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.

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.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Week 4

Monday, Sheep first of course - we were a bit concerned as there appeared to be 14 Ewes, not 13 from the previous day??!  Apparently Lucy (sister) had put one of our oldest pet lambs in the with triplets, as she wasn't getting enough food with the main flock.  She has a 'red' spot, meaning a 'single' lamb....Back to site - over the weekend, we had secured some telegraph poles to make raised beds.  (Thanks to John, Mike & Luke, for their help - very heavy things telegraph poles!) Will & Ben spent a very blustery morning, 'cleaning' the poles up; removing barbed wire, and some huge bolts - we've left the large yellow signs saying 'danger of death' - it adds a little something i feel....!  David, Hilary & I were blown over to dad's fruit cage, where we took some cuttings from his Redcurrant bushes - thanks Dad.  We stopped on the way back, and dug up some of my hundreds of 'Buddleia' seedlings, which we have planted in a row outside the poly tunnel (I've no doubt we will have to prune them vigorously to stop them taking over, but the butterflies will love them!)  We have decided our fruit garden is going to be outside the poly tunnel at the far end. We already have a long row of blackcurrants, wineberries, & gooseberries, overwintering there, and now have Rhubarb and redcurrants.  I expect we will have to 'net' them before they get too big though!
Wednesday & Thursday i was on a course at the Rural Skills Centre at the Agricultural College - CEVAS (Countryside Educational Visits Accreditation Scheme) what a mouthful!  It was exhausting, and we now have to put together a portfolio of information to be sent off and independently marked; along with the 10 minute presentation we had to do on the second day of training - my least favourite bit.   It was useful and interesting to meet other farmers all trying to provide facilities for education.  I left the students in the capable hands of my friend Sue, and together with Gerry & Ben,  they had a busy morning putting together the telegraph pole 'raised bed', and then filling it with gorgeous muck & top soil!  It's now 'settling in' for a week before filling it up a bit more.  Thursday, Bob & Mike were in charge.  The guys spent the first part of the day dissecting the owl pellet that Bob had been soaking for a week!  They then went and checked on their bird boxes - to make sure they had weathered the awful winds from the weekend....which they have.  As it was such a filthy day, they squelched off home after lunch - needless to say, it had cleared up by the time i got home at 3pm!

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Week 3

Monday: Ben and William had lots of tidying and mending jobs today!  I discovered 2 'escapees' in the field over the weekend - and found a large hole in the fence - so that was there first job!  Then they made a nesting box to go in the hen house, and a tie back for theduck's door.  David & Hilary planted some rhubarb, that had kindly been donated, and checked & watered all the seeds. 
Lunch time 5 students from Coln House School arrived - it was lovely to see them all, and great to have William and David interacting with them.  We spent a happy hour raking leaves, and cleaning out a really disgusting water trough in the sheep's field that was frozen & covered in black rotting vegetation!  Shannon kindly got my horse in from the field for me, with Helena.  And - guess what - we had another burst pipe! (discovered by William)
Hard at work!

Wednesday, after the daily task of feeding and checking the Ewe lambs that are expecting triplets, the guys all went off with Lucy to check the main flock and make sure they had enough water.  I collared Steve to help rake leaves again with Danny, which helps keeping Danny's attention - as it seems to be completely obsessed with Lucy (sister) otherwise! We managed about 15 minutes, Steve working tirelessly, Danny talking non-stop and raking occasionally!  The others ..
Our Herb Wall under construction..
Pm Simon made a frame for the glass cloche with Roger, to put the mushroom compost in. Tom, Steve & Simon took turns to 'clean off the breeze blocks they had found up the track.  Hard work, and quite a challenge - risk assessment done, we provided masks & goggles (and plasters!)  And, we now have a HERB WALL, constructed by Tom & Steve to hide the drains beside the toilet block portacabin!  We just need some herbs now - A Rosemary hedge on top, and assorted Thymes to plant further down (see photos)  Tom, Steve and i searched the farm for plastic drainpipes & gutters to start preparing the bowsers to collect rain.  It was a beautiful, cold day. And, yes, another burst pipe was discovered as we turned the water on in the morning - so NO WATER ALL DAY!  Quite trying, as it was unbelievably muddy on site, and we had to all traipse down to the house to use the 'facilities' there!
the contents of the owl pellet!

Thursday, Bob arrived with arms full of information about Owls - he gave a wonderful talk on owl's eating/feeding habits, and showed us an owl 'pellet' (much talk about what it was!) - before being soaked, and after - lots of tiny bones/sculls of all its prey - it was really interesting.  They then set off with their bird boxes and ladders to 'site' them on 3 different trees up the track.  They guys will then keep a note of who/what has been using the nesting boxes over the year.  (they are primarily used by Great Tits apparently)

Tom & Simon helped put the White Board up in the Portacabin finally - thank you!  Tom had spotted some plastic guttering the day before in Ann's garden, and having checked it was up for grabs, we collected all the equipment on our list, for making the rain water collector!

Finally, i have come up with some telegraph poles - i've been on the hunt for some to make our raised beds with, and have been in conversation with all sorts of people!  We have been given 2 / 3 and are picking them up today (Saturday) so that we can get started on them next week!  Hopefully we can pick up at least 6 more the following weekend, from another source.