Grit Blogs > Maple Field Milk

Is It Still Winter

Nick Snelgar head shotEvery morning I wake to the din of a blackbird in a tall roadside Maple. Have I missed something? Some mornings the tractor windscreen is touched with frost – but not many. The temperature wanders around 8 to 10 centigrade, which is hardly wintry. Snowdrops already build up a smooth froth on the south facing banks – and I have seen a russet glow forming on the willow.

I am wrestling with  timber ‘firring pieces.’ Our local joiner has machined down some lengths of 4-by-2 to provide a straight guide for us to lay the floor screed to. The firring tapers from 2” down to 1 1/2” over its length to give the finished floor a slight run, or flow, towards the drain. That’s another local craftsman pulling his weight behind this enterprise.

The International Harvester 574 tractor is due to have its handbrake mended next week. I dare not start milking before the power source is totally reliable. Fortunately I have found someone with the knowledge and the will, and someone with brim-full enthusiasm for the more Bronze Age tractor.  Again, we must – all of us, small-holders and townsfolk alike, marvel at and encourage great men and women engineers and husband/people to continue their vital work in getting us all fed. When the dairy is finished and the fresh milking is gushing through the system, we shall publish a list of everyone who was involved in bringing it off; lets marvel at just who is behind a pint of milk on a supermarket shelf or on a damp doorstep in Hampshire.

A small farm near us keeps Swiss Brown cows and they process their milk for cheese. I hope to meet them next week and  find out more. I do already feel part of a ‘movement.’

We are in discussions with an energy company to try and find a system to power the dairy entirely from the sun.

Secretary of State Caroline Spellman (D.E.F.R.A) told us last week that her Department used only 18% British food to feed itself - the remaining 82% was sourced from abroad. What sort of example is that for other Departments?

Notes on the Side: 

I have a book on the go at the moment called "England in Particular" by Sue Clifford and Angela King (2006) of Commonground  (www.commonground.org.uk), which brings together all my interests and talks with deep knowledge about everything from the Dorset Coast to Dew Ponds. The trouble is I just want to sit and read it ! 

G.K Chesterton in "What’s wrong with the World" says, "All men in history who have really done anything with the future had their eyes fixed upon the past" - eg, the Renaissance.

nebraska dave
2/16/2012 11:54:46 PM

Nick, welcome to the GRIT blogging world. It sounds like you have some interesting projects in progress. I hope you will share more about their progress. I take you come from across the pond so to speak. I like hearing from folks in other parts of the world. The temperature was about 40 degrees Farinheit here today. That's quite a mild day as well. Our winter has been unusually warm this winter with hardly any snow or freezing temperatures until February. Now it's still on the mild side but the snow and cold is more frequent. Have a great day.