Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Scything and Haymaking

At this time of year we have quite a lot of grass and need to do something about it.
We had a day of scything tuition from Steve Tomlin, a local expert, who runs courses in the Lakes and North Yorkshire area. 
(You can check his website at
He came to Broadrake to show us the ropes and we were joined by Rachel's old boss, Clive Boardman who has his own meadow that needs attention.

We used lightweight Austrian scythes, pictured below, learning how to set them up to suit our own build and how to make sure the angle of the blade was set correctly in three planes.

After a bit of practice on the lawn we set out into the field. We were quite encouraged with how it went and even as novices we were able to make a bit of an impression.

We have some quite challenging areas to cut as well so this counts as extreme scything.

The day finished with a brief introduction to peening, the art of cold forging the scythe blade as it wears down to enable it to take a sharp edge.

But getting the grass cut is only part of the problem. There is then the business of dealing with it. We spread it out to dry and turned it for a few days before gathering it together and bringing it into the barn.

A bit of searching on the internet revealed plans for a hand baling machine so we thought we would give it a go.

Our first bale arrives.

A few modifications to the design and we are away. Six bales ready to go to the goats up at Ellerbeck.

Monday, 7 July 2014

t'Tour de France

In case you haven't heard there's been a bit of a bike race going on in Yorkshire over the weekend so we thought we'd go and check it out. Since there was a bit of hype about how busy all the roads were going to be we played it safe and parked up at Street Gate near Malham Tarn to walk in to Kilnsey along Mastiles Lane.

The Kilnsey Tour campsite is just about visible down in the valley.

The local farmers had a better idea than walking....


The crowds are starting to gather at Skirfare Bridge

The first of many police vehicles out for a weekend drive around the Dales

"So which way are they going to come from?"

The promotional caravan arrives ahead of the riders.

Not sure how this driver could see where he was going

At least there was one sensible float
 Race officials

The race leaders arrive, a breakaway of three

The peleton approaches

Judging by the crowds it looks like the top of a major climb but this is just an insignificant short rise.

Team cars follow on

Excitement over so it's time to head back to the car

A selection of the quality promotional freebies we managed to acquire. We have, of course, already eaten the Haribo.