As the year turns, we’re now well and truly in the time of high summer and harvest. This year’s heat and lack of rain means the gardens are very dry so the volunteers have been doing a great deal of watering. Squashes are just starting to ripen and will be on sale from next week. We have potted herbs for sale, sown and grown by the Herbs for Health group. The fruit trees and bushes are fruiting early this year so don’t miss out! Ask staff if you’d like to pick your own.
The two new piglets are now going outside 4 days a week day into the cool forest pig pen; they are enjoying seeing all the visitors.
The new chicken run is a great success there is lots of interest and food for the chickens and squashes and meadow plants growing naturally.
We have a set aside the pig pen near the ducks this year, and it has attracted frogs and toads. This is due to the wild plants such as Mugwort and Goosefoot growing there, creating damp conditions underneath and this has helped them get through this dry time.
Bumble and Honey bees are loving the artichokes and sunflowers.
Honey will be on sale from September.
We have goat meat, sausages and bacon for sale
Looking forward to seeing you all on the 22nd August for the celebration.
Paul has been volunteering with us for over 2 years. He was interested in the farm as he wanted to learn how to look after farm animals. He was very pleased to find somewhere to do this, that was local to him.
His favourite part of the farm is the pigs – he loves looking after them.
He also enjoys the fact that every day is different – there are always a few surprises!
His least favourite job is unloading deliveries – particularly the hay and straw deliveries that we get for animal bedding and fodder – he ends up covered in bits of straw.
As a result of his volunteering at the farm, Paul had an apprentiship with ALS Energy Group, learning how to do energy audits of people’s homes, with a view to reducing energy bills.
In the future Paul would like to work on a commercial farm – preferably one with pigs!
Volunteer April has recently carried out a great project with Blaise Weston Court, a local extra care scheme for the elderly. She took an incubator and some eggs to the home, so they could see the chicks as they hatched.
April described what she did – “I used an incubator to imitate a hen sitting on the eggs. It works by rocking the eggs gently over the day and monitoring the humidity which should be ideally between 40-50%. However, temperatures will fluctuate just like they would with a mother hen as she will sit for a
while then walk about, resulting in the eggs getting cooler.”
The project aimed to build a connection with the local elderly home and the farm. “The residents loved it! They spent a lot of time looking at the eggs and checking when they were going to start to hatch. They were very excited when it started to happen.” described April
The project also helped us to discover how fertile our cockerals are, and the new chicks will help us build up our flock.
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…
Liam has been volunteering with us since January. He was on the Animal Management and Conservation course at SGS College in Filton and came to us for his work experience. He chose the farm because it was local to him and we had different animals from the usual house pets.
Liam loves volunteering here and working with the different animals – he says he is never bored! He has lots of fun and especially loves it when the piglets are born. He has enjoyed seeing the changes over the last 11 months including the building of the cafe. Liam also helps out with Farm Tots, our regular hands on session for under 5s and their carers. He brings out a hen every week so that the children can see one up close and stroke it.
The only aspect of volunteering here that Liam doesn’t like is working in the rain!
Recent Liam got a job at Macdonald’s. He feels that volunteering at the farm really helped with this, as his confidence with people and the public in general has really improved. His other employability skils have also improved such as being able to turn up regularly and reliably on time.
Liam took a picture his favourite animals – the naughty goats.
Amy has been volunteering at the farm for a year now. She came here to do her work experience with us as she is studying Animal Care at SGS Filton College. She is now doing a Level II Diploma in Animal Care.
Amy chose the farm as she thought it looked good, and was local to her. She loves coming to the farm every week and being with the goats and the piglets. She had never worked with animals before, so she has learnt everything from scratch. However, she can now do the whole morning and afternoon routine on her own!
Amy feels that volunteering at the farm has really increased her self confidence and self esteem. This has been due to the friendly nature of the farm and everyone who works here, and also being supported while taking on responsibilities.
Amy loves the guinea pigs, and has taken a great photo of them.
We recently had two volunteers from the European Voluntary Programme come to the Farm. They shared their experience with us.
Our experience in Lawrence Weston Community Farm
It has been a wonderful month. From the first till the last day, it was a great experience that we will never forget. Those four weeks we had the opportunity to connect with nature and work in a beautiful outdoor environment with a pretty relaxing atmosphere. We got to meet and work with great and friendly people that were always there for us, helping us to improve our English skills and we are grateful for that. We came closer to animals and feel comfortable with them. We got the chance to learn loads of new things about animal care as well as gardening and plants which made us more environmentally aware. We most certainly recommend this experience to everyone.
Galatea and Elena from Italy and Greece.
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!
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!
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