Volunteering Stories

Back to Work with the Farm

Mark’s Story

It was June and I had just moved from London to Bristol to get away from the non-stop city life. I soon started looking for work but didn’t seem to have to much luck, the Job Centre had 1000s of jobs online but no one wanted to talk to me or even reply to my applications. As time went on, I walked my dog Lola each day passing Lawrence Weston Community Farm.

Volunteer would ring in my mind each time I passed, so after a few weeks I did just that. They made me feel welcome and put some hope and meaning back in to my life.

I found It wasn’t just a farm it was a place to meet others from all walks of life doing great work. I would feed the animals, striming grass, help others with tasks – it gave you a real sense of purpose.

After a fairly short space of time my mood and optimism started to grow even though nothing really came of my efforts on the work front I felt OK

A few months passed and I was having a cup of tea with others in the rest area for the volunteers at the farm, when for some reason, I still do not know why to this day, I asked Ann who was a care worker for some one I often paired up with to collect chicken and ducks eggs amongst other things, if she knew of anything going doing the sort of work she was doing?

She told me “I am leaving this job in two weeks would you like me to recommend you?” “yes” I said and within a short space of time I had started a new and rewarding job.

Thanks to my time and the wonderful people at the farm this all became possible.

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Cafe Build 4

The building of the cafe has come on in leaps and bounds over the last month.

First the external walls were erected.

Then construction of the internal structures started.

Now the scaffolding has arrived in preparation for building the roof.

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The pigs however, remain unimpressed.

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Livestock Update

In the farm yard there have been a few changes over the last weeks.  Most startlingly we have brought in some new pigs – the three little pigs will be with us until they are big enough for slaughtering.  The current plan is to take the young boar (AKA piggy) and the biggest of the three little pigs to the abattoir together in around 6 weeks.  At around 16 weeks the white pig weighs approx 40kg.  Piggy is currently a bit over 70 kgs.  The four male pigs have recently been introduced to each other and seem to be getting on very well.  We had been concerned that the boar was a bit fed up – the company should cheer him up!

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Right now our new three Jacob sheep have gone to visit the ram over at Windmill Hill City Farm for the next six weeks.  This way we hope to have pure Jacob lambs in the spring.  We will find a different ram for the other three ewes and two lambing periods.  Three lambs have recently been slaughtered, so although we have temporarily run out of sausages there is plenty of lamb and a little mutton left in the freezers.

 

The goats seem pretty much okay with the sheep during the daytime.  We will move them in to the main stable block soon to make moving the flock backwards and forwards.  So at the moment we only have three ewes, five lambs and the two goats on site.

 

Two of the main flock of hens are visiting the welsummers at the moment – most specifically as this way their eggs will be fertilised.  By using a gold or red cockerel (welsummer) with a silver breed (the visiting Light Sussex) we will be able to hatch out hybrid chickens that apart from laying more, browner eggs can be sex-linked at day old.  Anyone with a pet snake please get in touch!

 

Juley Howard

Community Farmer, 25th September 2014

Autumn Harvest

As the season slides from high Summer into early Autumn, so the produce available from the garden changes. In the Farm’s garden we currently have courgettes, beetroot, Turk’s Turban and some large green squashes. This glorious Indian Summer is ripening up the tomatoes and squashes, which were a bit behind due the stormy and cooler weather in August.

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We also have some lovely beetroot – which is delicious raw grated into salads, roasted or boiled.

 

 

 

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We have grown some unusual black french beans, which make an interesting addition to salads or on their own as a side dish with butter or olive oil.

 

 

 

Some flowers come into their own at this time of year.  Ice plant or sedums provide late season nectar for butterflies, bees and other insects, so are always a pretty and useful addition to any garden.

IMG_20140910_141831If you’d like to volunteer as a gardener either with vegetables or in the wildlife garden please ring Ian on 01179381128  or email him at ian@lwfarm.org.uk

Cafe Build 3

On Monday work started again on the cafe.  A huge mobile crane arrived to lift the floor blocks in place – with the help of Pete!

By the end of the day everything was in place, ready for the next stage.

Livestock News 3

The ducklings are now 11 weeks old. In the end 9 hatched and lived – one with a bent leg is now being cared for by one of our volunteers at home, four sold to a local farmer for her duck pond and the last four will be for sale once they get to point of lay in about 8 weeks time.
In July the long awaited goats arrived. They obviously missed their mother to start with but now seem to be rather enjoying life! The goats we have bought are Boer / Saanan so a cross between the best meat and milking goats. Bambi and Snowy are twins and get on extremely well. With the help of the volunteers we are starting to halter train them, not just to be able to move them around the farm easily but perhaps with a view to taking them to shows in the future. They like climbing, eating hedges and other typical goat activities!

We also have three new Jacob Sheep. These newcomers from across the bridge arrived in the pouring rain first thing on Saturday morning and are now acclimatising to their new home. All three are 2013 ewe lambs, white with brown spots they look the same at a glance but after a while it isn’t difficult to tell the difference.
Blossom and Piggy, Jasmine’s piglets are growing a bit slowly but this is probably due to their breed as much as their mother gobbling up their food. We feel sorry for Piggy the young boar who is now segregated from the others. If you are in the vegetable garden please don’t forget to take him some windfall apples as well as the other pigs. And stop for a chat as he is a bit lonely. However, he has to be seperated or he would try to mate with Blossom and Jasmine.

Cafe Build 2

The building of the cafe has now stopped for the summer holidays, and the fencing has been taken down from the middle of the farm yard.

So far the contractors have dug the foundations of the cafe and training facility, filled them with concrete and started to build the base of the walls from breeze blocks.

Apart from a very large delivery sometime next month, the Farm will (almost) be back to normal for the duration of the holidays.  Once September is here, the contractors will be back and the building will be in full swing again with a likely finish date of early January 2015.