Category Archives: bottom field

Badger dragging a ???????

Written by stephen gale

We caught this footage recently of a badger apparently dragging what looks like another animal.  I am not quite sure what it is.  Is it a cat? a rabbit? or a baby badger?

We looked in this location the following day for any signs of something being left behind (e.g. fur, a dead body), but there was nothing.  A quick Internet search reveals that badgers are known to take domestic pets (including cats), but it is considered rare.  In the entire time that we have owned the property, we have never seen any rabbits here – either dead or alive (maybe the badgers have eaten them all!).

It is a shame that it is difficult to tell from the night time footage exactly what it was.  I guess we will never know.

Wall in the bottom field

Written by admin

It needs some coping stones, but the wall in the bottom field is done. We have been working on it for the past couple of weeks.  We have been using the opportunity to use up some of the stone left over from the renovation and although we have used 4-5 dumpers worth of stone, there still seems to be a lot of stone still left.

We aren’t sure what we are going to with this area, but now that it has been tidied up, it is a lot more accessible. The loose stones need sorting out, but we can’t make up our minds about whether we should do this by hand or hire a machine.  The ground is still too wet to get a machine in here.

You can see where we have used new stone from our pile, but give it 12-18 months and it will looks as if this wall will have been here for years.  We are constantly amazed as we look back at other bits of wall that we have repaired about how quickly they seem to age (just like me).

Just needs a bit of clearing up and the ground needs a bit of levelling, but when we first bought the property this was completely overgrown.

Just needs a bit of clearing up and the ground needs a bit of levelling, but when we first bought the property this was completely overgrown.

Well, almost done.  Just needed some coping stones along the top.

Well, almost done. Just needed some coping stones along the top.

We are still "raiding" this pile of stone left over from the renovation to rebuild and repair different bits of our dry stone walls.

We are still “raiding” this pile of stone left over from the renovation to rebuild and repair different bits of our dry stone walls.

Some of the bigger pieces here are going to require a machine to lift them.

Some of the bigger pieces here are going to require a machine to lift them.

It’s been a while….

Written by admin

Well, it has been a while since we have posted on the blog.  It doesn’t mean that we haven’t been busy, in fact, quite the opposite.  I’ll try and post some more updates this week.

The rain has eased up for the past week or so and the fields have started to dry out a bit.  This has meant that we have been able to restart working in the bottom field repairing the last of the dry stone walls.  We had to clear a reasonable amount of undergrowth before we could get to this area.  When we first bought the property, you couldn’t get in here at all.

We had to take a 3-4 medium sized trees to get access to this area, but it looks a lot better now that the area has been cleared.  It is amazing how many logs that we seem to get from so few trees.  They’ll need to dry out over the summer before we will be able to use them on the log stoves.  The main issue now is where to store them.

We believe that this is the boundary wall between the old quarry that was in the bottom field and Hagg Wood.  According to the old maps, this quarry was no longer used from about 1899.  Most of the stone for the wall was under the piles of leafs.

We believe that this is the boundary wall between the old quarry that was in the bottom field and Hagg Wood. According to the old maps, this quarry was no longer used from about 1899. Most of the stone for the wall was under the piles of leafs.

The area to the left of the wall was a small quarry in the mid 1800's.  I suspect that much of the stone that was used to build the house came from here.  A number of the guys in the local pub remember playing in the quarry as kids.  I believe that it was filled in during the 1960's when a modern property was built next door and the quarry was used for landfill.

The area to the left of the wall was a small quarry in the mid 1800’s. I suspect that much of the stone that was used to build the house came from here. A number of the guys in the local pub remember playing in the quarry as kids. I believe that it was filled in during the 1960’s when a modern property was built next door and the quarry was used for landfill.

 

Rather than starting the wall from scratch we have taken it back down to where we could find the foundation stones.  It makes repairing the wall a lot quicker!

Rather than starting the wall from scratch we have taken it back down to where we could find the foundation stones. It makes repairing the wall a lot quicker!

The dumper holds about 3/4 ton and this was just about on it's limit (considering that the brakes aren't all that good!).  There is probably amount the same amount again to be collected.  It'll take about a year before these are dry enough to burn, but they should be ready for next Winter.

The dumper holds about 3/4 ton and this was just about on it’s limit (considering that the brakes aren’t all that good!). There is probably amount the same amount again to be collected. It’ll take about a year before these are dry enough to burn, but they should be ready for next Winter.

Vegetable patch

Written by stephen gale

Last year we cleared out some land to the side of the house to use as a vegetable patch.  It was hard work – the top soil was thin and full of large stones.  We had a go at clearing it and topped up the top soil from a left over pile of soil in the top field.  We had some success with it (the onions were very good, the cabbages were a disaster), but it was a really pain to keep on top of the weeds.

With the wall along the top field now being clear, we thought we might put some raised beds along this wall.  However, we thought it might be worth giving our original vegetable patch one last go.  This stretch of field is also under the trees that seem to stuck the water out of the ground – while they do provide some shelter, they take most of the water.  We had planted some onions in the original vegetable patch earlier the season, but then lost heart as the weeds took over.

We have been at home for the last week and decided to clear the vegetable patch up.  We had used a JCB earlier in the year to dig it over when we had a machine on site to fill in the ruts, so much of the soil was quite loose.  It still took Jo a lot of effort this week, but it does look good.

Jo has been digging over the vegetable plot over the last couple of days.  Much of it had been turned over previously with a digger, but some of it had never been dug before.

Jo has been digging over the vegetable plot over the last couple of days. Much of it had been turned over previously with a digger, but some of it had never been dug before.

This is the view from the other end and it is a big plot - 3m x 15m.  The potatoes that you can see in the middle distance were left over from last year - we have dug up some of the other left over plants and the potatoes are surprisingly ok.

This is the view from the other end and it is a big plot – 3m x 15m. The potatoes that you can see in the middle distance were left over from last year – we have dug up some of the other left over plants and the potatoes are surprisingly ok.

All Jo's efforts this week have made a huge difference to the vegetable patch.  We have had 2 or 3 dumper fulls of stone out of here in the last few days, not to mention the undergrowth and weeds.

All Jo’s efforts this week have made a huge difference to the vegetable patch. We have had 2 or 3 dumper fulls of stone out of here in the last few days, not to mention the undergrowth and weeds.

We managed to purchase some cheap patio slabs from a local supplier and have used these to make pathways between the beds.  If we decide to reconfigure the beds the slabs can be picked up and moved.  We aren't quite sure what to do with the one end of the patch so we have covered it with geotextile to keep the weeds down.

We managed to purchase some cheap patio slabs from a local supplier and have used these to make pathways between the beds. If we decide to reconfigure the beds the slabs can be picked up and moved. We aren’t quite sure what to do with the one end of the patch so we have covered it with geotextile to keep the weeds down.

Odd jobs – 2

Written by stephen gale

We rebuilt the dry stone wall in the bottom field a few weeks ago, but now that we have a dumper we can sort out the coping stones.  The coping stones have been reclaimed from the huge pile of stone that was left over from demolishing the old barn.

We built this wall in the bottom field a few weeks ago, but waited until we had our new dumper before putting the coping stones on.  Much of the coping stones came from the huge pile of stone that we had left over from demolishing the barn.

We built this wall in the bottom field a few weeks ago, but waited until we had our new dumper before putting the coping stones on. Much of the coping stones came from the huge pile of stone that we had left over from demolishing the barn.

We used a line to get the top  of the wall straight and level.  It is amazing how this simple approach produces a very straight line.  The wall is made up of all sorts of different stone (and the occasionally brick!) from around the property.  If nothing else, the wall is a good way of getting rid of a lot of the surplus stone.

We used a line to get the top of the wall straight and level. It is amazing how this simple approach produces a very straight line. The wall is made up of all sorts of different stone (and the occasionally brick!) from around the property. If nothing else, the wall is a good way of getting rid of a lot of the surplus stone.

Inside the wasp nest

Written by stephen gale

Now the pesticide has had an effect, we can dig out the wasp nest.  Although the entrance was only very small (no bigger than a 50p piece), the nest was bigger than we were expecting.

Wasp nest

Now the pesticide has had an effect, Jo was feeling brave enough to have a go at digging out the nest. It seems to have at least three different levels inside. But nothing alive anymore.

Wasp nest in the vegetable patch

Written by stephen gale

Last year, we had a couple of wasp nests – one in the orchard and another in the bottom field.  We were lucky.  A very nice badger came along and dug both of them up and then ate the lavae.  This year we have a wasp nest in the vegetable patch.  Given that the have a couple of months to go before they reach the end of the season, we decided that we had to get rid of it.  Otherwise, someone (me, Jo or the dog) are going to get stung.  Jo got stung last year and she isn’t that keen to be stung again.

Given that it is a vegetable patch we weren’t that keen on using pesticides here, however, we are assured that the chemicals breakdown as soon as they are exposed to sunlight.  Even so, I don’t think that we will be planting anything at this end of the vegetable patch this year.

Jo's idea was to whack the wasp's nest with a mattock and then run as fast as you can!  I think the only thing that this approach would guarantee would be some pissed off wasps.  Alternatively, you can get someone suitably attired to spray them with chemicals.  I'll vote for the man with the can!

Jo’s idea was to whack the wasp’s nest with a mattock and then run as fast as you can! I think the only thing that this approach would guarantee would be some pissed off wasps. Alternatively, you can get someone suitably attired to spray them with chemicals. I’ll vote for the man with the can!

Not quite sure what is going on here, but it looks like the insecticide might being having an effect!

Not quite sure what is going on here, but it looks like the insecticide might being having an effect!

Finishing the wall in the bottom field

Written by stephen gale

We managed to get half a day today once the rain stopped to finish off the wall in the bottom field.  We started on the wall on the right hand side of the gate a couple of weeks ago.  There wasn’t a wall here previously, just a gate post.  We have used all sorts of odd stone from around the property to build up this wall.  In fact, it has been a good way of getting rid of quite a lot of stone.  Once it all weathers in, it will look as if it has been there forever.

The rain stopped this afternoon and this gave us enough time to finish off the wall that we started on a couple of weeks ago.  We just need to find some coping stones now.

The rain stopped this afternoon and this gave us enough time to finish off the wall that we started on a couple of weeks ago. We just need to find some coping stones now.

Wall in the bottom field

We used a line to get the top  of the wall straight and level.  It is amazing how this simple approach produces a very straight line.  The wall is made up of all sorts of different stone (and the occasionally brick!) from around the property.  If nothing else, the wall is a good way of getting rid of a lot of the surplus stone.

We used a line to get the top of the wall straight and level. It is amazing how this simple approach produces a very straight line. The wall is made up of all sorts of different stone (and the occasionally brick!) from around the property. If nothing else, the wall is a good way of getting rid of a lot of the surplus stone.

Wall in the bottom field

Written by stephen gale

There is a wall (sort of) and a gate in the bottom field.  I suspect that this was the main route into the property before Upper Hagg Road existed.  You can see a “running joint” down the outside of the wall where the wall with the gate joins the wall along the road.  I think this is because the gate wall pre-dates the wall along the road.

The wall to the left of the gate was in decent shape and we did repair it earlier in the year.  The wall on the right of the gate, however, was largely missing.  I am not sure how this had happened since the top part of the wall seems to have survived in tact.  Anyway, with lots of stone left over, it seemed like a good idea to have a bit of a tidy up.

The wall to the left of the gate is not too bad, but the wall on the right was largely missing, until I started building it back up.  The gate posts have the hooks (iron hooks held in place with lead) on the other side of the gate posts.  The only way the gates would have opened would have been away from the camera.  So the land the other side of these gates must have been built up - the gates would never have opened against the built up soil.

The wall to the left of the gate is not too bad, but the wall on the right was largely missing, until I started building it back up. The gate posts have the hooks (iron hooks held in place with lead) on the other side of the gate posts. The only way the gates would have opened would have been away from the camera. So the land the other side of these gates must have been built up – the gates would never have opened against the built up soil.

The wall to the right of the gate was non-existent next to the gate post.  We have used all sorts of odd stone to build it up.  Once it weathers in, you would think that it had been there for a hundred years.

The wall to the right of the gate was non-existent next to the gate post. We have used all sorts of odd stone to build it up. Once it weathers in, you would think that it had been there for a hundred years.

 

The wall on the right handside needs to be built up quite a bit - there was no wall against the gatepost before we started.  The area beneath the wall with the coping stones has been used as a bit of dumping ground.  Lots of old bathroom tiles, concrete and general garbage.  We have bagged most of this up to go to the dump together with the other rubbish that we continue to dig up.

The wall on the right handside needs to be built up quite a bit – there was no wall against the gatepost before we started. The area beneath the wall with the coping stones has been used as a bit of dumping ground. Lots of old bathroom tiles, concrete and general garbage. We have bagged most of this up to go to the dump together with the other rubbish that we continue to dig up.

 

Badger digs out wasps nest

Written by stephen gale

We have had a wasp nest in the bottom field for the past couple of months.  It is a hole a couple of inches across in the grass.  I suspect that they used a old rabbit hole that was in the bank.

About a week ago, it looked as if something had tried to dig it out.  A couple of days later, the wasp nest was completely decimated.  This looks like the work of a badger.  Apparently, they dig into the wasp nest and eat the larvae.  There are still some wasps loitering around the nest, but I suspect that they will disappear in the next few weeks as the weather turns colder.

There used to be just a small 2 inch wide hole where the wasps when in and out.  Then one morning this massive hole appeared.  Apparently, it is the work of badgers who dig out the nest to eat the larvae.

There used to be just a small 2 inch wide hole where the wasps when in and out. Then one morning this massive hole appeared. Apparently, it is the work of badgers who dig out the nest to eat the larvae.

There are still plenty of wasps in here, so I don't want to get too close.  The cold weather will kill them off in the next few weeks.

There are still plenty of wasps in here, so I don’t want to get too close. The cold weather will kill them off in the next few weeks.