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.

Ancient Woodland Crafts Day

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.

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There was also the opportunity to try out some green woodworking techniques – a way of creating beautiful, useful objects, from unseasoned wood.                                                                         IMG_20140712_141326

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

Crushing the roots in a pestal and mortar

Someone asked about a family workshop to learn about spinning wool – so watch this space!

Livestock News

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.

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

Work Experience

Work experience Tuesday 1st july -Friday 4th july

I’ve really enjoyed my time at the farm, the activity I enjoyed the most was collecting the chicken and duck eggs cleaning them then boxing them up I love the way the chicken peck at your feet when you go into the cage, the thing I didn’t enjoy was when there wasnt anymore jobs to be done so we had nothing to do, over all its been quite busy especially on Wednesday when all the little children came in to see the animals I held the Guinea pigs as they brushed and fed them.
Ayesha Bateman
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Cafe Build

The building works carry on apace with first trench being dug today.
The ground has been cleared and levelled.
Now a trench is being excavated, this is the beginning of the foundations.