Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Rain please!

I know we shouldn't complain about this amazing weather but....I'm sure most people's gardens are beginning to suffer too like our grass. We are a lot more fortunate here than some of our farming friends around the country who are more desperate than we are for rain. Our great friend Tommy over in Norfolk has been busy irrigating all the vegetables on the farm since April and he is hoping the reservoirs are going to last until it next rains...

We weaned the lambs from the ewes last week, which means they are all separate now. It was a little noisy to start with but they soon settled down and I always think the ewes are actually quite relieved not to be supporting their offspring and being taken off their back legs by the sheer force of their feeding! It makes our grazing rotation quite complicated though as we now have even more groups of sheep at different stages to move around and match to the different grass. Roly has been busy doing that today with Ellie who has joined us this week on work experience. This was all a result of walking around with John and Julia Sargent yesterday evening who were so kind in advising us on which group should go where!

I have been in London today at a meeting with Defra (the government department for food, environment and rural affairs) discussing how we can make agri environment schemes more effective due to all the spending cuts which are needing to take place. Agri environment schemes are agreements which farmers can take up to undertake specific countryside management to take care of the environment. Some of these agreements have been in place for some years now so LEAF (who I work for) and other organisations such as the RSPB, NFU etc are all in discussions to make sure that all this good work does not suffer and farmers are still encouraged to enter the agreements. Some of the margins here at the Northmoor Trust are blooming with knapweed, yellow rattle, birds foot trefoil but they take time to establish. The wealth of wildlife they support is staggering too from bumblebees to the marble white butterfly.

Bel, Meg and Boris are all well. Meg is getting increasingly deaf and stubborn and wants to do her own thing and Bel is really turning out to be a little star. She responds to both Roly and I which is great. And as for Boris, well for those of you that know him, its a hard day of pigeon patrol and sunbathing....

We are doing some scrummy BBQ packs so do place your order if you haven't already. Gareth Morgan who works for the RSPB and who I saw in London today bought some of our lamb the other weekend at Wantage farmers market for his father and the feedback was very good which is always lovely to hear! We have been busy putting shoulders of lamb on the BBQ and cooking them in olive oil, rosemary, garlic and mint for about 2 hours - yummy!

More soon...

Camilla, Roly, Boris, Bel and Meg

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