Monday, 18 July 2011

New team member!

Something really exciting has happened today . . . we have bought a tractor, a 100hp John Deere 6400 with a loader to pick up hay and straw bales to feed the sheep in the winter, plus loads of other jobs that we haven't told the tractor yet!

We purchased the tractor from farming friends in Gloucestershire, Penelope Bossom and Jake Freestone at Overbury Farms. We drove over in the car and Roly drove it back, 18.5mph = 3hours 15 minutes!

We need a name for the tractors so suggestions please!

Bye for now
Camilla, Roly, Molly, Boris and Belle

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Field trip to Norfolk

As hard as it is to leave the farm it is so important, not only to have a break, but also to see our friends, learn from other farmers and get new ideas.

We have just returned from a weekend to Norfolk, where we visited Tom Goucher an old college friend of Roly's, they both went to Harper Adams Agricultural College. Tom farms with his parents and brother, and like us are tenant farmers, but their produce is very different and varied - wheat, barley, rye, suger beet, potatoes, onions, carrots (photo below) and parsley, which we were lucky enough to see being harvested (video below).

From Tom's we went on to see Nick and Susie Emmett, and their dog Moss (photo below). Nick is our shepherd mentor, and Roly is always on the phone to him! Susie is a partner of Green Shoots Productions, Susie, amongst other things, has helped and inspired hundreds of farmers across the world to host farm visits. It was great to catch up and we always learn so much from Nick and Susie, with Nick planting a few ideas in Rolys head . . . this time 'out door lambing'. We lamb our flock indoors, which although is nice for us when it is raining, there are many disadvantages, so, much research to be done and we will report back!

Bye for now

Camilla, Roly, Molly, Boris and Belle

Friday, 8 July 2011

Mowing grass for hay . . . quickly!

There was a lot of noise on the farm this week....we have weaned some of the lambs from their mummies! The noise was definitely coming from the ewes rather than the lambs, which was surprising I always think that the ewes would be pretty relieved to have a bit of a break by now. The sheep calendar is amazing as we are already thinking of getting the ewes ready to receive the rams in about 2 months time. The ewes need to be 'dried off' which means they stop producing milk and all the energy they are consuming from the grass is going directly into their condition.

Other news is that all our hay is in! We have been so blessed with the weather, we needed 5 days of dry and we eventually got it last week. Stuart our contractor came one evening and mowed all the fields in about 4 hours it was incredible, see the video footage. Molly and I were watching and the speed the tractor went was amazing! Molly was transfixed and didn't seem to bat an eyelid as the big noisy tractor approached! Stuart came back and tedded (turned the cut grass to maximise dryness) and then baled and then Roly spent all of Monday loading up the trailer and bringing the bales in, very satisfying.

The rams had their 'MOT' this week - we look at their feet, check their teeth and generally have a good going over to make sure their condition is good, and everything is in working order. We will need to change at least two of our rams, the Lleyn and maybe one of the Texels, to ensure that they are not put with any of their daughters as we keep all our own replacements (ewe lambs which we will breed from next year).

Molly is almost 6 months old, we can hardly believe it! She was christened on Sunday which was very special and true to form clashed with a major farming event...haymaking...but as I've already mentioned, we were lucky with the weather which meant Roly could have the day off.

Our other news is that we are now on Twitter@camillaandroly! So take a look at follow us and we'll let you know about our latest lamb offers and up to the minute news from the farm.

More soon!

Camilla, Roly, Molly, Boris and Belle