Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Hay time at Eccleshill

Madge and I with Cousin Robert (the one in the middle)

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Haytime

My first story will be about Hay Making when we used Horses for all the heavy work. Also a brief description of the water supply that quenched the animals.Imagining where Thorpe Edge estate is now, there were fields enclosed with stone walls, numerous clear water Springs, also two clear streams, one running from Five Lane Ends towards Greengates, this stream was the boundary between Idle and Eccleshill. The other stream ran out of an old quarry in one of the fields, to join the former stream in a field next to ours belonging to a family known as Pounds, who besides being farmers had a fleet of Hire cars and used to do Wedding and Funerals. The last Stream that I mentioned must have had an underground coarse because it fed numerous troughs on the farm where we slacked our thirst, and even to the this day I have never tasted water nicer. Besides these water troughs there was one in our first field down lands Lane, also one at the bottom of that field which was built in to the wall and supplied both the field and the Lane where the cows would drink as they were being driven home for milking. This water was so pure that Water Cress grew in the troughs.

In those days there were Hares, Corn Crakes, the sound of the Cuckoo, besides loads of common birds. The field names were as follows:-Three corner field.—Knowles, –Elm field,–Far field,–Pasture.–,–Six Acre,– Long field,–Hills,–Tom Smith.—Little Acre,–Red Gate,–First field,–Middle field.—and Harpers The field named the hills can still be identified because it was too steep to build on.We made hay in the following fields:- Long field, Knowles, Elm field, Far wood, Red gate, First field, Middle field, Harpers, Tom Smith, and Little Acre, the remaining fields we used for grazing.

Grass Mower�

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Hay time usually started in late June and continued into early August. We as children would help for most of the summer holidays, we also had help from older people who mostly worked in the local mills during the day, and then came to help us in the evening and on Saturday after dinner. There would not be any work done in the fields on a Sunday even if the weather was fine.

Me on the Shaker

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An old saying of my Grandfathers was as follows—-A wet and windy May fills the barns with corn and hay.

Some off the names of those who helped us Hay Make were as follows:- John and Wilson Parish, Albert Lonsdale, Eddie and Norman Mortimer, Eric Smith, and Jack Kirby, also Two Girls Barbara Walker and Jean Orton who were friends of my sister Marjorie.Before we could start hay making, there were many preparations to be done on machinery, the horse mower, hay turner, hay shaker, hay rake and the sweep. Carts and wagons had to be modified by adding wood shelving’s and hay hecks, these wood contraptions were to extend the perimeter of the carts and wagons so that they could hold more hay. We also had to prepare the ground where the haystack would be built by laying wood stakes on the ground to let the air circulate under the Haystack

Father on Horse Rake

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It was quite exciting the first day we went to mow the grass, because it would be the first time the horses had been coupled together for quite a long time, they would be very high spirited, so the first time or two round the field could be quite dangerous if the horses got too near to the field wall. We would usually mow about five acres in a day. After the grass had been cut it would be left for a day or two to wilt, then for the next day or two it would be turned and teased out with the Shaking machine. When the hay was dry it would be raked into rows then loaded onto the carts and wagons, with one person on the load placing the hay so that it would not fall of as it was being transported up the lane to the farmyard. Those people who know Eccleshill , will also know how steep the bank is that rises from Greengates to Eccleshill, and of course Lands Lane which we had to take the Hay up was just as steep, so each load of hay had to have one horse in the shafts in one in the trace gear which was hitched up in front of the shaft horse, helping to pull the load of hay up Lands Lane. When the load of hay arrived at the farm yard, another load would already have been emptied, and that one would return to the field for another load, this was the high light of the day for us children, because we were able to scramble onto the empty cart, and ride back to the field.

Father Loading the Hay.he is the one on the load and Alfie forking the Hay

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Building a Hay Stack was quite a skilled job, my father always performed this task, the stack had to be built with the sides sloping slightly outwards, and the middle of the stack had to be higher than the sides to keep out the rain, as any water penetrating the stack during the winter would cause the hay to go rotten. When the Hay Stack was finished, the sides would be trimmed off to make the stack look neat, finally it would be thatched to keep out the weather.

These were happy times, usually plenty of home made lemonade for the children, and home brewed beer for the men. The High light of the haymaking day was in the evening when the last load had been emptied, every one gathered round for home made teacakes and apple pie, Albert Lonsdale used to bring his piano accordion and as it was coming dusk he would sit on the wall and play some well known tunes. After this the horses, which had been fed and allowed to cool down, were taken to the field so it would be after mid-night when we finally got to bed.

I hope this gives you an insight into the Hay Making season at Bank Top Farm.

John C Stott

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Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Harvest Time

Harvest Time

1940

Farming at Bank Top Farm became quite changed during the Second World War, my father had to give part of his grassland over to arable so as he could grow edible crops to help feed the nation. We were ordered to plough and sow six acres with Oats, which was when harvested to be fed to the cows to save buying in imported cow food, because all the merchant shipping had to be utilized for bringing from abroad food for human consumption, which the shortage of food had already resulted in food being rationed to the inhabitants of these Islands. Ploughing the grass land in those days was of course done by a single furrowed plough drawn by a pair of horses, these horses were of a lighter breed than the shires and had less feather (hair) on their legs, which made it easier to keep their legs clean. The amount of land that a pair of horse could plough in a day would be about one acre, depending on the length of the working day, because in our case we had to do the milking before and after the land work

Ploughing wasn’t a hard job! Although it would be possible to walk about fourteen miles in one day, the main job was to get the plough adjusted in the first place and then with a good pair of horses and good weather, what could be better, when all one could hear was the sound of the horses and the sound of the plough going through the ground

Photo by

Courtesy of Nick Perry

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After the ploughing which was carried out in the winter months, come the spring the corn would be sown straight on to the ploughed land, the corn falling into the furrow seams.

The sowing was carried out by broadcasting the seed from a hopper which was carried in front of your body supported by straps or harness strung round your shoulders, the hopper would hold I should think about two or three stone of corn, which was rhythmically broadcast by hand first throwing with the left hand then the right hand, making sure that the corn was spread evenly,This operation could be quite hard work and hard on the feet, particularly as you were walking on uneven ground all the time, and also having to keep your eyes on a marker in the distance so that you kept a straight line .

The Photo below is of a Fiddle Drill which was another implement used for sowing seed, usually small seed such as grass or kale seed, it was very pleasant to use, because one could get into a rhythm when sowing and of course the seed didn’t weigh as much as did the corn seed

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After all the field had been sown it was time to put the horses into the harrows and work the soil until you had a fine Tilth

This would involve quite heavy work for the horses and every now and then we would give them a rest.

Photo of Harrows

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The Harrows wood be dragged a across the field by a pair of horses and perhaps about three times over so as to get a good tilth, After this the field would be rolled with a Cambridge roller This was a type of roller with perhaps about twenty five individual rings on one axle, this was to consolidate the soil so as to flatten out the soil to make it

easier to cut the crop later in the year and also retain the moisture in dry weather to aid the germination of the seed.

After all this work comes a period of waiting for the crop to start growing and in the thirty’s there was very little of to-days sophisticated Fertilizers and weed killers,although their were Lime And Basic Slag which was a by- product of the steal works and contained Calcium Phosphate. the main emphasis in those days was on the use of Farmyard Manure, which of course would have been put on before the land was ploughed. It wasn’t possible to get most of the weeds out but an attempt was made to pull out the wild oats which had no value, most of the weed seed was separated when the corn was threshed

One of my Grandfathers sayings, which of coarse applied

before their was any fertalizer other than cow muck

————

Go and look at your corn in May

you will come weeping and wailing away

Go and look again in June

you will come away whistling a different Tune

————

Depending on the weather the corn would be harvested in August this would be done with a Self Binder, which would cut and tie the corn into sheaves leaving the sheaves on the ground which were then put into stooks of eight sheaves or perhaps ten. A great pride was taken in making sure that the stookes looked neat in the field and they had to point North to South so has the sun caught each side of the Stookes. Before this I remember my father mowing a small one acre field with the Scythe, then my sister Marjorie and my self both in our early teens and still at School would follow my father as he cut the standing corn and collect the corn and tie it into Sheaves (Happy Days ? ).

Below is a photo of a Horse drawn reaper

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After this came the leading of the corn to the Stack yard where the most experienced worker would build the stack , which when it was finished it would have to turn out the worst of the weather so finally it would be thatched.

During the winter the threshing Machine would draw into the Stack Yard and the final operation would be to separate the corn from the straw, threshing took quite a lot of man power so Men from neighboring farms would come to help, the strongest carrying the corn up the granary steps, these bags of corn could weigh up to sixteen stones (two hundred weight}. Threshing day was also a social gathering where there was quite a lot of gossip taking place and a lot of banter. We mustn’t forget the women of the house who would supply a very large dinner with drinkings (tea not beer!) in the morning and afternoo

Below is a photo of a threshing machine. the photo was taken on an open day, about Fifty years ago at Geoff Mortons Farm, Hasom Holme Farm, Drain Lane, Holme on Spalding Moor

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I have taken you through from seed time to harvest, hope that you have enjoyed the journey,bearing in mind that ours was a small farm, and some one from a large arable farm would have a different story to tell.

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Young Cowboys

I am Going back to 1944 when my father farmed at Bank Top Farm, Eccleshill Bradford, which is now all houses. At that time we were having a lot of vandalism on the farm, such has hay set fire to, walls and fences broken down not to mention gates left open and stock let out. So my father took the tenancy of a fifty acre farm at Hill Top Birkenshaw, which was about Eight miles away on main roads skirting the busy center of Bradford. Well we had to walk Twenty Cows along these roads as my father could not afford the carriage. so we set of at five am on February the second, it had rained during the night and when we set of it was dark and frosty but very little traffic that time in the morning. To drive these cattle there were my-self and two friends all three of us around Sixteen years of age we also had a dog Judy (what a name for a cow dog) but she was a very useful dog and new her stuff, has we were driving one of us would go on ahead shutting garden gates (A marathon) there were also road ends to watch, all went well until half way when the lead cow decided it had enough sliding about on the ice on the tarmaced road and it turned down a narrow passage way between two houses which lead to a dead end full of dust bins belonging to quite a few houses Well a few of the cows followed and you can imaging the pandemonium at Six-o-clock in the morning when the cows tried to turn round in such a small space. We eventually got the cows turned round and left behind crushed bins and spilled garbage to be on our way again before all Hell let loose, Things were going well until we got to a hill at Dudley Hill,here it was so slippery on road with the ice that the cattle were having a job to stay on their feet, and a car was coming towards us from the top of the hill, he put his brakes on and no way could he have stopped as he was sliding down the hill, how he missed every cow I shall never know, any way after a struggle we arrived at the top of the incline and continued on our way with out much trouble. were we glad to enjoy a hearty breakfast when we arrived at Hill Top Farm. Well we were only young and enjoyed the adventure

John

Introduction

1929 I was Born at Eccleshill, which in those days was a village on the outskirts of Bradford, but is now completely built up and is now engulfed into Bradford city. (To the right of the Victoria Hotel on the bit of spare ground, originally there were the farm buildings and the farm house where i was born.)
I was the youngest of two children, my sister being Two and half years older than myself, I was a delicate child and suffered a lot from pneumonia and bronchitis which I grew out of by the time I was Seven years old, and from then on I went from strength to strength.
I was of a quiet nature and loved the country side and the out door life. Farming was my love and life, and as it be came my occupation, I enjoyed every minute, I also read and studied every aspect of agriculture.
I married at the age of Twenty-Two to a lovely girl named Betty Denning from Birkenshaw.
We had three lovely daughters who are a joy to this very day.
At the age of forty I decided because my health was not very good to leave farming and go into a lighter job. So with the family we bought our own house and moved into 84 West End Avenue, Harrogate, after West End Avenue we moved to our present address on Beech Rd where we have been for the last 26 years.

The reason I am writing this short History is because my Grandson Brendan is allowing me to use his Web Site, and I thought it would be nice if any one happens to read this that they would know a little about me.
I intend to write short episodes particularly about life in the 1930�s to 1960�s particularly pertaining to farming and village life.
Any one wishing to contact me can do so on the following email address < john.stott11@ntlworld.com>

Sunday, 26 August 2007
Young Cowboys

I am Going back to 1944 when my father farmed at Bank Top Farm, Eccleshill Bradford, which is now all houses. At that time we were having a lot of vandalism on the farm, such has hay set fire to, walls and fences broken down not to mention gates left open and stock let out. So my father took the tenancy of a fifty acre farm at Hill Top Birkenshaw, which was about Eight miles away on main roads skirting the busy center of Bradford. Well we had to walk Twenty Cows along these roads as my father could not afford the carriage. so we set of at five am on February the second, it had rained during the night and when we set of it was dark and frosty but very little traffic that time in the morning. To drive these cattle there were my-self and two friends all three of us around Sixteen years of age we also had a dog Judy (what a name for a cow dog) but she was a very useful dog and new her stuff, has we were driving one of us would go on ahead shutting garden gates (A marathon) there were also road ends to watch, all went well until half way when the lead cow decided it had enough sliding about on the ice on the tarmaced road and it turned down a narrow passage way between two houses which lead to a dead end full of dust bins belonging to quite a few houses Well a few of the cows followed and you can imaging the pandemonium at Six-o-clock in the morning when the cows tried to turn round in such a small space. We eventually got the cows turned round and left behind crushed bins and spilled garbage to be on our way again before all Hell let loose, Things were going well until we got to a hill at Dudley Hill,here it was so slippery on road with the ice that the cattle were having a job to stay on their feet, and a car was coming towards us from the top of the hill, he put his brakes on and no way could he have stopped as he was sliding down the hill, how he missed every cow I shall never know, any way after a struggle we arrived at the top of the incline and continued on our way with out much trouble. were we glad to enjoy a hearty breakfast when we arrived at Hill Top Farm. Well we were only young and enjoyed the adventure
John

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Dairy Farming

21 May 2007

Dairy Shorthorn pictures and videos on Webshots

Dairy Shorthorn pictures and videos on Webshots

Posted by Farmer Giles at 19:26 0 comments Links to this post

Dairy Cows 1930s & 1940

Shorthorn Breed was the dominant breed in the West Yorkshire the colours of which could be Roaned, White, or Red, or perhaps a mixture of these colours The yield of one cow in those days would be about three gallons a day and the herd would be milked twice a day. A typical herd would be of about twenty cows, with perhaps half a dozen followers, these follower would consist of three yearling heifers then perhaps three in calf heifers to replace any cows that had to be culled from the Herd. The labour force to tend the herd, Milk and look after the land would consist of perhaps the tenant who would be the owner of the herd and perhaps one hired hand or another member of the family. In those days farming was very labour intensive, in winter all the food and water was to carry to the cows, bearing in mind that a cow in full milk could drink up to Ten Gallons of water a day, of course this was only to be done during the winter months, but winter months in those days meant from September until the following May, remember that it wasn’t the custom then to put on nitrogenous fertilizers although Sulphate of ammonia was perhaps beginning to come into use, so you can gather that there wouldn’t be much grass until May.

Below is a photo of a Dairy Shorthorn by courtesy of the Shorthorn Society

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It was different in the summer when the cows were turned out to graze, they were brought up into the cow sheds twice a day to milk. It was a lot easier looking after the stock because as soon as the milking was finished the milk cows were turned back into the fields and the young stock which weren’t in milk were out to graze all the time. I said that the cows were brought into the cow sheds, but that isn’t a term that we would have used, we called the buildings where the cows were housed Mistles and the name for the same would have been Byres in the north East and shippons in Lancashire, I think I have also heard the word Barton, but i don’t know where that word came from, and I would be pleased if any one could enlighten me.

In 1946 we started using the Artificial Insemination service which at that time cost only a £1 a time including about three repeat services. A I resulted in some very good stock and a lot cheaper than keeping a Bull

This is a Picture of one of the first Shorthorn calves to be born to A I on our farm at Birkenshaw Nr. Bradford. The person holding the calf is Keith Lorimer a friend of the Family

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Hill top farm ,Birkenshaw

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Me at Intake Farm,Menston. with calves born to A I

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The Shorthorn was a Dual Purpose Breed, a good milker and also a good Beef type.

Originating in the North East in the 18th centuary. The Dairy Shorthorn was a cross between the Teeswater and Durham cattle. The first herd book was published in 1822 by George Coates and has retained that name to this day. In 1958 Beef Breeders started their own section of the Herd Book..

I have written a fair bit about the Dairy Shorthorn because it was a good looking animal and the form and colour were very pleasing to the eye, and of course a little of nostalgia.

The Shorthorn began to be replaced by the Ayrshire Cattle in the late 40s, when tuberculin testing came into force (So as to erradicate T B by culling cattle that had Tuberculosis). The reason for this influx of Ayrshire cattle was because that Scotland was predominantly of the Ayrshire Breed and they became tuberculosis free before England, so their cattle were bought by the English dairy farmers to replace their own condemned stock which had T B. Near us a new cattle market was opened to cope with this influx of Ayshire Cattle, it was called

Bridge End Cattle Market, Otley At this market their would be hundreds of cattle a week sold.

Well I have taken you through a short period of Dairy Farming, but in the last twenty year things have moved apace, and I for one think it was a lot more interesting when we were young because of the variable jobs we had to do.

John C Stott

P.S.Don a good Cow Dog

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