Volunteering Stories

Natalie writes….

I began volunteering in Feb 2016 when I was doing my Animal Care course.  I was coming to the farm twice a week (Wed and Fri), in order to complete my work experience hours for college.  I completed my course in July 2016.  Having finished my course I realised how much I enjoyed working with the farm animals and people, so I decided to continue as a volunteer.

I have continued volunteering every Friday, even though I have recently got a job in WH Smith, I still want to volunteer as often as possible.  I used the farm as a reference when I applied for my job and I believe my experience at the farm has been very useful, particularly when talking to customers and working with other staff.

I really enjoyed helping out with the Farm Tots on a Wednesday which I now miss due to work.  I hope I will continue to make time for volunteering at the farm as its very beneficial to me, and I’d recommend it to anyone thinking of giving it a go…

A note from one of our Farm Hands

Hi my name is Courtney and I’m a Farm Hand at the local community farm in Lawrence Weston. I’ve been a Farm Hand for about three  months now and I love everything about it already.  We do loads of fun things such as:

  • Hold chickens.
  • Collect the yummy chicken and duck eggs.
  • Bake banana bread.
  • Go on scavenger hunts
  • Mucking out
  • Pick fresh rhubarb from the garden and baked a rhubarb crumble with it.
  • Go in all of the pens.
  • Make awesome dens
  • Outdoor art with different berries and leaves

We have done lots more things too but it would take up the whole page to write them all.

Everyone and anyone is allowed to be a farm hand as long as they are 8-11 years old no matter what shapes or sizes they are, as long as they come from the local area. Being a farm hand is the best thing that ever happened to me and I wouldn’t change a thing for the life of me. We learn new things every session and have the best time ever.

 I love being a farm hand!

 

Courtney (aged 10)

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Memories Cafe

Our Memories Cafe has been running for a few weeks now, and lots of fun has been had!  Each week features a different activity, a walk round the farm and tea and cake – yum.

People arrive on the LW Community Bus – this is available to anyone over 55 who lives in Lawrence Weston. Then there is the opportunity to walk around the farm, getting some fresh air, seeing the seasons change and interacting with the animals.  Feeding the goats is lots of fun!

The visitors have then been getting creative and learning about new things. One week the afternoon was spent listening to birdsong and seeing if they could recognise any. They learnt different bird names and talked about their favourites.

Another week everyone tried their hand at flower arranging with the special drying flowers grown on the farm.  There were some stunning results as you can see below.  Visitors have also painted using leaves and fruit.

 

We had a great day last week with our Apple Day in our Community Orchard.  A Forgotten Landscape had brought along their apple press, and lots of delicious apple juice was made.  ALS were available to give advice about energy saving.  A choir sang autumnal songs and there was some great story telling from Michael Loder.

There was an opportunity to learn about different grains and try your hand at making flour.  We soon found out how hard it was! Although fun too!  During the summer we grew crops that are used to make vegetable oils, near the chickens.  Samples were available to taste – flaxseed or linseed, rapeseed and sunflower oil.  A quick opinion poll was that the flaxseed was bitter, the rapeseed was nice, a bit like olive oil, and the sunflower didn’t really have a taste.

Brandon Trust have also been busy this Autumn, making cider vinegar, chutneys and Halloween decorations, which were available to buy from their stall.

 

Volunteer Stories

Paul has been volunteering with us for 5 months. He helps with farm maintenance such as fencing, cutting the grass, cutting weeds back and painting.  He’s recently done a great job painting our vegetable stall, guinea pig run and the front gate.

Paul says volunteering on the farm has really helped his peace of mind.  He much prefers to be out in the fresh air and he likes to have a job that he can see makes a difference. For example he loves it when he can see people enjoying Community Orchard after he’s cut the grass. It’s important to him to be able to a job that he can work of from start to finish.

Paul loves volunteering at the farm as it’s a nice place to come and visit and he can see life carryng on all around him.

paul painting

Summer Fun!

We had a lovely summer here on the farm.  The weather (for the most part) was sunny, and we had lots of fun activities. It was so great to see so many of you!

What was your favourite activity?

Volunteer Stories

Andrew has been volunteering on the farm twice a week for 8 years!  He loves coming, and turns up whatever the weather, rain or shine.

His favourite jobs are collecting the eggs, refilling the poultry drinkers and giving the chickens their corn.

Today Andrew was collecting windfalls for the pigs.  We have Gloucester Old Spot pigs – another name for them is Orchard Pigs as they used to be kept in the apple orchards that were once very common in the west country.

Andrew is also branching out and volunteering in our Community Cafe at weekends. He likes working there as it is very different from the farm – he has to dress smartly and stay nice and clean.

Andrew used the farm’s tablet to take some pictures of his favourite animals.

 

More Gardening Fun!

All of the work that Michelle and Scott have put in during late winter and early spring is already paying off.  As the soil warms up, they have been sowing radish and beetroot seeds directly into the ground. These are fast growing plants, and the radish are ready to harvest already!  If you’d like some, simply as a member of staff.

They’ve also been raising lots of plants in the poly tunnel.  Some of these, such as cosmos, sunflowers, lambs tails, tomato and squash plants are for sale. Some of them have been planted in the beds.

We are really looking forward to eating some delicous vegetables in the summer!

 

A Day in the Life of a Farm Hand (Chick Time!)

Below is an interview with one of our Farm Hand volunteers Seth…

Question: What do you do at Farm Hands?

Answer: Hold chicks, have fun with pigs, play in the woods, do mucking out, goats – we collect leaves for them, play games and cuddle the Jacob lambs (but the adults sometimes get very scared of us).

Question: How do you feel about Farm Hands?

Answer: I feel GREAT!!!

Question: What’s your favourite job on the Farm?

Answer: Holding CHICKS!!

Question: Have you made friends at farm??

Answer: YES EVERYONE….Barbara, Jake, TJ, Aimee-Claire, Dom, Ruben, Libby, Lottie, Olivia, Luke, Tia & Tobias (Group, Leaders & Volunteers)

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Gardening Fun!

Michelle and Scott have been working hard redesigning and reorganising our vegetable gardens.  They began by taking apart a few of the old raised beds, saving the soil and giving all the weeds to the chickens.  Afterwards they laid membrane down to help supress weeds and stop them growing up into the beds.  This works as most weed seeds need light to germinate, this is why they grow on disturbed soil.

They then rebuilt the sides of the raised beds, using new wood and refilled them with the soil, plus some extra well rotted manure. This provides nutrients for the growing plants.  Soon – as the soil warms up and spring gets underway, they will sow some vegetables.

Well done Michelle and Scott  – we will look forward to lots of delicious vegetables.