Time do those final jobs on the first in-game day and we’re going to get a small tractor, a trailer and to buy our chickens. There are a number of good small tractors – some old and some modern. I could have gone for the smaller Claas but I was thinking about one of the old Ford 40 series to add to the authenticity – most farms have a mix of old and new vehicles. Buying an older vehicle will save some money. Here’s some of the Ford options at the dealer……In the end I didn’t go with the Ford because I felt that the Fendt 500 Favorit offered greater flexibility for not much more money……I bought a front loader, pallet forks and a bucket attachment along with a small trailer. Here we are arriving back at the farm…

It’s late afternoon and there’s time to fill in with a job for someone else to earn some money on the side. There was a job to harvest a crop on another farm but it’s probably a bit late in the day to take that on as our harvester will need some maintenance on its header blades before we go again – repairs to equipment are important in the game and become necessary much sooner than in real life. I hope that the job will still be there in the morning. In the interim, there’s a delivery taking a small load from the Sawmill up to Hill Top Stores. That’s a job our newly acquired Fendt and trailer can do 🙂 So off to the Sawmill we go with our pallet forks attached……This gives me a chance to show you Coberley Church which is on our route……and the village itself as we drop off the delivery at Hill Top…

Back at the farm it was time to buy the Chickens. This is done by going to a marked area by the outhouse next to the Chicken Run. I bought 30 brown and 20 black Hens plus 2 Roosters – I expect the neighbours will be complaining about the crowing if they’ve only recently moved to the country! Here’s one of the Roosters clucking up the ladies……The chickens in the game have some very realistic movement including the frantic scratching of the ground. Last job of the day is to feed them……Then it was time for dinner and bed ready for an early start.

Next morning and sadly the harvesting job has gone 😦 So it’s time for some routine jobs about our own farm. First task is to take the harvester to the shop for maintenance… Then I check out the price offers for Barley and find that it has topped out at £715 per 1000l so I take two trailer loads to Willowbrook Stores which earns us close to £33k. Then some breakfast before cleaning out the Chickens feeding area……That box in the foreground is their first batch of eggs – the Roosters have obviously been busy 😉 In fact, by lunchtime we’d got two additional Chickens in the flock! Such are the wonders of the in-game timescale for growing crops and livestock.

Last job for this post – remember that straw in our harvested field? We’re going to collect and sell it. For that we need a Loading Wagon – these have rotating hooks that lift straw, hay or grass from a field and and feed it into the hopper which has a moving floor to assist with unloading. If we had several fields and were growing mainly Wheat and Barley I would buy one but with only a single field it’s better to lease. Again, it’s necessary to balance the size of our field against the size of the roads and the delivery points for the straw – some loading wagons are huge! I opted for the Bergmann Repex which has a 34000l capacity. Although the Fendt could just about handle this, it’s really a job for the Claas Arion. Here we are coming back from the shop past the roadside cafe……clearing the field of straw will take us 7 trips and involve removing close on 220000l of the stuff. The good news is that Straw is a valuable commodity and, even better from my point of view, the Stables just down the hill from my field needs it and offers the best price 🙂 Here we are driving along the lines of straw……and then delivering it to the stables……Man the Pitchforks lads and lasses 😉 Back in the history of the game, collecting the straw from your field doubled the value of your harvest. It has been ‘nerfed’ somewhat, however this work will still net £16k or just over a third of the value of the Barley we harvested (remember I’ve kept back some of that harvest for feeding my Chickens). With the cost of the lease deducted it’s £12k in the bank – so I celebrated by buying a washer to clean off the equipment when I dropped the loading wagon back to the shop 🙂

The everyday story of country folk – or at least farming equipment – will continue in another post 🙂

Farms on the lower northern slopes of the Ochil Hills. Most of the land is given to grazing of Sheep and Cattle but there are occasional fields of crops.

West Mains Farm with Eastbow Hill, Glen Eagles…

East Mains Farm with Wether Hill, Glen Eagles…

Loanhead of Duchally Farm…

March of the Sheep – Broadleys Farm…

All images taken with Fujifilm X100F

Disturbed Rooks cawing,
Settle once more in twisted branches
on a hedge-bound Oak

The church tower, a gaunt finger
pointing accusingly to
the lowering Fen skies

The apse, open to the rain
with windows stained by age
Recalls the passing of
men and seagulls
Who followed the plough

Remembers the villagers
Once so many – That their singing
Warmed the very stones
and celebrated many a Sunday
as the Parson preached
the way to live one’s life

The centrepiece of life then
but of a village no longer

Abandoned, along with the land
as the call of the factory,
the dreams of fortune,
drew the young men away
to new hard labours

Denuded of festival
as the harvest was mechanised
Horse for tractor exchanged

So now forgotten
amidst long untended graves
only those called to the anti-Christ
hold tryst here now

The church stands
A reminder of lost community
A lost way of life

Haywain in Shammer, Norfolk, 1935
Haywain in Shammer, Norfolk, 1935 – photo by Richard Mark Johnson

Martin Addison 02/11/2012