Saturday, November 27, 2021

New chicken lock-down announced

Due to outbreaks of bird flu in the UK, DEFRA have announced that all poultry must be kept indoors, or in enclosed runs, starting on Monday 29th November. Having had no cases of bird flu in the UK previously, there were cases and a subsequent lock-down in winter 2016, then again in winter 2020, and now in winter 2021. Because of this we are no longer allowed to have people visiting our chicken sheds or field, except those of us on official chicken-care duties (feeding, collecting eggs, mucking out etc...). We expect this situation to last for 16 weeks. On Tuesday 30th we will be constructing enclosed runs for each of our three chicken sheds, to allow them access to the outside, but in a safe place where wild birds cannot enter.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

More winter skies


These were the skies as we cleaned out the chicken sheds yesterday afternoon, and soon afterwards we saw a barn owl hunting the fields for the third time in the past ten days.


Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Coppicing the market garden copse

Just inside the gateway of our market garden we have a small copse of about 30 willow, to help prevent westerly winds from whipping across the field, and northerly gales from damaging our polytunnels. The copse had become overgrown with brambles, was harbouring rabbits, and many of the willows had become too large and had fallen over, hampering tractor access into the field. So over the past week we have cleared all the undergrowth, and coppiced all the willow, except for one line at the back, which will continue as a windbreak this winter while the coppiced stumps grow back during next spring and summer. The cleared wood has been sorted into logs for cutting for next winter's firewood, whips for planting as windbreaks around the chicken/maincrop fields, small twigs for composting, and large rotting pieces for leaving in a field corner as wildlife habitat.

Many thanks to everyone who helped with this warming winter project.


Yesterday's sky

As well as seeing a kestrel and a buzzard yesterday (the latter catching a small bird in its talons), the skies over the farm in the late afternoon and early evening were gorgeous:-





Saturday, November 20, 2021

Food sovereignty

Heather, who WWOOFed with us for 3 months in the spring, has written an article about Food Sovereignty, which has been published on the WWOOF UK website - https://wwoof.org.uk/news/taste-food-sovereignty - and is well worth a read.

Clara

It is Clara's last day volunteering on the farm tomorrow, then she moves on to her next WWOOF placement, before heading home to Belgium for Christmas. Many thanks Clara!!



Veg boxes 19/11/21

We had 23 people working on the farm yesterday, most of them involved at some point with picking and packing for the veg boxes, so we were all finished by 4pm.

Work Experience and Training participants picking beetroot in the maincrop field.

One of our WWOOF volunteers, Ophelia, picking spring greens in the market garden.

Yesterday's 94 veg boxes contained:-

  • small boxes (£7) - potatoes, leeks, red beetroot, salad, rainbow chard, and a rocoto chilli;
  • standard boxes (£11) - potatoes, leeks, red beetroot, salad, rainbow chard, a crown prince squash, spring greens, and parsnips.

To request a joining form for our veg box scheme please email vegbox.bcf@bcents.org.uk.