Church Farm Ardeley

A Free Range Experience


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Spring Clean

This spring we’ve had a proper spring clean that hopefully will continue.

Farms and environmentalists are well known to do a spot of hording. Everything can potentially be repaired or re-used somewhere else, but also on farms there always is an enormous to do list and never any time to repair things.

In the tidy up of a container an old potato grader was found.

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It took a lot of indoor space so my initial thought was to dust it off and put it as a quirky exhibit outside the café. An initial dust off, a wash and a bit of linseed oil and the result is amazing.

I spent a few evenings doing research on the potato grader online and found a wealth of information and created a summary for the sign above it.

This machine is a Cooch and Son’s potato sorter, grader or riddler.  It was bought in 2014 and was used a few times at Church Farm to sort our potato crop. It is still in working order. From the research we have done the machine would have been built between 1906 and 1937.

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Cooch and Son’s were based in Northampton and were renowned for their agricultural machinery and even won prizes at the Royal Agricultural Show of England RASE with their potato graders.

Originally the potato sorter would have been operated by turning a wheel at the back by hand, which made the conveyer belt work and move the grates horizontally.  Later on the electrical motor from SEM was added to mechanise the process even further.

There is a nice video online to see the machine in action.

Now that I know the history of this machine, it might deserve a roof over it to protect it against the winter rain, which adds another job to the job list!2017_0401_ChFm17_0215

We would like to use some of the old machinery laying around the farm as historical exhibits to add another of layer of interest and educational value to the farm. If anybody would be keen to help cleaning up some of the machinery and help with some of the research to make this happen please contact ann@churchfarmardeley.co.uk.

Ann

 


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Around the Farm

It’s the 1st of June and we have just planted two acres of “pollen & nectar mix.”  At Church Farm our logo is a bee. Bees need all the help they can get so we have planted…

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Red cloverbee clover
Alsike clover
Phalecia
Sweet Bottom Clover
Sainfoin
Birdsfoot trefoil
Lesser Knapweed
Musk Mallow

 

 

 

Strawberry season has begun. You might have received strawberries in your farm box, already, and some have been available in the shop.  The early crop is  being harvested and there will be more to come.

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Little Farmer birthday parties are great fun!  The Little Farmer Birthday Party package can include a tractor and trailer ride, or egg collecting. Woodland wild parties and little farmers bespoke parties can be arranged.  Our Wild Party packages are perfect if you love the great outdoors and you want to have a completely different kind of party.

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Don’t miss a thing:

Church Farm Website

Church Farm Blog

Church Farm Store

Rural Care Blog

 

 

 


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Dr Finlay’s Walking Stick: Fin’s Last Adventure

Doomsday Parts 1,2,3 and 4

May 31st 2017

National Walking Month

A beautiful blue sky greeted Doomsday with birds singing and hearts beating.

Instead of imagining Paradise the Fin Family decided to greet the possible ending of the world with a trip to Paradise.

Actions speaking louder than words they planned their trip and set off to a land of Wonder to the gardens of their friend Henry Moore.

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Art and Nature Together

The fabulous photographers of Bishops Stortford Photographic Society adopted Fin as their model with the following results:-

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Fin with the Double Oval

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Wow

 

Your stick certainly is very popular, once we’d finished taking our pictures with it, we propped the stick up against the Double Oval as agreed. About an hour or so later I returned to my car just as a young family turned up with a little girl proudly holding ’the Stick’. I did a bit of a double take and thought… I recognise that stick!!  When I asked how they came across the stick, the Mum explained that her daughter had found it and wouldn’t put it down, even though she’d asked her to leave it on several occasions.

So feeling quite bad I explained it was a famous stick and should really be returned to the Foundation. Fortunately without fuss the little girl handed the stick over to her Dad who duly took it back to your reception.

Hopefully you got your stick back okay?? If not, then please enjoy our pictures of it 🙂

Many thanks
Andy

 

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Fin with Reclining Figure Draped and a Clear Blue Sky

 

Part 2

Fin awoke from his dreams of Paradise and realised they still only had 24 hours to save the World!

He called Josh the Guerilla Gardener who launched the final Seed Bomb into the air with a mighty throw.

The small clay ball flew through the air in a great arc plummeting towards the earth as Fin himself had plummeted only a month before.  Below something came into view, a small boy swinging a stick, the ball of clay fell, the stick swung, the ball fell, the stick swung and then they coincided, the small boy invented cricket or baseball in a moment and the ball of clay went flying once more on its journey further than it had ever flown before.

To another planet, another world, where huge monsters could be defeated by tiny children and where right overcame wrong and where happiness reigned.

The ball soared into the atmosphere while Fin hopped off to the dentist to get some roots attached with another Angel before meeting up with Sue for breakfast before the final battle approached.

 

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Fin getting some roots

 

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Another Angel

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Another Sue Another Angel

Doomsday Beckons.

 

Part 3

Battles have been fought throughout time with good and evil on eitherside, peace or war?

From sticks to guns and beyond.

Defence and Attack a blurry line.

Fin raced back in time to see what it had been like in the so called Great War from 1914 – 1918, he found horror and humanity but not in equal measure.

One hundred years ago, a whole century has passed in Fin time since this grave battle and memories have faded but there are some things that are not easy to forget.

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Fin trying on a Gas Mask

 

In the battles of long ago people used to gas each other and so everyone had to wear a mask so they could breathe. (Fin had been told that Trees too help us to breathe, he was rather proud of this).

Many, many people lost arms and legs, called limbs, just like the branches of a tree.

Many also died and Fin and Sue met the grand-daughter of one such soldier, Private Buck.

He had died at the infamous battle of Ypres and his body was found by a German soldier who found a photo of Private Buck’s family in his uniform.  He kindly took it to the Red Cross who sent it back to his family so they would know of his fate and 100 years later Fin would see the wooden box that Private Fin had prepared for his time away at war.

Sue recalled that her grandfather had done the same and the small group felt a tiny bit of the horror that must have faced these men.

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Fin with Sue and the Granddaughter of Private Buck

 

 

Part 4

The post traumatic stress from combat or other difficult occurrences haunt many people late into their lives from their earliest days and it was down to the children and sticks of Hollybush School to keep this to a minimum.  They had prepared the way, the Good Way, now they could only watch as the tiny clay ball descended towards earth at great speed, over the town of Hertford, over Hollybush School and on towards The Bad Way where the giants of oppression and opponents of freedom waited.

Brilliantly aimed the ball smashed directly into its target, the head of the cursed enemy breaking it into tiny pieces while all around it the ball of clay broke open spreading the store of tiny seeds across the land of waste.

The rains would come and with the compost as food the seeds would surely flourish and blossom in the weeks, months and years to come.

With careful nurturing each seed would accomplish everything it could and shine brightly into the world around it.

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Where it all began

 

As for Fin he would return to his beloved family, Fiona and Little Fin and fight no more.

Dr Finlay, as we know would not last the month, the poison from the sting of the Killer Queen reaching its target before June would begin.

On the wooden box that was made for him it read that he had died of a broken heart and a list of words all beginning with Su…..

The flowers would grow around his grave in many colours and then one day something fell from the sky………!

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The End or in French Le Fin.

Thanks to Dr Finlay, Fin and the children of Hollybush School,

Tomorrow would be another day.

—Dr Finlay Who
May 31st 2017


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Dr Finlay’s Walking Stick: Josh the Guerilla Gardener

Fin’s Thirtieth Adventure

Bombs Away

May 30th 2017

National Walking Month

Six Bombs prepared, five launched and one delivered to the Guerilla Gardener of the Future.

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Night was closing in, even in The Place Where Time Stands Still darkness creeps in to test the resilience of the strongest souls.

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Their work now was done, now only Time itself would tell them if they, the children of Holly Bush School had saved the Planet.

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Fin, Fiona, Dr Finlay and Little Fin, sat back exhausted.  Dr Finlay’s face was pale and he would not see out the month but he would live to tell if they had been successful.

What of Josh their newest and most wonderful of friends, he had found the cards they had sent, Create the World, and had Faith, the Second of the three great values, that he would help them in their purpose.  Freedom for all, the insects, the animals, the trees, the birds and the hearts that beat throughout the pulsating planet.

Now all they could do was wait and perhaps imagine what paradise might look like.

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What would tomorrow bring?

Doomsday Beckons.

—Dr Finlay Who
May 30th 2017

 

 


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Dr Finlay’s Walking Stick: The Sting of the Killer Queen

Fin’s Twenty Ninth Adventure

The Seed Bombs are Ready

May 29th 2017

National Walking Month

 

The Place Where Time Stands Still was full of action, the children of Holly Bush School protecting the trees and fruit of the future from the enemies from the evil empire.

But something was badly wrong, Dr Finlay was limping, “What is it Dr Finlay?” asked Fin nervously.

“Its nothing” lied Dr Finlay before collapsing in a heap.

“What is it?” repeated Fin.

“She stung me, the Killer Queen stung me.” He gasped as he struggled for breath.

“What does that mean?” questioned a rather troubled Fin.

“It means I only have moments to live” replied Dr Finlay.

Fin sat down trying to understand what was happening.

“You must help me defeat this evil before I die” said Dr Finlay.

The month is closing out, the druids can help us, Mimsy can help us but we must launch the Seedbombs tonight, before it is too late.”

—Dr Finlay Who
May 29th 2017

 

 


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Dr Finlay’s Walking Stick: The Fin Family Go SeedBombing

Fin’s Twenty Eighth Adventure

Can we save the World?

May 28th 2017

National Walking Month

 

Time was racing away, the sands of time were always falling but not in The Place Where Time Stands Still.

At least here there was Hope one of the three great saviours and Fin, Fiona, Dr Finlay and……Little Fin!

Somehow, somewhere Little Fin had joined them, wanting to save the world like his mother and father.

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Inspired by a lady who despised wastelands and loved nature they set about the task of preparing their seedbombs.

The World was being taken over by hate and fear they needed the words of wise men to keep them trying.

Jonathan Porritt, who had visited their home,
“It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”

Kenny Mackay, “99% of people don’t think this way.”

Jesus Christ, “Love thy neighbour as thyself.”

Buddha, “We are all Buddha’s from the beginning.”

Yoda, “Always in motion is the future.”

Henry Moore, “I want to contribute.”

 

Their mission clear, the task set out, they began to make their SeedBombs.

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Cluster bombs of seeds in clay to stick together and compost for growth they would be launched tomorrow.

 

 

—Dr Finlay Who
May 28th 2017

 

 


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Bee Stings

Chicken Dave experienced a rite of passage which most would choose to avoid.  Dave had volunteered to help beekeeper Euan replace the pallets the beehives sit on in the orchard apiary.  It is a job for spring when the winter honey stores have run low and the hives are lightest in weight.  It is a job best done on a cool evening when the bees are not buzzing.  Instead, Euan chose a beautiful spring evening and the bees were inquisitive!  It cost Dave his first ever bee sting – times 2 in fact.  Everyone seems to love bees these days except perhaps when contact is too close for comfort – stings do hurt.  Euan accepts 2 or 3 stings a year as occupational hazard (but could probably exercise more caution and avoid even those).

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What to know about bee (and wasp stings): 

  • Worker-bee stings have barbs, which means they stay in the skin with the venom-sac attached, still pulsing venom.
  • A bee that stings leaves behind parts of its innards and will die soon after.
  • Stings should be scraped out with a finger nail. Pulling out the sting squeezes the entire content of the venom-sac into the skin.
  • Queen-bee stings aren’t barbed but are only ever used against other queen bees.
  • Male-drone bees are stingless.
  • Wasp stings aren’t barbed and one wasp can sting multiple times (but with decreasing venom impact).
  • Bee stings are acid and should be treated with an alkali, such as baking powder.
  • Wasp stings are alkali and should be treated with an acid, such as vinegar.
  • Proprietary treatment creams and sprays work better than homespun remedies.
  • Swelling and itching from stings lasts for 2 or 3 days but there is considerable person-to-person variation in the severity of reaction.
  • People who react severely to bee stings can be desensitised by administration of tiny quantities of bee venom over a series of injections (by qualified medical practitioners).

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When might bees sting?

  • Move slowly near bees (or wasps). Flapping arms will panic insects.
  • Don’t stand in the flight path of bees into and out of the hive.
  • Don’t wear strong perfumes near bees.
  • A bee caught in hair will panic and sting. A pre-emptive first strike to kill the bee is sensible, as a stinging bee will die anyway.
  • If one or two bees show too much interest then walk away slowly and stand in the shade until they lose interest.
  • Don’t run from bees. Bees can fly faster than Usain Bolt can run.
  • Bees get bad tempered when atmospheric pressure changes before a storm.
  • Bees see a different light spectrum and there is some suggestion that deep blue coloured clothing upsets them.
  • Working a single field crop (such as oilseed rape) can result in bees being less calm.
  • Bee colonies that are without a queen are more aggressive.
  • Older worker bees can be more tetchy than young bees.
  • Bees struggle to sting if they have a full stomach. Beekeepers smoke bees to encourage them to feed, in readiness to flee a fire.

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It is perhaps foolish to focus a news item on bee stings when we need to embrace these fantastic, beneficial insects and besides it has been suggested that bee stings are beneficial in preventing arthritis.  Don’t let the very small chance of a sting put you off the joy bees.  It hasn’t put Dave off.  If you see him around the farm tell him he has been very brave!

Euan Brierley