Thursday, 21 May 2020


As predicted earlier in the year when lamenting the continual wet weather, now spring is here and summer beckons we are contending with an increasingly forlorn hope of rain. There were some showers forecast for this morning but as usual they seem to have passed us by here. Dry East Anglia combined with light soils is not a good combination for growers at this time of the year. 

Fortunately, a neighbouring farmer has lent us a field with some good grazing for our ewes and lambs. This will give some time for our own fields to replenish themselves, although a long, steady downpour will help the process no end. We have kept the ram and his companion wether back as they are the least likely to co-operate when it comes to rounding them back up for the return home.

Last week we had several frosty mornings, enough to scorch the potato plants. With the warmer temperatures, especially overnight, it now looks like it is safe to start hardening off and planting out some of the more tender crops. 

The dry conditions have seen the local farmers setting up their giant hose reels used to irrigate their fields. They draw the water from the network of drains and waterways that criss-cross the fen landscape. I wouldn't mind if they pointed them in the directions of our fields occasionally.

Rotating arc of water spraying the winter wheat

One of the big hose reels

A pump drawing water from the lode. This pump was home-
made many years ago but still does the job. The farmer who
constructed it recently celebrated his 100th birthday.


  1. I am glad your sheep have good grazing available.
    I am in a Sustainable Living Group and this week's topic is water use. [we will discuss it on zoom tonight] I was really interested in your picture of the water pump drawing water from the lode. We use a water butt for irrigating our garden etc. On my cycle ride yesterday I noticed lots of gardeners maintaining their pristine front lawns with hoses and sprinklers connected to the tap. I compared it to the woman on Sundays Christian Aid Week video who walked for 2 hours to fill containers of dirty water to feed her children and irrigate her crops. I think we are generally too casual in our use of water here in the average UK home.

    1. To make matters worse ‘we’ have likely contributed to water shortages in areas already prone to drought.

  2. Really annoys me when they are not checked and get stuck chucking water all over the road.
    Water Aid is a charity I support - so important

    1. If I remember correctly, did Colin used to check and move the irrigators for local farmers near your smalllholding?