Monday, 23 June 2014

Shearing at Saddlescombe in the 1860s . . and today

The photo below is from Maude Robinson's book 'A South Downs farm in the sixties' - in the book Maude recalls her childhood memories of growing up at Saddlescombe Farm in the 1860s. This book is obviously very special to us, not only because it helps to visualise what Saddlescombe would have been like over 150 years ago, but it reminds us just what a small part of history we are and the responsibility we have to look after Saddlescombe for future generations, including hopefully Molly and Freddie.

Anyway, we have included this photo as last week we sheared all our flock for the first time at Saddlescombe and the team effort seemed no different to the 1860s. Shearing time provides an opportunity for everyone to get involved, young and old, and amazing Emma, who helps us a couple of days a week, and Alex, who was on work experience, had a go at shearing a sheep!

More soon
Camilla, Roly, Molly, Freddie, Boris and Belle

Shearing at Saddlescombe 1860s

Shearing at Saddlescombe 2014

Alex teaching Molly and friends to roll a fleece

Emma learning to shear

Alex learning to shear

Haymaking - an emotional rollercoaster

Believe it or not but haymaking is a complete emotional roller coaster. To make some good hay ideally you need 5 cracking days of sun, and lots of kit (farm machinery . . . toys). This year we decided to avoid the frustrations and challenges of making hay and make silage which is basically a little easier as you cut it, bale it and wrap it in plastic (expensive) and some would argue less stressful in terms of not checking the weather forecast every 5 minutes!

Well, when we checked the weather forecast and saw 5 days of blistering sun, we could not resist making some hay! Our neighbours, Mark, Gary, Michael and Oliver Lee have been incredibly generous with lending us some of their machinery and helping out. The first three days went well. Michael mowed the field, we tedded (fluffed up) the grass twice to dry it out, and then the forecast changed, and it rained! It's so upsetting, but we got a grip, the sun came out again, we tedded the grass to dry it out and Matt the baler man baled it up for us. We then raced to get it in the barn . . . all ready for the winter. Job done. 

Next year we're going to make silage ...

Camilla, Roly, Molly, Freddie, Boris and Belle

Michael mowing

Tedding (fluffing up)

Molly assessing if the grass it ready to bale ... NO ... too green

Matt with his baler

Our first Saddlescombe bale!

Our first load aboard

Safely in the barn