I’d stop short of describing myself as slovenly, but equally, my farmyard isn’t one of those idyllic visions of the countryside.
It must be lovely to have an organised mind that despises anything out of place and gets a real kick from tidying the farmyard and power-washing anything that is looking a bit grubby. However, when all spare corners of my yard reach a certain level of abandonment, it begins to irritate like a low-level rash.
During those dreich days in November, when fieldwork was out of the question, and all forms of livestock were needing no more than routine love and attention, I psyched myself up to launch a major assault on various classes of waste material. In the event, what started out as a one-afternoon bonfire, turned into something that took most of my spare time over the course of a week.
The fire came first: mostly broken pallets that weren’t good enough for stacking stuff on and had been lying around here and there with the intention that “they’ll come in useful one of these days”. (This line of thought permeates through all aspects of “recyclable” items on this farm).
Added to the pyre were garden prunings that arrived shortly after Susan had spent far too long listening to Monty Don’s advice.
Next came a trip to the scrap metal yard with the tractor and trailer. In truth, this was triggered because a pile of broken poultry troughs had been fired on top of old bale wrap, and it had to be moved anyway.
As usual, this resulted in half a tonne of accumulated low-grade steel (glorified tin, most of it) being turned into £50 cash. I still cannot get used to receiving money for this stuff, and continue to take the chequebook with me, convinced that someday I’ll be asked to pay a fee to have it accepted.
Ancient silage grabs and graips should probably be sent for scrap
By this stage I was warming to the task, and next on the list was the relocation of some farm implements that hadn’t been used for years.
Ancient silage grabs and graips should probably be sent for scrap, but that old tendency to hold on to items forever “just in case” is a hard habit to change. Therefore, they were slung on to the loader, and shifted to an unused area, where they will most likely sit until they rot and fall apart.
The final part of this tidying purge was to fill, seal, and move the big plastic bags that hold silage wrap.
After getting increasingly frustrated (angry), I’d like to find out if other farmers have found a handy way of managing these recycling bins?
Is it just me, or is there an easy way to attach the liner to the outer bin in such a way to facilitate efficient filling?
I place a few wrappings in the bottom of the bag, then try to hoist the plastic bag upwards. If this is repeated frequently, as well as regularly tramping the contents together for consolidation, you’d imagine the whole thing would eventually become one big tight unit.
Therefore, one of my wishes for the year ahead has nothing to do with Brexit, coronavirus, or the reform of the CAP
But no, because when I remove the outer bin, I am always left staring at a badly filled plastic bag with more wrinkles than Norah Batty’s stockings.
When I clamp this container with the round bale grab, it refuses to stay in one place on the loader, and moves around as if there’s a lively calf jumping about inside… In addition, all the pressure seems to be directed towards the neck of the bag, and my stitching at the top end is soon ripped open.
Therefore, one of my wishes for the year ahead has nothing to do with Brexit, coronavirus, or the reform of the CAP. It is simply that someone will invent an updated version of the recycling bins that clamps a plastic liner firmly and suspends it in such a way that it can be filled thoroughly, and with ease.
That would make the lives of hundreds of farming men and women just that wee bit less frustrating.