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.

grader oval

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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Saying Good-bye to Su and Darren

In May we said good-bye to Su and Darren.

 

Su worked for five years in the Café, cooking breakfasts, and baking cakes, and also making ready meals and jams and chutneys for sale in the Farm Shop.  Her steady presence and friendly greetings welcomed everyone.   You might also have seen her walking her dog, Sid, around the farm.  Su has moved to Derbyshire to work in catering for a wedding venue.  We wish her well!

 

 

Aimee

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Su & Jam

Darren, the man who fell in love with Vicars Orchard.

About 3 years ago, Darren was mainly working in horticulture and coordinating the intern program. He took a well-deserved break and went to visit his family in Australia. On that trip he decided his time had  come  to return to Australia for good. He came back to sort everything out after living in the UK for about 10 years. One evening he strolled around the farm and ended up in Vicars Orchard in bloom and witnessed a beautiful sunset.  The beauty of the orchard and the potential gripped him and he decided to stay.  The ticket to return home to Australia (not a cheap affair) was left unused and Darren started sorting out the orchard that had been mainly left to its own devices since 2008.

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Darren passion for the orchard and knowledge inspired others to get involved and Vicars Orchard in 2017 is definitely something to be proud of!

Ann

 

The Quiet Aussie

Quiet he may have been, but his presence is missed, not least by the Horticulture Team.   Darren took over from me as Leader in horticulture last July, where he used his considerable experience in several countries to continue and improve what is grown in our tunnels and fields;  he nurtured the orchard with knowledge and passion.   Darren’s innate caring nature encompassed all at the farm, with particular emphasis on the interns for whom he felt a sense of responsibility which included  irritation at their untidy habits!

My lasting memory of Darren is our ‘walk and talk’ times when we took the two dogs belonging to Emma and Tim and my black lab for a wander in the woods.   Our conversations went beyond horticulture and we got to know each other in greater depth, and to talk about Oz where I used to live too.  Darren had to leave his lab behind when he first came here and Daisy and I hope he will get another companion soon.

This picture shows how stressful our weekly coffee and cakes meetings were!   Eva has now taken over as Leader.

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Good-on-ya Darren, Eva and I wish you well.

Anne 

 

 

 

 


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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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Dr Finlay’s Walking Stick: Fin helps save the Bees

Fin’s Twenty Seventh Adventure

Lorraine helps save Dr Finlay

May 27th 2017

National Walking Month

Adventures come and go and sometimes we search for them and sometimes they search for us.

Today’s adventure was all about escape.  Dr Finlay wanted to escape, Fin wanted to escape and so they went for a walk together with Fin’s twin who it turned out was called Fiona.

She was taller than Fin with much less bark and rather vulnerable so Fin and Dr Finlay would try and take good care of her along with their friend Lorraine who was an expert at taking care of people.

They met Lorraine at the start of their walk and she joined them and held Fiona while Fin stayed in the gentle hands of Dr Finlay.

Dr Finlay wanted to show Fin and Fiona and Lorraine The Place Where Time Stands Still and so they made their way to Vicars Orchard.

Wandering around the orchard they headed for the bee hives and ….

Oh my goodness what is that hanging from the tree!!!!!!!

Maybe a whole swarm had made a getaway escaping with the Queen to pastures new leaving a smaller group hanging on for dear life on an apple tree close to the hive they had escaped from.

Bees are precious things and there was no time to waste they needed the Bee Emergency Services Team or BEST.

BEST was so brilliant he was already on the way and they met him at the gate of the orchard in the BEST Mobile.

Fin and Fiona, Dr Finlay and Lorraine explained the situation and watched him guide the BEST Mobile towards the hives.  The slogan on the BEST Mobile was very clever:- BEE The BEST that you can BEE.

Euan (The BEST Chief Executive Officer) donned his protective clothing and set about saving the bees and the others watched on in awe at the way man and nature tried to work with each other and how freedom was so cherished by all.

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When will we be free?

Dr Finlay made a note to remind Fin to read up about Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi and William Wilberforce in case they didn’t have time before Doomsday which was now only a few days away.

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Fin watches on as BEEMAN completes the recapture of the escaping bees.

Fiona, Dr Finlay and Lorraine were all keeping a safe distance as they would have been vulnerable to the sting of the Killer Queen.

 

Tomorrow as they say was to bee another day.

—Dr Finlay
May 27th 2017

 

 


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Dr Finley’s Walking Stick: The Story of Hatchiko

Dr Finley Who’s 26th Adventure

May 26th 2017

National Walking Month

Dr Finley Who could now travel much further and faster than before, to travel fast you should travel alone, to travel further you should travel together.

He went back in time by over thirty years in space he moved thousands of miles and arrived on the 26th May 1987 in Tokyo, Japan.

To be exact he arrived outside Shibuya Station in central Tokyo at the meeting point where friends would arrange to find each other at the statue to a dog called Hatchiko.

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A small dog waiting for its owner who left it behind one day.

 

Hatchiko’s owner had gone to war and was never to return, his faithful dog waited for him every single day for the rest of his life only for him never to come back.

This loyalty, this friendship, this devotion made the people of Tokyo build a statue to celebrate the importance of loyalty and friendship.

As everyone knows a dog is a man’s best friend.

And also a very, very good reason to go for a walk.

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Sid and Fin Grown Up in another Time.

Stories from the past from Dr Who.

—Dr Who
May 26th 2017