It was a brilliant day on the Farm on Saturday with all kinds of ancient woodland crafts being demonstrated in Watervole Woodland.
There was charcoal making in the central fire. Charcoal is partially burnt wood and was once a major fuel source. Producing it provided a livehood for wood colliers (charcoal makers). Although we now only tend to think of it for barbeques, it has been used for thousands of years to smelt metal ore. On Saturday however, we made brilliant drawings with it.
‘It was a fun activity.’ Louise aged 7
We also had hurdle making – weaving willow withies between posts or rods traditionally made of hazel. These trees would have been coppiced, to ensure a steady supply of wood and withies. Coppicing is where the tree has been cut down to a stump and new growth emerges as useful regular sized poles and was an essential part of ancient woodland managment, ensuring a steady supply of wood. Hurdles were used as temporary, moveable fencing. A visitor commented that they liked the willow and seeing how the hurdles were made.
There was also the opportunity to try out some green woodworking techniques – a way of creating beautiful, useful objects, from unseasoned wood.
We also made a well known drink, the old fashioned way. Dandelion and burdock roots were scrubbed, and then crushed in a pestle and mortar for the first stages in making this delicious cordial. People had the opportunity to try some that we’d made earlier in the week.
Crushing the roots in a pestal and mortar
Someone asked about a family workshop to learn about spinning wool – so watch this space!
The last few days have seen the small and very wobbly duckling go off for some intensive care with one of our volunteers to see if swimming around in her bath will help strengthen its legs. So we now have four of the original 10 ducklings left. This afternoon (Sunday) they are getting to know the other ducks and having some fun swimming on their pond.
The farm now has two new goats – Snowy and Bambi – thanks to Hemley Farm. The goats are Boer / Sanaan and very lovely. They are quite shy, but starting to get used to the farm staff and volunteers. This week we hope to start taking them out for walks and lead them up to their new paddocks where we hope that they will gobble up the thistles and brambles.
Have you any food?
This week we also had two Polish Frizzle bantams donated – these are out on the grass in a run during the daytime. They are amazingly fluffy and very tame.
One of the farm’s lambs unfortunately got caught by flystrike (a nasty injury that can kill them if left untreated) this week. The sheep were all due to be re-treated next week so this is a real shame. The lamb has been treated and is fully recovered, but if you are visiting the farm you will see that one of the lambs has a bald patch where we needed to trim it’s wool.
Next week we will have mutton for sale. There will be chops, mince and smaller joints at very reasonable prices
We fed the chickens. We also made beeswax candles it was fun1
We tacun out the ginne pig 🙂
We collected peas , broad beans and strawberries.I liked it when we cleaned the ducks.
The new cafe and community building is being built so Charlie pointed out that we needed to move the farm shop. Charlie got to work taking down the shop sign using a claw hammer, putting it back up on the veranda using an electric drill, and designing the new layout of all our produce. Come in, take a look, and buy some of our tasty goods!
We PIC strawberry .feb the chickens☺
Four weeks ago we were thrilled to find out that our ducks’ eggs really were fertile. The farm now has nine ducklings who live indoors at night and come out for a splash in the sun every day. They are growing at an amazing speed, but still are fluffy. the smallest duckling with a slightly wonky leg is doing well. She is a quarter the size of her brothers and sisters, but her feet look fine now and she is growing slowly.
The pigs are all living together again after weaning – this has cheered up the sow Jasmine who hated being on her own. We are keeping the gilt (young female pig) as pigs hate living on their own and these particular pigs get on well with each other.
The sheep were shorn back in May. This is not just to get the wool off them for spinning, but also to make sure that they are free of parasites and of course not too hot. Over the next few weeks I will sort out the fleeces into different grades of wool
Juley Community Farmer
Very excitingly, work began on building our new Community Cafe and Training Facility on Monday. First the work men put in safety barriers along the farm yard to protect the public and animals from their vehicles, whilst still allowing movement through to the paddock andaccess to the community room and toilets.
Fencing has been put in place to protect the public from construction vehicles
Next the portaloos arrrived – very important to the people working the site.
Very important! The arrival of the portaloos for the construction crew
Today, the digger has been clearing the land of rubble and rubbish.
Preparing the land for the building
Sadly, this also involves knocking down our popular pizza oven. However, this will be rebuilt in the future.