February 1862

Saturday 1st   Mr Burdett went to Hallaton to get his horse shod.  The children all went back to school.  Mr Nicholson and I went hunting to Wardley Gate, we drew Ayston Spining blank and the went to Bisbrooke Gorse.  I returned home for dinner and rode over to Lyndon in the afternoon to spend Sunday there.  Mr Brown and I had a long talk on farming in the evening.

Sunday 2nd  We went to Lyndon Church twice.  Mr Freeman officiated.  Fanny and I went a walk in the afternoon to Manton.

Monday 3rd  I returned to Ridlington in the morning.  Mr Berridge of Burley came for dinner and he went to look at the Wind Mill and went down to the Parks in the afternoon.  We played at Loo in the evening.

Tuesday 4th  Mr B. went hunting with the harriers at Burley and lamed his horse.  Mr N. and I put my horse in the trap and drove to Uppingham, he went very well, but reared up in Uppingham.  Mr Edward, Mr Thomas and Miss Bell came to call in the afternoon and stayed for tea.

Wednesday 5th  I rode to Allexton in the morning,  John Dunmore and the shepherd there were spreading the ashes in the big field that were carted in heaps there.  All the sheep there were sent home this morning.

Thursday 6th  I rode over in the morning to call at Lyndon and perswaded Mrs Brown to let Fanny come over to Ridlington tomorrow, and I got back in time for dinner.  Afer dinner I rode to Uppingham to get my horse shod.

Friday 7th  I put my horse in the trap and drove over to Lyndon to fetch Fanny,  the horse went very well and we got to Riddlington about twelve oclock.  Mr Wortley, Fanny and I walked down to the Parks before dinner, and we went to look at the Church after dinner.  I drove Fanny home again after supper and Mr Nicholson was kind enough to go with me and be a companion on the way home.

Saturday 8th  The ground is partly covered with snow and it freezes very sharply.  Mr Nicholson rode over on my horse to Burley to look at the horse he sold Mr Fabling.  One good thing in having heavy and light land on your farm is that when there has been a great deal of rain you can do any kind of work on your light land, when you could not on your heavy land, as it would be so mauling and clogging, now again, when there has been a very severe frost you could not work on the light land because the land being so porous the frost goes in deeper or as the farmers have it (takes hold of it more) now you can work on the heavy land which is only frozen about half an inch.  Blossom foaled this evening, before her time and had a dead foal.

Sunday 9th  It continues to freeze very sharp.  Went to Ridlington Church service.  Went on little walk in the afternoon with Mr Nicholson.

Monday 10th  Mr Burdett took his two cart-horses to Stamford fair to try and sell them, but the trade was so bad that he could not dispose of them without a great loss.  The frost continues, but not very severely.  They are carting manure on to the seeds in Shellikers Close for Oates, and it will be ploughed in as soon as the frost goes. Mr Wortley went to Oakham and then on to Mr Berridge’s.  Mr Nicholson and I walked round the farm with the gun and home by Martinsthorpe but we did not kill anything.

Tuesday 11th  Mr B. and Mr N. went to Uppingham to hear the sessions there.  Mr W. and I walked all round the farm together.  They finished manuring Shellikers Close and began to manure between the ridges of the land that was ridged up for Mangold Wurtgel.  It was thawing all day.  I had a letter from Fanny this morning, she is going up to London to stay with Sarah this morning, she was to have gone yesterday; but she received a letter from Henry saying that Mr Frank Parks was taken with a fit of pluricy and had died suddenly at his office, so Fanny could not go until after the funeral.

Wednesday 12th  They were ploughing in Shellikers Close for Oates, it was rather hard work for two horses Mr Burdetts mare worked on the farm as Blossom was unable to work.  Mr Wortley went to Uppingham market and from thense to see Lady Piggots herd at Branches Park near Newmarket, he stayed at Newmarket all night and went on to Branches Park the next morning.

Thursday 13th  I rode to our land at Allexton in the morning, we have seventy Irish Beasts lying out there and have been, all winter, they are having a little hay now.  Mr Burgess came down to ask us if we would lend him our barn to to hold a Quacker’s Meeting in tomorrow evening  as he is going to have an American friend staying at his house.  Mr Henry Noel came over in the afternoon to see about grubbing up the hedge between Shellikers Close and Middle Close.   He has given Mr Wortley leave to do so.  Mr Wortley came home by the last train from Peterboro, Mr Burdett went to meet him with the trap.

Friday 14th   Mr Burdett rode over to Blatherwyke Park (the seat of Stafford O’Bryson Esq) to see their steam cultivator work, they use Robey’s 14 horse engine and Smith Cultivator, they do on an average 6 acres per day.  Mr Nicholson and I drove over with Punch in the trap to Mr Ormond’s sale at Ourston, Mr N. bought a great many books and I bought two.  As it was such a bad road by Braunstone and Withcote we came home by Oakham & Breston.  There was a Quaker’s meeting in our barn, we all went to hear it, there was an American who gave us a long discourse in such a singing sort of way, that he made a great many of us laugh, altogether he amused us all for the evening.

Saturday 15th  They thrashed one of the three Oat stacks at the top yard, the are a scotch potato oat, a great deal smaller than any other kind; but they have not such thick skins.  The Shepherd made a hotbed for the small frame in the garden yesterday for early potatoes and I put the soil on today

Sunday 16th  Went to Riddlington Church twice.  It was a very cold day, the wind was in the south east.

Monday 17th  It drizzled nearly all day.  I planted some potatoes in the frame and also some out of doors.  I rode round by the Parks in the morning.  Miss Harrison and her brother Robert drove over from Bagworth Park to stay here a week.

Tuesday 18th  Mr Nicholson and Mr Harrison went hunting to Coles Lodge,  Mr N. went on Mr Wortley’s poney.  It drizzeled almost all day.  I rode to Martinsthorpe in the afternoon.

Wednesday 19th I went to Uppingham to get my horse shod in the morning.  In the afternoon Mr Nicholson drove Miss Harrison Mrs Edward and Mrs Hilhouse to Brook Church and Mr Harrison and I rode our own horses, it is a very old church and there are several monuments in it worthy of notice, there is one to an ancestor of Lord Gainsborough.

Thursday 20th  Mr Harrison, Mr B- and I rode to Allexton in the morning.

Friday 21st  I rode to Martinthorpe in the morning.  They drilled Wheat in Peaschill after Turnips, 3 1/2 Strike per acre; it went in very well.  A fair days drilling with three horses in the drill is about 10 acres per day if drilling in long lengths; but of course when you have to turn so often you cannot do so much.  In the afternoon Mr Nicholson drove Mrs Edward Mrs Hilhouse and Miss Harrison to Oakham to see the Church and the Castle.  It is the custom at Oakham that when any peer passes through the town for the first time he has to give them some money to get made a guilded horse-shoe which is nailed up in the Castle and the persons name is put over it.  Mr Harrison went to Uppingham to get his horse shod.

Saturday 22nd  Mr Nicholson and Mr Harrison went hunting with Mr Lailby’s to Allexton.  Mr Burdett drove Mrs Edward and Miss Harrison to Allexton to call at Mr Islip’s and also to see the hounds meet.  I rode all round the farm in the morning, the finished drilling Peasehill and then they earted the stubble off the seeds in middle close.  The best way of making beasts or horses  eat all the long and rough grass off is to sow  agricultural salt on the grass as all animals are fond of salt

Sunday 23rd  We all went to Ridlington Church twice.  Miss H gave is some sacred music in the evening.

Monday 24th  Mr Harrison and and Mr Burdett rode to Allexham,  We took Chapman’s Roan and two of the Irish beasts that were in Park Close on to the old yard.   They drilled Pines Close with wheat after seeds, the land want clod-crushing as it is so open and light.

Tuesday 25th  Mr Burdett went to Peterboro for the day on business.  Mr Harrison drove Mr Wortley to Uppingham and Belton in the morning.  In the morning Mr Nicholson and I walked with Miss Harrison to the shepherds house at Martinthorpe.  There is also a barn there which was once a church,  it is a sinecure living worth (pounds) 150 per annum, there is one house in the parish occupied by a shepherd, and there is service in this barn about once in five years.  Mr and Mrs William Pickering, Miss Cooper and Mr Sorder all came for tea and supper.  We acted charades and had some music; altogether we had capital fun.  They did not leave until a late hour.  We have penned the ewes that were in feeding – close  on the end of Stone-pit-close nearest Mr Burgess’s both to consolidate the land with their trampling it, and also to eat the wheat off.  The other end of the field we shall not let the sheep go on, so that at harvest we shall see which end yields the most and which is the best quality.

Wednesday 26th  Miss Harrison and her brother returned home to the great sorrow of us all and I am sure she has won all our hearts by her amiability and kindness, I am sure we shall be very dull now she is gone and will greatly miss her music & singing and her cheerful and lively disposition.  Mr Nicholson rode with them on my horse as far as East Norton and then he went to look at our land at Allexton.  Mr Burdett went to Uppingham market with Mr Wortley and from thence he went on to his uncles at Middleton and stayed there all night.

Thursday 27th  Mr Islip of Allexton and Mr Thomas Islip who has a farm in cambridgeshire came in the morning to look at the Wind Engine and stayed for lunch.  Mr Wortley went to Wing in the afternoon. Mr Nicholson went to Uppingham in the afternoon on my horse, he is going to hxxxx a horse from Inman on trial for a month and if he does not buy the horse  at the end of the month he is to give Inman 30s

Friday 28th  It is very cold indeed this morning the wind is in the east.  We sent 82 in-lambed ewes to Wing. Mr Nicholson and I walked up to Peasehill, we have almost finished the Turnips there, we are eating those off now now that were sown after Italian Rye-Grass, they have come to a fairesh size considering they were sown so late.  Mr Wortley sows Italian Rye-Grass instead of Lares to mow for the horses, as the land does not want to be ploughed before putting in the seed, and the seed costs about half as much as that of Lares, In the spring when the spring sown wheat requires hoeing, sow the seed broadcast on the young wheat and hoe it in, in so doing you cut the weeds off and cover the seed at the same time; but care must be taken not to cover the seed too deep or it will not grow.  The wheat must be mown and not reaped, the young rye grass will now be about six inches high, in the autumn cart on from sixteen to twenty loads of good rotten farm yard manure and spread it well as soon as it is carted on.  In the summer when it is all mown and cleared off you can pen on ewes and lambs to eat it closely off, and pare it with a paring plough and let it lie a few days to dry, then harrow it well to get as much soil from the turf as possible, rake the turf with a horse rake into heaps and burn them, cart the ashes into one heap in a convenient place.  Plough the land and harrow it down.  Drill a late, but quick growing common Turnip, for instance Yellow Hybrid on the flat, the drills about 13 inches apart, why they are drilled so near together is because they do not come to such a size as those that are sown earlier.  Drill with the Turnip seed from 3 to 4 Cwt of Superphosphate of Lime mixed with the same quantity of ashes from the heap;  in singling them out leave the plants closer together than you would do with other Turnips.  Mrs Edward walked over to Wing this morning. Mr Burdett returned from Middleton.  He has declined taking the Exton farm.  We began to thrash in the afternoon one of the Oat stacks, they came out very good quality and a very good colour.  We are selling all ours for seed at 28s per quarter weighing 13 stone nette.  One of the Leicester ewes lambed this evening, the lamb is by a Shropshire Down Tup.  This is our commencement in lambing this year.