View from the Hill 28th November 2004
At last we managed to finish autumn sowing a couple of weeks ago, a whole month later than it should have been, the soil has been too wet for all that time to enable us to get on the land to sow the last 65 acres of wheat. Some of what we sowed the other day is into a pretty awful seedbed, sticky and lumpy, and far too wet to roll. At least we can put the drill away now. Let’s hope the wheat comes up before Christmas. Who’s boss?
I try to avoid controversy in this column, however I find it hard to ignore the hunting debate, which seems to have ended in a vindictive and unjust fashion. The government’s own enquiry found that banning hunting would not improve animal welfare, however this was ignored, and it is hard to see that the ban was voted through for any reason other than prejudice and ignorance of an admittedly strange pastime.
A visit to Yorkshire during half term led to the discovery of an interesting farm diversification, two farmers have got together to establish a brewery, they produce three ales which they sell to local pubs and private customers, they have even bought a pub to guarantee some regular sales. www.woldtopbrewery.co.uk has some good pictures.
Last week I spent two days on a hedge laying course, starting out with a good lesson in sharpening tools, followed by some basics; you should only lay a hedge uphill, cut out anything that is not in the line of the hedge, or crooked, then trim off all the branches and lay the remaining sticks (pleachers) as tight to the ground as possible, to encourage rooting from the pleacher all along its length, from which the rejuvenated hedge will re-emerge. The finished effect looks pretty drastic, but after we had visited some of last season’s work regrown, we had enough confidence to press on. The idea is to start laying some of our old and overgrown hedges in the next few weeks, but at 20 metres per day it shouldn’t be too shocking.