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Tuesday
Jan162018

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.

Tom

Tuesday
Jan092018

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 https://www.facebook.com/straidvillage

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

See you soon.

Tom

Tuesday
Dec192017

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.

Tom

Tuesday
Dec122017

12 DECEMBER 2017

Cold Feet.

It has been brought to my notice that some of my recent communications have been a little downbeat. To the extent that one customer asked me on Saturday, was there any point in wishing me a Happy Christmas. So, here are my reasons to be cheerful:

  1. It’s no longer my responsibility to feed the livestock, whatever the weather. This is especially pleasing in the current conditions.
  2. I am surrounded by beauty, constantly changing and always a joy. See above photo taken at the dam by a customer on Saturday. There is always time to smell the roses.
  3. Despite my ongoing gloom about the environment, I’m confident that enough good people exist to pull us back from the precipice.
  4. In less than two weeks’ time, the days will start to grow longer and the night’s shorter.
  5. There are a million and one reasons why I consider myself a lucky man, none of which I will bore you with now. Life’s been good to me so far.

I have attached the butchery and Christmas baking order sheets. We would really like the baking orders by this Wednesday so that there isn’t a last minute panic in the kitchen. We are also getting ducks from Mary Regan if a turkey is too much of a good thing. You can ring in your orders.

See you soon.

Tom