Thursday, 22 June 2017

Chapel Saint Leonards | Lincolnshire

I bet every one of us has little bit of an adventurous soul hidden somewhere inside. Are you the kind of person that likes, untouched, empty beaches, far away from the nosies of civilisation? You know that is the place where you will really manage to rest, turn off the modern world, and be one with nature. Yeah, even nude, if you like it. For all of you that can take more than walking maximal 50 metres from your car to the beach, It is for all of you that enjoy an unforgettable relaxation in that secret place, where the sea meets the land.

When you visit so many beautiful, hard to reach, mysterious and remote beaches you learn one thing: "Be prepared." Discovering nature is much better, when you are at least a little bit prepared. I know that being spontaneous has its charm, but sometimes it can be too risky.

There is no better feeling than knowing I am totally prepared and getting closer to the experience of a new beach but even better is the feeling when you are returning from the beach full of new impressions, photos, and knowing that I am healthy and ready for the next day. So in the evening I can say it was a perfect day.

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Monday, 5 June 2017

"The Baby Keets" first day outside

We let Missy and the babies out for a short time yesterday, to enjoy the sunshine. I just wanted to see how they would be outside because Missy has stopped lying on top of the babies and actually started to walk and scratch around. I assumed that was nature's way of saying it is finally time to get them out and about. 
They're 6 days old now!

Saturday, 3 June 2017

4 day old Guinea Fowl Keets

I don't think Missy has realised but she has been sitting on the wrong nest for the last 26 days... but anyways she has carefully hatched 7 Guinea Fowl Keets. 
Hatched 31.05.2017

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Sunnyside Up Farm & Coffee Shop - Lincolnshire

In the heart of the Lincolnshire Wolds (which is about a hop, skip and a jump away between Tealby and Market Rasen) sits Sunnyside Up Farm Shop & Coffee Shop which prioritises using local produce on the menu.
We've visited a few times, and it does seem to be one of those places that a bit of an undiscovered gem.

Lincolnshire conjures up images of pretty villages with rolling green hills and winding roads. In my dream, at the end of the road, there's always a good strong cup of tea, a slice of cake.

(The tea was delicious and the scones were lovely). 

The coffee shop offers a wide selection of delicious hot and cold drinks, freshly made cakes and homemade scones. Stokes of Lincoln Tea & Coffee. (I haven't tried yet but they stock Marimbas Milk, white and dark hot chocolate made with real chocolate flakes. 

Indoors or out you will enjoy beautiful views over the Lincolnshire countryside including the lovely Lincoln Red Cattle contentedly grazing.

The staff are friendly and the scones, cakes on the counter looked wonderful. Freshly made everyday! - definitely a reason to return. 

Also they have tables and children's play area outside in addition to the cafe.

I took a quick wander around the farm shop afterwards which consists of two adjoining rooms. One contains the fresh foodstuffs (including locally made bread, bakery items, dairy produce and Sunnyside Up very own-reared beef alongside other meat and poultry farmed in Lincolnshire and a well stocked shelving unit of wines, whiskies and other sprits.

(not to mention a huge selection of jams, chutneys and preserves).

 (Pin Gin, Lincolnshire based producer that has formulated a unique and enticing gin with a special flavour)

You mustn't leave Lincolnshire without trying some 'yellowbelly'. No, you don't have to eat one of the locals, it's the nickname of Cotehill Yellow - see if you can spot to in the cheese counter!

They stock 30 cheese sourced from all over the UK and Europe especially they sell 2 CoteHill Cheeses, produced just up the road in Osgodby.

The bigger room contains a wide range of tasteful homeware.

Bread by Bike, what a brilliant idea! Delivers home baked bread to your door, by bicycle.

They are 3 types of bread, medium and large loaves of white, wholemeal and granary bread.

You will have to try Bread by Bike, it's absolutely delicious. 

Please go check out Andy's website/Facebook page.

They are a large selection of fruit & vegetables.

(You can buy your meat with confidence). 

At Sunnyside up they are proud to offer beef that has been with them from pasture to plate. This means they know exactly what does into each animal, caring it for it from the day it's born, maximing it's welfare and feeding and handling it to produce beef with the best flavour and texture.

Sunnyside Up is a fab place to relax and enjoy some country air, whether you pop by for a coffee or lunch, or choose some lovely produce to enjoy at home.

Sunnyside Up Farm Shop, Poplar Farm, Tealby Road, Market Rasen, LN8 3UL. 

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Yellow Fields of Happiness

I live in a world surrounded fields. The rapeseed flowers are in full bloom. These vibrant yellow beauties are a magnificent sigh as you drive around the countryside. They only bloom for around 3-4weeks in the springtime, less if there is heavy rain. Rapeseed is grown primarily for oil. 

Yellow is a happy colour.

I adore the colour for the happy mood it puts me in. Wandering through a field of wildflowers then into a field of Rapeseed flowers was the next best 'pick me up' experience of retail therapy!

Monday, 1 May 2017

Spring time is a time for new beginnings & Broody Hens

Spring time is a time for new beginnings, broody hens and baby chicks. When hens want to hatch some eggs of their own, they become broody. When broody, they puff out their feathers and hunker down inside the nesting box. They stay dedicated to the thought of hatching eggs.

A broody hen can be a godsend if you are trying to hatch chicks. No worries about incubators, brooder boxes or heat lamps... the hen will take case of it all.

However, if none of your eggs are fertile or you aren't interested in hatching any chicks a broody hen is not something you want. Not only do broody hens stops laying eggs and pluck out their breast feathers, they only leave the nest for short periods of time to eat and drink a bit (but not nearly as much as they really need, resulting in weight loss and possible malnutrition they also make it duffer cult for the other hens to lay their eggs by hogging the nest.

Other hens may start pecking at the broody trying to get her to leave the nest, which can not only injure her, but lead to cannibalism. Also she might be bullied once she returns to the flock since she has been absent for several weeks. Normally the peeps of the hatching chicks signal to a broody that she is done siting but clearly if eggs never hatch under her, she never get that signal to stop, so you need to encourage her. 

Broodiness is also contagious to some extend and one broody can induce others to go broody. 
Broody hens also have a grater chance at contracting mites and other parasites, although using herbs in the nesting boxes can alleviate the parasite concern to a great extent. Bottom line though it is far healthier for a hen to be out being a chicken, scratching for bugs, dust bathing and socialising with the others than sitting on an empty nest.

In the past two days it seems that Missy, one of our columbian blacktails has gone broody. My first clue was that every time I went to collect eggs, she was siting on a nest. When I walked into the coop she puffed up and growled at me. She also clucked a deep, throaty cluck (that is the voice she will use to call her chicks). Some broodies will also peck at you when you try and take the eggs so a pair of gloves is a must. A broody hen will literally feather the nest and start pulling out her breast feathers and depositing them in the nesting box. She does this both to cushion the eggs and because her bare skin will keep the eggs (and chicks once they hatch) warmer being right up next to her. 

Eggs are not even a requirement to being broody. Often my broody hens will perch themselves upon imaginary invisible eggs. Sometimes chicken keepers try to break broody hens from this trance like state. There are all sorts of technique out there. Some believe that hens will perish if they remain in a broody state. Others break broody hens because when a hen is broody, she will not lay any eggs. However, I prefer to let nature take its course and closely monitor these hens during this time. Some breeds tend to go broody more than others and nowadays most breeds have had broodiness bred right of them.

Once you have had one broody hen, you will immediately recognise when the next one goes broody. The signs are pretty unmistakable. 

Broody Columbian Blacktail

Our eggs are not fertile. I'm not ready quite yet so Missy needs to be broken of her broodiness. If a hen isn't sitting on fertile eggs, its not healthy for her to sit all day in the dark nesting box, although that is what her maternal hormones are telling her to do. But she needs o be outside getting exercise and fresh air and being a chicken. Also, a broody hen will stop laying eggs when she goes broody and won't start up again possible for several months - the 21 days it takes for eggs to hatch plus the time she would caring for her new chicks so its in both your best interests to break them as quickly as possible.

 If you let nature take its course, the broody period typically lasts about 3 weeks. Hens can go broody at anytime during the year, but are more likely to go broody in springtime and warmer weather.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Adventures in Backyard Chickens

6:30am... I technically could be asleep for another 25mins before I have to get dressed but at this point I am in my pyjamas with my hair tied in something that resembles a bun and I am pulling on my boots to walk to the yard. Now why in the world would I be walking to the yard in the morning when I could asleep?

The answer to that would be 6 2-legged little runts with wings that need to be fed and watered!

When you have your own flock of laying chickens in your backyard is an adventure. It's a great way to avoid buying eggs from the grocery store and depending on which breed you have, you could still have eggs for most of the year! I have my own little egg factory and sell the little gems by the dozen to have money to put back into feed for my laying ladies. They are also nice to have around as pets that actually pull some of their own weight by paying you back with eggs for the money you put into keeping them. Chickens also help cut back on food waste, they are great for getting rid of fruits and vegetables that may have over-roped for your taste buds... the chickens will LOVE them!
If you have ever considered your own backyard chickens, you should do it. I highly recommend getting a few chickens!

**Pam at Brigg Poultry sells Point of lay fully vaccinated chickens.
They are located of the edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds in the market town of Alford, virtually opposite the five sailed working windmill** 

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

It's Bluebell Season!

Bluebells transform our woodland in Springtime. The carpet of intense blue under the opening tree canopy is one of our greatest woodland spectacles. It's not surprising that bluebell is one of the nations best loved wild flowers.

Spotting a carpet of bluebells in a woodland is a highlight of any springtime walk in the countryside.

Where and When to find bluebell?

When: Bluebells flower between mid April and late May

This early flowering makes the most of the sunlight that reaches the woodland floor before the full woodland canopy casts its shade. Millions of bugs may grow closely together in on wood, creating one of natures most stunning displays.

Where: Half of the worlds population of bluebells are here in the UK. You'll find them in broadleaved woodland, along hedgerows and in fields.

What does bluebell look like?

Bluebells are perennial bulbous herbs with flowering stems to about  50cm tall. They spend most of the year as bus underground and emerge to flower from April onwards. 

Leaves: Around 7mm to 25mm wide and 45cm long Strap-shaped with a pointed tip. They are smooth with a succulent appearance.

Flowers: Up to 20 sweetly scented floors are borne on a flower stalk which droops or nods to one side. Flowers are bell shaped and can be blue, white or rarely pink. Each flower has 6 petals with recurved (up-turned) tips. Anthers have white cream coloured pollen.

(Wyham cum Cadeby, Lincolnshire)

Woodland Trust own over 1,000 sites across the UK, many of which are fantastic bluebell hotspots.

Type your town or postcode into the search box. Look out for the bluebell icon on the wood features to see which woods have bluebells.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Fendt Vario 1050 is the world's most powerful standard... Finally, yes it does look a beast and yes, the new 'nature green'

Packing a massive 500hp under the hood and standing at 3.6m tall, the new range will the biggest and most powerful conventional tractors ever made.

Only a handful of North American articulated monsters and tracked machines from the likes of Deere and Challenger will be able to match it. Possible uses in the UK will be taking large drilling duties away from heavier tracked or articulated machines that are bit harder on the ground. Contractors with large outfits could also be interested.

It has been a few months since Fendt previewed its highly anticipated 1000 series Vario tractor series, but since then the firm has hold its card very close to its chest as to what is under the skin of the new beast. However, Fendt can now reveal what makes the 1000 vario tick and it is not just straight forward as a beefing up a 900 series.

What's it like to drive?

Once you've shinned up the ladder to get into the cab its was hard forgot you're in a big, powerful machine. The 1050's proportions are nearly identical to those of any other conventional tractor so when you stick it in the middle of a massive field with no other  points of reference it actually seems quite normal. Controls are pretty much the same as any other Fendt from the 300 series upwards so anyone who is familiar with the German makers way of doing things will be able to hop on and drive it. It's also surprisingly manoeuvrable and has a considerably tighter turning circle than we expected. 

This is particularly impressive given the lack of clearance between the front wheels and the ridiculously wide bonnet. Power is clearly plentiful but the fact that we were pulling the 6.6m Simba rig through previously worked ground meant we didn't get to see it operating anywhere near its limit. However in this loose ground we noticed that wheel slip was at times getting close to 25% so we would still question exactly how well it can transfer it's 500hp to terra firms when the going gets really tough. 

Those that like the bark and raw grunt of an old school power shift might also be a shade disappointment with the 1050's sedate approach to putting down the power. 
The 12.4 litre block is tuned to deliver its peak torque between 1,100rpm and 1,500rpm and when you turn on the Tractor Management (TMS) it will do its best to reach your target speed within that range. This can make it feel like it's chugging along and those that aren't used to this might think it's struggling. However once you realise that you don't need high revs to get the power it makes the job seem a lot less frantic and creates a pleasant hush in the cabin. 

Fendt 1050 Canvas - FOR SALE 30x20cm £15.00 usually £41.50
Purchase this canvas, please click the link.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Just how high can you go in Lincolnshire and Where is it?

They say Lincolnshire's flat, anyone who has driven around the Lincolnshire Wolds, as I do nearly everyday. I can tell you otherwise, there's some breathtaking scenery and lung busting hill climbs.

(NATS Claxby Radar Dome)

Normanby Hill (sometimes also Wolds Top) is the name sometimes given to the highest point of the Lincolnshire wolds. It lies some distance to the north of the village of Normanby le Wold in Lincolnshire. The viking way passes close by, on a minor road and there is a radio mast near the summit. The summit is marked with an Ordnance Survey triangulation station, which was erected in 1936 and is now used as part of the Ordnance Survey National GPS System.

Wolds Top is within the Lincolnshire Wolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty!!

Officially the high spot is 551 feet above sea level and the exact point is marked by an Ordnance Survey trig pillar near Normanby le Wold - grid reference TF 12209 95452.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Happy Valentine's Day to all my readers....

Valentine's Wreaths are a perfect holiday staples for your front door!!

Happy Valentine's Day to all my friends and family. 
Remember, it's not just for couples, it's to celebrate love in all forms. Love is all around you!!

Sunday, 12 February 2017

The Brocklesby Hunt

A few photographs from yesterday (Saturday 11th February) Hunt, Lincolnshire. 

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Do you know the difference between dirt and soil?

Agriculture is more than dirt, ploughs and tractors. Agriculture is the largest industry in the world and employs the majority of the workers in the United Kingdom. Where I'm from the soil is what keeps families alive. Most people just think that fields are just "dirt", which isn't even the right term. Do you know the difference between dirt and soil? Soil is what farmers grow their crops in, dirt is what you sweep up off your kitchen floor. There are uses for soil in growing the crops that produce your food,. Soil provides the nutrients, hold the water that keep the crops alive, provide aeration for the crops, and provides that minerals that the crops need to grow. The soil in the fields is what makes the crops prosperous or not, so the next time you look at a field think about the potential that it might hold for the next year.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

"The Farmer"

God bless the seeds his hands let fall... for the farmer he must feed us all!!

If you ate today, Thank a Farmer!!

Sunday, 1 January 2017

What do Farmers do during the Winter Months?

What happens on farms when the grain has been harvested and stored, hay has been cut and baled? Farmers don't jet off to the Bahamas! Even when it's too cold for crops to grow farmers still have duties on the farm.
Even after the combines are sparklingly clean and put away for the winter, arable farmers don't stop farming. The winter months are a time to prepare for the coming year by budgeting for and purchasing things like seed and fertiliser. Some arable farmers store their crops on farm and spend winter shipping grain from their farm ethanol plants, feed mills and river terminals, where grain get loaded onto barges and shipped far and wide. Many farmers work on farm equipment like tractors and planters in preparation for spring tillage and planting. It is in this time of year that many farmers also make the final decisions about what crops to plant on which fields. A lot goes into that decision, including factors like what crop was on the field the previous year, what relative profitability of various crops are, known disease pressure that might be in the oil on that particular field, and the soil types of the field.

Winter for livestock farmers a bit different than it is for arable farmers. Though they still have to manage their finances and plan for the coming year, they have the added responsibility of caring of animals in the cold, windy winter months. In addition to the everyday care that farmers always provide for their livestock, special attention has to be paid to water troughs that can freeze, livestock that can frostbite and technology that can shut down to cold weather and ice.

Winter brings additional challenge to beef and dairy cattle farmers, who have to feed and milk their animals every day. They provide warm bedding to every cow so she doesn't get frostbite on her teats. When the temperature drops below zero, many farmers elect to bring newborn calves into their own homes to ensure they are warm enough, calves are ver susceptible to frostbit, especially on their ears. Farmers also have to scrape pens and check cattle more often in the winter months to make are animals are kept, healthy and comfortable in the snow and cold. 

Most pigs, turkeys and chickens are lucky to be housed inside and they don't even realise that it's winter! For these livestock farmers, maintaining electricity and generators is crucial in the winter months, because keeping smaller livestock warm can be a challenge. Of course, any livestock farmer has to be work about diesel fuel tractors running in the cold and keeping extra feed supplies on hand in case rural roads become impassable in the winter.

For all farmers, winter can be a time to catch up on goings on in the industry through many trade shows, for example LAMMA etc. These are opportunities for farmers to learn, explode and reconnect with others in the industry. 

Relatively speaking, the winter months can be a slower time for farmers. More often than not, they can be seen enduring the cold while working on animals, machinery, or plans for the coming year.