Forum home The potting shed

Wartime Farm



  • The piece she did on the soapwort was surprising because she even said that it would have been very unusual for anyone to have used it - why include it then? I suppose they have a lot to fit in to a very short programme. I have loved all the 'Farm' series' but I guess people aren't around from the earlier ones so can't critique it so harsly. But having shot a hole in my own argument they could have asked people who still are. Damn!

  • Hi Muvs - there are just a few of us oldies round here who can remember quite a bit about how things used to be "once upon a time".  What the programme makers clearly haven't taken into account - for this series, as well as the previous ones - is that there are some practices which would have been much the same over several generations, as regards farming methods and livestock handling in general. So, they could have checked --  e.g.  by asking for some input via today's farming press - whose readers are likely to know about these things or would know someone who does.

    My own Pa eventually had three farms each with a dairy herd - and had a retail milk business which began with twice-daily deliveries using a pony & float (milk ladled from a churn into the customers' own milk jugs), and went on to have a bottling plant on the middle farm which supplied milk to most of the local town.  The cattle were fed with our own home-grown cereals, hay, kale, mangolds, beet etc and we ground the cereals into meal ourselves.  Before the l950s sileage was a relatively new-fangled concept in the part of the country where we lived - and the stuff they fed to the cattle in last night's programme didn't look as if it was the product of what they'd sileaged in an earlier programme!  more like modern-day "haylage" to me.............. and as for that "cattle trough" they put it in.......well................   I was surprised that although they had the usual Alfa Laval milking machine, they didn't have that same company's little cup gadget which we used for checking for mastitis - looked like a half-pint mug which had a flat inset black "lid" with a hole on one edge.  Any mastitis-affected milk showed up clearly on the black surface & you tilted the cup slightly to let the milk drain down into the cup itself before testing the next teat.

    Although some of our land was rather clayey, we did use horses for lots of the general farm work - including some ploughing, especially on the land where we grew new potatoes, as this was where the soil was much lighter.  The three farms meant that at one time Pa had over twenty men working for him - some of the older ones were those who looked after the horses, and others took care of the cattle.  A few years ago I was sad to say goodbye to the table which used to be in what we called "the bottom kitchen" - a big room which wasn't used much except for things like harvest suppers.  The table - when it had its extra pairs of legs & extra leaves put in - would seat 28.  One of my earliest memories is of being just about tall enough to see what was actually on the table for one of those occasions!

  • jo4eyesjo4eyes Posts: 2,058

    Am enjoying it. OH's Father was a farmer in Welsh/Shropshire borders during the war & it's a shame that he'd retired when OH was born, but OH still remembers some things that he talked about.

    Grew up myself in a farming community, so the dairy scenes very nostalgic. Have memories of helping a friends' Mum in their dairy & then, when we were old enough to be trusted, doing it ourselves. J.

  • I watched Wartime Farm last night and was very interested in the Field Marshall tractor.They were manufactured at Marshall Britannia Works at Gainsborough Lincolnshire. The factory has been gone a number of years, like most of the heavy industry, but the actual buildings have been turned in to a shopping centre. They have incorporated a lot of the actual work space into the shops and some of the equipment has been left as a feature. It has been done quite sympathetically, and if you are in the area it is worth a look.

    One more thing, I looked on several websites and saw that in fact the Field Marshall wasn't in production until 1945 as most of the company's output was geared towards the war effort.( at least that is how I understand it) I'm sure someone will know.

    Would the milking cow that had to be culled due to her udders being damaged have gone into the food chain? There were a few questions left unanswered.


  • Yes, I noticed the Field Marshall (series 1) was a post-war modal....I posted earlier in this thread about the shotgun cartridge starter. The rabbits were hardly table meat breeds either......these would have been something like Flemish Giants, with a killing out weight of about 15lbs.

    Having said that, I found it to be the most informative episode yet and I certainly got a feeling of the times.

  • Chris, the cow would not have gone into the human food chain although her bones would have been used in glue or ground up for fertiliser.
    David 99% of the rabbits we ate were wild although saying that we did have a hutch of tame rabbits until the pigs ate them.
    Welly Hill Farm had two warrens swarming with rabbits, Billy and I would go up with a shot gun I had a .22 and would get some for the pot, or slip the Ferret into a hole and net what we thought the exits not always right.
    Dad had a heavy catapult and could bring down more rabbits with that than we could with the guns,
    I would sit there with former pliers and a tub of molten lead, pour lead in the hole and quench in cold water file off the tail and one perfectly round shot for the catapult, he would come back with a couple of pairs hanging on the back of the cab, he said all the fleas dropped off on the way home. He could sell what we did not want, there was always a sale for meat.
    The butchers with rabbits hung them outside with the skins on as the house wives would not buy them otherwise, we always said a cat with its skin off looks just like a rabbit.
    It was war time after all.


  • What was the problem with the cow, other than what looked like damaged udder ligaments?  If it was merely that, and not an infectious illness, I'd have thought that the slaughterhouse would have passed the carcase as suitable for human consumption - in the same way that they would have done if she'd broken a leg.

  • She was old HCF, they would recover fat bones and skin, a lot of fats went into soap along with Soda ash to make those huge solid blocks of Sunlight.
    That is what I understood happened to old cattle, Probably why Uncle Arthur would not part with favourite old cows, they would go into a well padded byre stall as foster mothers.
    It was the young male calves I always felt sorry for they had a very short life.


  • dicodico Posts: 4

    nice to read the article on harrowing and the use of horses after seed were was stated first job was bringing cows in for milking.six am , milking machine was a manus and had a glass funnel connected from teat cup/liner this allowed you to see milk flowing as soon as the cluster was was important that the four quarters were dry otherwise mastitis would affect the bag. milk had to be carried to the dairy and milk tipped into tank above a cooler which had filters to clean milk before running down cooler into milk kit or churn depending on which part of the country you farmed. dicoimage 

  • dicodico Posts: 4

    like you chris x,the field marshal brought back memories. a contractor who served the area did the threshing , one of three and the were kept very busy. the rig could be heard long before you could see it as it travelled along  the country lanes towing thresher baler and fuel bowser. neighbouring farms would send men to help with the threshing,of course they would have to be fed.we would sit down to a large hotpot followed by a steamed pudding in most cases it would be a dozen men .the contractor would then move to a neighbour then it would all start again.

Sign In or Register to comment.