Sunday, November 17, 2019

65 new hens

On Wednesday 13th we collected 65 new point-of-lay hens from Blakes Poultry Supplies near Launceston, and introduced them (in between sleet and hail storms) into shed 3 along with our 55 old hens from 2017. They have settled in well (this is the first time we've put new in with old, to see how the results are, to inform future strategy) and have already started laying. This should increase egg supply over the Christmas period, when everybody wants more eggs but hens lay very little due to low daylight hours.

Clearing the end of the packing shed

Every farm, like every house, needs a place to store things, and we are blessed with a large packing shed (formerly a cow shed when it was a dairy farm) for this. But as the farm develops and our operations expand we need more space. We now have a plan for the far end of our packing shed, so yesterday a team of volunteers cleared the area, and organised the stuff that we found there, accumulated over many years - a potter's wheel, a weaving loom, a collapsable stretcher, a TV aerial, several crates of reject potatoes, old plaster board, a sheep crush, a polytunnel cover, some pig fencing, crates of empty bottles, severa, windows and doors, two kitchen sinks, old tiles, a large bee sculpture, a chicken shed, old chains, stacks of chairs, and archaic egg incubator, two compost bins etc....

And after - with Bruno, Jun, Rex and Kim.
This particular winter task is always a cathartic experience, and a good indoor job to do on wet cold days. The stuff has been disseminated amongst our other outbuildings, where hopefully it will be put to good use, though plenty has ended up destined for the local recycling centre.


Bruno picking some of the few swedes that we managed to grow this year.

Bruno heading to the chicken sheds at dawn with a wheelbarrow of feed.
Bruno, from Brittany, had his final day of volunteering on the community farm yesterday, before heading to London overnight en-route to his winter job in the Alps. Thank you Bruno for your help during your time with us, and have a good ski season! We hope to host you again some day.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Veg boxes for Friday 15th November.

In this weeks' veg boxes we are planning to have:-
Jack-be-little squash,
the last of our cucumbers for this season (one or two depending on size),
either Ambo or Maris Peer potatoes,
kale (whichever variety is most plentiful),
a bunch of carrots,
and a cabbage.
The small boxes (£6 each) will have the first 6 items, and the standard boxes (£10 each) will have all 9 items (and 2 of the squash instead of one).

Storm damage

A section of the packing shed roof blown away. Thankfully this happened on a Saturday morning after all but 3 of our veg boxes had already been collected/delivered on the Friday.

Barometer reading on Sunday 4th November.

Waterlogging inside the polytunnels.

And outside too.
Over night from Friday 1st to Saturday 2nd November the first big storm of the winter hit us, but it wasn't deemed important enough to be given a name, although it was only the second time in nine years that part of the packing shed roof has been lifted off. That was the worst damage, the rest of it is waterlogging out on the farm, making some work difficult, and ensuring we keep our tractor out-of-action for the time being. The most used paths and tracks around the farm are now ankle-deep in liquid mud, and as I write this in our new office, the first sleet of the winter has battered into us just as the land was beginning to dry out a little....

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Tomorrow's veg boxes

Tomorrow we are providing 49 veg boxes to local people, so we have done the bulk of the harvesting today, with a little bit to do in the morning, plus the fresh artisan bread and local organic milk to go in.
A wheelbarrow full of various cabbages from our market garden.

Rex harvesting leeks, and Ben black Tuscan kale behind, in the market garden.

Bruno hunting for swedes in one of the outer fields.
Our veg boxes this week contain a selection from leeks, onions, potatoes, rocoto chillies, swedes, cucumber, big tomatoes, gem squash (a South African variety - small round and dark green), cabbages, and radishes (both red and black). All grown here on the community farm without the use of chemicals.

Shaun, Noelle, and Divya

Three of our WWOOF volunteers left the farm this morning to head either home or to their next farm - many thanks to Divya from London, Shaun from Essex, and Noelle from Colorado for all your help during your time with us, and good luck for your futures.
Divya harvesting the first leeks of the season from our market garden.

Shaun and Noelle in the farmhouse kitchen.