We are located 4 miles north of Cirencester, between the villages of North Cerney, and Woodmancote. From A435 you take the turning towards Bagendon, go up past the Church to the T junction. Turn right towards Woodmancote and Scrubditch Farm is approximately 100 yards on the right. The Care Farm is situated down the drive, up the track on the left.
From A417, turn off at Perrotts Brook/Daglingworth, and proceed towards Perrotts Brook. Just before the A435, turn left towards Woodmancote. Go for approximately 1 1/2 miles and Scrubditch Farm is on the right, just past the Bagendon/North Cerney Cross Roads.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Wed / Thurs 24/25th Nov

I've got a bit left behind lately..... I've been busy organising a Christmas Fair - more of that later!
Wed, we had two of our three students, with Bev (Bodgit) Sue, and Lucy later on.  In the morning, Simon & Barry, made us a path up to the duck pen, as it's been SO muddy on site!  Bev & Sue carpeted the hen house, with an old bit of coir matting recovered from a shed on the farm - very plush for the hens - although i think it's actually too cold to put them up there at the moment - theyr'e used to a stable in the yard at night.... Lucy & Steve made new gate for the duck pen out of an old pallet, as we had to abandon Mike's effort from the previous week (sorry Mike!) - it wouldn't shut (We reckon he'd actually hung it upside down!!) Pm Simon & Barry started putting legs on an old, very odd shaped table that we acquired from a theatre group ... it was left in the shed for years, so we've claimed it!  Sadly for Steve, the mice had been at some of his pea shoots, so we've had to cover them over again in the poly tunnel.
Thursday, the guys spent most of the day finishing the table - it now sits very proudly in the polytunnel waiting to be used - great job!  Danny spent most of the day asking where Lucy was, so he could move HIS turkeys up to the site - not sure Lucy got any lunch that day, as Danny was lying in wait for her!  He's now over the moon, as he thinks his turkeys are going to start laying eggs int heir house on site.... it's way too cold up there at the moment, so we've had to put them back in the yard until he comes again on Thursday!

Sunday, we had our annual Christmas Fair in aid of the Cotswold Hunt - a great day, and it was lovely to see most of our students there at some point or other - and what was even better, was being able to sell the baskets of bulbs that David had helped make, and the beautiful mince pies, that Steve, Simon and Tom, had all made specially to sell.  They were delicious, and we sold out completely.  We've got a few baskets of bulbs, left that are going down the the Village Christmas Fair on Saturday.  We raised over £200 for the Project, so well done to all my helpers on the day, Mum, Sue, Tracey, Shannon and Lucy, who had made delicious soups too!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Thursday/Friday 18/19th Nov

Thursday, We had the same crowd as usual, with Danny of course - 'Turkeys' was the only thing on Danny's mind - when, where, and is your sister back yet??!  The students spent the morning taking cuttings with Bob, from Mum & Dad's garden - Wineberries, Gooseberries, Blackcurrants & Redcurrants, and then putting them into a trench at the back of the polytunnel for the winter - exhausting work, as the site really doesn't have anything other than stones - so lots of to-ing & fro-ing with wheelbarrows of muck!  PM, they finished the fencing for the ...... Turkeys - and Ducks - in terrible conditions - i've never seen so much mud on wellies in one day!
Friday, we had a visit from Coln House School again, this time 4 students.  They spent the first hour digging the base to put the duck pond in - back breaking, but very satisfying, then after having their sandwiches in the sun outside the portacabin, they had a tour of the animals again - a real treat to see the pigs, turkeys, goats and rabbits, before a hose down in the stable yard, and back to school.  Charming, polite boys, and a great help, thankyou!

I must say a big thank you to Tina, who has tirelessly been making cakes every week for me to feed my happy helpers at break times!  Tina's Chocolate Brownies have been voted favourite, with Lorna's Lemon Drizzle Cakes, a very close second!  With no electricity on site yet, it's a real boost to have such delicious cakes to keep the troops spirits up - Thank you Tina and Lorna...

In case anyone would like to know what's on our WISH LIST I've posted it opposite!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Sunday, Monday

Sunday - our first fund raiser - the dry stone walling competition!  The weather was ok - ish pretty foggy to start with, but it cleared, and our 'Star' waller was James Sharp from Rapsgate, who with his dad, spent the whole day here walling!  They were presented with 'Tracey's Trophy' - a beautiful hand crafted, gold sprayed stone (from the wall of course) set in gold covered concrete! - Oh, and a voucher for the 'Five Mile House' - which went down really well with James.  Thanks go to Mark, Paul & Tim who all helped walling, and their friends & families who turned up to cheer them on.  Most thanks go to John Teakle for organising the whole day, preparing the stone, and persuading his friend, also John, to come and lend a hand, and judge the walling. Also, John's wife, Lorna for providing the most delicious array of cakes - they kept us all going! We still have a long way to go, but they made a brilliant start.  Any wallers out there, dying to have a go - just let us know!
Monday, no William again sadly, but David came, and we spent a happy morning planting up more baskets for our Christmas Fair, and labelling them.  After lunch Coln House School visited, with 4 students.  They are busy filling some of the mountains of old tyres with tulip & narcissi bulbs - that'll cheer the place up!

Today was filthy weather - but great excitement, as Radio Gloucestershire came to interview us about the project - well actually the reporter nearly didn't get here he was so lost, but luckily David & Igor, found him and led him here!  The students were great, providing lots of 'digging' background noise, and explaining all the best bits - whilst i hopefully put across our need for funds, and volunteer helpers! - It's on BBC IPLAYER for the next 5 days, if anyone wants to listen... Ben, ably helped by some very bedraggled students, has sorted the fencing for the Turkeys and Ducks, (Danny will be over the moon tomorrow!) and they have made a gate out of the Ash seedlings (I knew they'd come in handy!) and chicken wire.  I was very touched this morning, when the guys arrived with a pumpkin pie for us, that they had made at home - Thank you guys!

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Wed / Thurs 10/11 Nov

The weather was stunning yesterday - so we got on with ... yes more fencing!  Mike & Simon put up three more posts - no mean feat with our limestone site - they had to be concreted in!  Steve & Anita made a beatiful path from the gate to the polytunnel, desperately needed for this lovely rain we've got today.  Pm we all piled into the Land Rover, and went to look at the Duchy Pig set up on the Whiteway - thousands of pigs/piglets of all ages (up to 26 weeks) being free-ranged organically on about 50 acres.  A very slick set up.  We were trying to persuade Thomas that he really doesn't want to take the 'runt' of Lucy's latest litter home with them to Cheltenham!  I think he got the picture, and has persuaded Bev to enjoy them on the farm here instead!
Today the weather was terrible first thing, so we all piled in the Rover again, and went off to the market.  Lots to look at, and everyone enjoyed themselves - it also took up the morning which was useful, as i didn't have enough helpers at home!  PM - yes, youv'e guessed it - MORE fencing - Danny (our Thursday student) is still obsessing about his turkeys, and is desperate for us to finish a pen for them! Finished off Tina's delicious brownies with several cuppas, and then Steve et al, piled more stones into their boot for their rockery being built at home.
Exhausted, and my back's killing me, but i've had such great feed back so far, that it's definitely worth it!  I just need more volunteers now..... Anyone out there??!
Our first day of the 'pilot' - dawned bright and beautiful, and early!  Mike & John managed to get the generator going to warm up the portacabin for our break time - most important.  The first 'student' to arrive was William - full of enthusiasm - i was a little concerned when he asked me whether we had a 'man trap' on the farm, but he set to quite happily with my volunteer helper, Ben, collecting tools and cleaning them.  David and Leggo planted up bulbs in the poly tunnel, ready for a Christmas Fair at the end of November.  David was very keen to have a photo taken with his bulbs - so Luke duly obliged!

William and Ben then had a photo opportunity with their ash and hazel 'obelisk' they made with hedgerow seedlings.  After a lovely sunny lunch break - taken outside the portacabin (more photo opportunities) we trudged up the track with two wheelbarrows to collect bricks for raised beds.  This proved harder work than we realised, so another break was needed to sample more of Tina & her friends' delicious Brownies, with a cup of tea - in the sun again!  Finally we sorted and collected 18 tyres (those dreaded tyres that we thought we would have to bury!) for making another raised bed on the site.  Apart from having to wait nearly an hour for David's lift home, a great day was had by all.  A huge thank you to Ben & Legs for all their help, and to Ella & Luke for 'being around' to call on.

P.S. unfortunately our two 'girls' who were supposed to be here today failed to show - could have been my fault, but it has reinforced the need for me to double/treble my procedures for confirming places - MORE paperwork.......

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Monday 9 November

Firstly, on Friday, we had a visit from Coln House School.  Helena brought 3 students and a tutor with her - in the pouring rain!  The boys didn't seem to care about the rain, and set to, collecting more old tyres to make into a raised bed area.  They lined them with old plastic and spent an hour happily filling them with muck.  We found a dormouse nesting in one of the tyres - not sure what they'll think about being part of a garden feature!
I had a lovely note through afterwards, to say how much they had enjoyed their visit, and they will be coming every other week from now on - a great help, thank you Helena. ps thank you for the chicken wire too!

Monday, the weather was awful again, and William rang in ill, so we just had David.  He and Sue spent the morning in the poly tunnel, watering, and planting up broad beans - i need to get my camera charged up again, David's very keen on having 'photo evidence'!  Ben and I finished off the chicken wire fence, just the rails to go on now, and wheeled more palings up to the site, to make a path up to the poly tunnel - it's getting a bit slippery, not to mention muddy.

One small disaster - the 'Cob' chickens we are building a pen for, are not going to arrive after all - they started cannibalising each other (spelling?) and so have gone to the freezer earlier than planned!  Oops, oh well, these things happen - now on the look out for some more.  Lucy is supplying 2 lovely Aylesbury ducks that should start laying, and of course we've got Danny's turkeys arriving, once the pens are finished!

pps Radio Gloucestershire rang me yesterday, having had a press release through - i was on my horse at the time, so couldn't talk for too long, but i'm hoping they might do a site visit tomorrow, to discuss a broadcast for volunteers - would be fantastic if they can!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Wednesday & Thursday 3/4 Nov

What a day!  We had more helpers than students today!  Lucy, my sister was on hand to help this week, so the students got a good 'animal' start!  Simon, Steve, Bev & Barry arrived armed with bags of pears & apples, so they had great fun feeding the goats; Jessica, Rebecca and their offspring.  The rest of the morning was spent in the poly tunnel with 'Bodgit & Scarper' - the new names for Bev and Tracey - who were trying to make a planter out of recycled wood - ably assisted by Susie standing astride the said wood!  )Barry finished it off in 5 minutes today for them!) Simon and Lucy meanwhile planted up the two recycled beds with beautiful winter salad plants.  Steve and the rest searched Scrubditch for some large tyres (not difficult if any of you know the farm!) and dragged them into the poly; filled them up with well rotted muck, and then today they planted them up with some old potatoes, and really quick growing 'pea shoots'!
After lunch the team helped Lucy get the sheep in to 'grade' them for market today.  Simon & Steve finished off the day, raiding the track for old bricks & stones for their rockery; and a bag full of muck for their garden!

Today, Bob was assisting, and everyone got to work, with all the chicken wire we could scrounge to 'fence' in our soon to arrive Chickens - we've now run out of wire, and i've asked Coln House, who are coming over tomorrow, if they can bring some with them, and help finish off the pens! Simon & Bob took cuttings of the lavender and rosemary, which Simon's taking back home to plant out in their garden.  Once again Simon managed to bag up another load of muck for their garden at home!
After lunch Bob gave the boys a great guided tour of his apple & cider store; showing them how to work the press, and sampling the apple juice.
Somewhere along the way today, Dan, one of the students has managed to talk his way into us having two of Lucy's turkeys up on the site to fatten up for Christmas - or next Easter??!  I did ask him who was supposed to look after them on the other 6 days he's not around - to no avail - he's got his heart set on it now, and indeed was helping to dig a hole for his first pole for the turkey pen!  He's gone home to look up information about turkeys for next week - do they lay eggs, and can we eat them etc.,!

Will try and upload some of the photos we've taken over the last week or so.....

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Monday 1 November 2010

Well, we've managed our first week - so to speak!  I had to cancel last wednesday, as i didn't have enough volunteers, but we had a lovely day on Thursday, with Danny, Tom & Simon.  Bob & Fran were my very trusty helpers for the day, and we had a seriously 'hands on' care manager for the day too.  The boys worked really  hard filling two old stone drain covers stacked up on the site, with a combination of soil, very well rotted manure, and top soil.  In the afternoon, they helped clear the car park, levelling, and picking out the stone from the dim and distant wall that used to be there.  This is being cleared ready for our first 'fund raising' event on the site; a dry stone walling competition!  We had great fun, and everyone worked really hard.

Today we had Will & David back.  Will was assistant to Ben, and between them they have made two planters up for the poly tunnel.  These were put together from an old cattle 'feeder' that had definately seen better days.  David and i potted up more baskets for the Christmas Fair, and watered all the other baskets from last week.  Will and Ben have started on the fencing round the site - using the ash seedlings that Mike cut down from the jungle in July, they have shaped them to fit along the top of the posts - a very fetching post 'n' rail effect.  Once the chicken wire goes up, this will provide a secure 'chicken zone' for our Cobs that are ready for collection.  David & I spent the afternoon wheeling loads of muck 'n' soil back & forward to the poly tunnel filling the planters that Will & Ben had made.  I wheeled the full barrows, with orders from David, and he wheeled the empty barrows!  I've just been to see Shelley for a back massage, so feeling a lot better now!

These two guys, Will & David work at a gentler pace than the others during the week, but none the less, have achieved a lot over their two days.
Unfortunately we had a break in on the farm last week, and the generator was stolen, so we have had to hire one, and it just about heats up the portacabin 'mess room' - we've been incredibly lucky with the weather, so only need a heater on to take the chill off first thing.
I have some very supportive friends, who have already started fund raising, and hopefully we will get enough to pay for the electrics to be installed before Christmas!