It has only been a month of quietness and I have so much to share with you! It feels like things are accelerating on the farm and it is very exciting.
Most importantly, aside from a few acres of beans, we have finished harvest! Now, you might be thinking, 'Great, time to chill...' BUT no, now it is time for drilling (putting the seed back into the ground). We use a minimum tillage system on our farm so we don't plough, we don't even cultivate if we can avoid it, we just plant straight back into the stubble left behind after the combine harvester. We hope to have all of our fields either drilled with cover crops or winter wheat by mid-October. The cover crops are great for putting the nutrients back into the soil so that next year's crops grow well, they also help to fight the weed 'Black-Grass' which is one of the biggest challenges for modern day arable farmers. And the winter wheat does what it says....it's wheat that grows through the winter.
The sheep are doing really well, we have sent most of our lambs off and we have only 70 left now. They're enjoying grass and a little bit of food to top up their diet. We have held 15 lambs back to be part of our flock next year; to help them grow a little I sheared them on Wednesday. I'll let you know if it works. Also sheared on Wednesday were a few of my Romney sheep; these need shearing twice a year as their wool grows back very thick and they're plenty big enough to stay warm through the winter. The next step now is to get a good working sheepdog, I'm on the hunt and I'll post pictures when I find the perfect shepherding partner.
The chickens are laying well and the honesty box at the top of the lane is topped up regularly, do pop by and buy some. They're lovely, we've had some HUGE ones lately - so big the boxes don't close! I expect they're double yolkers...yum!
The Education Centre is kicking off with first visits the first week in October. We have 4 partner schools signed up now and hopefully a few more visiting on a one off basis from time to time throughout the year. Jane and I are going to go on a course run by FACE on how to get secondary schools out to the farm on the 29th Sept. We're really looking forward to it.
THE OPEN DAY!!!
Well, well, well, we are SO excited about plans for the open day, we'll be having local bee keepers coming with their bees and honey, we'll have sheep shearing demonstrations, we'll be cooking blackberry and apple jam in the morning and chutney in the afternoon, we'll hopefully have a Shetland pony, we'll have a shop to purchase local illustrations, lamb, eggs, honey and beef, we'll have arts and crafts, hold a hen, see what's growing in the vegetable garden as usual and much more...as usual it is COMPLETELY FREE!!! We have the opportunity this year to donate some money towards us getting a passenger trailer so that in future we can have trailer rides as well. There is absolutely NO obligation to give to this at all.
Finally, a little update on myself for those interested....2 weeks ago I passed my trailer towing test which was a fantastic achievement. I have worked hard over the past 2 years to practise and improve and it definitely paid off (I even ended up getting NO faults). I have to thank Martin Shelley from Drive and Tow as he was my instructor and helped me to be confident in my test. This year, starting in November I am going to be doing Forest Schools Training to enhance my skills when working with children outdoors. And finally, today I went to Welwyn Garden City to an interview for Tesco's Future Farmer Foundation, it was a fascinating process and will be great to get involved with, so now I am just praying that I get chosen as one of the fortunate 50 on the course.
I think that is all for now, I'll be back soon with more updates I am sure.....