Blog Index
The journal that this archive was targeting has been deleted. Please update your configuration.
Navigation
Tuesday
Jul042017

20 June 2017

It seems to me that the agricultural machinery used by contractors each year grows bigger and bigger, while our fields remain stubbornly the same size. I was listening to Adam Henson on Countryfile talking about using drones on his farm to identify the exact amounts of inputs to be used on his crops and at what intensity – thus preventing pointless over use and minimizing the impact of pesticides on nature. The things you can do with technology never cease to amaze me, but they assume and demand a scale of farming that foretells the future – Henson farms 650 hectares, more than ten times the amount of land we have. Since farming began, smaller farms have been driven out of business, and like the machinery that works the land, the size of farms has grown relentlessly. I’m not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. I know that If somebody offered to increase the size of this farm tenfold, I would be delighted. I’m not so sure how I would feel about dispossessing families of land they had occupied for centuries.

See you soon.

Tom.

Tuesday
Jul042017

12 June 2017

Last week the Guest House was taken over by a group of American Harley ‘there is no substitute for cubic inches’  Davidson bikers – and a small prize to the first person who can name the 70s film from which I quote. You could tell that they were on their way about five minutes before they arrived home from one of their excursions  – the whole house would start to vibrate to the low bass thrum of their engines. I was chatting with them before they set off to do the Antrim Coastal Route – ‘supposed to be one of the top 5 bike rides in the World, according to the guide,’  I was told. We sometimes forget the magnificence of what is on our own doorstep. ‘It’s the best drive on the Planet’ I assured them.

See you soon.

Tom.

Tuesday
Jun062017

05 JUNE 2017

The Swift boxes I mentioned in the email a couple of weeks ago. There’s a small speaker (not visible in the photo) attached to the bottom of the nearest box which plays the call of the swift in an effort to entice next year’s would be parents to identify these boxes as a good place to bring up children. There will be a small prize to anyone who can show me a photograph of a swift either entering or leaving one of the boxes. I should say this is not an entirely forlorn hop as swifts are routinely seen above the yard. Hein tried to explain how you distinguish a swallow from a swift: a swallow in profile is like a fighter jet, a swift more like a glider. Plus swifts tend to fly higher. I know what he means, but he has better eyes than I and I still struggle to tell the difference.

See you soon

Tom

Tuesday
May162017

15 May 2017

Ten days ago, Patricia and I got up at 5 o’clock in the morning and set off for Tipperary. It is, as you will know from the song, a long way to Tipperary. This photograph was taken just outside Nenagh, and in it you can see Billy Collins, who breeds Tamworths and Durocs, leading three hopefully pregnant Tamworth sows onto our trailer, in order for us to bring them back to Ballylagan.

We contacted Billy some weeks ago in search of Tamworth breeding stock and after a prolonged exchange of emails and texts, he suddenly asked us if we had a boar and what was its name. He suspected that our boar (Nightpark Glen) was the only surviving direct male progeny of a boar his mother had bought from Bellevue Zoo about twenty years ago. Photographs were emailed and stud books consulted – a bit like internet dating for pigs. The outcome of all this was that two months ago Billy collected our boar and took him down to Nenagh to meet all sorts of nice young things. We saw him when we were picking up these sows – he’s on a diet, not so much to improve his already impressive good looks but to make sure he doesn’t crush any of his beloveds during the act of courtship.

Patricia and I returned home with the our three sows at about 5 o’clock in the evening. They have taken up residence in the front field where they can easily be seen.

See you soon.
Tom