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....
Before.....

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

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,
leeks,
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,
beetroot,
onions,
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.

Leona

Leona, from Germany, came to help us for two weeks, and left last Saturday to return home - many thanks Leona for your help whilst at the farm, and good luck for your future.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Four Acres restored

Four Acres used to be our best hay meadow until it was ploughed up and used for crops, but this year we have restored it as a hay meadow. This involved rotovating and rolling it in the spring to make it level, then allowing the native seed-bank to do its own work over the summer, and this week it has been "topped" to leave a short sward of grass and wildflower species, which will hopefully mean it is ready to be cut as hay or fodder next summer.

Marta

We would all like to thank Marta, from Madrid, for her help on the farm during her recent stay as a WWOOF volunteer, and wish her all the best on her next farm.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Rebuild Southwest

We have just had a team from Rebuild Southwest working at the farm for two weeks, which has massively advanced three of our projects for this winter:-
1 - building a new safer entrance into the farm;
2 - creating a new farm office away from the farmhouse; and
3 - creating new and improved volunteer accommodation in the farmhouse itself.
Working on the new safer farm entrance.
Spreading gravel in the new parking area.
Decorating the new farm office.

Fitting double-glazed windows and electric sockets in the new farm office.

Converting the old farm office into a new volunteer dormitory.

Working in the new dormitory.
None of these projects are completed yet, but thanks to the efforts of Rebuild Southwest they are much closer to being so - www.rebuildsouthwest.co.uk

Harvesting squash

On Tuesday 15th October we harvested this year's squash patch, which amounted to 435kg of squash (exactly twice our 2018 yield, but still only one third of our massive 2017 yield). Most of the squash are Crown Prince and Jack-be-Little, with a few Gem, Turk's Turban, Green Hokkaido and a smattering of other varieties thrown in. These will be on sale in our farm shop and at markets priced at £2 per kg by the end of next week. Our squash are all good for eating, chosen for flavour rather than ease of carving - they can be carved of course but please eat the flesh too!
Our squash patch ready for harvesting.
Weighing wheelbarrows of squash into the polytunnel.

Part of the squash harvesting arranged in the polytunnel for curing and storage.
Thank you to Noelle and Shaun for harvesting all the squash.

Virginia

We have also hosted Virginia from Italy for six weeks, which was a real pleasure - thank you Virginia for all your help!
Virginia serving in the farm shop.

Roberto

We don't get so many South American wwoofers, but we have just hosted Roberto from Argentina for one month, on his tour of organic farms in the British Isles - thank you Roberto for your help!
Roberto planting winter salads in the Mothership.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Meadow wildflower survey

On July 12th a volunteer came to survey our main three wildlfower meadows as part of our involvement with the Penwith Landscape Partnership, and he recorded the following 47 species:-
common bent grass (Agrostis capillaris)
creeping bent grass (Agrostis stoloifera)
sweet vernal grass (Anthoxanthum odoratum)
lesser burdock (Arctium minus)
onion couch grass (Arrhenatherum elatius var. bulbosum)
soft brome grass (Bromus hordaceus)
hedge bindweed (Calystegia sepium)
common knapweed (Centaurea nigra)
common mouse-ear chickweed (Cerastium fontanum subsp. vulgare)
creeping thistle (Cirsium arvense)
spear thistle (Cirsium vulgare)
smooth hawk's-beard (Crepis capillaris)
crested dog's tail grass (Cynosurus cristatus)
cock's-foot grass (Dactylis glomerata)
wild carrot (Daucus carota)
foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)
red fescue grass (Festuca rubra agg.)
cleavers (Galium aparine)
cut-leaved crane's-bill (Geranium dissectum)
hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium)
Yorkshire fog grass (Holcus lanatus)
cat's ear (Hypochoeris radicata)
toad rush (Juncus bufonius)
soft rush (Juncus effusus)
perennial rye grass (Lolium perenne)
large bird's-foot-trefoil (Lotus pedunculatus)
ribwort plantain (Plantago lanceolata)
selfheal (Prunella vulgaris)
creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens)
blackberry (Rubus fruticosa agg.)
curled dock (Rumex crispus)
broad-leaved dock (Rumex obtusifolius)
fiddle dock (Rumex pulcher subsp. pulcher)
procumbent pearlwort (Sagina procumbens)
elder (Sambucus nigra)
common ragwort (Senecio jacobea)
red campion (silene dioica)
prickly sow-thistle (Sonchus asper)
smooth sow-thistle (Sonchus oleraceus)
corn spurrey (Spergula arvensis)
common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale agg.)
lesser trefoil (Trifolium dubium)
white clover (Trifolium repens)
gorse (Ulex europeus)
pennywort (Umbilicus rupestris)
common nettle (Urtica dioica)
common vetch (Vicia sativa)

Friday, October 4, 2019

Alex, Veronica, Luka, Ilaria and Emelie

More WWOOF volunteers have been and gone in recent weeks - Alex from France, Veronica from the USA, Luka from Germany, Ilaria from Italy, and Emelie from France - many thanks to all!
Alex on the tractor loading hay.
Veronica (back right) packing veg for veg boxes.

Virginia (who hasn't left yet!) sowing radishes with Emilie, Ilaria with Alex planting coriander.

Harvest celebration photos

Bee embroidery workshop in the packing shed pop-up cafe area, with Vicky.

Designing an insect garden in the farmyard, with Kate.

A tour of the polytunnels and hardening-off area of the market garden, with Ian.

Singing workshop in the farmyard, near the campfire, with Kelsey.

Crafts and games in the farmyard.

Embroidered bees created at Vicky's workshop.

Visiting the pollinator garden and bee-ed shed, with Ian.

Carving and selling handmade spoons outside the farm shop.

Meeting and feeding the laying hens.


Friday, September 13, 2019

Harvest Celebration

Our next open day will be a Harvest Celebration on Sunday 29th September, from midday till 15:30, and will feature farm tours, a singing workshop, other live music (please bring an instrument to join in), a pop-up cafe, crafts and stalls, plus other activities/attractions yet to be finalised. Please some along and join in with the farm community on this afternoon of celebration - free and open to all.

Veronica

Veronica wwoofed with us for 3 weeks, and left today to head to Exeter to start her masters degree - many thanks Veronica for all your help and singing during your stay, and we hope all goes well for you at university.

Picking and packing for this week's veg boxes and wholesale orders

Calum picking runner beans.

Ann packing runner beans and spring greens.

Ian picking edible flowers for the Field House in Trewellard.

Picking a peck of peppers.

Margaret picking kale.

Picking a barrow of spring greens.

Virginia, Veronica, and Ann weighing veg into boxes.
This week we supplied Cafe Dog And Rabbit, the Field House, The Shore, Mousehole Deli, Sennen Costcutter, the Gurnard's Head, Mermaid Alley, and Picarico with fresh veg, salad and herbs, and also put together 45 veg boxes for local people and families. This week's veg boxes contained Maris Peer new potatoes, onions, spring greens, red curly kale, rocoto chillies, runner beans, peppers, cherry tomatoes, rocket, and courgettes.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Iris

Iris, from the Netherlands, volunteered with us for two weeks, and left this afternoon for the Eden Project then her next farm in Shropshire. Many thanks Iris for your help, and good luck further down your road.
Iris, in purple, helping to bring in the hay last week.

Camelot cyclists visit

A small group of cyclists from Camelot set off from Lands End last Saturday morning on a 9-day charity ride to John O'Groats, and they were planning on visiting National Lottery funded projects along the way. The National Lottery helped Bosavern Community Enterprises to purchase the community farm back in 2014, so we were a first visit on Friday evening for the Camelot team.
Just outside the pollinator garden and bee education shed.

Crossing Home Field on the way to the chickens.

Inside the Mothership polytunnel.

Looking at the allotments.
Thanks for the visit and good luck on the ride!