Articles From April 2012

Turbines fully open

Posted in Hydro on Wednesday 25th April 2012 at 5:18pm

We often loose out on one enterprise only to gain on another. The cows may still be in their winter housing but our hydro electric production has steadily risen to full power as the rain has continued to fall with surplus water tumbling over the weir and spillway at the intake. At the forebay I watch the screener being triggered regularly by the debris being carried in the storm water, and, as I sit at my computer writing this I spy the heron visiting in case he has the opportunity to take a fish or two. He leaves after a few minutes without his tea (our protection is obviously working) then I look up and see a majestic buzzard circling overhead. What an office to work from!

Cow and calf

Contented mother and daughter

Posted in Farm on Wednesday 25th April 2012 at 5:16pm

Evidence of one of the pleasures of farming – seeing a new born calf, just 12 hours old, safely cuddled up to its mum. We are still calving our cows inside due to the ferocious weather we have had over the last few days. The older calves born in the early part of the month are now going out by day into a lush grass field to “kick up their heels”; their mum’s are enjoying the sweet new season’s grass too.

Blackthorn and Hawthorn hedgerow

Hedgerows at Old Walls

Posted in General on Wednesday 11th April 2012 at 11:12am

Farming at 1000ft (300m) our season is shorter than our lowland friends and while we still have a wonderful display of daffodils with more still to bloom, “down the hill” they are seeing these delightful flowers die back. Our hedgerows are just the same with the delicate blackthorn flowers on their bare branches only now showing their best against the vivid green of the hawthorn leaves. The remainder of the hedgerow is looking much as it has all winter.

Rain at last

Posted in Hydro on Tuesday 10th April 2012 at 4:15pm

With our “hydro” hats on we were very pleased to see the rains come over the Easter weekend. The West Webburn was running at a low summer flow level until yesterday. Although most of the rain has been taken up by the very dry soils (good for our farming!) there was some surplus that made its way to the rivers. For about 12 hours the river was running at normal winter flows rates. However, it has settled back now and is producing electricity at about 18% production, still way below where we would expect it to be but better than before Monday’s rain. It also brought another wave of smolts down stream and we again left our fish pipe open all night. This morning they have all moved on beyond us on their journey to the sea.

Winter silage feeding

New life on the farm

Posted in Farm on Tuesday 10th April 2012 at 4:03pm

Despite the glorious weather we had through March we are still feeding our suckler cow’s winter rations. The grass has been slow to grow from lack of rain and warmth – although our days have been warm the nights have produced heavy frosts and have kept the soil temperature down. The cows have travelled back to the barns at Old Walls to be closer to home as they are due to calve through April and May. To date we have 4 new calves, all arrived without assistance and are doing well. With the change in the weather over the Easter weekend all the cattle were glad of some shelter from the howling winds and lashing rain.