Church Farm Ardeley

A Free Range Experience


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How to Use Holly’s Own Cookbook

Our roving reporter and Co-Farmer, Holly, also likes to cook.  While writing articles for the newsletter and helping with farm jobs, she has also been compiling a cookbook of recipes she has cooked and would like to share.  Holly has enjoyed cooking with other Co-Farmers, in the café with Chris, and supported at home. Holly and her team of editors and publishers plan to have the cookbook for sale in the shop by the end of August. 

Holly has this preview, in the form of her “to-do” list, for you.

  • To make cookbook front cover and first page.
  • To show many recipes by numbers for every page and the titles.
  • The rules about cooking and practise your cooking skills.
  • All the recipes in your cookbook.
  • Finish the back cover.

In our future is about Holly in Church Farm in their future.  To carry on with articles in their newsletters, to send out to everyone at Church Farm and to Holly’s family and part of a job I really liked to do to be famous.

Cookbook page

Holly will be back next month with a new article. The interviews are lined up and she has prepared her questions. 

Rural Care, where care for land and people meet.  Rural Care enables people with learning disabilities and/or mental health issues to work on a farm, learn skills, and make friends.  Working on a farm is a great way to keep healthy, and build confidence and self-esteem.

 

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From the Farmer

Did you know….

  • In Vicars Orchard there are 700 trees and 130 different varieties of Top Fruit. Many local varieties include great names like “Reverend Wilks” and “Rivers Early.”
  • Much of the grass in the orchard we leave till late July before cutting. This for birds, wildlife and less work. Please help keep dogs from scaring ground nesting birds off nests.
  • “Bastard Fallow” – an old term for leaving ground and cultivating to kills weeds is being carried out in Lowany to control docks and thistles
  • Hoping for bumper crop of grass from Squitmore this year.
  • We finally got all potatoes and onions in on 13th May, fingers crossed.
  • Pigs are moving to fresh ground in Vicarage Field. Will grow mustard as a green manure where they have been, and then potatoes next year.
  • We have 2000 tons of manure to spread and plough in. Most will go onto the field vegetable ground in Great Field.
  • It was 10 years in February since Walnut and Vicars Orchard were planted.
  • Each year we cut 1/22 of the Squitmore Spring Wood in a coppice rotation. This has let in a lot of light and encouraged undergrowth in the past 10 years.
  • 90% of sycamores now removed from the woods and ash and oak regrowth has been encouraged.
  • There are bats galore!

Tim

 

 


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Meet Farmer Tom

Hello everyone, my name is Farmer Tom am 30 years old, married and have 2 boys, Toby and Noah, who enjoy coming to help on the farm with me. I have be working on the for nearly 3 years now and I really enjoy it.  I studied agriculture at Stratton School with a dream to work on a farm. But after I passed my exams I ended up working in retail. I did manage to work my way up to a store manager. but it was never what I wanted to do in life. Then I saw the job at Church Farm and I have been happy ever since.

What I enjoy most on the farm is sharing my knowledge with everyone about the farm and seeing the excitement in people’s faces when they get to see the animals close up. I looking forward to a busy camping season this year.

Farmer Tom leads activities like egg collecting and Farmer for a Day, and might be the driver for your Tractor and Trailer ride.  Be sure and say “Hi” when you see him at the farm!

 


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Rural Care Market Stall

The NHC students have been busy refurbishing the market stall at Rural Care.  NHC students prepared the stall for painting by giving it a big scrub to get all the dirt off.  We gave it fresh new paint all over.

We went on a treasure hunt around the farm for interesting things to decorate it with.  We are busy making signs, potting up plants and painting pebbles to sell.  With lots more exciting things to come!

So, next time you’re at Church Farm, don’t forget to visit our lovely market stall next to Home Field and pick up some treats!

NHC student, Kelly

 

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Camping with Campers in Nature

This month, Holly our Co-Farmer reporter, spoke to Ann and Rozelle about camping at the farm.  She used the farm brochure for research, learned about the Countryside Code, and also asked a friend of the farm about her camping experience.

 Camping on the Farm from the past
Campers had to book them and maybe a campfire in the website and we are looking forward to welcome you to our Church Farm and with showers and toilets on each field and they decided to rent a cabin or to bring their tents and their cars maybe on the beautiful fields with the camping hill and as many nights as they want and to enjoy it.  In the countryside with the campsite and campfire and barbeques too with map they had all this time.  They went circular farm walk with the farm trail and the wood cabins and the camp beds to blowup for their holiday and wood burning stove and if they want a campfire and to book in advance on they website if they want to.

 “What do campers do? We had an amazing time camping at Church farm. There is lots of space to run around and lots to see. We went for a walk around the village, visited all the animal and fed them, collected eggs. We checked out the farm shop and bought fresh food for our bbq. In the evening we sat around the campfire and watched the moon come up, and we were even lucky enough to watch the space station pass over. J Next time we plan to do more, maybe the tractor ride, or in the spring lamb feeding. There is lots to keep you busy around the farm, plus our son had great fun in the woodland play area.

It was lovely to see all the campfires in the evening and hear all the people enjoying themselves and the children able to run free in the field and enjoy the outdoors.”

Harriet Swindle-Roche

 

Photos by Harriet Swindle-Roche

Present with the Camping
They spend as many nights as they want on their camping hill with their bonfire and made up a story and listen to music before their bedtime till morning and what they had their breakfast. Then just be careful and beware of litter of anything they do, not to drop them on our farm.  Do not do that and jut do it on their own please.  Put it in our bin and don’t drop anymore and please don’t pick any wild flowers either and just leave it and walk away now in the countryside and please follow our rules.

Lie down under the stars and to watch the stars at night time with the bee’s making honey in their hive, in the trees with the birds to lay their eggs, with the butterflies and badgers and bugs to start to come out in the woodland, with the trees and the pond sometimes in the fields.

Future just the Camping Season
To get organised the camping gear and need more animals for our nature in our woodland like rabbits and birds and owls at night time with the stars in the night sky.  Do more in the daytime and get to work with the animals all grown up like lambs and the other animals to be fed and more like a hike round our Church Farm and the Farm Shop and the bottle feed the lambs and the egg collecting and the café to eat, and the pub to drink, and to play on in the woodland.

Holly

 

Rural Care, where care for land and people meet.  Rural Care enables people with learning disabilities and/or mental health issues to work on a farm, learn skills, and make friends.  Working on a farm is a great way to keep healthy, and build confidence and self-esteem.

 


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A Night in the Lambing Sheds

Our ewes have always been kind to us during our lambing season and for the most part lambed during the day.  7.30am breakfast usually kicked things off, and we would have a couple of lambs just after 9am. The 4pm feed would induce the same. This year however, it seems they have decided night time lambing is the way to go. I think the weather has played a part in this decision!

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On one of these nights I take over from another staff member at 7pm. A ewe expecting triplets is lambing. She has the first lamb, and an hour later the next one follows, a very small lamb who appears quite weak. The temperature is dropping and I hope mum can get them cleaned up before they get cold. Its now 9.45 and she delivers the 3rd lamb, this one a little bigger, although it strikes me how small they all are. Its now a fight against time for mum to get all 3 clean and up, colostrum in them before the frost sets in. It’s an anxious time and mum still seems distracted—something isn’t right.  She fusses over them but then keeps walking away and laying down. My first thought is she is tired, or perhaps low in trace elements, something that can occur after lambing. Another hour passes, the longest hour of the night, and I am willing her to get these lambs clean.  If I interfere at this stage it could break the bond. Its 11pm, and I start to wonder if there is another lamb, as the first 3 are small, and she is still distracted. Mum is protective of her brood, but she is tired and lets me have a look—there is a lamb laying in a breach position. She has been unable to deliver it because of its positioning, and it’s a big lamb and needs a bit of encouraging out. Quads! Now it is a race against time to get them all dry and warm, and mum seems overwhelmed.  I help her dry the lambs and get hot water bottles, as their temperatures are dropping and the 2nd lamb is going into shock. The first lamb is up and looking for milk, 15 mins later the 3rd is the same. Lamb number 2 is still down struggling on his front legs.

It feels like we make hundreds of decisions in a day, and I have come to realise that decision making is 90% of what a lambing season entails. The decisions are often hard, sometimes made with your head but more often than not, with your heart, and they are not always the right decisions, but you learn from them. I don’t know what the next 24 hours will hold for these lambs—it’s going to be a struggle.

I sit in the back of the lambing shed, I look to the left in awe of this ewe and her quads, immediately devoted yet overwhelmed.  To the right there is another ewe who is quietly delivering twins, murmuring to them as she delivers. One of my favourite ewes comes and lays down next to me, and I look up at the clear sky and see it’s full of stars.  It’s now midnight, it’s absolutely freezing, but I wouldn’t be anywhere else.

Rozelle

 


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Claire

dsc09879.jpgHave you met Claire?  She is embracing Church Farm with enthusiasm and passion that is contagious!  Growing up on a farm in the Scottish Highlands, where as she says, “rain and snow is every day weather,“ and the first vehicle she ever drove was a tractor, she is feeling right at home here.  Before joining us at Church Farm, she worked for 20 years as a wedding planner.  She adores  her three cats, and enjoys travelling, especially to Costa Rica, as they are 98% sustainable using the rain, volcanoes, rivers and sun, and they produce amazing coffee.  Claire says she loves working here in the fresh air alongside “so many dedicated and hardworking people.”  And so far, her favourite animal is Mike the rabbit.  She has also lived in Gibraltar, and is looking forward to the sunny days, as well.