Church Farm Ardeley

A Free Range Experience


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Dr Finlay’s Walking Stick: Angels and Devils

Fin’s Twenty Second Adventure

May 22nd 2017

National Walking Month

Today Dr Finlay and Fin were joined by an Angel for a walk that took them around the Circular Walk we are all taking but in the other direction, would things become undone?  Can we go backwards in time?

Can we undo the things that cause us pain or relive the ones that give us pleasure.  What are memories for?

Fin and Sid of course are probably untroubled by such things and live solely in the present moment, a place safe from past fears and hurts and future worries or dreams.

The Angel walking by their side today was Aimee, the local music teacher who brought so much joy into the lives of young people in the small village.

Everyone loves Aimee and her heart is enormous and warm and open.  However for every Angel there is a Devil of equal but opposite magnitude, someone who is heartless, cold and closed. Someone who harms not heals.

It is not always easy to tell the difference at first but it becomes very clear and the warning signs are pain.

Dr Finlay told Fin that he had arranged some other guests for him to meet which included a man called Charles, another man called William and finally they would walk with God.

Tomorrow as they say was to be another day.

—Dr Finlay
May 22nd 2017

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Dr Finlay’s Walking Stick: A Spitfire!

Fin’s Twentieth Adventure

May 20th 2017

National Walking Month and Dementia Awareness Week

 

An empty day, a rest day, a day of dreams, dreams of visiting a Flying Machine, not just any flying machine, but visiting a Spitfire!!!

Tomorrow as they say was to be another day.

—Dr Finlay
May 20th 2017


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Dr Finlay’s Walking Stick: Take a Stick to Work Day

Photoshoots and Horticulture

Fin’s Twelfth Adventure

May 12th 2017

National Walking Month and Mental Health Awareness Week

“Wow, what a brilliant day” declared Fin to no one in particular as he reflected on Take a Stick to Work Day.  Dr Finlay had loaded Fin into the back of the car of his good friend Aimee who let him use her car to get to work.  Fin got the feeling that Dr Finlay was a very sensible driver but he did feel a little squeamish going around corners on two wheels!

Towards the end of the day Dr Finlay came out to the car and took Fin with him into a wonderful paradise which looked like the Garden of Eden with some additional enormous funny shapes in it.  “So this is where Dr Finlay goes off to,” thought Fin.

Happily Dr Finlay managed to find a friendly photographer who just happened to be a horticulturalist and so another adventure would begin.

What am I? A beech? A birch? A Yew? A mighty oak? An ash or elm?

This was another in the growing list of questions that Fin was building.  In the meantime though he would put on the cool sunglasses and the high vis jacket and enjoy his day in paradise.

Tomorrow as they say was to be another day.

—Dr Finlay
May 12th 2017


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Dr Finlay’s Walking Stick: Slowing Down or Speeding Up

The Failed Photoshoot

Fin’s Eleventh Adventure

May 11th 2017

National Walking Month and Mental Health Awareness Week

Dr Finlay had been missing his stick Fin and wanted to have a picture he could carry around with him when he couldn’t have a stick. So he arranged with his good friend Aimee to take some photos for him.  He left Fin in the back of her car and sent her a vague message about a photoshoot!  Vague messages are not very reliable ways of getting things done!!  So poor old Fin, (was Fin old?, was Fin poor?), was left in the back of the car all day and began to realise what road rage was all about.  One thing he did learn though was that the car went faster than he normally did when he was out walking with Dr Finlay.  It was sort of exciting and scary all at the same time.

Finally though, fairly late at night after all the busy human business of the day was over Dr Finlay came over and let him out of the car and they went for lovely long walk together.  It was on this walk that Dr Finlay realised something about their relationship.  He had been worried that Fin had been doing all the work supporting him but realised that without him Fin would be lying on the ground all the time.  Their relationship was good for both of them in different ways.

He was glad they had been reunited and told Fin not to worry about the Photoshoot as tomorrow was a very special day indeed.

Tomorrow was Take a Stick to Work Day.

Tomorrow as they say was to be another day.

—Dr Finlay
May 11th 2017


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Growing Well

Rural Care

Rural Care doesn’t only grow well on our allotments!

There is a growing body of evidence which highlights the benefits of community growing for mental and physical wellbeing, education and social cohesion, for the last two years, Rural Care has been part of the ‘Growing Well’ research project.

The Growing Well project—funded by the Ellerman Foundation—will help document and disseminate good practice both to community growing groups who are expanding their work, and to decision makers who can help influence related policy and funding at a national level (eg promoting the use of ecotherapy within the health service).

Rural Care was chosen for the project by the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens(FCFCG) as one of 30 farms across the UK, sharing good practice between those running established projects in this field and those that are setting up new projects. Good practice will be captured through case studies and desk research, and shared with others through promotional literature and online resources.

Rural Care shared their 20 years’ knowledge of working in care farming and social and therapeutic horticulture with people with learning disabilities in a seminar with other members of FCFCG.

The seminar consisted of an extensive tour of the farm led by co- farmer Terry. He showed the delegates around and shared his knowledge in great detail.

Our delegates were very impressed with our raised beds and picket fencing made out of pallets. They also met several co-farmers at work feeding and mucking out the animals on home field, and a group of co- farmers looking after our pregnant ewes in the lambing bays. We explained how at Church Farm we have to adapt certain practices so they suit the needs of co- farmers and how every year we manage to expand the range of activities so everybody can get involved. Lots of photographs were taken for people to use some of our ideas on their own farms.

In the afternoon we shared how Rural Care works together with Health and Community Services, Community Learning Disability Team, colleges and schools, and the stringent way we are monitored by all these different organisations . A lot of the monitoring is now in line with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) who inspects residential care homes. We also compared the East of England monitoring tool adopted by Hertfordshire County Council and the Care Farming UK Code of Practice.

The delegates also shared the way they do support plans, risk assessments and contracts on their farms with their different client groups.

The feedback from the delegates was excellent:

“Thank you for the work you put into preparing and delivering the seminar, which was greatly appreciated by everybody who attended; we could have spent another day there learning and being inspired!”

Ian Egginton,Metters Assistan CEO FCFCG

And for Rural Care? What did we get out of it? Apart from a new excellent tour guide called Terry?

A great recognition that as a care farm we are far ahead of many care farms in the way we support our co- farmers and in the way organise our activities and administration by creating our own easy read guides with lots of pictures.


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Wednesday Walkies with Sid the Sheepdog

Sid the Sheepdog bounding through the Bluebells on the Circular Walk

Sid the Sheepdog bounding through the Bluebells on the Circular Walk

A lovely Wednesday morning and Sid was playfully running about amongst the beautiful bluebells that can be seen from the Circular Walk at the Farm. They won’t be there for much longer so he was keen to enjoy them while he could.

Meanwhile it appears that Chicken Dave had become a proper dog person and before they set off he had bought Sid a present.

Su showing Sid his present from Chicken Dave

Su showing Sid his present from Chicken Dave

During their perimeter security walk the three of them had bumped into some old friends of Chicken Dave who were doing a health walk for their hearts.

The Christchurch Cardiac Walkers from Hitchin had taken a day out from their art classes to come and see some bluebells and if you look closely you can just see them in the distance. (Sid of course could still smell them quite easily).

 

The good and sheltered pathway makes for a pleasant walk around the farm

The good and sheltered pathway makes for a pleasant walk around the farm

 

 

 


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Wednesday Walkies with Sid the Sheepdog

sid the police dog

Sid-napped!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Chicken Dave went for his lesson as usual on Wednesday morning but……

There was no Sid!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sid was missing and his main student Su was also missing.

Surely they must have been Sid – napped.

Feeling distraught Chicken Dave searched everywhere, the café, the chick shed, Rural Care, the lambs, the cows and of course the chickens and pigs.

But Sid was nowhere to be seen (of course he was worried about Su as well but really he was missing Sid).

He felt silly going for a walk by himself so got out his camera and took some pictures of the animals around the farm.

While he was doing this to take his mind off his missing dog he wondered where Sid might have gone.

dog races

Perhaps Su had taken Sid to become a racing dog?

cute dog - c

What if Sid had been swapped for another, smaller, cuter, better behaved dog!

week 9 sheep

Or perhaps he had gone to do some special undercover police work as a sheep?

Next week – what happened to Sid (and Su of course).