Sunday, March 31, 2013

Spring Fair and Farmers Market.

On 30th March, it being the anomalous fifth Saturday in the month, we held our inaugural Farmers Market here on the farm (Pendeen Farmers Market is the first and third Saturdays of the month, and St Just is the second and fourth), on the same day as our Spring Fair. The market started at 10 am, and though chilly the sun was shining and hardly a breeze stirred the farmyard. There were about 15 stalls in total, including our own veg and eggs, plus a cafe, bread, meat, plants, prepared foods, jams, chutneys, and local crafts.
Bosavern Community Farm veg stall and cafe.

Pork from Pendeen.

Nick's bread from Land's End.

Craft stalls in the open barn.

Plant stall in the open barn.

One of our plant wigwams for sale in the yard.
At midday the Spring Fair began, with fun and games for all the family, tea and cakes, and tours of the farm.
Bosavern Singers led by Kelsey entertain in the farmyard.

Silly games.

The cafe area in the farmyard.

Making jam twisties in the grassy courtyard.

Meeting Ebony and the Spice Girls on a farm tour.

Itinerary of the afternoon's event.
The event was a great success, with several hundred people coming down to the farm, many of them on foot following the trail of red bunting from Market Square, showing a good level of support from the local community, as well as holidaymakers calling in for the day. We are aiming to hold such events every time there is a fifth Saturday in the month - watch this blog for details of 29th June! A massive thank you to everyone who helped with the event, both beforehand and on the day, and to everyone who came down to support the farm and have fun!


Thanks also to Clare, from Sydney, who has also just left after 5 weeks as a wwoofer on the community farm.
Clare, in the foreground, working on the new polytunnel.


Nathalie, who wwoofed with us for 5 weeks, left for her next farm this morning. Many thanks to Nathalie for all her hard work and smiley face around the farm.
Nathalie screwing polytunnel sections together.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Spring Fair this Saturday.

This Saturday, 30th March, Bosavern Community Farm will be holding a Spring Fair here on the farm. The day will start at 10 am with a Farmers and Craft Market in the open barn, with 20 stalls selling local produce, plus hot and cold refreshments. Then at midday the fun and games begin, with shenanigans such as the ever popular welly-wanging, egg-throwing, egg-painting, egg-and-spoon race, guess the weight of the swede, guess how many spuds in a sack, and other jolly stuff. There will be tours of the farm, and a chance to look around and explore, plus the obligatory home-made cakes.
There is limited parking at the farm (we're hoping the field will have drained adequately by then.....the forecast is good, with sunshine predicted for Saturday itself) but there is a big free car-park in the centre of St Just. From Market Square we will be setting out a trail of funky red bunting to lead you across the fields down to the farm, a lovely walk of only 15 minutes, and if you arrive on foot you will receive a free ticket for our raffle (lots of cool prizes!). Plus bus numbers 504 and 300 will drop you at the door.
The community farm team hope to see you and your family and friends down on the farm on Saturday, between 10 am and 4 pm. Entry is free!


Many thanks to Luke for all his work on the farm over the past three weeks, and his wholesome cooking. Luke left this morning to hitch to his next WWOOF host in Devon, and we wish him well.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Work begins on our new polytunnel.

On Monday, we began construction of our third polytunnel in the market garden field. At 60 by 30 foot it fits in snugly between our compost site, rabbit fence, veg strips and willow coppice. So far we have marked out the site, dug the trenches and post-holes, and cemented the first 6 posts into place. This is the most time-consuming and mentally-taxing part of construction, as any error can lead to serious problems later on. Thankfully Simon lent us his laser-leveller, and both Hugh and James have built polytunnels before, but we've taken our time to make sure the base is exactly right.
James marking out the string-lines.

Clare digging post-holes.

Planting potatoes.

Having moved our lovely chickens out of their field into a new one, we ploughed half of their old field and planted potatoes into what should be good rich soil. For this we used our own tractor and an old second-hand sit-on planter, with Luke and Nathalie sat on the back feeding seed potatoes into chutes, as David drove very slowly up and down the field.

This year we have chosen just three potato varieties, and have simply planted seven sacks of each. Maris Peer, the lovely new potatoes that yield well here; Charlotte, a waxy salad potato; and Ambo, a yellowy-pinkish maincrop variety that stores well and resists slug and eelworm damage well (we have decided against Cosmos because of its susceptibility to these pests).

Friday, March 15, 2013

Moving the next and final two chicken sheds.

Morley came down yesterday and dragged the other two chicken sheds from their old field to the new. It was easier this time, because we'd taken down another section of fence to allow more room to manoeuvre, and because the ground was dryer (and today it has heaved down - good timing!). Still a tight squeeze through those gateways though, but no seven-point turns required this time.
Dragging a shed out of the old field.

Tight squeeze through that gateway.

Positioning a shed on the new field.
Last year's "maincrop field" will be this year's "chicken field", and last year's chicken field will be this year's maincrop field. The potato patch was ploughed as soon as the sheds came out, and fingers crossed we'll be planting potatoes with our new potato-planter next Monday.

Planting red onions.

Two weeks ago we harvested the last of our Brussels sprouts, plus their tops to use as greens, and included them in our veg boxes and farmers market stall. We finished digging the bed over last Tuesday, and yesterday we planted all this years red onion sets there, plus 42 elephant garlics which we planted in pots in the polytunnel during the winter, and still had space for 2 rows of carrots and 6 of beetroot.
Claire hoeing around the elephant garlic.

Luke and Nathalie preparing a bed for red onions.
We are in the process of converting our market garden field from small beds running north-south separated by grassy paths, to long beds running east-west separated by bare soil, to help control pests (mainly slugs and weeds) and to allow some of the weeding and other work to be carried out by tractor.
Row of elephant garlic.

Luke planting red onion sets.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Plant support weaving workshop.

Yesterday, Saturday 9th March, Kate led a workshop in the farmyard, attended by five willing weavers, who learnt how to make a bean wigwam out of local natural materials. 
Kate getting the workshop under way, with ingenious use of bread crates.
Weaving a base of willow around the hazel uprights.
Tea break as the wigwams progress.
Kate bending soaked willow to make it pliable.
Three wigwams were made in all, and they look fantastic. Many thanks to Kate for running this workshop, and to all those who attended.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Moving the chickens.

Yesterday lunchtime we skipped lunch and moved the first of our three chicken sheds into their new field. It had taken us ten days to build the fence, thanks largely to a team of five dedicated wwoofers. The chickens had been in the same field for two years and three months, so needed fresh pasture to reduce the risk of parasites; and also to allow us to plant crops in their old field to make use of the chicken manure they leave behind. Moving the shed from one field to the next was a struggle, taking 2 tractors and 3 hours to complete, with hiccups.
Where the shed came from.
The chickens had to be coralled in their old field, a hole cut in the old fence, the water-butt disconnected, the shed dragged through the gap, through the gateway in the Cornish hedge, through the gateway into the new field, then uphill across wet loose soil to its current position. But of course those three gateways were not in perfect alignment, so it required plenty of skilful tractor manoeuvring by Morley and David to get it through, plus taking our newly-hung gate off its hinges. We'd never seen a skid-mounted 100-bird chicken-shed being seven-point turned before, or two tractors chained together trying to tow it across a ploughed field!
Where the shed went to.
But eventually it got to where it needed to be, and we managed to lead most of the birds through, carrying the stragglers. They've settled in well, enjoying the fresh green grass, and laid over 90 eggs today to prove it. Now we need to drag the other two sheds through, which will be easier because they are empty (but not for long!). And then plough the field where they came from, mend the fence to make it rabbit-proof, and plant our potatoes....

New milestone!

This afternoon, this blog passed 20,000 hits since beginning in September 2010....


Another big thank you, to Lloyd, all the way from Yorkshire, who wwoofed here on the farm for 5 weeks, leaving us last Tuesday to continue wwoofing further north. Lloyd saw the rabbit fence through from beginning to end, and most of the chicken fence too, and we wish him well for the future.

Max and Prescillia.

Many thanks to Max and Prescillia, two French wwoofers who volunteered on the farm for three weeks, leaving us last weekend. Special thanks for their work on the rabbit and chicken fences, helping to get them finished in good time. We wish you all the best on your further wwoofing in Wales.