Farming – the Reality
Here I learned that what I had been taught at Hutton was far from the realities of a working farm in 1940 Lancashire. We had been taught all the modern techniques with latest machinery. Here things were done as they had been done for centuries, and the machinery was old and decrepit. So I had some adjustment to make. I like to think I am adaptable, and adapt I did. Mr Kidd on his part was very patient and in a kind and understanding manner showed me how things were really done. I learnt fast and soon was handy at most things.
The principal income of the farm came from the small dairy herd of about thirteen milking cows, and as I was familiar with dairy work I soon settled into the routine of twice daily milking and all that it entailed. A strict deadline drove all our work, the lorry picking them up to take to the dairy would not wait. We had to put the churns at the roadside, and I soon learnt the knack of rolling full churns on their rims, and gained the muscles to lift them up onto the loading platform. If we missed it the milk was unable to be sold, and had to be poured way with Mr Kidd losing money.
All the cows in the beginning had to be hand milked, each had a name and each was different. Some gave easily; others had to be coaxed and some were just bad tempered, that moved, kicked and did their best to upset the milking bucket. I sat on a milking stool and milked into the bucket, and on a cold day it was nice to be next to a contented warm cow. They had their own particular stalls and woe betide the cow who went in another’s. In winter they were kept in the shippon. In better weather the cows were out in the pastures and had to be brought in, and afterward taken back. I settled into this routine readily. The cows knew it already. Toward the end, Mr Kidd was able to enlarge his milking herd and got mechanical milking equipment, which improved and speeded things up, but it meant knowing when one cow was dry and quickly moving to the next, something of a frenzied ballet for often I was left to manage alone.
irene nee kidd says
I am grandaughter to the Kidds. It was interesting to read about being at Greenbank. My father is still alive. Thank you
Admin LandGirls says
It was very nice of you to contact me, I’m only sorry it has taken me longer than I hoped to respond.
I have very fond memories of Greenbank Farm; how kind to me your Grandmother was and how patient your Grandfather with a young Land Girl virtually straight from the Liverpool streets and knowing little of farming. From your grandmother I learned much about management of the household and from your wise grandfather much sound advice, and help, in learning the practical side of hill farming.
I have not been back to the Trough for over 25 years as I left the UK in 1990. John is my husband and we have two sons also resident in the USA, one here in Montana the other in Utah. Both have American wives and I have three teenage grandchildren, one girl and two boys. We are very happy here in the USA and I’m in reasonable health in my 91st year.
Whereabouts are you living?
Also I’m curious as to how you came across the reference to your grandparents?
It was very kind of you to write and make yourself known. I appreciate it.
All good wishes to you and your family,
matthew heard says
hello, i am dulcie drinkalls grandson, she is still alive and kicking in lincolnshire,uk.
would be nice to hear from you. regards, matthew
Admin LandGirls says
What a pleasant surprise to hear from you, Dulcie and I knew each other from our childhood days in Liverpool, we trained as Land Girls together at Hutton and then met up again at Marshaw where she was married to Edward. Thank you for getting in touch.
Our ways parted when I left Marshaw at the end of the WarII and I left my days working on the land behind. So after seventy odd years it’s very pleasing indeed to meet up again-though several thousand miles separate us-and to renew the acquaintance. And to learn she is, as you say, “alive and kicking”. I think that too might be said of me.
Please give your Grand Mother Dulcie my kindest regards and very Best Wishes,
Ann Rossall says
Hi, I’m Gwen Baxters daughter, I remember Mum and Dad talking about you. I was raised and lived at Moorbottom for 37 years, farming it myself with my (now)ex husband for a few years untill we sold up and gave up the tenancy in 2001. I dont know how up to date you are but sadly Mum passed away quite a few years ago and Dad last year. I hope you are well. I’ve only had a quick read of your story and will settle down and read it properly once lambing time is over! Ann Rossall nee Baxter
Admin LandGirls says
How nice to hear from you particularly at such a busy time-lambing! Thank you so much and for your news.
I was in touch with your mother Gwen over the years and gathered that things were not all that well and when her Christmas cards ceased I did wonder why. And now I know.I’m flattered too you knew of me from your mother and father and Gwen was always fun to be with. There was not that much fellow female company of our ages in and around Abbeystead. I did hear occasionally about things from Vera, who came later as fellow Land Girl to Marshaw but she sadly died a few years back and I had not heard anything until recently when my website attracted attention. The wonders of the internet age and me in my 91st year. Who’d have thought it back then
Your mention of lambing brought back many memories of that hard work often in bad weather, but the lambs were always a delight and to bring one back to life in the Aga was an especial occasion as was introducing them in the skin of a dead one to a foster mother. And then to see them gamboling about. Allow me a little nostalgia. And going to bed very tired with it all to go through again the next day. Happy and fulfilling days that I was enabled to spend through the kindness of so many, like your mother and father, in the Trough.
I do appreciate your getting in touch and hope you will enjoy my website.