on the farm in February

The Ley, Slamseys Farm

The fields are still wet and muddy and the days on the farm in February start grey and murky.

flooded footpath

The water on the public footpath in The Ley field, in the photo above, has now receded back into the ditch but the path has widened from 1.5 metres to nearly ten metres in places as walkers take an ever widening route to avoid the mud. Despite Bill’s grumbling at the crop loss, the trampled wheat seems very insignificant compared to the despair of people whose homes are still flooded or the livestock farmers who have flooded farms with dwindling feed supplies. It’s been good to see how farmers across the country have rallied together to donate and pledge offers of forage and straw, particularly the campaigns organised by enthusiastic Young Farmers.

solar panelsinstalling solar panels

Our neighbour on the farm next door is constructing a new solar facility where 24,500 solar panels are being installed in two fields on his boundary. It should, apparently, be capable of providing electricity to 1650 homes for the next twenty five years and with the push for renewable energy, will doubtless become a regular sight across the country. Walking the public footpaths around the solar panels has proved interesting, with something new to see most weeks, though Morris the fox terrier and I had to be escorted by one of the contractors, lest we were run over by one of the large lorries trying to negotiate its way along the narrow track.

barley barnThe Barley Barn, Great Slamseys

The Barley Barn is nearing completion. The internal doors have been hung, the kitchen is being fitted and this week the heating should be switched on. The website is live and bookings for courses are being taken already, so it feels as though everything is coming together even though we seem to have an endless list of “things to do” before Ruth opens the doors to her customers.

The next major job for The Barley Barn is the outdoor landscaping so it would be good if the rain and wind would blow elsewhere. Unfortunately, we are forecast showers and cloud for another week though. Hey ho, soon be spring.

35 thoughts on “on the farm in February

    1. The kitchen is very boring! Just an enormous commercial sink and lots of heating controls. Not sure why the heating controls ended up there as it seems to have left little room for anything else. Luckily it’s mainly just going to be used for making tea and coffee and small lunches rather than full scale catering.

  1. The barn looks wonderful. Wish I could say the same for the mud, the murky scene looks similar to here. You’re right though, we’re so lucky not to have flooded homes. Agree with you in welcoming the solar panels to the countryside too. We have lots of fund-raisers going on here for solar panels at my daughter’s village school.

    1. I don’t exactly welcome them Andrea – more resigned acceptance. I have no problem with them on the roof, which seems a sensible solution but not sure about taking out 40 acres of good farmland for a relatively small output of power. I don’t blame our neighbour at all though as it should give a far better economic return than farming.

  2. Very atmospheric pics, Anne – inside and out! I was particularly drawn to the pics of solar panelling as the latest storm gave us the longest power cut of the winter so far over this last weekend. It’s been a rather trying few days that has made the idea of turning the garden into a solar panelling array with wind turbines to boot rather appealing! I also managed to burn the end of my nose on the camping gaz! I know, I know! Stay warm and dry! The barley barn looks gorgeous! Think I might move in there! E x

  3. I still love your blog and the barley barn looks gorgeous!!. You inspired me to set up a blog ( not quite live yet ) and to advertise for some goat keeping and cooking classes.

    You must be an inspiration to many!!



    ” Cremona Hillside” at Mount Bolton 3352

    Mixed breed stud. British Alpine and Anglo Nubian Goats, East Fresian and Suffolk Sheep, Dexter Cattle. Rare Breed Poultry

    Kate and Alex Serrurier 53432487 or mobile 0447837099

  4. oh my gosh, this post makes me so excited. the barn looks incredible and like a dream home for me

  5. What a lovely looking barn.
    We’ve just about escaped the worst of the Winter storms where we are, although the villages a few miles away were badly affected by the high tide which hit Hull last November.

    Not at all convinced about fields full of solar panels though :

  6. That’s a lot of muck Anne! I hope you have good drainage & things start to dry out soon. It’s funny about the comments re: solar panels. We have neighborhoods around here that have protective covenants prohibiting them while some towns are passing bylaws to allow them. Then we have people who are dead set against the wind turbines, even way off the coast. I guess you just can’t make everyone happy but with the price of fuel skyrocketing we’re starting to see more acceptance. It’s not as bad as what you pay there but people just want to keep drilling for oil which will only get us through another 20-25 years…and then what?
    I love that barn – what type of wood are those beams, they’re gorgeous.
    Also I keep meaning to send you this link for the Paint Bar that I mentioned a while back. They have themes for the evening that people book & it’s really caught on here.

    1. You’re right – no matter how we produce our power it will always upset someone, yet we all just want to flick a switch or turn the key in the ignition. The beams in the barn are mostly oak, with a few elm and probably cut down five hundred years ago, which is pretty amazing.
      Thanks for the link to the Paint Bar; I’ve passed it on to Ruth as it sounds a really good idea.

      1. 500 years!? That is pretty amazing. I wouldn’t have guess oak but I just love the look of those beams.
        I have to laugh about a group that’s fighting a wind farm w/the turbines down in Florida. They’re complaining that the birds will get killed in them. the group is a private bird hunting group – go figure.

  7. Hello Anne, great post from your part of the world. It certainly does look rather wet and soggy in your paddocks. Those solar panels are amazing, that is a lot of expensive infrastructure I am guessing?

    The Barley Barn looks seriously good! Have you done all of the restoration work yourselves? It is very impressive. I look forward to seeing all of the creative things Ruth does from there. PS I might ‘steal’ your on-the-farm theme one of these days.

    1. Hi Jane. Very expensive infrastructure for the solar panels but one that has a very good payback. The energy firm pay for installation, sell the power to the energy suppliers and guarantee a rental payment for the land area to the farmer for 25 years. No, we haven’t done the restoration work on the barn as it’s specialised work and our building skills are rather agricultural (if you know what I mean!).
      Yes, do steal – I’d love to see on your farm.

  8. I always feel guilty when I step off the path rather than through the mud but I figure our local farmers don’t want to have to rescue me when I sink in knee deep as happened to a friend brave enough to negotiate a muddy bottom field the other day.

    The barn really does look fabulous! I’ve taught knitting and dyeing in the past in some absolutely fabulous venues but nowhere so splendid as The Barley Barn … I’m sure it will be a roaring success 🙂

    1. I step off the path too! I fear my local farmer would just come and laugh at me if I got stuck so I’m not going to risk it.
      What a shame you live so far away Annie or I think Ruth would be trying to book you up to teach. Fingers crossed that it all works.

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