Wharfe Valley Farms Blog Articles

Ahhh

We did it! The tractor has been busy, the combine has been flying up and down the fields and the weather has been kind to us this year. No breakdowns, – well Geoff suffered a bit as he was not able to have a day off – but the harvest is all in and we are ready to sell everything and see whether or not we made any money this year!

The grain merchants have decreed that they cannot possibly give us the same price as last year – it was far too much – so prices have dropped considerably – bang goes my calculations for the cash flow –again. I had begun to dream of a summer holiday next year, Geoff was muttering about a new tractor, Stephen was planning his new showroom and Amanda was planning a new bathroom. Somehow I think it may be the holiday that loses out……..

Onto the next job – ploughing, and drilling next years crop. The oil seed rape needs to be planted this month, ready for the harvest in July 2014. Anyone care to gaze into their crystal ball and tell us whether the winter is going to be kind to us this year?

The oil seed rape harvest was OK. Nothing exciting, yield was down as expected, but we shall have enough – thank goodness. Quality and taste are fantastic, so everyone should be happy this year. Apparently there was a programme on BBC 2 this week talking about how good Rapeseed oil is – well we all knew that anyway- but there are still some people who need to be told, so our work is not yet done!

Had a GREAT weekend at Chatsworth, lovely people, lovely weather, a new joke from Gordon (Posh Pots) to keep us chuckling and for the first time Geoff was able to stay in the Caravan for the weekend. Although 4 of us in a 2 berth caravan was cosy, Geoff and I had the blow up bed in the awning, which was an experience Geoff will not be in a hurry to repeat.

Next trip out is to Harrogate Flower Festival, make sure you pop by and say hello!

Other News

Well, if I cannot be a proud parent then who can? Stephen has been nominated for Junior Director of the Year by the Institute of Directors. The award is to be held in London next month, and he and Anna are attending the dinner. There are 10 shortlisted from around the country, so the competition is stiff, but just to be nominated is fantastic news. Of course we wish him all the very best, and have all our fingers and toes crossed for him!

The Rape is Swathed

We did it!! The Rape is swathed and has dried beautifully, now the combine is ready and waiting in the yard. If you had sound attached to this you would hear the throaty roar as Geoff powers it up and covers all and sundry with dust as he makes sure everything is oiled, sharpened, cleaned and tightened. After 36 years you would have thought I would be less than impressed with this scene, but it still brings such an element of relief and excitement. Even if all the housework just completed is undone. The joys of having a house in the middle of the yard!

The winter Barley has already been harvested, a good yield, but described as a bit thin – so no beer with this. Another couple of weeks and we will be in the Spring Barley, then the Wheat. I cannot believe that this year it will bring the end of harvest for us – no potatoes to lift as the ground was too wet to plant. Whatever shall we do with ourselves in September – apart from drilling next years crop – perhaps we can go on holiday!!!! Now that really is wishful thinking.,

We will be at Chatsworth again at the end of the month, Always a joy, and we so enjoy meeting up with all the friendly customers, and my sister, Jane, her husband, Mike and I enjoy the time we have together in the caravan there on site. Relaxing evenings with wine and good food. Make sure you come along and see us.

Stephen is off tonight to give his first after dinner speech. He cannot believe that anyone would want to pay to hear him speak, and has spent the last week practicing his lines, and redoing the entire thing. I am refraining from comment……..

Amanda has only two weeks to go before she returns to work from maternity. Isla is now crawling, and we are all going through our own homes to ensure things are out of reach and cupboards are safe. I had forgotten just how much has to be checked, and her cheeky grin can light up the room when she achieves to open or reach something we had thought was safe. I am hoping that she will be able to come to Chatsworth on the Friday to see us. We shall have to see.

The Rape has Finished Flowering

Well who would have thought it?  Flaming June wasn’t but July looks as though it could well be!   Hay time has been a joy this year.  No breakdowns or rain, and all is safely baled.  The hard bit will be the next couple of days when we have to manhandle the crop into the barn – in this heat.  I must not complain though, its so lovely to have the sun make an appearance.  Asparagus was not great this year, it was just too cold and it rather looks as though next years crop has been struck with some disease, it just has not grown at all.  Further investigation is required.

The Barley is beginning to turn, and the Rape has finished flowering, soon be time to swath the crop ready for harvesting.  This is the time of year is when we all get excited about the prospect of our crops making a profit.  If this weather can hold for the next month we may well catch up on the cold start to the year. It would be so good to have an easy harvest after the last few years.

On a personal front Stephen has just found out that he has been shortlisted for Director of the Year by the Institute of Directors.  Such an honour.  We are all very proud of him – he has worked incredibly hard over the past couple of years and deserves to be amongst the top in the country.  Watch out for his next venture!

As for Amanda and Gary, the bank came good, and they are safely moved in.  Lots to do, but room to do it in.  They are looking forward to making friends in the area.

 

 

The Weather Needs to Make Its Mind Up

I JUST DO NOT BELIEVE IT!!!     You know how for the past few months we have been moaning on about how wet it is and how the land will take a full year to recover etc, etc, etc, Geoff has come into the house today and stated how dry the land is and how much we need rain……… the plants are stressing and the fertiliser is not being taken up, the grass for the hay isn’t growing.  I could go on but I tuned out at that point.

However the rape is looking fair to middling, and the flowers are just starting to come into bloom.  Yes the yield will be down, but at least at the moment there will be a crop.

Life is still hectic here on the farm, the Fastrac caught fire last week, still scratching our heads as to how the main bearing could shatter and twist but at least we caught it before too much damage was done.  We now have books all over the house covered in oil showing the different parts and how they are put together – some light bedtime reading.  We have caught up with all the drilling and are starting to get excited about Asparagus, a few spears have decided to emerge from the soil and we are poised with knife aloft to swoop down and cut them.  The first harvest of the year!

The ceiling in the lounge is now back in place, and the decorator has done his magic, peace is sort of reigning in the household, although our daughter and son in law together with grandchild have moved in short term while the bank and countrywide alliance FINALLY get their act together.  The least said about that the better, but hopefully all will be resolved this week.

The sun is shining today, the orders are flowing in and Leyburn was a great show.  We were next to a fantastic sweet stand with Carol and Geoff from Sweet Niblets Confectionary from Hartlepool.  www.sweetnibletsconfectionery.com  Really really good stuff!  Hope we are next to them next year!