Blog Index
The journal that this archive was targeting has been deleted. Please update your configuration.

23 JANUARY 2018

I had a slightly surreal moment out on my bike a couple of days ago. Belted Galloways are not a terribly common breed here and suddenly to see a snow covered field full of young calves was slightly bizarre. It’s very unusual to have cattle outdoors at this time of year and with their winter coats making them look particularly woolly, at first I thought they were some exotic breed of sheep. (It was getting dark at the time – the photo makes it look a lot brighter than it was.)

We posted an item on our facebook page a week ago describing our efforts to get away from plastic packaging. It’s a process which we may never finish, as the benefits of plastic to any food business are inestimable. I suspect the government needs to legislate so as the plastics manufacturers are forced only to produce bio-degradable or efficiently recyclable plastics.  On the farm, our greatest use of plastic is the black wrap that goes round the silage bales. Legally farmers are required to collect this wrap and send it to the recyclers. As you might imagine its quite an expensive pastime and no doubt energy intensive. It’s one of the many factors that are in the equation when considering the cost to the environment of livestock production.

Consider slurry spreading. Theoretically there is a ban from the middle of October until the early Spring, a ban designed to prevent slurry leaching into our rivers and killing all the wildlife therein. However because last Autumn was so wet, many farmers were forced to house their livestock early, as a result of which their slurry tanks are filled to overflowing. As I understand it a derogation has now been issued to permit farmers to spread slurry in what seems totally unsuitable conditions. A lot of it will simply leach into the rivers. Essentially the economics of farming today force many farmers to keep more livestock than their infrastructure can cope with except in idealised weather conditions.

I was speaking to a friend who has an organic farm roughly twice the size of ours. He has put almost 10% of his land into timber – essentially the areas where he has given up the battle with nature and returned the land to a more natural flora and hopefully fauna as well. He’s calculated he’ll make more money doing this rather than trying to farm land that increasingly doesn’t want to be farmed. He expects to put more land into trees each year until he dies. You may have seen the Countryfile programme a  few weeks ago when they visited a big English farm that had given up the battle and were now re-wilding their land. It’s an interesting concept.

Next week: Feed the World or Save the Planet.

See you soon.



16 JANUARY 2018

These three ladies were adorning our front field until Hein brought them in this morning. Partly because of the impending snow, but more importantly so as they can prepare themselves for their imminent nuptials. The new boar who hopefully will be with us within the week, has been working hitherto as a sperm donor. We’re hoping that the sight of real live women will renew his ardour and lead to loads of piglets in the Spring.

The weather forecast is more changeable than the weather itself. One minute we are promised heavy snow, the next light snow or rain. Today in anticipation of snow, I was digging parsnips, pulling swedes, beetroot, leeks and kale and cutting our few remaining cabbage. Whatever the weather, there will be food available in both the shop and the Tea Room. The fire will be lit and as always a warm welcome to those braving the bad weather.

See you soon.



09 JANUARY 2018

Taken whilst sitting on my new chair, just prior to drifting off.

Sometimes while working in the tunnel or greenhouse, the sun comes out. The atmosphere can very rapidly change from arctic, to very pleasant, and occasionally a certain languor can enter my bones. At such times, it is not unknown for me to simply lie down between the rows, and go to sleep. Very occasionally, a passing member of the family will see me in this prone position and feel slightly alarmed, possibly employing what used to be known as the RUC boot test to see if I am still alive. In a stroke of genius, aimed at avoiding frightening my nearest and dearest, but at the same time adding to my creature comfort, Santa brought me a very comfortable lightweight chair to use in the tunnel – if I make it to the chair, it will be assumed I’m still alive. If am found lying on the ground, I may get a kicking.

Apologies to anyone who was unable to access the farm on Saturday owing to the blockage on Straid Main Street. For an explanation please see

Happy New year to you all. I hope Santa was equally good to you. 

See you soon.



19 DECEMBER 2017

In the foreground you see gooseberry bushes being overwhelmed by perennial weeds -mainly creeping buttercup, scutch grass and dandelion. He with the fork is Lewis. I’m not quite sure why Lewis is looking so cheerful, since he is painstakingly forking over the ground and then pulling out these noxious weeds. When he’s finished the gooseberries, he’s 100m of raspberry canes to do. Once they’re all weeded we’ll lay all the surplus cardboard we gather up as a mulch to discourage further weeds, and then seal this off with either woodchips or straw. Note that I said discourage further weeds, not prevent or kill. In organic farming, we never actually win the ‘battle with Nature’, we come to an accommodation with it. This is a good thing.

But ‘who is this Lewis chappie?’ I hear you exclaim. Lewis is by training a chef and more often to be seen in the kitchen than out of doors. When he came to us he made it clear he was keen to participate in the farming side of things as well as cooking. Today as well as the weeding, he was feeding the livestock and honing his tractor driving skills.

In the shop Ilse has been counting her Turkey orders and thinks she has a couple left – and that’s it. I should mention we have a small surplus of rather nice lamb in the display freezer in the shop whch we are selling off at 50% discount -when its’s gone,  it’s gone.

Any turkey/gammon orders will be ready for collection on Friday  and Saturday. Vinceremos will email you when the alcohol is with us.

The shop and tea room will be open until this Saturday the 23rd and then we will be closed over the holidays until Tuesday 2 January.

Finally, on behalf of  us all, thank you for your custom in 2017 – Happy Christmas and best wishes for the New Year.