From this herd Mr Kidd bred and after a visit from a bull I got to know and like the individual calves, and as in life some of the mothers were more maternal than others. When they were separated for sale the mothers would be bereft, and I felt sorry for them.
Mr Kidd kept a lot of hens, probably around a 100 or more, that were real free range being around the perimeter of the farm in groups of ten or so, each with a cockerel, and in sheltered spots where they could run free during the day. But they didn’t run far from their cabins where they could lay and at night retire to. I was given total responsibility for them. Each morning I harnessed up one of the horses to a cart and went around to every cabin. I would let the hens out, put feed and grit into the feeder, see they had fresh water, collect the eggs, and every other day clean out the droppings. These I put into the cart and when I had a load, I would pile it in a field, going back later to spread it. After seeing to all the cabins I returned to the farm to unload the eggs in the dairy where I washed and cleaned them, packing them in cartons for collection every other day. At night I would again visit the cabins and shut the birds up, often finding they were already inside and comfortable.
Near to the farm we kept the broody hens, pullets and chicks in their arks, little wooden peaked roof cabins that also needed daily attention. The breeds were White Wyandottes and Rhode Island reds, handsome birds and very healthy with fine red combs. Hearing the contented cluckings from the hens out about dawn with a keen fresh wind and the dew on the grass was beautiful. Sometimes bitterly cold, in the worst of winter we did bring them into one of the barns. Having all these hens meant we were never short of eggs.
The money from the sale of the eggs and milk was the principal income of the farm together with a little from the sheep, and any from the sale of livestock. It was not a princely income and Mr and Mrs Kidd worked very long hours to earn it. For obvious economic reasons and the changes brought by mechanization such farms no longer exist.
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.