Thursday 29th July, 2010
The end is well in sight, and it may be we have to pull up for the weekend and leave our last two fields for Monday. Disappointment does not begin to cover the views of these late crops. Even though it does not seem to get enough airtime in the news, we are in a drought. It is not just peas but all crops that are suffering. Next week will see the waterproofs out and a clean down of all the viners, ready for the over winter maintenance. On a side issue, is our Menorcan outpost still with us!?! Things have been very quiet lately.
Wednesday 28th July, 2010
Why have we got a picture of Sutton Bridge you ask. Well, pea viners are a bit like Formula One cars. A Formula One car will do so many laps, or hours running before it needs attention, the same applies to our harvesters. They have now been running 24hrs a day since June 20th, a lot of moving parts and it is inevitable that something will give up. Thankfully they are only minor items that do not stop us harvesting. So to save time we meet PMC at Sutton Bridge, about halfway. There have been occasions when a number of us gathered there to wait for the van. Sadly the Bridge Hotel is now closed so a pleasant pint is a thing of the past!
Tuesday 27th July, 2010
A customer and retailer visit today. It is good that they can find time to visit the field and enable us to disscuss our operation and issues, and at the same time a chance for us to understand their ideas going forward, be it by innovation, or putting messages out to the consumers about what goes into producing peas ready for the table.
A slightly slower day harvesting today to allow the TRs to move up slightly. Normal service will be resumed tomorrow when we shall push to the end, finishing early next week. The late crops are proving difficult to harvest in places, lack of moisture has meant a shorter plant and we are having to go very low to the ground. In one field yesterday we even had to "fetch" the crop to get it all. I am leaving some peas in the field, but having got a comment about soil in the load this morning, we cannot go any lower.
Sunday 25th July, 2010
Not a great shot, but you get the picture. Just when you thought it was safe to go home after another long day, there is a burst of flames next to the gateway of the next field you want to be in. Some idiot had set fire to a caravan, which was next to a pile of tree cuttings, 10 yards from our pea field and 20 yards from a nearly fit field of wheat! A call was made to Hugh, Pugh, Barney Magrew, Cuthbert, Dibble and Grub. They were there quickly and soon had things under control. We do not seem to be able to have a season without the involvement of our local Fire Brigade. This week will see the bulk of our remaining crop cleared, with a bit left for next week.
Saturday 24th July, 2010
That's it, south of Boston complete and we are on the homeward straight. We are currently harvesting a very good crop of Kenobi at Frithville. We have a few more of these to do and then it is on to Oasis. 80% of the acres have been cleared, and we now begin to assess where we will end up against our budgeted tonnage. There is no doubt it will be down given the drought conditions we have experienced this year.
Wednesday 21st July, 2010
It has been pointed out that there has been no mention of our reliable haulier, Clayton-Lenton Transport. As I write this, Simon is on his way back from Somerset, having collected a lorry. He is near Stonehenge, and looking for something to sacrifice. Any ideas? CLT and their team have as ever, provided a very good service. Very professional, on time and usually an amusing indecent, sorry I meant incident, during the day. Before anyone comments, we were 30ft off the wires!
Tuesday 20th July, 2010
They say that there are two things in life that are certain, death and taxes! In the last few years two things are certain in vining peas, pressure and by-passing! Despite our best efforts, and boy did we make a huge effot last week we had to "jump" some crops that were getting too mature, and settle back down into crops at reasonable maturity levels. We have now moved back to near Boston and have a few days work before we go north of Boston for the final 800 acres. the end is fast approaching. There are a number of pea groups that operate in the area, and it is always a bit of a concern that the Boys get in the correct field. As you can see these fields were close, but thankfully everyone was harvesting the correct crop.
Sunday 18th July, 2010
I am not familiar with the flight of a hot air ballon, but I would think that it floats/flys in the sky based on the principal of pressure. If that is the case then we can soon put a viner to flight! The pressure is great, and it has not been a good 36hrs. Slow production coupled with peas continuing to move rapidly in most cases. At some point today we will have to make a jump and leave peas behind for combining. A right pain, for the Grower and in terms of getting them combined which always falls in the wheat harvest, which is obviously the priority for combines at that time.
Wednesday 14th July, 2010
As you can tell by the lack of recent posts, we have been extremly busy. A huge amount of acreage has been cleared in recent days. The "Pod Squad" are merrily harvesting away down at Moulton Eaugate. We will be down there for a day before moving off further west. Final destination to be decided once tomorrows results are in. A good job Gareth got the domestic duties done on Sunday.
Sunday 11th July, 2010
Well it really is a race against time now! Even though it is cooler today the peas are still feeling the effect of the high temperatures of the last two days, and begining to gather pace as they head towards maturity. We are now well over halfway through the peas in the Kirton and Frampton area. Hopefully done late afternoon Monday, then Sutterton and Fosdyke, before heading down into Holbeach Marsh for a couple of hundred acres. Juan Day Atatime arrived for his job interview today, and as you can see took part in some driver training. It was good for us all to see him again after two years. His relationship with San Miguel does not seem to have done him any harm.
Saturday 10th July, 2010
It's still hot, peas are ready and we continue to crack on. Now well into our Novella at Frampton, which we will hopefully complete by the middle of next week in Holbeach Marsh where the last of the Novella is. Weather allowing! Finally met Mark, our other mechanic. Mark has been with us just a few years, but has quickly learnt a lot about the machines and is not adverse to a late night if required. The picture below is also of Mark, so get your thinking caps on and captions please.
Friday 9th July, 2010
A visit by BBC Radio Lincolnshire this morning to check on our progress with the pea harvest. The interviewer, David, openly admitted he was not a great fan of peas, but once he had tasted some fresh peas, and had it suggested that they only want cooking slighty, and not boiled dry, we may have converted him! We were actually in the last few breeds of the field when he arrived, so once that was over it was a dash to Frampton where we shall now be for a few "hot" days.
Thursday 8th July, 2010
Things still going to plan as the temperatures rise, again. The machines are just about to go into the last field north of Boston, so we should leaving for Wyberton just as the school run begins tomorrow morning. Joy! There will be a visit in the morning from BBC Radio Lincolnshire, I just hope it does not coincide with a field move.
Wednesday 7th July, 2010
We continue harvesting in the Friskney area. I think there will be a dash to Boston for one field, and then a couple of fields at Frieston and Wrangle, before we finally swipe up the remaining fields north of Boston on Thursday evening/Friday morning before settling in south of Boston for a few days. There is a very busy period coming up over the next week or so,and I now feel that we may have reached the pitch where there is no looking back. The later crops are now begining to look quite ill in places and no amount of rain will help them now. It's a dust bowl out there! What can I say about our haulier CLT. Well he does manage to come up trumps when we get a last minute load, as happened today., as wellas providing a fast and efficient service.
Monday 5th July, 2010
Well, the nerve went! Despite the TRs only creeping slightly, but with heat and wind in abundance we started last night nibbling away at some Novella that were coming out of order, before bedding into some Jaguar at Midville. The TRs are not moving as you would expect, there is no pattern, however you cannot but feel that there is a bulge on the way. So we press on. Gordon has been with Fen Peas for many years now, and has a treemendous knowledge of the machines. He continues to come along for two days a week, and as one passed Chairman has said on more than one occasion, when a machine has broken down and you are tearing your hair out, when Gordon pitches up in the field you feel much calmer and that normal service will be resumed shortly.
Friday 2nd July, 2010
Another warm day, and no harvesting. Some of the peas on sample are now reading in the eighties, so we keep a watchful eye, ready to pounce. It may be we "fire up the Quattro" at the end of the weekend. We will see. This is what we are up against, plants dying under the heat and lack of moisture, above, whilst the peas in the pod are not quite fit to harvest, below. There are now huge cracks appearing in the fields, and even if it rained now I am not sure it will be in time to help the plants. Looking on the bright side, we will not be on the road as the County gets invaded for The Waddington Air Show!
Thursday 1st July, 2010
This is getting very tedious, the peas continue to move just a couple of points a day. This is frustrating for me, "The Pod Squad" and our customers. We should be very busy now, but we can't control Mother nature. Meet more members of the "Squad". Mark and Ady, who between have countless years experience in the peas and I would say have seen it all over the years. Below are Gareth and Adrian. Again Adrian has many years of pea harvesting under his belt, whilst Gareth has now done five, I think. Gareth still does have a phobia about Langrick Bridge!