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.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Breaking for Christmas!

I should have done the last blog by now....sorry too much going on of course! 

We had a lovely Christmas Lunch with all the students, their carers, and our volunteers here in the kitchen - 24 in total!  I couldn't have managed without Steve, Bev & Tom, stepping in to 'bring everything together' at the last minute - while i was rushing about like a headless chicken!  Lots of laughter and of course dressing up...from Danny and Steve! 

It has been a great session, with our two new students, David and Jon fitting in really well with the group.  I have really enjoyed the two sessions a week with school children, from Paternoster, and a small autistic unit from Christchurch School in Cheltenham. 

A big thank you to all my volunteer helpers - i could not manage without you, and i hope everyone has a lovely Christmas and a Happy New Year.

We start again on Monday 9 January 2012 - anybody interested in coming out to see us - do get in touch via email.

See you Soon!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Nearly there!

We had a successful Christmas Fair last weekend - sorry it's taken me most of the week to recover!  Our stall took over £100, selling 6 dozen mince pies made by Bev & Simon, and decorations made by Paternoster & Christchurch School, and our students.  We have a few items left, and so i'm going to take a stall at the North Cerney School Christmas Fair next Saturday (10th Dec)

Danny feeding our fowl!
Down on the farm, we have been making lists for the next session - thinking about what we would 'like' and what we 'need' to do.   General tidying up of all the raised beds, and the poly tunnel - amazingly our broad beans are through outside - it's been such strange weather! 

We had a visit from the Horse Dentist last wednesday, which the students all found gripping - Rupert had a magnetic torch attached to the headcollar, so when he winched his mouth open we could see right up to the back of Manny's mouth - so many teeth up there!  In the afternoon, we had the Chiropracter to see Manny - so he should be really sorted now!

Manny having his teeth done!
We go into our last week now, so we are having our 'Christmas Lunch', sorting the Poly Tunnel, and raised beds and animals, and getting ready for Christmas!


Saturday, 19 November 2011

Week 8 Winter Session!

Dandy meeting March!
First things First - We have a RAM!! - I picked him up last Sunday - 'BRINKWORTH DANDY' - He has been lent to us by James, who we bought the four Ewes off earlier in the year.  He is extremely handsome - and the girls LOVE HIM!  So does Helen, who was SO excited when she finally met him on Monday!

Secondly, we have Electricity!! - i know, it should have gone to the top of the page really - i still can't believe it...We have lights in the main porta cabin, heating and hot water! - Mind you, i will be really mean with that...now we also have a meter!  Our light sensor and the toilets are being finished on Tuesday - so not all there yet!

We spent most of last week getting the Christmas Decorations started - lots of glitter and glue - next we're trying CRACKERS - let's hope we sell them all at the Fair next Sunday!

Lastly, the 'Mushroom' photo from last week has a name...'EARTH STAR' - thank you Hilary!

We had a short article in local paper this week under the heading 'i can do that!' - however they managed to put the wrong address, and said the project was in Northleach! But, i've had some calls from hopeful volunteers already, so that's great.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Week 8!

STILL NO ELECTRICITY!! But, at least everything is now 'hitched up' and they've found enough 'earth' after trenching up most of the field -we are now waiting on EON to install the meter...next Friday!

This week, we've been busy finding more 'hedgerow' goodies to make christmas decorations for the Christmas Fair on November 27th.  We discovered a very strange 'mushroom/fungi' whilst out looking for pine cones...don't know if anyone else has ever seen one like it?? see photo...

Anyone recognise this?
Or this?
We are hoping that this week our four Wiltshire Ewes will have a visit from an extremely handsome Ram....! i will keep you posted on developements!  We are aiming to have our first 'lambing' after the Easter break 2012 - if all goes according to plan

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Winter Week 7

Still no electricity! They've been back again and dug a further 30 /40 metres of trenching and disappeared again - let's hope they return this week to say they've found enough 'earth' now!!  Luckily it's not too cold yet - so no complaints from students. 

We welcomed Hilary back from her holiday to Australia to see her family - Helen was thrilled to have her back - i expect it was rather a shock to the system to be outside working all day again.  We had a visit from Paternoster school again in the afternoon - Helen took charge, and took them off to feed the ducks and hens, and to look at the sheep!  We are looking at ideas for Christmas decorations, as we are having a stall at a Fair at the end of the month.  Danny bought a lovely Haloween Pumpkin with him on Wednesday, and Simon had baked a Pumpkin pie, and some lovely little 'spider' cakes, that we gave to the children from Christchurch School, who visit in the afternoon.  Danny insisted on cutting up his Pumpkin, and with the help of Eli, Miranda, Anthony & Lily, he fed it to all the hens and ducks!  It is great to see our students interacting with children of school age - they all seem to get so much out of the day.

Ernie working on his Bird Box with Bob
Unfortunately we seem to have had some unwelcome visitors at some point recently - the goats i think - we've had four fruit trees eaten, and the roses outside the front door - amazingly they didn't touch the sweet corn growing!  The roses don't mind at all, but i'm not so sure about the fruit trees....!

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Update on Electricity!

All these just for our electricity...!
We had a break for Half Term last week - with Daisy and Ben's wedding at the weekend - which went off beautifully but it was great to then have the rest of the week to recover, and tidy up!
We had organised for the SSEB to install our electricity during the week - hoping to be fully ELECTRIC by this week - however, like lots of best 'laid' plans, it hasn't happened.  They were on site all week, with Lez and his diggers - see photo - but unfortunately they couldn't find enough 'earth' to make it safe - they have dug over 40 metres of trenching so far....now of course theyv'e gone off on another job, so we are left without for another week - let's hope they can get it all sorted by the end of next week!
Fortunately the weather is lovely and mild at the moment!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Wintery Weather Arriving!

Last week flew by again - Monday, Ben & William made us a much needed book case to put in the porta cabin, whilst Helen, John and Linda focused on the animals.  We've been 'working' the sheep each day, trying to tame them to make it easier to check them over.  Helen loves working with them - and gets very excited when 'March' her Ewe comes up towards her!

twin calves  born recently - now out in the field with their mum
Wednesday, we had a very busy day - we had to bring the sheep in again, this time we let them through with the Portlands, and brought them all down to the crush - a device for singling out sheep in order to check them over.  Each student took a turn to 'trim' their feet ready for the winter - great excitement all round!  The students worked really hard, raking leaves, & bringing hay down for the horses.  In the afternoon, the 3 children from Christchurch school, came over again, and had a lovely time pulling out the pea plants, and feeding caterpillars to the ducks!  They have planted up 3 tyres in the poly tunnel, with onion sets, and winter salads. 

Thursday, we only had Simon here, and it was D day for the 3 bantam cockerels, and our HUGE Cotswold Legbar Cockerel - they'd all got rather aggressive and attacked us when we went into their runs - so they had to go...We took  them to the market at Kempsford - hoping to get a few pounds for them.  Unfortunately, not so - we got 20p each for the beautiful Bantam Cockerels, and £2 each for the other two....!  We made a loss overall, as we came home with 4 new laying hens - Lahmans - who had already laid 3 x eggs at the sale!!

This week we're frantically tidying up for Daisy my niece's wedding at the weekend  Potting up violas & pansies for the church, and strimming and tidying everywhere.

Ben & William made us a wonderful Hay Rack on Monday, out of old pallets - with the weather forecast getting worse by the day - we will need it before long i reckon!  Monday afternoon, we had a visit from 3 children at Paternoster School - it's their second week's visit, and they thoroughly enjoyed going for a walk and collecting 'hedge row' fruit, and helping to pick tomatoes to make Tomato Marmalade for the wedding breakfast!  Both John and Helen were very helpful with the children - it's great to see our students working alongside other children with Special Needs.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Week 3 & 4 Winter Sessions

Surrounded by the
We've had the most fantastic weather up till now - the strawberries have started flowering again, and the tomatoes are all ripening in the poly tunnel, and have started sprouting new shoots and flowers! Our Cosmos, and dahlias have taken on a new lease, and our sweet peas are still going just - not sure after the winds today though...

We had a great visit from the 29th Regiment RLC, South Cerney this week - 20 of them turned out to help at the Project!  They strimmed, cleared, tidied, built, burned, and even welded....!  i was really humbled that they wanted to give up their time to help out - and i think they really enjoyed themselves!

The boys went home with sweet corn today - i hope they had them for supper - we did, and they are SO sweet!

We have two new students just started on Wednesday mornings, and three children from a school in cheltenham here in the afternoon - they are settling in really well, and Lily, who 'only eats pasta' was seen going home munching on a freshly 'pulled' carrot!

Saturday, 24 September 2011


We are missing David this time - i hope he's enjoying himself wherever he is...
We've got lots of plans for this Winter - and Will & Ben got started with mending the gates of the Stock Trailer - ready for taking our 4 sheep off to the ram next month.

Lavinia is still limping - i don't think the Anti biotics helped - we're trying arnica & witch hazel gel - to see if it helps - her elbow is still a little swollen, and much warmer than it should be - but  she seems perfectly happy in herself - so...we will keep our fingers crossed.

Simon & Steve's Stir Fry made with veggies grown
by students at the Project!
On Wednesday, we took 4 students to the Royal Agricultural College 'Training Kitchens' as part of British Food Fortnight - we had a great time, making chutneys, stir frys and a delicious pudding - all from produce the students had grown at the Project! Thank you to Sue and her team, for making us all feel so welcome.

On Thursday Bob took Simon & Steve to check on their Bird Boxes - we took them down and brought them home to look inside - SO exciting, Simon's had an old next & egg in it!  Steve's had signs of activity too - and we have made notes in the wildlife diary.  We will put them back again this week - we tried to look at some of the contents through the microscope - but Luke's 8 year old birthday microscope wasn't quite up to the job!!
CAR BOOT tomorrow - so will let you know how it went next week...!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011


At the vets...!
Helen, looking a little nervous
holding Lavinia ready for her
daily dose of Antibiotics!

Our two ducks, Lewey and Dewey are not who we thought they were - they started laying last week!!

So, we have quickly re-named them - well, Ella has, 'LAVINIA AND DEIDRE'!!

Lavinia, has got a very sore elbow, so we had to take her to the vet last Wednesday.   Did you know that ducks get car sick??! Both journeys...She is now on anti biotics, but not much better yet.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Farmers Market!!

In Emma's absence I am updating all that is going on down at the Project!
With the abundance of vegetables we have, Linda, Zoe and Heather very kindly agreed to do the Farmers Market in Cirencester on the 13th August. Linda and I picked and dug all day on Thursday lots of produce to take along. Heather and Linda continued on Friday with the more perishable produce. We made over £40.00 on the day thanks to all their hard work. It is not an easy time of year due to people being on holiday according to other stall holders. Hopefully all that purchased enjoyed our delicious produce!
We will be having a stall on the 27th August so if you are around please pop along and show your support!


Thank you Linda, Heather and Zoe!!

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Open Afternoon!

We had a very successful Open Afternoon last week, organised by Becca (I definately didn't have the energy!) and we are now featured on 'Cotswold TV' (see link below)

Our Girls!
Danny, Helen, Me & Matt!
Waitrose presented us with a HUGE cheque for £400, that we used to buy 'March, June, Mary-Jane and Lamby!' our 4 Wiltshire Horn Ewes...

We welcomed lots of people with home baked cakes and cups of tea, made using eggs from our hens. Our students took visitors on tours of the farm, very proudly showing off all their hard work! The glorious fruit, vegetables and flowers were sold to our visitors; hopefully next year we may have some lamb and pork to add to the list! A brilliant day all round with the sun shining for us too!! Thank you to donations from Joe, Maine and Tracey for produce, all students that helped, volunteers and visitors!

Cabbages, Salad, Onions, Plums, Sweet Peas, Eggs.....

Danny showing off our fabulous tomato plants in the poly tunnel to some of our visitors with Sue!

Take a look at Cotswold TV to hear from Emma and some of our students..........


Thursday, 7 July 2011

End of the Summer Session!

No excuses - the time has literally flown by..!  First we had the Car Boot Sale - a HUGE thank you to Gerry and her entire family for organising it and helping out, and to Rebecca, Sue, Linda, Helena & Tina for helping, selling, and making loads of cakes to sell!  We raised an amazing £650 - due to all their hard work, and gorgeous weather.

Back on site, we have finally taken possession of our 4 Wiltshire Ewe Lambs - and we had a sweep stake to choose their names - 'March, June, Mary-Jane (after Spiderman's girlfriend??!) and Lamby - not that they are aware that they've been named yet - we'll have to work pretty hard to tame them somewhat first - with a little food treats each day!  They are in their own electrically fenced area of the field behind the porta cabins, and seem really happy, surrounded by the main farm's flock of Texel sheep.

The hen house is finished, and has been put out in the field with the other pheasant pen, and we now have 4 different chick & hen pens for our assorted 'fowl'!

Back on site, we 'dug' our first crop of potatoes for the Car Boot - 50 Desiree potatoes from one tyre!  We dug David's carrots, and cabbages, and sold bunches of Sweet Peas too - it was a great 'Profile' raiser for the project -with offers of Volunteering, and a great atmosphere.  We have loads of tomatoes planted in the poly tunnel along with our next lot of salads, and lots of Nasturtiums, that we are now selling to the pub as edible flowers!

Last week, Hilary brought her Moth Trap up for the night and set it up in the garden - the next morning VERY early, we went out to have a look - there were lots of moths!  We took photos, and noted them down in the Wild life diary, and showed the Monday students - really exciting - i had no idea there were So many different moths!
On the Wednesday, we took the students to the 'Fresh Air 2011' exhibition at Quenington - there's just time to go look at it (finishes on 10July) it was AMAZING - everyone loved the exhibits, and the space.

This week is officially our last week for the Summer, but we are having 2 Open Days - one for prospective students on 21st July, the other to say thank you to all the friends, and helpers who have donated/given us time/stuff for the project so far.(on 28th July)
We had a very special day yesterday - we had lunch for all the students and helpers up on site, eating produce that they had grown, broad beans, peas, courgettes, tomatoes & beetroot, and then had a presentation.  Rebecca's who's here on a 12 week placement from college, had designed brilliant individual Certificates of Achievements for all the students, and we gave them out with a T shirt, with our SCFP logo on them - it was a very special day, everyone was so happy, and excited.
We start the next Session on 5 September, but will see the students again at our two Open Days.

(Photos to follow after the weekend....)

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Week 4 and 5 Summer Session

Debriefing re: Hen House!

Ella & Helen hard at work!

Oh dear, i've done it again - nearly three weeks this time...!
We've had a busy time recently - Will and Ben, have been 'deconstructing' a hen house and run that my dad never quite finished - and then reconstructing it - by separating the run from the house, and putting the house on wheels - let's hope it's a bit lighter to move around now!
The others have been busy potting up, planting out and picking lots of veggies, flowers and salads.
Danny 'sifting' compost at
 Coln House School
Some of the Scare Crows!
We went on a visit to Coln House one afternoon - Helena had lots of flowers, and veg plants she was selling off - we came back loaded up with stuff!  We then went back again last week to a wonderful Arts & Crafts Festival that she had organised for local schools.  Our students were in charge of a 'scarecrow making' area - they had a brilliant time teaching children from other local special schools how to make scarecrows!  Danny had brought in lots of old shoes, and Gerry provided lots of her children's cast off's to use!  Our students had a lovely time in Coln House School's Art Room in the afternoon - brilliantly organised Helena - Thank You!
The students have been Dry Stone Walling on Thursday afternoons, and our wall in the Car Park, is looking great - a bit more to do yet though!
Lambs making friends with
Henny & Penny!
Chicks are all growing huge, and we have one particular favourite - 'Fiver' named by Ella, my daughter - she tried to call her 'Survivor' but can't say S'sss, so she's now called FIVER!  (Survivor, as she nearly came to grief, when one of the Bantam mothers got rather too protective of their chicks)  She now lives in the Poly Tunnel - oops better go and check on her actually - she's been up there all morning on her own....

June 2011
Shearing time!
We've also been busy clearing out half the covered yard, ready to disinfect it.  We will be using it for working with animals, and making a much better wood working area for the winter.

We're running some Open Days in July, so there's much to get ready - weeding mainly, and scrubbing up the place, and generally tidying, before the students finish their next session.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Week 2 and 3 Summer Session

Some of our many tyres planted up
either side of the path -
very colourful!
Sorry, i'm putting two weeks into one...the slippery slope - it'll be once a month if i'm not strict on myself at this rate!
Well the weather has been playing havoc with our planting outside - those winds - the dahlias we planted this week, look very sorry for themselves.  Most of the other veg are struggling to stay upright - the beans & beetroot that went out last week look ok-ish!
We have two lots of chicks / hens in the poly tunnel with our salads at the moment - the 9 that hatched during the Royal Wedding, are now HUGE, and we are desperately trying to sort some kind of a run/house to put them out in the field, and our two Bantam mums, Henny & Penny, with their four chicks in another coop.  They're not loose in the poly tunnel, as they rather like the salads!  Also, at this time of year we tend to get a plague of RATS! We are transporting them out on a rota to the field, in our guinea pig run instead!
Some our Tomatoes potted up

The tomatoes the students planted from seed, are coming on really well, and they have been potted on again today.  The basil plants, however, seem to be taking ages to grow at all!

Yesterday, we went over to visit a friend, Roz, who is running 'Aunt Addies Farm' Project, near Tetbury.  She has planted thousands and thousands of salads and vegetables, and it was really inspiring to see just how much can be planted from seed.  Roz has boundless energy and we all thought she is doing an amazing job over there!  We came back with Aubergine, Chillies and a Cucumber plant to go in the poly tunnel - thank you Roz for a lovely outing.

A bit of sad news - unfortunately Daisy Duck disappeared on Monday night - i went to call them all in from the field after the lovely rain storm (they were having such a great time!) and Daisy never appeared - we searched all the neighbouring fields, tracks etc., for any sign of feathers/struggle but nothing - so no more duck eggs for the moment...I think we may have to pay a visit to the market to see if we can find another Daisy Duck to keep Jake company - he really misses her!

We had a lovely visit today from a group of prospective students from around Stroud - unfortunately it rained most of the time they were here - but we managed to make them all feel welcome, and hid in the poly tunnel for the worst of the down pour!

Sunday, 15 May 2011


Welcome back to the students and volunteers - although my volunteers did come over last week to help.  They spent a very worthwhile morning putting up the fruit cage, and helping me with plans for this next session.
Lewey, Hewey & Dewey

Bill & Ben got straight to work building us another compost area - i think we will need to move the first lot off site - we seem to have acquired some rats - the combination of hot weather & rain & compost is perfect for the .....nasty rodents.  Smiles, Helen & I put another layer on all our potatoes, and filled them in again.  (Although i see they've already come through in less than a week!)
Our offspring that hatched in the
Wednesday, we were closed for First Aid Training, so Elvis and the guys came over on Thursday instead.  We've got all the netting up on the cage now, and just need some more fruit to plant out there!  We have a fantastic selection of salads in the poly tunnel - some of which i took to the farmer's market on Saturday - a lot of hard work, for not much return - i think i made about £20!  It was a good 'profile' raiser, though, & i gave out leaflets for the Car Boot Sale.
Lewey, Hewey & Dewey are now out with their parents, in the field, and in their own house at night - i'm afraid we have had to say farewell to our one remaining cockerel - he is SO aggressive to all the other hens & ducklings, they were being tortured.  No doubt we will have at least one cockerel amongst the chicks that are coming on...they are now in a coop in the poly tunnel full time.  Henny & Penny, my two bantams i was given last year, are both hatching chicks as we speak - so Bill & Ben will have to hurry up making more pens & coops tomorrow!

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Easter week

Hewey, Lewey & Dewey!
Well, we're really forging ahead now - the watering is taking David nearly an hour - as everything is growing at such a rate! William and Ben made another raised bed, and put together a floor for the hen coop, where our 3 ducklings are going (well actually Daisy & Jake's ducklings!) We don't want any 'visitors' burrowing under the coop at night...Helen was on 'Ivy duty' - some of the Portland Ewes seem a bit down after lambing, so we've been picking lots more ivy for them.  The poly tunnel is full of wonderful salads - i've been down to the local pub, to ask if they would like to buy some salad bags!  The raised beds are brimming with seedlings coming up - peas, broad beans, radishes and leeks, and the fruit trees are in flower - we really could do with some rain now - though this sun is wonderful.
Today, Wednesday is our last day for two weeks - so after a mass tidy up, everyone came down to the garden for lunch.  Nearly all the students & volunteer helpers were here - i think there were 20 of us in all!  I had casseroled the cockerels (yes do you remember those two...?) and then made a 'paella' style dish with rice, vegetables & chicken meat - there was none left, so i think it was a success!  I then packed everyone off round my parent's garden, while Luke hid lots of Easter Eggs round our garden - they had to be quick as they were melting as they were put out...!
The best part of the day for me (apart from seeing such an array of happy faces in our garden) was the arrival of 'Hughey, Lewey and Dewey' - the three ducklings - they are now firmly esconsed in the coop in the poly tunnel with lots of straw and a lovely mini pond that they've been swimming in!

Sunday, 17 April 2011

week 7 spring

Monday - Helen, David & William here - Will & Ben built a great set of shelving out of recycled wood - perfect for putting our tomatoes out on..David's in charge of all the watering - quite something now with all our flowers, fruit trees, raspberries, sweet peas - and now 18 tyres filled with salad potatoes!  Helen & I did the hens and ducks, then spent the rest of the morning potting up roses & clematis to go outside the porta cabin.

Wednesday, Sue and i were on a Care Farm Training course, so Gerry was left in charge (with the help of Ella who's home from college!)  Bob was on hand helping all day too..  They cleaned out the stinky duck pond and found two duck eggs in their house.  They all checked the incubator - which we hope is going to hatch out, Rhode Island Reds, Bantams & Cotswold Leg Bars, at Easter!  Then they all had a go at dry stone walling - breaking bits off the stones, making them flat, preparing the ground underneath.  Of course there's still a pen load of lambs to feed - 14 last count...so plenty of hands on lambing going on!

Cerney House Tulips
Thursday, Mike was here helping and all 3 students arrived.  We thought we'd make a start on the flat packed fruit cage - however, it took Mike & Mike (carer) most of the morning to work out the instructions....suffice to say there are a few rather wobbly metal rods up so far..!  We had to spend at least half an hour mending fences in the sheep field as about 20 or so naughty lambs have been 'burrowing' out and then can't get back to their mums for a feed!
Pm we went down to Cerney House again, for a treat.  The tulips look amazing - well the whole garden looks lovely - and it's a real joy to see everyone so happy, wandering about admiring all the flowers!

Our Tulips!!

Only two more days to go, then we break for Easter till 8 May - and hopefully will have some chicks hatched by then...!

Monday, 11 April 2011

week 6 spring

Monday i was away, so i left things in the capable hands of Ben, Hilary, Legs and Molly.  Molly wrote up my weekly diary, beautifully, and i'm just reporting back to the blog!  We had a visit last week from my insurance company, and by the time they left we knew we would have a list of 'recommendations' as long as yer arm....!
Suffice to say, William & Ben's first job was to move the paper hand dispenser from our little kitchen, to the men's toilets!  There was a lot of 'bottle' feeding done, as we have about 14 pet lambs now, owing to the Mastitus outbreaks - this job is absolutely Helen's favorite part of the morning, so we had a very happy student again!  Ben and William have made us a great bench for sitting outside the porta cabin...it's been put together from ends of telegraph poles, and a 'donated' plasterer's plank??!  Anway it's exactly what we needed outside in the glorious weather we've been having.
Wednesday was SO hot, Steve actually got a very burnt neck - i've had to insist they all bring sun hats & creams - can't believe it in April.  My friend Sally Ann has lent us her incubator, so we set that up first thing.  We've put a mix of Rhode Island, Cotswold Leg Bars, and my Bantam's eggs in - we'll have to wait and see for 21 days now.  We planted out all the Sweet Peas into ....yes, you guessed some of the millions of tyres we've STILL got on site!  The guys made some lovely tripods out of hazel twigs for them to grow up.    Peas & radishes were planted out in the 3rd raised bed - everything is growing at such a rate, it's fantastic.  Broad Beans are up outside, & some tiny leeks, and inside the poly tunnel the salads are going crazy - must get to the local pubs to see if they want to buy some salad bags off us!

Thursday, great excitement, as the local Police came over to help plant out the last four Fruit Trees, as they had given us the funds to buy them.  Coln House School also helped - i don't think we've ever had so many willing helpers on site - we got most of the wood chip spread round all the paths, and i think they would have put the fruit cage up if they had been allowed to stay all day!
After they had left the rest of the gang planted up 18 tyres  with our 'chitted' Charlotte & Pink Fur Apple potatoes - it's all taking shape now!  The only thing is there's SO much watering, and having got our bowsers all attached to drainpipes, we've had hardly any rain!  I'm sure it won't be long, and i hope it rains at night only...!

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Week 5 Spring

hard at work plucking the cockerels!
My black eye is well and truly shaping up - it looks worse by the day, and i'm not sure the students thought much of my 'horse' story...!  Anyway to Monday -  we had a great day - the weather was perfect for plucking cockerels!  We had Coln House School arriving at lunch time to pluck & dress our two cockerels - so the morning was spent doing all our other chores, combined with pet lamb' feeding of course - apparently we now have 18 pet lambs!! We had to dispatch two of our Rhode Island Cockerels - they were really bullying the ducks and other hens - Lucy (sister) has a 'stun gun' for such purposes and duly did the deed - with Helen watching avidly in between putting her arm round me reassuring me that it was all ok, and not to worry!  Ben & Will made a tripod specially, to hang the birds from - and the students sat / stood and plucked round them!
Helena then gave a wonderful biology lesson, whilst dressing them  (pictures to follow!)  No-one seemed unduly concerned, and it's great to know that they had a wonderful life up till Monday!  (We're going to have them casseroled for lunch on our last day of the Session)
stripped ready for action!

Wednesday and Thursday - Gerry one of my volunteer helpers arrived with armfuls of beautiful pansies, violas, wall flowers & lots more herbs - and she & Tom spent a happy morning designing new flower beds with....tyres of course!  They are now planted up either side of the path running up to the porta cabins and really brighten up the project.
Yesterday, Simon worked really hard all day, with Bob, Mike & Simon (a new volunteer helper) marking out (that took most of the morning!) and planting some of the fruit trees.  The fruit cage has arrived flat pack, and next week, we hope to have some of the Glos Constabulory workforce here to help finish planting the trees - having given us the donation to purchase them!  The rest of us, were feeding sheep / moving them, and generally being sheep people most of the day.  Steve, Bev & Leanne planted up a long long gutter with tomatoes, and rocket. Tom & Ernie transplanted a rose, and moved tons of top soil!

 Everything has really shot up over the last couple of weeks, and the site is starting to take shape at last

PS we had a very sick ewe yesterday, and last night the vet came and performed a 'caesarian' on her - and fingers crossed she has 3 lovely lambs and is doing well....watch this space!

(Piccys will follow - after the weekend - we're off to Roma!)

Friday, 25 March 2011

week 4 spring

I'm sitting here typing with one hand as my horse Manny managed to 'knee me' on my eyebrow by mistake today!  I'm holding a bag of peas on it whilst typing!

Back to this week...Lambing has taken off full tilt so, David, Hilary, Helen (who is now doing Monday mornings instead of Wednesdays, and I collected loads of Ivy first thing - Ivy is an anticeptic, and sheep love eating it - it's especially good after they've lambed, for healing, but also for bringing their milk through.  William and Ben spent the morning doing some running repairs to a wheelbarrow.  There were lots of tasks to do in the lambing sheds, feeding & watering, and then the best bit - giving two lambs a 'bottle' - this is done every four hours or so, as their mother got mastitus (an udder infection) and so has no milk of her own.  PM, Coln House School arrived, with some lovely red onion plants for us - they've gone into some of our 'tyre' planters outside.  They really enjoyed seeing all the lambs, and we all  walked round the field to check for any new arrivals, before we finished for theday.

Wednesday, we had another busy day, mainly based around the lambing shed, and PM, Simon (who's not that keen on parts of the 'lambing',  planted lots more raspberries, in our - soon to be covered with a cage, soft fruit area!

The yurt where Helen & Dave
do their rural skills courses
Thursday - we have been given our first big 'donation'- from Gloucestershire Constabulory...! So, we went off to spend some of it, buying a lovely selection of local fruit trees, from Day's Cottage.  (See link opposite)
Sorry this is sideways...it's a 300 year old Perry Tree
at Helen & Dave Casper's Orchards!
It was lovely to be shown round some of their orchards, and to see how to plant each tree - we now have 2 Pear trees, 7 Apples, and a Damson tree to plant out - these will not start fruiting for another two years or so, but will really add structure to our site - and something to really look after & forward to!  The rest of the donation is going towards our fruit cage for the soft fruit area.  Lots of digging and preparation has been put into this area behind the poly tunnel - so it will be great to see Raspberries in the Autumn (and hopefully Strawberries too) - the other Gooseberries, Blackcurrants, Redcurrants & Wineberries will be another year, as they can't be moved till the autumn (having taken cuttings last year & overwintered them)

All in all a lovely week's work - especially with our beautiful Spring weather! Let's hope it continues...

Sunday, 20 March 2011

week 3 spring

love at first sight!

We are milking the ewe!

Actions speak louder than words this week so.....i'm saying it in pictures!
Planting out the first cabbages - let's hope the frost
doesn't kill them off...
A single lamb for this ewe!

Friday, 11 March 2011

Week 2 Spring

Monday - Will and Ben were kept busy mending sheep hurdles, ready for lambing.  David and Hilary spent the day watering all the seeds, salads, and planting out broad bean seeds & leeks.  Coln House school arrived at lunch time, and we had a lovely afternoon with the boys helping Will & Ben making a raised bed, and cleaning out the ducks.  Helena brought some 'plugs' of cosmos & felicia flowers that we re-potted into single pots. I had a lovely surprise at the end of the day, when Waitrose, Cirencester, rang me to say that we have been picked as one of their projects for their Green Tokens in April!
One of Daisy's Eggs
with a goose egg and our Rhodey's egg!
Wednesday, Steve was back, with Si & Tom, and Danny.  The guys worked really hard getting the sheep 'pens' set up in the covered yard.  Danny helped Gerry planting out some herbs, and then was our 'Star' when Ciren College Media Studies group arrived to film us!  They interviewed us all, and are going to put together a short film about the project for us to use for marketing, and raising the profile.
A pair of Hardwick sheep at the market
nearly bought them...!
Thursday, i took the students to the market at Driffield, to see what was being sold - we were looking at poultry primarily, to work out which eggs to buy to go under the next 'broody' hen.  Countryfile were there filming - we reckoned Adam was selling some of his sheep!  Not much to see this time, but it's great to go and have a look.
Afternoon was spent preparing the 'soft fruit area' again, SO many stones to clear still, but....the guys did plant out the raspberry canes.  We could do with another 6-10 canes if anyone's got any spare!
We are being given a donation of £500, and are going to buy some bare-rooted fruit trees, and a fruit cage to keep the birds out.
We're all really desperate for lambs now....the triplets are HUGE and can hardly move but to date...nothing yet!

Friday, 4 March 2011


Ella helping out!
We had a lovely week off last week - Ella helped with the hens & ducks, and feeding the triplets each day!

Our first day back this week, there was great excitement as Daisy the Duck has laid her first egg! (We've now had one each day - although it's quite difficult to find them, as they are very clever at burying them in the straw!)
As Daisy has started laying, William & Ben have made her a nesting box - but of course she just lays them on the floor! David arrived late (transport problems) and had lots of watering jobs to catch up on with Hilary. Then they planted herbs into our herb wall.  William and Ben spent the afternoon mending sheep hurdles ready for lambing.

Wednesday, we had a new student doing a 'taster' session.  As Helen, got out of the taxi (which i might add costs £15 each way from Cirencester!) she told me that her very favourite animal was a sheep - well of course, when i told her that the first thing we were going to do was feed the triplet ewes - she was virtually hysterical!!
We had a lovely morning, Danny & Helen got on really well, and mucked out the hens & ducks, while Simon & Gerry prepared the compost to grow the mushrooms in and assembled the tiny glass house - it's steaming up nicely!  Tom & Mike have been making 'edging' for our paths, from the ash seedlings that we have left from when we cleared the site.  All we need now is the wood chip - slight problem there - i thought i had found a lorry load of free wood chip - but when they went to throw it onto the site, it turned out to be full of green cedar branches and not much wood...!  Luckily i managed to stop them after one load, and they took the rest away - motto - DO NOT RUSH INTO THINGS!! Sue was in charge in the afternoon as i went off to Sadlers Wells to see a very bizarre ballet called The Centaur and The Man....

Thursday, Still no Steve - we really miss him, and i need him to help with the wood chip paths (when i find some wood chips!) he's takes such pride in making them.  As we had all the relevant pipework for the bowsers, Simon, Bob & Mike spent the morning finally hitching up the guttering to the bowser behind the portacabins.  Now all we need is some rain to make sure they work!  I don't mean that - it's been gorgeous today. We planted some more peas - mice ate the last lot, and Simon had hidden them in guttering, so fingers crossed this time.  We had another student here for a taster session, in the afternoon.  Ernie, helped all the guys stone picking, raking and getting the 'soft fruit' area ready for planting the Raspberries out.  He also checked for eggs with us.  We had a look at one of the duck eggs to make sure it's fertile, in readiness to put some under a broody hen at some stage.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Week 5

Monday - No David - he was ill, and no Ben, so Mike was our volunteer along with Hilary.   He and William spent a happy morning planning and making a 'hatch' through the fence to the sheep field, to make a pen for the hens & ducks.  We felt they needed more 'grass' stuff to scratch about in.  Coln House School arrived at lunch time, with 5 students.  We split up, girls doing mucking out horses, and the boys with me.  One of them came up with a really bright idea!  We couldn't find Lucy (sister's) electric pig fencing anywhere, so made a temporary fence out of some of the hundreds of tyres left from the 'sylage pit', we had cleared away from the site in August.
Meanwhile, William and Curtis helped with the 'trap door'.   Hilary & I have marked out a path at the back of the poly tunnel leading from the double doors.
the hens make their bid for freedom!
Wednesday, we had Danny, Simon & Tom.  Great excitement from Danny, as we had heard that one of the ewes in the main flock, had signs of a 'prolapse' (stomach starting to fall out the back end!)  Of course he was desperate to go and see if we could find it!  The guys finished off the hatch in the hen/duck pen, and watched as the first hens escaped into their new field (see photo) Bob & Simon had made a bird box for Danny the week before, and Danny painted it with Bob.  He and the guys then (when the paint was barely dry!) marched off up the track to find a suitable resting place for the box - the first tree he saw i think!   We took Danny off before he left and did indeed find the 'prolapse' ewe - with the green spot & blue eartag - thank goodness!  Actually it had only just started, so hopefully the special harness designed for prolapsing, will hold the stomach back inside until she lambs next month.  The guys worked really hard all afternoon, raking & working the beds for the soft fruit area out back of the poly tunnel, and filled our 'herb wall' ready to plant up.  They also finished filling our first raised bed.  Tom was so tired he apparently fell asleep before they'd got to the end of the drive on the way home!
Cerney House Gardens
Thursday, we had a more peaceful day - planting sweet peas, and sugar snaps with Tom.  We have been given a ladybird house, and Si and Mike de-constructed it, so that we can work out how to make one ourselves.  They had used silver birch wood for the main 'house' - our ash was much tougher to drill - we may have to re-think, or raid Mum & Dad's garden for a softer wood!  In the afternoon, we walked down to Cerney House Gardens, just below the farm.   We spent a lovely hour wandering around, getting ideas for ours, and admiring all the snow drops.  It really is a lovely garden, and we can't wait to visit again to see the tulips in April!  It's certainly given us a great idea for our paths...using wood chips; it would be much more accessible for disabled users, in the future.