Tuesday, 31 March 2015

A Little More History

Though the Field book I spoke of last week dates from 1855 the date on the barn reads 1849.  This was the threshing barn, with large double doors opposite each other, and raised stone sills.  The cereals were spread on the floor, then beaten to separate the grain from the chaff, a process called winnowing. The wind blowing through the doors removed the chaff, leaving the clean grain to be collected; a laborious process, now happily replaced by the combine harvester.

Recently I saw lapwings, wheeling and calling over a field drilled with sugarbeet.  They have a distinctive cry which gives them their other name, peewhit.  They come every year, though this is not typical lapwing country, so why do they come and where do they go when they leave us?

A sad discovery in the apiary earlier this month; one colony of bees has not survived the winter; not really a surprise as it did not look very strong in the autumn. The second hive looks strong and will, hopefully, provide a crop of honey this year.  The hives are named after varieties of fruit trees in the orchard; we have Bramley and Lord Derby apples (and hives); several varieties of pear will supply names if we need them.