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, 15 December 2012

End of our Winter Session

Greedy boys!
 Our weaners are really growing - they love being in the woodland, and will need to move into new quarters before long!

They will be ready to go off at the end of January, along with another two ram lambs.
 'Dandy' has married all his four wives, so fingers crossed for their scans in January....
The chicks making themselves at home in the clematis pot!
We were given some funding from The High Sheriffs Gloucestershire Community Fund to buy a new Hen House
Santa with his little helper!!
Hen house arriving....!

We have now finished for Christmas - we have spent the last two weeks, making sure all the animals are checked, houses cleaned, mending and clearing - ready for the January Term.
We had our Christmas Lunch on Thursday.  Thank you to all my wonderful volunteers who mucked in and helped prepare a really delicious feast!  We had our own lamb, pork and leeks...!  We were very honoured to have the Chairman of The Cirencester Rotary Club, Chris Tovey with his wife Liz, as our guests of honour! Happy Christmas to all our students, volunteers, carers and helpers and all our readers!

We start again on 7 January 2013

If you happen to be in Waitrose on Saturday 22 December, call in and see us 'bag packing' - all for the Care Farm Project!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

week 7

It feels like ages since my last Blog - we have had two weeks off, due to staggered half terms.  Ella was home for a week, which was lovely as she helped with the animals at the Care Farm.  She met 'Patch' for the first time, and spent the week getting to know him; bringing him in and out of the field, and feeding him, along with Manny our other horse!

We've had a busy week since starting back - we got all the lambs in on Monday, and weighed them.  We are taking two Ram lambs off to the Abattoir next week, as they are definitely ready - they weighed 44 kilos.
Wednesday and Thursday, the students have been getting the site ready for our 'Hedge Planting'.  We had a delivery from Woodland Trust, with 400 hedging plants - Dog Roses, Crab Apples, Elder, Hazel and Blackthorn.   We have starting planting them round the site with the help of some very willing volunteers today!  We have also been busy making Christmas Decorations to sell at the Christmas Fair at the end of November (Thank mainly to our volunteer helpers; Linsey and Trish!)
We are hoping for another good turnout of volunteers tomorrow to help with more Hedging!
The chicks making them selves firmly
at home!
The Bantam hen and her 11 chicks are settling in really well - they have the run of the entire site - and even jump up on to our coffee table at break times!

Update - we took the two ram lambs off to the abbatoir yesterday - they were by far the best looking of about 30!  They will be ready a week on Thursday, so get your orders in!  We have moved our 4 ewes to a new field with good grass ready for Dandy's visit.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Week 6

Penny's chicken cakes
for the children's last morning!
This week was Christchurch School's last Wednesday - it's gone SO quickly, we shall really miss the children and their teachers.  Ruth is retiring at the end of term, and Penny and Margo two of our volunteers came armed with lovely cakes and even a special 'retirement balloon'!  The children have really enjoyed their Wednesday mornings, and their confidence, and speech have grown noticeably since they started in September.  We hope they will return in the January term.

We moved our latest arrivals - a bantam hen, and 11 chicks out to the field into the ark this week.  It's amazing how quickly the chicks learn to climb the ladder to their sleeping quarters!  Unfortunately, it looks as if at least 6 of them will turn out to be cockerels....but we may be surprised! (Their 'combs' are already well advanced for 6 weeks)

Helen bringing Patch in from
 the field
I had a lovely surprise this Friday, one of our youngest volunteers, Susie (11), arrived clutching a jar of money!   She together with her friends Seb and Olivia have been baking cupcakes and selling them in aid of the Care Farm (totally off their own back!)  Apparently, the cakes were orange, with a bright blue icing, and had either a crunchie topping or toffee popcorn!  One lot of cakes, they took to their local pub (the Sherborne Arms) and the other batch they took all round Coln St Aldwyns selling them door to door - one person paid £5 for a single cup cake!!  I am SO proud of them all, and wanted to say a huge THANK YOU to Susie for being so enterprising, from such a young age!

We are having a TREE PLANTING DAY in November - we have been given 400 Autumn Hedging Plants by the Woodland Trust, and are planning to get them planted over the 9th and 10th November!

Bring a spade and join us (see opposite for times/dates)

Friday, 12 October 2012

weeks 4 & 5!

Oh dear, i'm slipping again....two weeks together!  We have been busy though, no slacking for the students...The Weaners settled in well to their nursery - too well actually; they love to 'truffle' and were in danger of digging their way out to freedom.  So, we have moved them into their woodland home earlier than planned!   They are very happy there, and growing at a great rate - maybe they will have to go off a bit earlier than the last two?  We had to do an emergency 'barbed wire' addition to the bottom of the pig fencing running through the wood, but fingers crossed that will keep them happy for a while!  We have been busy cutting back the hedge to finish off the pig netting up to the far end of the track, which will give us a second 'compartment' for them if we need it!

Rupert the horse dentist 'filing' Patch's
teeth - he was very good for such a
 young  pony!
Grooming time!
'Patch' has proved very popular with our school group that visit on Wednesday mornings.  Their speech therapist accompanied them last week, and was very impressed when Niamh asked after 'Patch'!  They have been helping to groom him each Wednesday, and he has been very patient.  Unfortunately, after a visit from the tooth dentist, Patch needed to have a 'blind wolf tooth' taken out.  (This is similar to our Wisdom Teeth).  The tooth had not come through the gum, but he was 'leaning' onto it, and it seemed to be causing him concern.  The vet came yesterday, and performed a minor op; cutting through the gum to remove the tooth.  She reckoned someone had 'been there before' as there was only a sharp point of the tooth left - no wonder it was uncomfortable for him!   We also had 'Padders' our chiropractor visit Patch this week - i like to get all points checked at this time of the year, and Patch has definitely covered all of them this week! His back was 'rotated' all along his left side (near side in horse terms)  so no wonder my left hip has been hurting me all week....Today we have a 'wart specialist' coming to treat him - he has several 'zarcoids' (a type of wart) and they will be treated with a special cream to hopefully make them disappear.

Does anyone have a recipe for these....'Asparagus Peas'??!
They look beautiful, but don't taste too good!
We had all our sheep in yesterday to worm them all - we want the ewes to be at their best for when 'Dandy' the ram returns in November!  Two of the ram lambs are nearly up to weight to go off to the butcher - so we will have lamb ready for sale in November too.  This year's Ewe Lambs will be kept till next year before being put to the Tup  - we will then have a new Ram (unrelated) to run with all the Ewes.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Week 2 and 3

Weeks are spinning past as usual - our 4 Weaners are settling in to the Nursery - they have cleared all the weeds already, and it looks just like last winter, after all the rain!!  They will stay in the nursery for about a month, and if we have the fencing ready, will move into their woodland home for the winter. 

We had a visit from a group of volunteers last Friday, from a company called Pfizer.  They spent a very happy day, mending and putting up our tool shed!  It had been sitting behind the poly tunnel for a number of months, waiting patiently for someone to find enough time to get it sorted.  It looks great now, and Tom and Mike spent Thursday, relocating all the shelving, tools, nails & screws etc. 

A new addition This is my new pony
Alan (our retired shepherd!) Monday volunteer came back from holiday this week, so we got all the lambs in to check them over.  He and Helen dagged and foot trimmed them all, and then we brought the Ewes up from the churchyard.   They have done a great job keeping the grass trimmed round the graves, but there isn't enough now to keep them in good condition.  The ram, Dandy, is due to come back in November, so we need to keep the Ewes nearby.

Our Wednesday children and students were busy planting up bulbs in baskets ready to sell at a Christmas Fair at the end of November.  Thursday we cleaned out the yard where the farm flock of sheep had been - the students worked really hard, and got thoroughly filthy and soaked - great fun!

We were due to have a Car Boot Sale this Sunday, but sadly have had to cancel it due to the rain....!  Hopefully we will re-schedule for October, and find somewhere under cover to do a Sale.


Welcome Back!   It seems a long time since my last Blog (well it is, it was July...!) 
We started back on Monday to beautiful sunshine - it's been a lovely two weeks.   We've had a busy time over the holidays keeping up with everything - the rain had made the site look a bit like it did back in year one before we cleared it!  But, luckily the 29th Regt RLC came to the rescue again - they arrived armed with strimmers on Monday afternoon, and set to work, strimming, weeding burning and killing again (no animals only vegetation!)

Unfortunately our quail didn't last the holidays - a rat had got into their house somehow, and managed to kill the remaining three overnight.   We will have to think of a better strategy for keeping our next lot.  They were laying really well too....never mind it's all a learning curve!

Great excitement, we are getting our next lot of weaners on Monday.  They are 'Berkshire's' this time (photo to follow) and we are getting 4. The Rotary Club Chairman, Chris Tovey and his wife, came out yesterday to give us our first cheque.  We are putting this towards the Weaners, as they especially asked if they could buy the next lot.
Our 4 new Weaners!!

We have our 'roof extension' at last - no one noticed at first, but it will be great when it starts raining again - no more dashing to the toilets!

Monday, 30 July 2012

final two sessions!

Well, the time came all too fast - the two weaners were booked in, and at 6am on a Monday morning, Mike, Alan and I loaded them both up - all on our own; both incredibly calm, ear tagged them, and set off for the abbatoir; Broomhalls, about 40 minutes drive from home.   They weren't stressed at all, we had a good journey, and it certainly showed in the quality of their meat.  We sold all but the one leg joint, that i kept for our 'end of Summer session' lunch, last Wednesday.   I cooked the joint over night slowly in the oven, and i think everyone enjoyed it - there wasn't any left over anyway.   Even Gerry, who's been a vegetarian for over 20 years, tried a bit!!  So the end of our first shot at 'weaner rearing' - and we can't wait to get the next lot!
The Weaner's last stop...

We have weaned the lambs too - the Ewes (4 of them) have gone down to the churchyard, and are very happy down there.  The lambs seem fine up here, and they are all putting on condition, ready for the Autumn, when the ram lambs will be ready to go off down the 'meat chain'.  We won't put this year's ewe lambs to the Ram this year, as we don't have enough keep for them, and they are still quite young to breed from.  We will hopefully be able to have the Ram, 'Dandy', back in October, to stay with the Ewes for the Winter again.

We have so much grass here on site, that we are desperate to find someone to come and mow it for us to make a few bales of hay, as the sheep are only 'knocking' it down, not eating it - after all the rain!

We've had the first week of our 'Summer Activities' with over 60 children here last week, and lots more to come this week.  We were really lucky with the weather - and they all had a great time; making incect houses, bird feeders, planting seeds, and best of all for most of them - digging their own potatoes for supper!!

The students are now finished for the Summer, and we start back week beginning 10 September.  So, if i go quiet again, it's because we're all having a well earned rest!

Friday, 6 July 2012

Weeks 9 and 10!

Rain, Rain and more Rain - or really, really hot for a few minutes!!  Last week, we called the vet out (Owen) to check the lambs.  Some of them have swollen neck glands - although it certainly hasn't altered their eating/wellbeing.  Owen took their temperature, and 'bloods' and left us with some antibiotics.   Having consulted his other colleagues, he could only think it must be something they've eaten (thistles?) that may have got stuck in their throats and caused a slight infection.  The glands had swollen up to protect them?   Anyway we kept them in for 5 days in order to administer the AB's.  I'm not keen on needles at the best of times, so it was a steep learning curve to inject them - i had to ask my friend Cindy to come and help for a couple of days - i think she was properly amazed that i was so shaky!! Anyway they've had the 'meds' and still have swollen neck glands - but they look really good in themselves.  We are keeping a close eye - none of the ewes have a problem and only 4 out of 7 have the 'glands'.
Haven't they grown??!
The rest of the week, we had the art students up to paint the portacabins, which Simon and Steve have thoroughly enjoyed - not finished by any means (and may not be if it keeps raining....!) and we had a new student start last Thursday.  We've got beans planted now, and have picked most of the broad beans ready for our 'lunch'.  The strawberries are really suffering from the weather - such a shame as there are loads!
Great excitement on Monday - 'Fiver' (Ella's favourite bantam) laid her first egg in 3 months - bit small, but let's hope it's not her only egg - watch this space!  We had another new student come for a taster session yesterday - and he thoroughly enjoyed his morning, so will be joining us again next week.
No sign of the Quails starting to lay yet - but i gather they like hiding under branches and 'nesting' down, so we need to get them some 'fake' bushes to make their nests.  If they are real, they will eat the bushes!
We are gearing up for our 'Summer Activities Weeks' that start on Tuesday 24 July so if you know any 'school age' children that would enjoy coming to the Care Farm, and joining in, get in touch soon!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Weeks 7 and 8

We started back after the half term holiday with lots of ....rain!  With Open Farm Sunday looming at the end of the week, we spent most of the day tidying / cleaning up the Covered Yard.   We had to move the sheep's electric fence, as they had eaten their 'strip' down far enough - we all managed to get thoroughly soaked!
Wednesday, Christchurch School children were here with Danny.  Tomas and Miranda were very helpful pulling out our old wallflowers and replanting the line of tyres alongside our paths, with flowers we had grown in the poly tunnel.
In the afternoon we met up with our other students at Cotswold Farm; where they had 'Open Gardens'.  The students had a stall in aid of the Care Farm, selling plants, and raised over £30!  We had a very enjoyable afternoon looking round the amazing gardens.  The best bit for me, was the wild orchid meadow - really beautiful.

Our Open Farm Sunday afternoon was as great success.  We had about 10 children, with their families, and were 'lent' 3 orphan lambs, from a neighbouring farmer (thank you Jane!) to bottle feed.
feeding time at Open Farm Sunday!

I think along with feeding the pigs, it was definitely the highlight of the afternoon! (And great sunshine helped)  We have put our Quail out into the hen house we used for the bantams - they have their own run, and are just about getting used to going back into the house at night (i have to climb into the run on my hands and knees to 'shoo' them up there!!)

Monday we had to bring our flock of Wiltshire into the covered yard.  We have one lamb that is lame - can't find out why, and we wormed the lambs again.  Some of the lambs also seem to have swollen throats - soft tissue no lumps??  We may have to pay a visit to the vets again....(remember we took on of the Aylesburys last year!)
In the afternoon we had a visitor from Deer Park School, and two representatives from Mencap - and the weather was lovely.  We had teas outside, and Helen and William show people round. 

Wednesday, Niamh and Miranda were here with Danny - again extremely hot weather.  They helped fill the raised bed that Roly made with Mike and Alan; with stones, and took water up to the pigs (with delightful watering cans that we were given at the weekend!) 
In the afternoon we had visitors from Ruskin Mill, Jane Burr, Head Teacher at North Cerney School, and St Rose's Stroud.  The Art students from Owl Barn also came up, and Simon has actually done a trial 'Mural' on the side of the Porta Cabin - it looks great!  We were very pleased to welcome two representatives for The Barnwood Trust, who are going to help raise our profile.,

Thursday, Roly & Mike made yet another bed for flowers this time and Gerry spent all morning weeding the Fruit Cage!! In the afternoon we had the Chairman of Cirencester Rotary Club here with his wife, as we have been chosen as their main Charity for their coming year!  We also had Annabel here from Dobbies - she arrived with gloves & tools for the children, and other supplies for the poly tunnel - so a big thank you to her, and Julie Mantell, Head Teacher from Paternoster School.  Unfortunately, the weather yesterday afternoon was really filthy - so not easy to show everyone round.  Luckily both Gerry & Mike our two volunteers had made delicious cakes for tea!  (Mike recently won a competition for the best Victoria Sponge so we asked him to bring us one!)
Annabel from Dobbies handing out gardening

By the end of yesterday, Gerry and i were completely shattered - but we feel the last four days have been a great success - all about raising our profile, and showing people what we have to offer at the Care Farm.  Hopefully, we will have a good group of new students starting in the Autumn...!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

The last two weeks....!

See what i mean - beautifully
One of our lovely Wiltshire lambs
note their horns growing!
I seem to start quite a few blogs saying 'sorry' for not keeping up to date...!  The last two weeks have been SO full on with preparations for the Diamond Jubilee Garden Tea Party, that i'm surprised any of the Care Farm animals got fed / watered and that the Poly Tunnel is still thriving - but they did / and it is!
The pigs are thriving in their new home (the woodland up the track) they blend in so well it's quite difficult to see them - which is jolly lucky as i managed to ride past them today without my horse spotting them!
The quails have just moved from the playroom in our house up to the poly tunnel, in a lovely yellow ex-pet rat house....with lots of greenery to keep them happy - i can't believe how quickly they grow - they are three weeks old already. 

The young chicks Ericka gave us
have settled in well

Our lovely 'Tree Lupin' inherited
with the top soil we were given
last year from a garden in Cheltenham!
It also smells amazing....
We finally had our first visit from Christchurch School this term - they've been trying to get here for weeks, but the weather and ill staff kept cancelling them.  It's lovely to see the children again, and i hope they will enjoy their Wednesday mornings from now until the end of the term.

With all the Jubilee celebrations happening over this last weekend, it was inevitable that the Fete at Rendcomb College wouldn't be as busy as we hoped for - but due mainly to all our hard working volunteers and students, it was a lovely afternoon (even through the fog and rain!) Rendcomb College is such a fantastic setting - the Classic Cars looked amazing as they all arrived for tea after their 'Run'!  We had a great turn out with about 27 cars of every shape and size.  The 'best dressed' prize had to go to Austin Powers and his girlfriend in their 'SHAGUAR' - brilliant fun!.  Hopefully, with the sponsorship we had paying for the food for the Car Enthusiasts, we will have made nearly £5,000.00 - a truly amazing amount!  THANK YOU TO ALL OF OUR VOLUNTEERS AND STUDENTS FOR YOUR HARD WORK, and especially to Gerry and her family for organising Rendcomb, and Gail & Derrick for organising the Classic Car Run.

Our students start back again next Monday, so till then, i hope you are all having a restful week and enjoying all the celebrations!

ps Did you hear us mentioned last Thursday on the 'Chris Evans Breakfast Show'??

Sunday, 20 May 2012

week 5!

Weather definitely better this week!  Work has been devoted mainly to getting the pig fencing up along the side of the track - it's looking great and reckon after tomorrow we could see the weaners in their new site...! They will love it, as there's loads of small shrubs/weeds to grub around with!  The sty is ready in situ, and we just need to find a water container.

Emily, John, & Laura painting with Danny
Wednesday, our friends from the Owl Barn came over armed with paints and the students had great fun 'priming' the porta cabin!

We've also been planting out more veggies, and seeds in our raised beds - hoping to get carrots, peas, beetroot, leeks and broccoli and purple sprouting before long... especially with the last few days of sun we've had! 
Big excitement on Thursday morning, i came downstairs to hear 'squeeking' - and found the Quail had started hatching in the incubator!  We now have 6 - although one had a rather ropy start...but fingers crossed!  They are TINY - can't believe how much smaller they are than chicks!

We are busy getting ready for the Jubilee fund raiser, and i have persuaded Gerry & Penny, two of my volunteers to cut out blue triangles for our bunting...any help gratefully received for help on the day!

We are hoping to have lots of stalls, and games and have a great Clay Pigeon Shoot competition organised - you can also try your hand at dry stone walling and if you take to it, you can come up and finish our stone wall at the Care Farm!

Ella asked me to make sure i told everyone that the new ducks are called Jake, Lavinia and Dorothy..!

Don't forget to follow us on twitter.....

Friday, 11 May 2012

3rd and 4th weeks Summer Session

Happy as a pig in clover!
Well we've found it hard to believe it's the Summer Session! Last week was pretty much a wash out - we spent most of the week in the poly tunnel re-potting all the seedlings we brought back from Coln House school.  We've had a terrible time recently with a fox 'picking' off the chickens, bantams & ducks in broad daylight... So we had to invest in an electric poultry net at VAST expense - so far so good; but he / she managed to pick off Deidre duck, 3 laying hens and 3 bantams over the last two weeks

a few minutes before more rain ....!

This week we've been concentrating on building the fence along a strip of woodland to move the piglets out of their run - it's such a quagmire (great for them; they love it!) but quite a serious risk assessment before we can let any students  near them!  Only a few more weeks to go before they will be leaviing us - let's hope the weather improves and starts to dry everything up a bit.
I'm sitting here in glorious sunshine at the moment...!
We have been given 5 chicks this week, so with the others that are nearly full size; we should have a series of hens coming on to replace the ones that disappeared off with the fox.  We also have a dozen quails eggs in the incubator and are hoping they will all hatch next weekend...

Thursday, 26 April 2012

week 2

We have had terrible weather this week...although we do desperately need the rain, it would have been good to have some warm sun too!  Monday we had to move the electric fence in the pouring rain, as the three ewes have eaten off the rather meagre grass behind the porta cabins.  We completely re-fenced the area, as the ducks were completely ignoring the electric tape, and going straight through it, heading for the water trough put out specially for the lambs - suffice to say it wasn't a very pretty sight afterwards - and certainly not what the lambs should be drinking....!   Completely sodden it was a good job done by William Alan and I.  Meanwhile Helen & Hilary cleaned out the poultry houses!   We spent the afternoon in the poly tunnel - rewinding electric tape onto spools - a very pleasing job, as it's SO maddening finding it all tangled up when we next need it!.

Wednesday was torrential again, and unfortunately the children that we  were expecting from a school in Cheltenham had to cry off, due to flooding.  We had a great day with Danny, first up at the Owl Barn (where .... great excitement, the students may have sold two pieces of their artwork!!)  Then we went on to Coln House school in Fairford, to look at all their seedlings, and poultry.  We came back armed with trays and trays of seedlings to plant on / out.

Today was dismal again, and no students turned up this morning, and just one this afternoon - all fairweather i suppose!  Never mind, we spent most of the afternoon in the poly tunnel - repotting lots of the seedlings.

We now have a twitter account - set up by Gerry - so those of you that like to 'tweet' have a look...!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

First Week Back!

March with one of her lambs!
Well everyone was glad to be back!  Helen was SO excited about March having lambed, and she kept saying how happy she was all day!  (she had already thought up names for the ewe lambs)  We spent a very happy morning mucking out hens and ducks again, and then the afternoon bringing the ewes and lambs into the covered yard - Rain being forecast all week...!  It was faintly hysterical trying to get the ewes to come in, Alan and Helen and i were carrying a lamb, and William and Karen (who's just had a knee op!) were trying to persuade them to come in!!

Wednesday, we went up to the Owl Barn, to show Danny the exhibition, and did some preliminary sketches for the student's references; to help when painting the porta cabins.  They were all excited to see their masterpieces up; right by the entrance to the exhibition - someone had even asked if they were for sale!!
There is a lot of preperation going on in the poly tunnel and the raised beds outside; making ready for planting.  We've been discussing which veg we are going to put where, and general planning.

Thursday morning - MARY JANE starting 'showing'!  I've been getting up at 6am every day for two weeks so i was quite pleased as she is the last of the four to lamb!   By the time the students arrived, Alan and i had decided to give her a hand, as she was definately struggling - i lambed her twins successfully, and she has 'a pigeon pair'!  We are keeping them in till Monday, as the weather is so unsettled.   We also went up to look at the pig units on the White Way - researching electric fencing, as we are going to have to move No. 1 & 2 weaners....they need more to do each day, otherwise they will be breaking loose soon!  We are going to fence in some of the woodland up the track (it could do with clearing) and it will provide plenty of shade and keep them occupied!

Monday, 16 April 2012


Typically, whilst the students are off on their Easter break - the lambing started- on Easter Sunday!
June with her two ram lambs!
Just as we sat down for lunch, Lucy rang and said that one of our ewes was 'on for lambing' (they were taking the donkey for a walk!) March was first - she had two really sturdy ewe lambs in the afternoon / evening.  We decided to get them all in that evening as it was pretty cold, and Lamby looked as if she was starting too - they were born later that evening - 2 ram lambs!  Next was June - hers arrived out in the field Saturday early in the morning - when i went out at 5.30am she had already lambed - but quite a difficult time i think, as she /they looked very tired and rather forlorn - we managed to get her in with them, and very glad we did as it was a horrid morning.

The horrid morning was the start of our Spring Car Boot Sale - unfortunately, as it put a lot of punters off - still we had a fun morning, ably assisted by Tina's fabulous bacon, sausage & duck egg baps - she sold out!  We managed to raise £200 which was a feat as there were only about 6 'Car Boots'!!

The quail eggs we put in the incubator didn't hatch - i reckon they were not fresh enough - still we have the 5 other chicks - they have moved out to the field in a lovely old ark that we were given.  They have a great time running up and down the ladder from their 'sleeping quarters' - it's very cosy up there at night. 
Add caption
Ella with her 'Fiver'!

Our 3 new ducks have settled in well and have made friends with Deidre, and Fiver is feeling right at home again!  One of the bantam hens disappeared recently - we thought she must be broody and sitting somewhere, and have finally discovered her hidden between two of the dumpy bags full of stones in the field next to the other hens!  She's sitting on at least a dozen eggs - and should be hatching any day!!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Week 10!

Our last week of the Spring Session - we are finishing a week earlier, so that the students can come back early, and hopefully not miss out on the ewes lambing...!  They are looking great - getting hungrier by the day - we have had to put electric fencing round the hen & duck houses to make sure the Ewes don't get in and eat the layers pellets - Lucy lost a goat last year that had eaten loads of layers pellets!
Our two new arrivals - the weaners, have settled in really well - i did have to call on Alan to come out for a morning this week, to do some fence maintenance - the pen they are in was originally built for hens, and so the wire was not up to much straining! We now have a new gate, with proper fixings, and the wire is all attached to the heavy telegraph poles round the edge.  They love lying around in the sun; digging up the pen and scratching! ' Fiver' has returned from Coln House School, which is lovely - although i think she may have bought some rather unwelcome visitors with her (mites!) so she's had a warm soapy bath today...!   She keeps the chicks company; they now spend the day in the poly tunnel, and come back to the heat lamp at night - will hopefully be able to put them in the pheasant pen before too long.  The bantam cockerel was picking on Fiver again, and she seems most at home following us around or in the poly tunnel!  We were given some quail eggs (hopefully fertile) so i have put them in the incubator - 18 days to go...
Last Friday we went to Gloucester, to King Fishers Church, with friends from the Owl Barn, to see Danny, one of our students in a play - a 'take' on the Oscars - it was brilliantly organised and great fun!
The students are due to start back week beginning 16 April - so will not be too much blogging till then..

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Week 9

The Oxford & Sandy Brown Litter
This week has been full of ups and downs....!  Ups being the arrival of our two piglets on Monday afternoon - we all (our Monday group) went to pick up our weaners from Chedworth.  A lovely small holding, with a large flock of Wiltshire Horns, and a litter of Oxford & Sandy Browns.  (See attached photos)  It was great to see them both, and get an idea of what our lambs will look like when they arrive next month!  No. 1 and No. 2 piglets have settled in really well to their new surroundings. 
One of the Wiltshire Horn Ewes
with their lamb!
However, on a sad note, we had moved all the hens & ducks into the field with their houses, and i forgot to shut them in properly on monday night and Mr (or Mrs) Fox had Jake our drake, and one of our best laying hens and one of the bantam cockerels....just shows you can't take any chances.  The foxes are always out and about at this time of year, as we are lambing in earnest on the other side of the track.  See photo of the chedworth Wiltshire who's lamb is wearing a red 'coat' made of plastic that 'rustles' in order to ward off any predators - it also doubles as some protection from the rain!

Friday, 9 March 2012

Week 8

We've been really busy this week - exciting news....we have two piglets arriving!! They are 'Oxford & Sandy Browns' - weaners, that we are going to bring on and sell for pork!  We've been busy moving the hens and ducks into the field and moving an arc into their 'spot'! - a very good suggestion from Karen, on of our volunteers! 
Next - Chicks...we have 5 chicks, arrived on Thursday,  from our incubator - not sure if we will get any more...not a particularly good strike rate from 15 but....never mind - the 5 look very healthy!
As we were busy getting ready for the weaner arrivals, we didn't make it up to the 'Owl Barn', but the Art students decided to come and give us a hand instead! Thank you to John & Emily (and Nick) we really appreciated it! 
On a sad note, Lavinia one of the ducks, was really poorly and we had to make a horrid decision to have her put down on Monday evening - she looked as if she had a horrid virus, and wasn't moving about at all - we will miss her.  Still, hopefully we will get a replacement before long.

We have also started feeding the ewe lambs this week - they are getting really big, and they stop eating as much grass & hay, so we need to give them more protein by way of sheep nuts, to safe guard the twins.

May have found another arc....! We mended the ancient one in the field that our Ewes like hiding in when it's wet - they have short fleeces and do not like rain - but have just heard about another one going;  locally...

Friday, 2 March 2012

Weeks 6 and 7

Well, at last the weather has improved!   We have had a busy couple of weeks - Ben and William worked really hard on Mondays, making us some lambing shelters out of pallets - ready for April!  We are hoping to lamb the ewes outside - weather permitting, as they definately prefer it.  'Lamby, Mary Jane, March & June' are all looking blooming!  We had to give them their first dose of Heptavac (flu/tetnus) jab yesterday - Alan our new volunteer is proving extremely useful, having worked on a farm for years previously!

  Last Wednesday we were very fortunate to have a private tour of a special garden at Winstone 'Cotswold Farm Gardens'.  Their snowdrops are amazing - whilst we were being shown round, the owner was taking a well known local gardener round, checking snow drop names; making sure they were all correct - ready for Open Gardens!  We have been given some lovely dogwood plants that were being thrown out, and yesterday Bob & Mike, helped by Simon, planted them all out on our very stony back - we are hoping they will survive and make a lovely 'Dogwood Bank'!

With the lovely sun yesterday, and more forecast along with some rain, we took the bull by the horns and planted out our sweet pea plants, that  we grew from seed last Autumn....we'll see if they survive!

Up at the 'Owl Barn'
At half term, Ella and i put 16 eggs in Sally Ann's incubator - we've been checking them regularly, and on Monday, Curtis helped us 'candle' them to see if they are fertile!  They are due to start hatching next week so....watch this space!! 

We were very sad to say goodbye to 2 of our volunteers this week - Ben and Bob.  They have been with us from the beginning, and we will really miss their valuable input.  Ben, particularly for his woodwork skills, and Bob for his gardening, and wild life knowledge.  We wish them both well, and hope they will keep in touch.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

4th Week!

Bitterly cold weather - but a good week...!  Fiver (who's been laying a blue egg every day) has gone off with Curtis for a little holiday to Coln House School!  She's gone to meet a boyfriend, so that her eggs will be fertile!!  We've been lent an incubator again, by Sally Ann, and we are going to fill it up this week, with Rhode island, and Lahman eggs (hopefully all fertile from Mr Legbar!)  Meanwhile, talking of Mr Legbar, he may have to go to the Poultry sale this week, as he's getting really viscious...

The ewes are all doing well, and will be coming in again shortly, to have their flu jabs, so that they can pass on the antibodies to their lambs.

On our visit to the Art Barn, we gathered outside in the nearby wood, in freezing temperatures to do some 'live art sculptures' - having spent all morning freezing working outside, the students didn't last too long, and so we went back to the barn, where they all had a go at hand clay modelling.
I can't decide who gets more out of the Art; the students or my volunteers...but it's great fun all the same!

Unfortunately i had to cancel my Monday students, as it was just too icy and slippery for them.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

3rd week!

Well, we've had the most exciting week...!  Firstly Fiver our lovely tame bantam, that nearly died as a chick last year (she was badly pecked by a jealous mum!) laid her first egg!!  Now we have two, and they're both blue - and nearly the same size as a hen egg

Graham the Sheep Scanner
Our clever girls!
Then, we had our four ewes scanned today - AND, they're all having twins!  Helen came in especially to watch the scanning, with our other students - they were all SO excited...Graham the mobile scanner, was really helpful, showing the students the scanning diagrams on the monitor, and very patient - he said it was the most fun he'd had in ages!!

Danny 'throwing a pot' with Rose
This week we have also been out and about!  Some friends have opened an 'Art Barn' nearby at Calmsden, and they invited us to go along and join in with their 'Artists in Residence'.   Everyone had such a good time - yesterday morning we painted, and today we did some charcoal drawing.  We are hoping to plan our murals for the porta cabins, while we are there, and then start painting the outsides when the weather improves (we've had some snow tonight!)

Back on site, the students have been taking cuttings, and planting seeds to grow on for our next sale - in the Spring hopefully.
The 'markers' for the ewes
red for singles, green for triplets
 and blue for no lamb...

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

First week back!

Well, the cold weather's here again!  About time, we've all had far too many colds and viruses - we need something to kill them all off!

We were very sorry not to see our two students from Dursley this time - apparently their funding has changed or something - such a shame, they were both so enjoying their time here.

Our other students got stuck straight in again, it's lovely to have them back again.  They have been working on a chicken house we have been given, and general maintenance around the site. 

I was thrilled to see my friend Rob Rees has opened his cafe at The Star College - it's run by students from the college, and promises to be a real treat - we will have to take our students up there for a coffee.

We are waiting to see when the 'mobile scanning man' can come out to look at our lambs - he is due before the end of the month - the students will love that!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012


I just wanted to say a Happy New Year to you all and welcome back our students at the start of our Spring Session this week!

We had some very exciting news over the Christmas Holidays....Gerry one of my special volunteer helpers had a baby girl - 8lbs 4ozs; called Annie May!!  (photo to follow!)  We wish them all well, and hope she will bring Annie over to meet us all, when they have recovered!

I have put the dates for the next two sessions, up opposite, and any new students that would like to join us please ring and come visit!