Dear Diary

I’m a day late, but I’m going to persevere and post anyway.

Wednesday

Every two weeks I get up very early and toddle off down to Moulton College to spend a day doing paperwork to support my Apprenticeship. Last Wednesday I would have been at College, but they are closed for the Easter Holidays. Instead I got to take a day off work and spend it sat in the Dining Room doing Evidence Sheets. I managed to do all of the Job Sheets that I had pending and even got some Photo Evidence Sheets sorted, so all in all it was a very productive day. My time here at the Farm ends when my course is completed. – so it’s in my interest to get this paperwork done and out of the way PDQ.
Of course the morning was filled the wonders of feeding the Sheep.
At 8.00pm I made my way down to the Merry Monk pub in Oakham where I run a Rock Night every second Wednesday. So far turn out has been pretty poor, but tonight was a real success!
I had sorted a great playlist beforehand and it paid dividends since there were people on the dance floor and people bought me drinks. I wrapped it up early at midnight since the booze had been flowing a little too freely and the punters were getting a little raucous. 

Thursday

 We fed the beasties

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We met up with James afterwards and headed down to Wardley to continue hedging.
A rather uneventful day had to be honest.

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A very pretty moonscape to wrap up the evening with and then Joe made Spaghetti and Meatballs for dinner. Delicious.

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Dear Diary

I have always wanted to blog about the mundane day-to-day activities that occur on the Farm, but I have never been organised enough to break the ice and start diarising (it’s a real word because I said so).

I plan to update Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays with relevant pictures to support my activities. This works well in my favour since I am obliged to take lots of Farm related photos to support my Agriculture Course at Moulton College.
Any and all suggestions and constructive criticism from more experienced Bloggers will be appreciated.

Let’s begin.

Monday
The day started much like any other with feeding of the Sheep. Currently on site we have all of our pregnant Ewes, some assorted Goats, Three Isolated Castlemilk Moorit Rams and some Juvenile Shetland Rams. Oh, and my Turkey, Moriak.
All told there’s about 250 animals to feed, water and keep clean.

Daily Feeds and General Information

To assist with the development of the Farm we take on Volunteers from various agencies HelpX , WWOOF and Workaway. Currently we have Eight volunteers with us from a range of countries. Most of them are living together at the volunteer house in the next town over, but two of them are living here with the Farmers and myself.

Joe from England

Fred from Belgium

An English lad called Joe and a Belgian lad called Fred.

So they help me feed the beasties each morning and evening. Currently we are feeding the pregnant Ewes 252kg of concentrates per day with an additional 50kg going to the Rams and Goats.
After their concentrates they all get Hay, which is averaging at about 10 bales per day, and all water tanks need to be topped up.
Once all of THAT is attended to there’s the small matter of four hungry Collie dogs and a escape artist Turkey to feed, water and clean up after.

Moriak the Turkey

Shortly after we’d completed the feeds the Farmers son, James, arrived and after having a quick site meeting where we discussed what had been happening over the weekend, we started the mornings activities.

I should probably bring you up to speed on some Sheep Management systems we have in place.

A few weeks ago a man came to the farm to do an ultrasound scan on all of our Ewes so we could ascertain how many (if any) Lambs they were going to have. This allows us to sort them in to groups based upon this data and adjust feeds accordingly, since a Ewe having

Scanning the pregnant Ewes

Twins clearly needs more food than a Ewe having just the one.
Well each year there will always be a certain percentage that don’t fall pregnant, and these were the Ewes that we were going to be working with today.

The point of the exercise was assess the health of the animals and to perform some routine stock procedures. We brought the animals in from the fields and ran them through our medical penning where we trimmed their hooves and checked their teeth before releasing them in to specific groups according to whether they had or had not gotten pregnant the year before. Anyone that had failed to be productive for more than two years running is sent off to market.
Fortunately the bulk of the group were okay, and have been sent to another farm.

Now that this was complete we could focus on more important issues, such as Lunch. We headed off to get only the finest Tescos Meal Deal and some Doughnuts and to plan this afternoons activities.
The farmers son had work elsewhere to attend to so Joe, Fred and myself were left at Bridge Farm by ourselves with a list of jobs to do.

Fred was charged with Mowing the garden, which he did quite successfully whilst Joe and myself were mucking out some Lambing Pens, rehoused the Turkey and generally tiding up. We kept busy with cleaning and odd jobs until it got dark, we then fed the Ewes that needed an evening feed and packed up and went inside for Coffees and Dinner.

Tuesday

The day started much like most others with the feeding of the Sheep.
Today we had one primary task and that was to continue, with an aim to complete, the cutting of the Hedges in our fields at Wardley.

Hedging at Wardley

The point of this exercise is to turn 40 acres of non-productive Hay Fields into safe and secure grazing land for our Sheep. The fields were neglected by the previous owners and subsequently the hedges have gone wild and are now Trees! We have been working our way around two of the six fields for the last couple of months and I am glad to say that we’re nearly done cutting back the ingrowth and preparing the boundary to receive Fencing.

Today we hit it hard and cleared a hell of a lot of brash off the boundary. All the sticks and twigs that we clear are mounded up in to ‘dead hedges’ whilst any logs are cut to size and stacked to be taken away and stored elsewhere.

Hedging at Wardley

I managed to get this picture taken in the few dry moments of dry weather we had between the downpours that dogged our progress all day.

By days end we were all soaked, cold and knackered. However a good days work had been done and we predict that there’s only one or two more days of clearing to do before we can start fencing.

We got back to Brooke at about 8.00pm and prepared and decanted the evenings feed before collapsing in front of the Fire with a hot cup of Brew and a fry up cooking on the grill.

All in all it’s been a productive couple of days, which is always a nice way to start a week. The weather forecast is  dire for the next few days, with rain, cold and even snow predicted – a drastic change from the Summer weather we had only last week!

Until next time, farewell from the Farm.

PR