Feed the Birds

 Here at the Lower Dairy Farm Gull Sanctuary, we've been busy feeding the birds.

But where do they come from?  And how do they know?  Are there gull scouts?  Here's my first furrow after lunch:

...and half an hour later:

According to the RSPB:
"Because winds are stronger at higher altitudes - so less energy-expending flapping is required - gulls are often thousands of feet in the air.  From such a vast height, and by using their keen eyesight, they have an excellent all-round view for many miles around. This allows them to exploit potential feeding opportunities very quickly."

Mystery solved.

Once upon a time, Farmer Humph very nearly ran over a gull; but that's a story I'm saving for another day.

A little too basic...

OK, so when I said we were going "back to basics" recently, I wasn't quite meaning this basic:

Early Woman aka Mum was thrilled to find a new penknife whilst out walking our  domesticated wolfhound.  Proof positive that an early, possibly Neolithic Farmer Humph roamed this land.

But, the 'back-to-basics' jinx struck again this week, with Mum's discovery of a hand plough hidden under several decades of brambles.  A one-furrow plough.  So at last count, we have a one furrow, a two-furrow, two three-furrow and a four-furrow;   The Evolution of the Plough, a new exhibit at Lower Dairy Farm.  Join them all together and you could take on a prairie.

 With the Massey 690s still out of action, Dad has worked very hard to complete the ploughing, cultivating and drilling with limited tractor power.  It has been a long time coming, but finally, our last sugar beet crop is in the ground.  Hurrah!Actually, last year was supposed to be the last, but our agronomist bullied Dad into signing the contract for another season.  We like him really, but if he attempts the same this year, I shall be invoicing him for 20 years of tea and cake - and even when you take into account inflation, it's good cake, so he should be very afraid.

For us, sugar beet is a lot of hassle and no longer suited to small acreages like ours.  British Sugar are laughing all the way to the bank with the price they pay, and frankly, the NFU should be ashamed to put their name to the "deals" they "negotiate".  Negotiating with a monopoly is never going to be an easy task, but as one wise farmer put it: "They must drink in the same pub..."

And so, the sugar beet drill will be put to rest.  First looked at in 1982, it had lain unused in a field for so long, sheep had eaten the electric cabling.  A year later, Dad decided to buy it, rewired it and two of the units have lasted without upgrades for thirty years.  Seen here riding off into the sunset for the last time...

Note our state-of-the-art geolocation system: a bag on a pylon.  When the satellites fail, we'll be okay.  I'm off to knap flint tools for my survivalist shelter.

With furrowed brow...

"It may not have the horsepower of a Fendt, but it's better than a horse."

Wise words from Dad, who had an early start to catch the brief frost and plough the first furrows of the season.

A good morning's work completed before the tractor limped off the field with an oil leak.  That nicely rearranges today's "work-plan"; we'll be scrambling under the tractor this afternoon trying to trace the drip!

In the meantime, I'm hoping Humbug's aversion to mud will result in the furrows between us and Bailey's Cottages forming a barrier against future garden-hopping escapades.  Unfortunately, he doesn't just head up there to enjoy the view.

I bet Constable didn't have this problem.