Summer Open Day 30th July

The last couple of months we have been busy tidying up the site ready for our first open day. We have been on the site for 5 years now and structures and systems are coming together. We have had some fantastic weather and great wwoofers to help us, but also many weeks to enjoy working on the land on our own. Join us on Sunday 30th July for a tour of the site and to taste some of our produce.

Then:

and now:

Mid summer has come and gone, and it has been glorious. Baking hot days perfect for seaside holidays, ice-cream and beer, but no chance of that with a market garden to keep on top of. All that said, during the heat wave we did convert to a continental time table of working outside early and knocking off at lunchtime for bathing in the river Severn, returning to the land to do a few hours in the evening.

It really has been lovely, but we were nearly out of water at the beginning of May,  by the end of May all the water butts were dry and plants were starting to suffer from the lack of water. So our 10,000 litres of water is not enough.

Brian our keen local volunteer has been on the case working out water collection solutions. We now have another 1,500 litre water butt collecting from the static and have extended the roof on the toilet shed to gain more area to collect from. The pig holding pen has been lined with an old pond liner to make a temporary water tank, this is surprisingly big and if we ever get some substantial rain it will make a good reserve. We have been working on doubling the size of the wood shed, both for storage area and more surface area to collect rain.

The solar shower bags have been much more effective in the hot weather and it has got me thinking of a how install a proper working solar shower. Might even put it in it’s own building with privacy. A job for later in the year, when the growing season slows down.

The glut season has arrived. With the sunny weather in June ripening the Strawberries early. Whilst it was sunny we were harvesting 3kg a day, but with the rain there has been much less. The strawberry season was short this year, but we have eaten our fill. I have made 6kg jam and de-hydrated about 10kg. We sell in Great Oak foods Llanidloes and Cultivate in Newtown, but have been encouraging people to come and pick their own.  We have now moved onto raspberries and current season.

It is full on harvest season now,  harvesting a wide variety of produce. To add to all the green leafy stuff we have all year, we now have broad beans, French beans, mangetout, peas, new potatoes and the first of the courgettes, cucumbers and tomatoes.

Flower season is in full bounty. During June and July i have been attending Llanidloes Charter Market each Saturday. I am not making enough money to warrant being there, but it is good to be out talking to people and advertising what we are doing. I am going to continue going each week for the summer and see how it goes. To go with the fresh flowers i have been drying petals for confetti and culinary herbs for sale, the house smells amazing. I have been busy making elderflower cordial and jams and these are available on the stall each week.

We are growing an acre of potatoes this year, not for eating, but to sell as seed to other growers. It is Axona, a fantastic blight resistant variety that has been bred in Wales for Organic low input growing, which we are keen to promote. We got the ground prepared in the good weather, ploughed and disc harrowed then planted, they have been ridged up twice to give a weed free plot. As these are to be sold as seed they have to be inspected by the plant health authorities for disease. Last week, we passed with excellent, which was a relief. This is mainly due to the excellent growing qualities of the potato, rather that anything we have done.

We have had some wonderful wwoofers already this year, but during June we were  without volunteers. It has been lovely to enjoy our land on our own, but the days have been long. With all the regular jobs of animals (1 hour morning and night), harvesting veg, fruit and flowers (every other day), deliveries and watering (as needed) it is hard to find time to get any other jobs done like weeding, planting and site development. Although it has been good to have the time and head space to plan what needs to be done and spend some time on the computer promoting our goods.

We had Lauren and Philip wwoofing with us for 3 weeks during May,  they were a great help, fitting in like they had always been with us. They are travelling Wales for the summer looking for land and a place to settle and set up a One Planet Development project. They are film makers and permaculturalist who i am sure we will continue to see more of in the world of sustainable growing.

 

 

 

 

 

During July we had two German 15 year olds, Kalle and David, who came on work experience and an Italian women, Cristina here wwoofing. We tidied the veg beds and cutting garden, planted some flowering shrubs in the forest garden, pulled docks and did some construction. Generally having a good tidy up before our open garden day on 30th July.

The piglets are growing and are now becoming a hoard of noisy teenagers. Always hungry and constantly pushing and shoving. We have two little runts that are very cute and friendly, still smaller enough to pick up for a cuddle. We would love them to go to someone as pets, get in touch if you can home them…. We are gradually weaning the piglets from the mum, to give her a break.

 

We have a field open day booked for Sunday 30th July, 11am – 4pm. There will be tours of the growing areas and a chance to pet the animals. We will  be barbecuing some of our pork sausages, offering elerflower champagne and fruit salad. It coincides with the scarecrow festival up the valley which is always entertaining, so a good day to take a visit to Old Hall.

open day flier

Check us out on Facebook for regular updates.

Summer is here

Is summer here? Well it certainly feels like it during the day, but still we have freezing temperatures at night. But this is Wales, where is the rain, it seems more normal now for us to have a month or so of drought in spring, at least that has been the way for at least 5 or 6 years now. We have no mains water on site, relying on rain water harvest. We have the ability to collect over 10,000 litres of rain water, but we are almost dry already. Being a sun lover, i would never wish for anything else, but the plants are getting minimal watering now while we wait for the rain to come.

But i mustn’t complain, all this dry weather has warmed the soil nicely and given us plenty of opportunity to get the ground prepared for the new season crops. We have had some fantastic wwoofers this spring. Polo has been with us for 7 weeks and left on Sunday. His English was just as good as my french (which is rubbish), so challenging at times. Thank goodness Dave speaks fluent French.

 

Polo worked hard and completed many varied jobs: starting with spring cleaning and painting the caravans; tidying and weeding the flower cutting area; planting the box hedge and the veg garden hedge; making a welly boot stand; digging and preparing veg beds; sowing seeds; tidying the nursery stock ready for sale; looking after the animals; packing eggs; harvesting veg, sorting, weighing, bagging and labeling; helping install the Rayburn burner in the barn. What a busy time, thanks Polo for all your help.


We also had French couple, Pierre and Alice for 2 weeks who cooked great meals, tidied the strawberries, prepared the veg beds and propagated lot of plants in the nursery as well as looking after the animals and packing eggs.

Shortly after from Belgium came Senne, for 10 days, he was great company for me. A trained and enthusiastic horticulturalist, so we could share many conversations about land management, plants and world pioneers and experts who are leading the way. Senna needed no managing, and fitted into the farm as if he had always been there, he saw what needed to be done and thought about solutions to our problem areas. He worked with Polo preparing beds and helped me prepare the new scented flower garden.

Things are changing fast at this time of year, everything is growing so fast and as always in spring, lots of jobs needed to be done yesterday or even last week. Although this year the field is looking good and we feel on top of tasks. The potato field is due to be planted this weekend 1.5 tonnes of Sarpo Axona blight resistant seed potatoes are arriving Friday and will be grown as seed to sell back to Sarpo potato research trust. Contractor Griff came and ploughed the field and spread the muck and then David disc harrowed it every 10 days to break it down and break the weed cycle, with our new harrow. We then got another delivery of muck for the rest of the site, it is a bit fresh so will need staking and covering for a few months.

Lots of new flowers coming ready every week now, which is lovely after the months and months of only daffs. We have alliums, cornflowers, aqualigeia, lilac and many more nearly ready. The new scented flower cutting garden is almost prepared and i hope to be planting that next week with Roses, Rosemary and Lavender with plants that i have taken from cuttings. A lot of the veg beds will be planted with their summer crops over the next week or so. With the hope that by the time they germinate and show above the ground we will be frost free. I am using the Biodinamic planting calendar and will be planting roots, leafs, flowers and fruit  on the appropriate days.

The new arrival on the land this week are the piglets, well done Mrs pig. We went down to the pen on a cold and snowy 25th April to find no sign of her coming for food, but instead cuddled up in her warm pen with 15 piglets of varying colours looking like dalmatians. Grandpa pig had been chucked out of the pen looking sorry for himself in the snow, he now has been moved to a different field. Unfortunately 2 piglets didn’t make it, so she now has 12, which is a more normal number for her to have, as she only has 14 teats. It is very easy for the small babies to get squashed and suffocated, especially with so many.

For regular updates, links and tips follow us on Facebook

Another new season

Equinox has passed and we move into longer days again. Time to celebrate the end of the dark season and gear up to a season of long working days and hard work ahead. As the sap rises in the tress, so does the energy in my veins. It really feels like spring is here now, as i jump out of bed each morning eager to get on with the many chores that are waiting on the land. March is a busy time for us; as we finish the winter jobs of pruning and planting perennials, we are also busy sowing seeds and preparing planting areas. The grass has started to grow and has had it’s first cut. David has been working on all the machinery during the winter to ensure we will have a working mower throughout the whole season ahead. The tractor too, has had major engine work, the PTO had stopped working and so it has had the engine stripped down and two new clutches fitted. It still looks rubbish, but not for long. Dave has made a start at dealing with the rust and getting some paint on when the weather is dry.

Despite the destruction the polytunnel took in the January gales, our emergency patch up job has withheld several more storms and snow showers. The large rip that still remains is losing us a lot of heat, which has delayed the early planting, but the over wintering crops have still survived. I am using extra fleece and micro tunnels to allow me to get planting in the tunnel and some early crops of broad beans and peas are now emerging.

The cold being the least of my troubles, what with fat happy mice and naughty chickens the seedlings don’t stand a chance really. We are cropping lots of salad, spinach, chard, coriander and parsley.Whilst the first flowers in the tunnel, tulips and Anemone, are now ready to harvest we still have masses of daffodils coming ready for the later Easter this weekend.  

With the hot sunny weather at  coming at the beginning of April we have been able to mend the rip in the tunnel by covering it with a sheet of polytunnel plastic. So it is sweltering in there now, which means 6 O’clock starts to get crops harvested and watered before the sun gets on them.

Each year we have the perennial problem of watering, as soon as we have some warm weather we return our thoughts to the irrigation system in the polytunnel. Each year this is slightly improved and i dream of one day owning the deluxe total automated system. We now are able to collect enough rain water for all our needs and last year we installed a tap in the tunnel that flows by gravity from the large tanks, unfortunately the flow is so slow it is not very effective. The best solution was baths at every corner of the tunnel to dunk the watering cans in. But wait for further updates i am  currently working on a better system, that will save me hours of time this year.

The bird flue scare is still an issue and although the compulsory sanction has been lifted in certain areas, there is still a risk. The government guide lines states that if you are not in a high risk area (Wales is not high risk at the moment) then birds can be allowed outdoors into fenced areas provided the areas meet certain conditions. Which is keeping food away from wild birds and avoiding aquatic birds (ducks, geese etc.) as the main spread of the disease is through birds congregating around water. So our poultry is very happy to be back out and free ranging around the farm, causing havoc in my flower beds and kicking my beautifully mulched beds all over the place. Our belief is our birds with their now healthy foraged, free ranging diet, will be much more resistant to any disease. To prove our thinking, within a couple of days of being out they started laying eggs again (partly due to the warmer weather and longer days, but also i am sure they were just more content). So maybe not the best time to expand our flock, but we did it anyway. Last week i bought 40 new hens, 72 weeks old and saved from an early slaughter. We are giving them a second chance at life, these rather stupid barn hens are now learning about roosting and the big outdoors.

We had an excellent woofer from America, Philip, who came early in the season, Feb into March. An interesting young man who was very helpfully just when we needed some ‘get up and get on with it’. He helped me tidy and mulch the raspberries, start to installing the Rayburn into the barn, plant the wildlife pond, mend the large pond and sort the pork…..

 

Yes the 10 little porkers have gone!!! They were 6 months old and had become too much trouble, they were plenty big enough to handle and made a lot of mess, noise and naughtiness. Ideally we would have fattened them up for another 2 months, but they were costing a lot to feed and they kept breaking out and causing damage. Are we sad to see them go? NO, we are relieved. At last we can go into the field not expecting disaster and damage, keen to get on the with new growing season. Philip didn’t meet the piglets, but he was here to sort out the pork (luckily he was a meat eater and appreciated the experience). We rented the Cultivate packing shed (which has a 5* environmental health rating) for sorting and packing the 70 different orders we had for pork. We had pick ups that day in Newtown and the following day in Llanidloes and Machynlleth. The whole thing went very smoothly and was a massive relief when all done. With 70 orders it was a lot of logistics to sort out, with different people having different contact preferences that complicated messaging, but it all came together in the end. Unfortunately the dead weight of the pigs was a bit less than we had expected averaging at 32kg each, we had expected 38kg, the norm is 50kg. So we had no meat left at the end of the orders and made no profit. We think we just about broke even (not finished the accounts yet). So 6 months wet, cold, muddy, stinky work for no pay. Would i do it again?… Probably. Would we do it better?… Possibly. (Had we kept them an extra 2-3 months we would have got the extra weight but after paying for the food, we would have still only made £500 profit).  If we were to do it another time, it would be better for the piglets to be born as early as possible in the year, so most of the work would be done in the summer months, when the weather is nice and the grass is still growing. Although we had a lot of very tasty sausages made, they cost us £2.50 /kg so ate away at our profit as they were sold at the same price as the rest of the meat. We needed to find a cheaper source of pig food. In somerset we can buy a bag of food direct from the farmer @£3.50 locally it is £8.50. Perhaps next time we will have to factor in regular trips south.We still have kept our original two kune kune’s; mum and granddad (castrated male, useless pet), they are so easy to look after in comparison to the hoard of hooligan teenagers.

Our spring wwoofer is Polo, from France, come to learn English for 6 weeks. Perhaps i will improve my French at the same time. I have given him the job of spring cleaning the caravans ready for the summer visitors. A job i hate, and each year spend many thankless hours doing, when i should be doing gardening tasks. It is great to have extra help at the time of year.

 

We have tidied up the nursery, sown lots of seed, harvested crops, planted up the polytunnel with early season crops and tidied the flower beds and finished planting the box hedge around the flower cutting garden. 

We have two new French wwoofer joining us this week to help with all the spring planting. Perfect timing to fit in with the bio-dynamic planting calendar too. Now the weather  is getting better and the days are longer, the soil is starting to warm up at last, so seeds should germinate quickly now.

This year we are putting in an acre of potatoes, which will be grown as seed for Sarpo Potatoes Research Trust. The pigs have been on the ground to clear it over the winter, although the grass has mainly grown back, this week it was ploughed and is nicely drying out in the hot weather, ready for planting later in the month. During February we had a potato growers technical day at the field. The potato experts were on hand to give advice and get growers started growing potatoes for seed.

New year

January and the New Year started well with a very positive and motivating visit to the Oxford Real Farming Conference. A fantastic event,  ORFC delegates are those from across food and farming, with an interest in new agricultural models. Those interested in meeting global food system challenges in innovative, environmentally sustainable ways. This two day event is affordable to everyone working on the land or in the food industry, it is a brilliant networking event that delivers the most up to date research on sustainable and regenerative farming techniques and practices. A great start to every year.

Since then and back on the land in January it is hard to stay motivated in Mid Wales. The days are short and the weather harsh. Farming with animals keeps us working the land every day all year, keeping animals in winter is so much harder than during the summer. But we love them, even if we don’t like the mud they create. We rotate our animals which take more work keep moving fencing, houses, feeders and water, but it keeps our animals clean, happy and with fresh grazing. This year is proving difficult. All birds now have to be kept in by government ruling, due to the risk of a new strain of bird flue. So before Christmas we built a new run for them with an enclosed roof. It looked great for less than a week before the wind took its toll, then the weight of the frozen rain on the netted roof. So with the new year and Brian’s help we did a patch up job. The poultry aren’t too happy about being copped up every day, but at least they have a good size run, even if it is starting to get a bit muddy. But it looks a green joy compared to the pig pens. We now have 12 pigs, 2 full grown and 10 still growing, but these youths are getting to be a very forceful gang of thugs. We turn them onto fresh grazing each week and within the day they have churned it up and by mid week it is hard to see any green. The feeding area needs to be moved more often as their little feet pummel the mud into a wet soup that sucks in your boots to prevent you from moving anywhere but onto your butt. I struggle to stay upright in the pen with so many large pigs, so feeding has landed onto Dave. On top of this the youngsters have learnt to run at the electric fence and take the shock to give them freedom onto the veg and flower beds; enjoying eating swedes and digging up tulips. The piglets will be five months old at the weekend, and are already quite a size, the destruction this amount of large piglets can make in no time at all is incredible. To contain them they have had to go back into the permanent fenced area, with extra fencing, barbed wire and base boards each day. Until…At last they are secure and haven’t escaped for a couple of days. So much for rotational strip grazing, we will leave that for the old’ns who know how to behave. Note to self…..12 pigs is too many to keep over winter.

January is snow time….so i was busy last week covering plants and preparing for heavy snow, but it hadn’t prepared me for the damage of last Wednesday’s gales. This time last week i was being lifted into the air as gusts of wind ripped my polytunnel plastic from the frame and flapped it about 30ft above the tunnel. Hours later and literally freezing we managed to make a temporary repair. Thank goodness for the full moon that night, we eventually finished ‘battened down the hatches’ at 10pm. I have never been so glad to finish work at the field and get home. Although we made a repair, with lots of gaffer tape and we managed to clamp the plastic back down to the side rails, i still have a huge rip across the roof letting all the cold in. We threw a net over this to stop it flapping or ripping again and probably i will just have to live with it like that for now. Even if i could buy a new cover i couldn’t fit it till the weather warms up in late spring. So this is going to delay the early spring crops and early propagation in the hot box.

So to look forward …..i have bought 10 new assorted roses to plant in the new scented flower cutting area, which will also have long beds of different lavenders. The first of this years daffodils have been harvested and are now available in the local shops. The new raised flower beds are ready to go in spring. Two have been planted with tulips. The last of the winter crops are being harvested and the beds covered to protect them ready for the spring planting. The compost order is about to go in, as it is nearly time to start sowing seeds for the new season. This year i am getting Melcourt Sylvagrow peat free organic compost. 

Roll on the longer days and a bit more blue sky.

Frosty winter

Winter is well and truly here. Some lovely sunny frosty days followed by starry nights. After a long Autumn with tomatoes and peppers still cropping in November we had a few days of freezing temperatures down to -10 to finish off the summer crops. The freezing weather bought beautiful dry sunny days to lighten the heart and ease the working day. Allowing us to enjoy tidying the land, putting beds to rest and preparing for next season.

It has been an excellent harvest year for so many crops. This year i tried a new root vegetable called Mashua (Tropaeolum tuberosum)  from the nasturtium family. Grown in the Andes, particularly in Peru and Bolivia, and to a lesser extent in Ecuador, for its edible tubers, which are eaten cooked or roasted as a vegetable. Mashua is a herbaceous perennial climber growing to 2–4 m (7–13 ft) in height. It is related to garden nasturtiums, and is occasionally cultivated as an ornamental for its brightly coloured tubular flowers.

We have collected a bumper crop of apples this year, mainly from other peoples trees, although our trees are starting to come into production now. We pressed apple to make juice which we bottled and pasteurised to keep as juice. It’s a slow process, but we managed to do about 70 bottles. We also got a small crop of quince and medlar from our trees this year.

 

The new raised flower beds are now finished, filled with muck and bark mulch, which will rot down over the winter ready for spring planting.

Dave has been busy with machinery maintenance, in the hope that next summer we always have a mower working.

 

The pigs are getting big and are working as very productive rotavators. They have already cleared the ground ready for the new flowering hedge and lavender beds. The pigs are moving onto new pasture each week, clearing land ready for a potato crop next spring. As the piglets get bigger it is not taking them long to turn the land into a muddy mess.

 

Flowers cropped well all season with fresh flower bunches going to the shop until the last week in November, when they were joined with dried bunches of mixed arrangements and lavender. With Christmas just around the corner i have just harvested an assortment of different coloured willows, which will be woven into wreath rings.

Awesome Autumn

What a beautiful sunny long Autumn we have had. Harvest has gone on and on into late October, only in the last week did it get colder. Then on 2nd November we had our first heavy frost, freezing the water troughs for the animals and finishing off the beans, oca and flowers. Now with the leaves drop fast from the trees and the days rapidly shortening we are tidying up and battening down the hatches ready for winter and remembering a lovely summer.

During August we had a relaxed month with much yoga and good cooking with the company of Kristina, Angelo and their two young children Said & Sofía from Spain. Kristina being a kundalini yoga teacher and Angelo is a chef. It was hard to do much work with the youngsters around, so we did much socialising with other families, whilst waiting for Mrs pig to give birth.

Unfortunately the piglets arrived the day they left, but Emma Dodart from France was with me to witness the birth. We sat up late into the night watching the babies being born, an amazing experience that will stay with us for ever. The piglets born on 20th August are now 12 weeks old and growing fast. We are rotational strip grazing them, but these are Tamworth babies and unlike our grazing Kune Kunes they dig. The destruction they are causing is getting worse by the day. We are now moving them to new pasture every day, but still they are ploughing up the land. They have been in the orchard contained between the tree rows with electric fence. Soon they will be moved out into the big hay meadow, where we want them to clear the land ready for next year where we will be planting. We will be hedging one part to make more flower beds for lavender and roses and leaving an acre to plough for a crop of seed potatoes that we will be growing for Sarpo potato breeders and Welsh ware growers.

During September we had two wwoofers from the UK, Jack and Catherine. There was lots to harvest at this time, with lots of veg and fruit to process to feed us during the winter.  Cath was here to learn about flowers and help me prepare flowers for a wedding. Five headdresses were required that all had to be made fresh on the day and need to be delivered by 11am an hours drive away. So just a few hours sleep and then up at 1am to start work on buttonholes, headdresses and bouquets.

This week, with the help of Brian we have moved the owl box into a better position away from our busy, noisy barn to a site in the middle of our land in the hedge by the orchard. It is now sitting on top of a 3m pole. It looks a little out on it’s own at the moment, but as the hedge grows up it will be perfectly positioned.

We also finished the pond that Hippolyte and Rosalie had dug in July. It couldn’t be finished then as we needed to wait for the pond to fill with water. Now full we used the piles of soil to cover the edge of the pond liner and level the ground. We removed three current bushes to give more space to enable us to walk around the edge of the pond. To finish it off we put up a totem pole that will over look the veg garden and keep an eye on it. The totem pole lines up beautifully with the new owl box, so hopefully birds will fly between the two, eating a few mice on the way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

July post

July is over so quick, not the sunny summer month we had hoped for. Just a few sunny days dotted in between lots of cloud and rain making it impossible to harvest the hay. Keeping on top of the grass generally has been a chore this month with mowers and strimmers breaking down. Once the grass gets long it is a battle to get it back down and paths become wet walk ways. That said we have achieved a lot this month with the help of four young wwoofers.

Hippolyte an environmental student from our twin town Derval came with Rosalie an agriculture student also from France. They took on the roll of looking after the animals for the month and were excellent farm hands helping out wherever needed. We also had Quintin from France and Aziat who is studying in France but from Butan. For both of them this was a new experience, living in a caravan, minimal services and working on the land. Much English and French was learnt and love and appreciation for the land grew. David managed to finish the vintage caravan just in time for Aziat’s arrival. It is great to see this in use again, it needs a coat of paint, but otherwise it is all solid and dry.

July we tamed the forest garden, sycthed grass, weeded, mulched, sowed seeds, transplanted plants, harvested, put together veg boxes and watered. Quentin helped Brian finish the roof on the toilet block to collect more water. Hippolyte and Rosalie dug and formed the wildlife pond. Quentin and Aziat painted all the wheelbarrows, so that we can get a few more years use out of the them.They made scarecrows for the scarecrow festival. For David and I this great team enabled us to take time off. We went to our sons graduation and camped on the Gower for the night to get a day on the beach. We then took a week of at the end of the month, first time since owning the field. We had a lovely week on a canal boat with family. A massive thank you to Aziat and Hippolyte for allowing us to do that.

 

May into June

A lovely time of year on the land, the weather is good and the fruits of our labour are rewarding us with the first harvests. The first peas came a couple of weeks ago and now we have broad beans and courgette, all coming out of the tunnel. The first of the salad outside is ready now and the last of the purple sprouting broccoli is being cleared ready for the squashes and pumpkins. I may even dig up some new potatoes tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have been busy making the caravans habitable for the summer visitors. Mending doors, making steps and checking electrics. Dave’s renovation of the vintage Safari caravan is coming on, a few more days needed on it yet. The new static is almost in a fit state to stay in.

The ongoing improvements of the water recycling continues with help of Brian. We are now collecting from the wood shed for the outside nursery plants. Brian today extended the gutters on the polytunnel, so we will now need some bigger collection containers for each corner. I have bought the posts ready to add another roof extension onto the wash area, so that we can collect more water for the tunnel. We have also started on plumbing in the waste water drainage from the kitchen sinks. Which will make washing up a little easier, with waste water draining onto the forest garden to water the twisted willow that always suffers in the summer from lack of water.

Trevor and Clemont our current two wwoofers  have been busy doing carpentry. Having made some lovely steps for the Elite caravan, mended a bench and made a sink unit.

The lovely visiting Tamworth boar has done his job and has now left. He enjoyed his stay especially climbing into the bath on hot days.

Planting time

It is the biodynamic planting time again. Planting with the moon and planet influences, roughly two weeks then two weeks break from planting to get on with all the other stuff. Here is a link for more info. Try it, it works. Reducing the need to water seeds and transplant as it works with natural systems of soil water and rain. It is also a good way of managing your time to make sure jobs get done. Although i still have conflict with all the other jobs waiting to be done.

At the field we are still working on our new static caravan, finishing off the insulation, painting and  kitting out. Also revamping the crew kitchen in the barn to make it a bit more hygienic. The rough earth floor now has boards down to cover it, so we can sweep up the food mess. We will fit this as a fixed floating floor at some point, but it is already a great improvement. Next job is to plumb the sinks in, so the waste water goes straight outside and waters the twisted willow. No plumbed water yet.

New arrivals

We have had a lovely couple of sunny weeks, just what was needed to dry out the land. This has enabled us to get busy. Planting and sowing is now in full flow, following the bio-dynamic planting calender days for each crop type. Now the land is drier we can move vehicles around. Griff our local friend and contractor spent a couple of days on site with his digger. Digging the long awaited wildlife pond in the top field by the steam. Now we have the start of the pond we can get ducks. At the weekend we got five khaki Campbell crosses. They will eventually live on a floating island on the water. At the moment they will live with the hens till they are settled on our site, then they will help to puddle the clay in the pond to seal it. This breed originated in England and are good egg layers.

Griff also levelled a flat area in readiness for our static caravan which arrived this Thursday. It is only a water tight shell at the moment, that the previous owner had stripped of fittings and started to insulate and clad. We will continue to do this as we find bits of kingspan and board.

Yesterday the prize wining Tamworth boar arrived to visit our girl. He will be staying for a month.