2009 - Posts

Two more Animals in our Lives

Always from behind at speed, he'd leap from five foot back,
Hit you with his bony head, your hip or thighs he'd whack.

With sheep breeding you can bet you will always have some cade lambs about, depending who has reared then, they can turn out to be a dam nuisance. We had one, who, as he got older became positively dangerous


The Cade Lambs

Years ago had some Cades, reared around the garden,
Tame and bold and cheeky, from us we tried to harden,
But this one tup lamb hard faced, nothing put him off,
Would follow close behind, and charge you from his trough.

Out in the field when he got big, he'd look and give a baaaa,
He would let you get half way in, then start his run from far,
Always from behind at speed, he'd leap from five foot back,
Hit you with his bony head, your hip or thighs he'd whack.

 Even if you saw him come, to waive him off you try,
The charge would be just the same, the devil he was sly,
Take off your coat, hang it out, he would be drawn to that,
Like a bullfighter in the ring, he loved to have a spat.

Word got round, keep out that field, cross it if you dare,
Could not see which one he was, from a distance stare,
Then without warning at full speed, to late he's got you marked,
Now it was we must know it's his temper we have sparked.



Another pet we had some years ago when our girls were growing up was April a Goat, she had been round the block so to speak when I bought her, and was more worldly wise than the children she was purchased for. She was always one move in front of them, and found the only way to keep her in the orchard was to tether her. She would not be led out to the tether, got to be dragged, although there was ample lush grass to eat, so that job always fell to me.

 Number one daughter was doing her best to take her out one day soon after we had her and she got her down on a hedge bank, and pinned her horns into the hedge bank either side if her thighs and would not let her go. She would walk back keenly to her shed but defended her food "to the death",  they had to lower the bucket of food and water on the end of a cord over the gate.

Everything centred around food once fed and full, they could groom and fuss with her, as long as she was able to lead them where she wanted to go when out on a lead. We kept her around a year until she became totally dominant over the children.


A Goat Called April

We had a goat called April, for the children bought,
As a pet to play with, to feed and water thought,
Give them a little job to do, when they got home from school,
But she was older than we thought, would not be made a fool.

She had long horns up curved, and use them she knew how,
Defend her rights and show the kids, to lead would not allow,
Grazed around the garden, tethered on a chain,
This so we'd know where she was, the only way to restrain.

Brought down at tea time, a feed of corn and hay,
Water in a bucket full, there must be no delay,
The buckets had to be lowered in, on the end of a string,
Or she'd power her way out again, past you or anything.

Leading she'd pinned Diane down, horn each side of her thigh,
Horned dug deep into the turf, not move and made her cry,
So April had to go to market, next Monday was a must,
Ethnic butchers liked her, in the pot next week we ( I ) trust.


The Misses and the girls did not approve of Aprils demise, but she had to go.


It's better to live one day as a lion, than a hundred years as a lamb
John Gotti

St Swithin's, it did rain on the 15th July


We have only just passed the fortieth day of St Swithin's, it did rain on the 15th July  and true to its legend or saying, it has rained more days than its been fine. The grass has grown continuously right through the summer and given us very little to groan about, other than the fact that there has not been many "two fine days together" periods that you can attempt to make hay or properly wilted silage/haylage.

St Swithin's day is 15th July, a day on which people watch the weather for tradition says that whatever the weather is like on St Swithin's day, it will continue for the next forty days.

I have about a half of my grass mowing area on low lying peat bog, mid July is very often the best time or the only time when I can get on and drive all over it with the tractors and implements. So far we cut a seven acre patch along side the brook being what I know is the driest.

It carried the Mower and stood the twice over turning and rowing up with only making muddy wheel marks, the baler , (round baler) came and with his wide tyres carried well but for one small area at one end of the field, the wrapper came along with its small wheels and that seemed to cut in more particularly when he attempted to carry one while wrapping another at the same time, and all this on the driest part of the meadows. 

Carting the bales meant that the trailer had got to be set along drier edges of the field and the bales carried to it, the problem was then the foot on the drawbar had to have a short length of sleeper to stop it sinking in the peat.

We have had this even in dry seasons, where the foot sinks in, but when starting off with a loaded trailer, the tyre of the trailer sinks into a depression in the turf with the weight, Its like the old timber drug horse teams that were trained to give a heavy snatch to get a heavy load of timber moving (a timber drug horse was never safe to use for farm work as they were in the habit of doing snatch starts and would tip the person off the top of the load). So the tractor has got to do a snatch start in four wheel drive and in a low enough gear so as not to stall, if it stalled the trailer will drop back into its depression and start to break through the turf, once the turf breaks the wheel, usually only one wheel will drop in up to the trailer chassis, the only way is to unload and start again.


A Verse to St. Swithin

St Swithin's day it turned out wet, for forty days its rain,
Each day we watch the forecast, but alas it's all in vein,
Cloud and drizzle a little sun, each day it starts the same,
The next day it turns out fine, and gives you hope again.

Fifteenth July the decisive day, and forty more to come,
Whole phase of the moon and more before we get the sun,
Big depressions sweeping in, low cloud and mist it brings,
Broken cloud and sunny spells, muggy warm evenings.

The local show the village fete, a chance they have to take,
It just by luck rain holds off; bring folks through the gate,
Just one day a year it is, and just a few hours that day,
Six whole days since Sunday, when the vicar's was meant to pray.

Hay makings been put on hold, and the corn is getting ripe
The grass matured and gone to seed, but who are we to gripe,
We take what comes from day to day, work along as befit,
Its frustrating all the waiting about, enough to make ya spit.



There is a weather-rhyme that is well known throughout the British Isles since Elizabethan times-

St Swithin's day if thou dost rain,
Forty days it will remain
St Swithin's day if it be fair,
For forty days ‘twil rain nae mair'

The Village Pump


In olden days in every village, you could find a well,
Middle of all the cottages, close where people dwell,

Just about the last gathering round the village pump before mains water was turned on, this was 1945.

This pump was by the village shop, the other was on the village green by the Church. It was only a few more years that a sewer system and flush toilets were installed then the new council houses were built. 


  A Well in Every Village 

In olden days in every village, you could find a well,
Middle of all the cottages, close where people dwell,
A big old curly handle, so shiny from its use,
Pumping all the water, cool and clear produce.

It had a wooden jacket, to keep the frost at bay,
Insulate with old sacks, sometimes filled with hay,
From half way up the front, a big lead spout protrude,
To hang the buckets on, out which the water spewed.

A sandstone trough beneath, there to catch what spilt,
Drain back into the well, that's the way it's built,
A bright green grassy bank, cept where the people stood,
Worn out by the villagers, who carried all they could.

Wells were used for centuries, before mains water came,
Then were all condemned, and filled in for safety blame,
No more well side meetings, every morning of the year,
Social gathering of women, no longer do appear.


As the villagers moved into the new houses so the old half timbered thatched houses were demolished, over the years the building plots were sold off by the estate and new private houses filled in the spaces down the quarter mile centre of the village.

New Cumbers Council houses in Seighford  1950's

We walked up past the village shop, on our way to school  
Big hedge bank and ditch there was, further back a pool
Saw them cut the first sod, cut up trees burn the brash,
Fenced along the back, to build ten houses in a rash.

Dug the first foundations, buv ground built in no time,
Big gang of men there was, scaffolding soon to climb,
Next one started same again, on up to the eves,
Trusses and laths they were next, tiles to receive.

When built and nearly ready, frontage was dug well back,
Opened up the main road, kerbed with grass no lack,
New gates and fences, numbered one to ten,
Now all ready to move in, nearly all were farm men.

People in the village, they were first on list,
Empty all old cottages, on this they did insist,
New house and new garden, everyone was pleased,
Washing line erected, garden path was seized.

On the front lawns were laid and veg patch up behind,
Competition of, who's first produce to table consigned,
All could see what's going on, no hedge to hide the mess,
Hedge had just planted, for wind break we must stress.

All mature and tidy now, some fifty years have gone,
The old front wickets been replaced, although some have non,
Still are numbered one to ten, along a wide grass verge,
Only now are these new houses, look as though to merge.



Old houses mended,
Cost little less than new before they're ended.
         Colley Cibber,  The Double Gallant Prologue

Food Miles

Educations what you want, or that is what I'm told,
Get on in life and see the world, seek your pot of gold.

Food Miles is such a wide area to cover in a few pages, and is skimmed over to give an overall view of the trends of where were going. This is how far we have got just in my lifetime.


Food Miles 

On looking back when I was young, all them years ago,
The horse and cart were still about, a lot we didn't know,
Cars and tractors taking over, plenty of fuel they sup,
Fuel brought in from over seas, and local garages set up.

This has snowballed over the years, cannot comprehend,
Where all the traffic's going to, so fast around the bend,
Miles per gallon's going up, so is car's per mile,
Speed is what's on most people's mind, then end up in a pile.

Everything is carried about and often back again,
Out to distribution centres, finding jobs for men,
Wear and tear on tyres and roads, burning up the miles,
Costs all added onto their goods, customer pays up and smiles.

At one time, veg came out the ground, flour came from the mill,
Chickens walked about the yard, pecking happily to get their fill,
A pig was fattened on scraps, from the house and garden,
Talk food miles, it was food yards, when things were all on ration.

Only thing that Mother bought, was cornflakes in a packet,
Then tins of peaches she would buy, from other side the planet,
Had these when bottled fruit ran out, ate with bread and butter,
Wheat was ground at water mill, bread baked next to the butcher.

Packaging's the thing right now, it's wrapped and wrapped again,
Keep the food clean and fresh, or that is what they claim,
Bin through many hands, and machines to wrap and pack,
Getting older by the minute, a use-by date on pack will slap.

Where do you put all the waste produced, pop it in the bin,
Land fill holes are filling up, rotting down n' methane begin,
It all boils own to negligence, in what were doing to our earth,
How it's changing for the worse, all getting bigger round the girth.

On looking where it's going to, well beyond my years,
Food's way down the list to buy, as" farmers" get the jeers,
Bring it all in from abroad, more transport still is needed,
"Look after those who tend our land", make sure this warnings heeded.



All this in the name of education, a little more thought should be put into basic living and our ability to feed ourselves in the event of shortages. There must be a few people in power who remember rationing, but I recon those that do were not having to live in real poverty, just shortages, and that's the difference. Not enough emphasis put on self sufficiency.


Wrapped and Wrapped Agen

Food miles are talked about, from all around the globe,
Fresh is what they say it is, but had time to gain microbes,
Chilled and travelled round the world, tired it must be when,
It hits the shelves with sell by date, wrapped and wrapped agen.

Fresh is when its local grown, few miles up the road,
Picked and dug same morning, not long to unload,
To the Farmers market, a stall all well set out,
Fresh from our own fields today, that is what we shout.



Educations What You Want

Educations what you want, or that is what I'm told,
Get on in life and see the world, seek your pot of gold.
More to life than toil and sweat, let others soil there hands,
Let education guide the way, nine till five, five days a week demand.

Over the years most folk done this, for better jobs they travelled,
Men they left the land in droves, off into town they pedalled.
With better money they bought a car, get about much quicker,
Then travelled even further a field, became the city slicker.



Learning without thought is labour lost, thought without learning is perilous
Confucius  (551 BC - 479 BC)