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, 8 December 2013

Nearly Christmas!

WOW - i can't believe that we are nearly at the end of another term!  So much has happened over the last few weeks....we had 'Harry the Hernia' our last weaner back - delicious sausages and now we've just taken delivery of 7.5 kilos of dry cured bacon!  We think that keeping him a couple of months longer has produced a lovely flavour - might have something to do with the wonderful apples that we have been feeding too!
Neville with his final 'wife'!
Helen showing Charlotte
how to stroke a pig!
'Neville' the ram has married all his ewes, so we are taking him home next week - fingers crossed, and we look forward to the scanning in January!  Thank you Adrian Andrews!
Dan hard at working putting
on the roofing felt! p.s he's a volunteer
not a student!

We had a very successful stall at the Cotswold Hunt Christmas Fair at Andoversford, and raised £250 selling produce, wreaths, bulbs and our Christmas Cards.

We were given a garden shed a few months ago, and have at last managed to clear the old pig nursery, and put up the shed!  It looks great - just a few finishing touches - and then we will have ourselves a 'woodworking' shed for the New Year.  We have also had a separate Duck Pen put up by the students this week - we are looking for some more ducks to build up our egg supplies?

our Stall at the Christmas Fair beautifully designed by
Penny and Gerry!
We are looking forward to showing some Trustees around this week, and then on Thursday, we have our end of term Christmas Lunch - something the students really look forward to - i wonder who Danny will dress up as this year....?!

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all our students, volunteers, followers, and supporters a very Happy Christmas, and look forward to catching up in the New Year.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

post half term

The students are back, and we have had a busy week - the decking is finished, and the disabled toilet is done - although we still need to do some 'cosmetic' work - i.e boxing in the pipework - oh and add a lock to the door, as we have taken out the internal locking doors...!
NEVILLE! our pure bred Wiltshire
 Horn Ram we have been very
kindly lent
'Nev' with his Ewes....nearly
there -  only two more to go!

'Neville' our ram is getting on famously - he arrived last Monday (see photo) and is proving very popular with the girls on the Bank!  They really love having such a big field to roam around in - albeit being gently pursued by Nev!

The shed hasn't gone up yet - it's taking much longer than we thought to get the floor sorted.

The hens are back laying slowly, and looking much better having finished moulting!  We have put the bantam mum out with her chicks into the main run, but in a hen run on their own for a week or so.

My little Friday helper!
Annie !
We are busy getting all our produce ready for selling at The Christmas Fair at the Frogmill Hotel, Andoversford - do hope you can all make it.

Gerry and i went to do a 'breakfast talk' at the Severn Vale Rotary Club this week - at 7.30am! Everyone said how much they enjoyed it, and it was great to get our (well mine at least!)first talk  under our belt.

   Our final weaner is going off tomorrow, so we are looking for 4 more - preferably Sandy and Oxfords again - to keep the Gilt company, until she goes off to the boar.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013


My Blog has really gone to pot ......i can't blame anyone else, although now the Website is 'LIVE'....there is not the constant panic to update the blog all the time!

We have closed for two weeks, in order to do some building work.  we have been really fortunate to receive funds to put in some disabled facilities.  We are converting one of the toilets, and putting ramps and decking around the main building - already it looks so different (photos to follow!)

We also hope to get our 'woodworking' shed put up next week (another donation) and so will then have 3 main areas to work in when the weather's on the turn....like this week!

We have been adding to our stock of poultry... hopefully leading to an increase in egg production - and now have a fantastic selection of pure bred hens.   One of the bantams hatched out her 11 chicks, and has just moved out to the field in her own hen with run.  Unfortunately the quail have gone on strike, having been laying every day - (only one hen...and two males!)

We have a lot of news in our Autumn edition of the Newsletter, and lots going on between now and Christmas, so do have a look at our Website :- www.scrubditchcarefarm.org.uk 

On SATURDAY 9 NOVEMBER, we are having a  COMMUNITY APPLE JUICING DAY, here at the Care Farm - all details on the website...save your apples and come and join us!

Saturday, 21 September 2013

We're back....and straight into lots of jobs for the Autumn!  The students have been busy clearing the raised beds where the vegetables have finished; turning the soil, and spreading on our compost.  We have been planting more winter salads in the poly tunnel - our mixed salad bags are really popular on Fridays at the Country markets!  We have a few runner beans left, along with some broad beans and beetroot.  The covered yard is all cleared and stacked with hay and straw at one end, ready for the winter.
Thursday is 'horse care' and the students really enjoy getting the horses in from the field, and spending time grooming them.

Big news - our Quails have started laying! - All two of them / actually it might be only one - we are still not quite sure whether we have 2 females and 1 male or the other way round! Our hens are not laying very well at the moment, so we think we may have to buy some 'point of lay' hens in from someone locally.

Two of the weaners went off last week - they weighed out at 44 and 49 kilos - very presentable!  We have sold nearly all the pork already - one more to go in November.  Next week we are taking 4 ram lambs, and Butts Farm are buying them from us to sell in their shop!

Gerry and i have been busy attending several meetings about 'personalisation budgets, and inclusion'.  Hopefully this will mean we have a better understanding of how our students can get funding to attend the Care Farm in the future.

Do have a look at our website it's nearly finished....www.scrubditchcarefarm.org.uk  !!

 Next,  we are starting to put together / make items to sell at the Christmas Fair at Andoversford, in November.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

a few bits and bobs before we start the new session!

I thought i would post a couple of photos to keep everyone up to date with what's been happening in the holidays!

First off, we have noticed over the past few weeks, how many hundreds of caterpillars they are - most of them seem to be eating our brassicas (Cabbage Whites of course!)  The 'Peacock' caterpillars have been feasting on the stinging nettles in the field - i'm glad someone likes them...we've had 'Painted Ladies', Tortoiseshell, Brimstone, and lots of Common Meadow Butterflies too.
Peacock Butterly Caterpillars
eating stinging nettles!

Danny's friend 'Storm' chewing
his belt!

Last week, we had a disaster with the contractor who was combining the corn - see photo!  The combine was only a week old...!!
The remains of the combine - it caught fire from dust in the
engine - due to the corn being SO dry this year...the wheels
exploded - scary!

Hen's and ducks are well, and the weaners are nearly ready to send off - we are taking two next Monday..and are deciding whether to breed from the Gilt..We are weaning the lambs tomorrow, and bringing them back up to the farm, to weigh them.  We have been approached by a farmer from Evesham; happy to lend us a ram for our 12 Ewes, so we will go over to check him out before finalising anything.

We had a terrible 'incubation' again, with only 2 chicks arriving - we must be doing something wrong...!  Let's hope they are both hens not cockerels!  The Quail are thriving - all three of them, and will go out to the hen run shortly, in their own ark.

Term starts on Thursday, so will be 'blogging' again shortly!

Saturday, 3 August 2013

bits and bobs!

The last day of the Summer Term, we had a special lunch for all the students and volunteers - here in our garden.  It was a beautiful day again, and we all managed to squeeze in under two unbrellas.  After a delicious lunch, students and volunteers all bought something for the picnic with them - we gave out certificates to all the students.  After lunch they all went up to the care farm to say goodbye to their favourite animals for a while!
Hilly one of our volunteers with
her caterpillar birthday cake!

Our local Waitrose manager hard at work
discussing the 'why's and wherefores' of
the strimmer...!
We had a wonderful day with some Waitrose staff from our Cirencester store recently!  14 of them spent all day with us - see photos........

 We are half way through the holidays, and Gerry has been busy running a series of 'Summer Activities' for school age children.  The first week was incredibly hot, but armed with plenty of sun cream, sting relief spray, and hats; all the children had a great time!  We have 3 more Activity days next week, on Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday, with a few spaces left so.....email Gerry if you are interested.

We've had a busy time with some of the Ewes - having put them out to pasture on a lovely old Bank; we discovered that two of them had developed abscesses on their necks.  They had lost a lot of condition, unlike all the others, so we brought them home to the farm and called the vet.  Rob,  took syringes of 'puss' and blood from both of them and gave them antibiotics.  We have just had the results back, and luckily it's nothing serious - with all the dry weather, it's most likely either an infection from thistles, or where they have lain on a hawthorn in the field.  Then of course we've just had the bill from the vets too....not so good!  The rest of the flock look really good - some of the ram lambs should be ready to go off at the end of next month.   My friend Cindy, has put her beautiful Mare and foal out with the sheep, to keep them company.

Gerry has also been busy at the 'Country markets' each Friday morning too - we pick furiously on Thursday evenings, and then she leaves at 7.30 am to set up on Friday!


Sunday, 14 July 2013

week 12, 13

SORRY....we have been  in sunny Ibiza and then back and rushing about as usual...!

The first thing i found early on the Thursday morning on my return was the bantam hen that had vanished earlier on in June....with masses of chicks!  I was pretty sure she was sitting on a 'clutch' somewhere, and sure enough we found her nest later on that day, in the Fruit Cage - she had been sitting under a gooseberry bush for 3 weeks!!  A brilliant mother - she fair rushes at you if you get too close!  We did try putting her and her brood into the Pig Nursery, but when i went out to shut hens in that evening she had managed to move back across to the Fruit Cage with all her chicks again!  Now they are just 'free range' in amongst all the raised beds - ok for a bit, but i think we will have to try and move her in with the others before they get much bigger!
her 'clutch'

one of the 13 chicks our clever
bantam hatched  under
a gooseberry bush!
This week, we visited the Farmers Market at nearby Driffield, where they have a monthly Poultry sale...to sell some of our cockerels, and growers!   Unfortunately the 6 chicks that hatched (out of 24) in the incubator were ALL cockerels - and we already had 5 Bantam cockerels - so, reluctantly we had to also get rid of another 3 cockerels as well!   They maid the princely sum of 20 pence each...!  Like last time we went to market, we came out making a loss, as our purchases outweighed our selling.....we bought 30 Japanese Quail eggs to hatch in the incubator.    It is so lovely and hot at the moment, that we are finding it difficult to keep the porta cabin cool enough so that the incubator doesn't over heat!
a toad we found in the Fruit

We have been picking madly too for Gerry's regular stall at Friday's Country Market behind the Brewery Arts Centre in Cirencester.   We picked salads, sugar snap peas, broad beans, and our first Strawberries.

We had a visit from Sam, a soldier serving with 29th RLC Regiment at South Cerney Barracks - he's hoping to become a regular volunteer from the Autumn.

On Saturday, Gerry and i went to the Cotswold Country Fair, at the Kennels Andoversford - it was scorching hot - which was lucky, as we took bottles of Elderflower Cordial, and sold ice cold glasses of it!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

week 10

Great excitement last week - we were runners up in the finals of the Community Project category at 'HEART OF THE COMMUNITY AWARDS'!   Gloucestershire Echo, and Gloucestershire Media organise the event every year, and we were put forward by a supporter.   It was a lovely event held at Hatherley Manor outside Cheltenham.  The 'GEAR' project won the community award - a very worthwhile project that looks after and helps homeless people, alcoholics and drug users.  Hopefully we may get put forward again next year!

We had a series of Open Days last week too - On Monday the Echo photographer arrived first thing closely followed by the Standard photographer..!  They took some lovely shots of Helen and William feeding the weaner pigs and poultry.  One of our visitors cycled from Swindon to see the Project - that's about 18 miles each way...!  He is a minister, and Helen was thrilled when he suggested 'blessing' all the animals at the Care Farm - Helen marched him off and they walked round the entire field blessing all the sheep, hens, ducks and piglets!
Helen grooming 'March' the Ewe she
named !

Thursday the weather wasn't as good but it was still a busy day showing guests around.  We had a visit from one of our oldest 'Friends' - Win is 91 and came round for a coffee to see us all!

Gerry has organised with 'Country Markets' (ex WI) to take some of our produce to sell on a stall each Friday outside the Brewery Arts Centre in Cirencester - a great success - especially our Salad Bags and eggs!
Two of our broody hens 'sharing'
their duties!

Mark forcing a smile - while planting
out leeks!
Next week i'm away on holiday, so i'm leaving the Care Farm in the capable hands of Gerry; our newly appointed Manager!  Everyone is off to 'A BREATH OF FRESH AIR' the amazing Sculpture exhibition at Quenington - the students have been invited to take part in a workshop in the afternoon, and a guided tour of the exhibits.

This week on Monday we got all the sheep in to check them over, worm the lambs and trim their feet, ready to go off to the Bank field for the summer.  There is so much grass down there, we have fenced off a smaller area for them for now.  We are going to make hay / haylage with the rest of the field hopefully in a fortnight.

Today we moved the weaners to their woodland home - just in case it gets really hot here next week - bound to if we are going away!  They love their new home and can stay there until we finish fencing the rest of the wood; when we will move them round and rest this end again.  Mark was trying hard not to glaze over with boredom planting leeks - not his best area the horticulture!  Gerry took turns with the students working with Manny and Patch our two horses - much more preferable to most of them!

Friday, 7 June 2013

week 9

This Monday we had the local 'Stroke Club' here for a visit!   They had a lovely time; the weather was fantastic, and we managed to wheel them out to the field, where Helen told them all about the sheep, hens & ducks!  We had some cakes left over from the Car Boot Sale (see update on that opposite) and so had a lovely long break in the sunshine!  Gerry brought some of the chicks out to show everyone, and they got a chance to hold them if they wanted to - all in all a very successful morning.

Helen 'watering' the piglets!
Taking a bath!

The piglets are settling in really well, and Helen had a great time tickling them and sprinkling them with a watering can.....!

On Thursday i left Gerry in charge, as i had a rather important appointment with Her Majesty at Buckingham Palace.....we were invited to a Garden Party, along with 7,998 other people!!   Mike and i had a lovely afternoon,with a delicious tea!  We walked round some of the 40 acre garden (as much as my high heeled shoes would allow....!)
Mike and i before we went off to
the Palace!

 Meanwhile, while we were 'taking tea', Gerry and the students had a very busy day, fencing in the hens and ducks - finally we have proper posts and some brilliant fencing panels - all put together by our Thursday 'crew'.  The posts were put in professionally with a huge tractor and post hole rammer - even so it was incredibly difficult as it is SO stony!  Well done to all the students for working incredibly hard to get ready for our Open Days next week.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Week 7 / 8

The Bantam has hatched 11 out of 12 of her eggs!  Clever girl....they are safe and sound in our small ark in the poly tunnel - away from danger hopefully.   She is a pretty ferocious mum, so i don't think they will come to any harm!
Bantam chicks!
She keeps them all under control!

We've had some more arrivals too....we took delivery of four more 
Oxford and Sandy Blacks today!   Butts Farm had four piglets that had got chilled in that awful weather at Easter, and so haven't grown up as quickly as the others, so we have taken them off their hands!  We have 3 male and one possible future 'sow' weaners - they love their Nursery!!
3 weaners - one is hiding inside.....!

On Thursday we have a video company coming to do a short 'piece' on the Care Farm, as part of the Awards Ceremony for 'HEARTS OF THE COMMUNITY GLOUCESTERSHIRE'!  The Care Farm were put foward for the Award, and we are one of the Finalists!  It is organised by The Gloucestershire Echo and The Citizen Newspapers....so watch this space again


Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Week 6

Planting has been our main past time this week - with the weather being warm followed by wet, we've been 'hardening off' our runner plants grown from seed, french beans, and corn on the cob.   In the Poly Tunnel, we have been thinning out tomatoes, planting rows, and planting some mixed lettuces.  We hope to have quite a good selection of herbs and veg plants to sell at the Car Boot Sale, followed by our Open Days.

Rows of Flower Pots given to us
The chicks started hatching in our incubator on Wednesday!  We have five so far - and one still in the incubator, that is not looking too good!  I had to call on a friend to come and help 'hatch' it yesterday (it had been struggling for 24 hours and the egg shell had got stuck to it) and today she came back to help 'bath' it to get all the dried egg gunge off it!! Back in the incubator for another few hours to 'fluff' up its feathers, and then hopefully into the 'chick' box with the others!  This is a bit of a trial incubator session, to see how well it works, then we hope to get some more 'specialist' fertile eggs to incubate...
hard at work!

Yesterday we had a visit from South Cerney Barracks - 18 extremely fit soldiers turned up to help us again!   They strimmed, weeded, tidied, turned the muck heep(extremely hard work!) and fenced part of our hen run - it's FOX time again, and we are trying to keep them out / ducks in / and lambs away from the hen netting!!  We really appreciate them giving up their time to help us.

The bantam is still 'sitting' on her eggs safe inside the poly tunnel - they should hatch over the next few days.

We have been very fortunate recently, to have been given lots of plant pots from a friend, and a boot full of wonderful herbaceous plants from a volunteer friend - thank you so much!

Last but not least - someone entered us for the 'HEARTS OF THE COMMUNITY' Awards, organised by The Gloucestershire Echo and Citizen Newspapers, and we have got through to the finals!  We will find out if we have won on 12 June - so watch this space.....!

Update on bantam....her first chick has hatched - Tuesday 21st May!

Update on incubator chicks - only 7 hatched out of 24 - unfortunately a lot of the other eggs had full sized chicks in, but didn't hatch so died....if anyone has any experience of this PLEASE GET IN TOUCH!

Saturday, 18 May 2013

weeks 4 and 5

Our last Ewe lambed last Thursday - Danny had checked her in the afternoon, and came rushing in and said she looked as if she was going to lamb, but when we looked at her we thought she was just having a rest....needless to say he was absolutely right, and at 5pm that afternoon, i had to give her a helping hand....she had an enormous ram lamb - Yes ANOTHER RAM LAMB!!
No. '35' and her enormous lamb!

We had a half day Monday, as it was Bank Holiday - and Helen had Alan and i all to herself - and she was in her element, checking the Ewes and Lambs, and helping to 'Worm' the Ewes, and 'Ring' the lambs before putting them out with the rest of our flock!

We have been really busy today - planting, weeding, watering,  and sieving....everything is growing at last, and we want to have plenty of vegetables to sell later on so everyone took a turn at something plant related today! We are aiming for our Open Days in June, where hopefully we'll have lots of produce on display.

Monday, 29 April 2013

week 3

LAMBING HAS FINALLY STARTED!   All four of our original Ewes have lambed, we have 3 sets of twins and 1 set of triplets!  Two of our new ewes have also lambed - one set of twins and a single....all
Gerry holding on the the triplets!
healthy and happy, so fingers crossed!  We have only had 3 ewe lambs
Mark taking Patch out to the field in his 'fly rug'!!
so far.....
Lambs in the sunshine!

This term we have started working with the horses; students are learning about stabling, mucking out, bringing the horses in from the field, and grooming them.   Some of our students have only ever looked at a horse over the stable door, so it is an exciting new phase in their learning skills!

We were given a lovely donation recently, and have bought a digital incubator with some of it!   We had been lent one last year, and the students thoroughly enjoyed the whole process, so we thought we would invest in a digital one this time.   It's got 'viewing' windows as well, which saves having to take the top off each time to check on them!  So in 
three weeks time, we hope to have some lovely bantam chicks and some of 'Fiver's' offspring!
A 'clutch' of bantam eggs found
 under a pallet next to the lambing
pens!  We have a bantam now sitting
on them, so fingers crossed!

Sunday, 21 April 2013

week 2

Thank goodness we have some lambs arriving .....i was beginning to think we had been imagining their 'largeness'!
'Lamby',  Ella's Ewe with her two lambs
 Lamby had her two lambs in the middle of the night sometime.....and we didn't get to the lambing pens till around 4.30am.....by that time one of the other Ewes had 'taken' over the lamb - licking it and mothering it.  This is a real pain, as now Lamby doesn't want it, and it's our only Ewe Lamb so far.....so we have had to put her into a special neck brace for a few days.  This helps, as she can't see the lambs, and then doesn't keep 'knocking' the lamb back;stopping it from feeding.
Hopefully after 3/4 days she will accept it normally again.

The 3 Ewes, Mary Jane, Lamby and March with their lambs

We have had 6 lambs so far, but only one Ewe Lamb - but it will mean lots of Lamb for sale in October/November time....!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

They've arrived at last.....!

Mary Jane - our first Wiltshire to lamb.....

Aren't they sweet.....good strong lambs hopefully!

one of the main flock ewes with triplets....!

Saturday, 13 April 2013


With the weather being SO awful over the Easter Break, the Ewes seem to be 'hanging' on to their lambs....so nothing so far!  The students were all pleased to be back, and on Monday, we finished off the pens and made sure everything is ship shape.   We had one Ewe that  had to be put  in isolation in the trailer....she unfortunately had a dead foetus (very small) and now doesn't look as if she will have any more lambs this time.  Fingers crossed all the others are ok.   Thursday we had a full house, and spent the morning getting the raised beds finished, cleared and fenced (against those naughty bantams!) and planted out the potatoes.  Penny one of our volunteers is working with some of the students to make mosaic tiles to go into our 'wild flower' garden.  In the afternoon we had a bit of a tea party to welcome everyone back - scones & cake!
Today we had a rather soggy stand outside Dobbies; raising the profile of the Project - next time we need to make sure we get good weather!  (thank you to Gerry, Mike, Penny, Ericka and Alan for helping)
Thank you too to Ashton Keynes Parish Councillors who had a 'Lent Lunch' in aid of the Project - they sent us £85!

Thursday, 21 March 2013

week 11

First of all, an update to last week - we had the 'mole catcher' here last Thursday...and he showed the all of us how he catches moles (they are rife here, and do so much damage to the limited field space ....do you know one mole can dig up over 100 yards!) it is instantaneous - so over very quickly.  Most of the students seemed more interested in his quad bike that he used to get round the farm!

our increased 'flock' of wiltshire horns!
This week, we have put up the feed to one lb per Ewe (4 x kilos) each day - as they are only 3 weeks off lambing - in fact some of our original four ewes are already 'bagging up', so we are keeping a close eye on them - especially 'June' who's having triplets.

two visitors to the garden!
Today was the last day until our Summer session starts on 8 April, so everyone worked really hard, to make sure we have everything ready for lambing, and all the raised beds ready to sow once we start back.  The students have been making frames to go over the raised beds to hold the bird/butterfly netting - i'm afraid our lovely bantams love clambering all over the beds; turning the soil over for worms!   It was Mark's birthday today, so he brought in some delicious cup cakes, made by his sister for break....and he helped groom 'Patch' this afternoon.  I was very impressed how confident Mark is getting around the horses.

This afternoon, everyone helped get all our 'produce' ready to sell at the Car Boot Sale THIS SUNDAY - let's hope the weather cheers up by then....!  We have lots of eggs to sell, and bird feeders made by the students, and a tombola, and bricabrac, and of course Bacon Butties!
Saturday in the garden!

Weeks 9 and 10

We started feeding the Ewes this week - they need 'hard' food as well as grass and hay, to make sure they get all the right nutrients for the best lambing results.  We have bought a new trough for feeding time, as we are due to have 5 more Ewes arriving at the end of the week....all shiny and new!   Helen helped Alan put up a fence to reduce the field size till after lambing - resting part of the field, which will hopefully give us a bit more grass for the Ewes once they've lambed.  We have leaky gutters on the covered yard, so are trying to get them fixed before we bring the Ewes in....
Thursday we had decided to all go hedge trimming down on our bank field but.....the weather was terrible,so in the morning we made butter with the students!   Lucy (sister) had been lent a butter 'churner' - beautiful glass container with a paddle - we put double and single cream into it with water, and set to.....it took nearly an hour to 'churn', with all the students having a turn at winding the handle!   We ended up with a good size 'pat' and the students all took a little bit of butter home with them!     We spent the afternoon in the poly tunnel, planting lots of seeds!  Only trouble is now there's been such cold weather that they may not 'take'...!

Mothering Sunday - i should have been lying in bed, having a day off, but we got the call to go and collect our 5 new 'in lamb' Ewes - bought with funding from the Rotary Club!   I had to choose 5 Ewes out of a flock of about 20- fingers crossed i've done ok - they haven't been scanned, so it's pot luck what we get - let's hope they all lamb ok!  They are due two weeks after our other four, which is good - not so rushed that way.  They are all pedigree Wiltshire Horn Ewes the same as ours, so i hope they all get along ok.
We managed to get stuck in the field in Chedworth and had to be towed out!

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Weeks 7 and 8

At last we seem to be getting some dryer weather - although it is unbelievably cold...!  Still the sheep don't seem to mind - they are looking blooming!  All the students are getting really excited about the impending lambing season - let's hope the sun's out by then!

We have been re-organising all the raised beds - moving the soil around and generally refreshing them, ready for planting spring vegetables and salads in the poly tunnel.   The students planted the first onions out on Thursday, and we are potting up sweet peas inside.   Next week we hope to plant some mixed salads in the poly tunnel to sell as cut and come again salad bags.

yet again it's gone sidesways on me....!
Helen cleaning the field with Alan & Hilly.

One very important job the students did on Thursday was to 'poo pick' the entire field where our 4 Ewes are...!   We are conscious that we don't have much grass, and need to keep it clean and as healthy as possible for them.   We have moved the last year lambs to another field close by, in order to keep as much grass for the Ewes as possible.  We will start giving them a little bit of hard food next week (about 1/2 lb each per day)

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Week 6

The pigs weighed in at 43 and 45 kilos respectively!  Mr Broomhall said "well i don't like to admit it, but i was wrong - i thought they was going to be too fat, but they are just about perfect!"  The right percentage of fat to meat....!  And, we can vouch that the pork tasted delicious too!   The Bathurst Arms bought 1/2 a pig last week, and i am just going down to get their 'feedback' comments for the blog....the last two pigs go off next Monday - put your orders in as we sold out of sausages really quickly!

The students were busy on Thursday making bird feeders to sell at our Spring Car Boot Sale - really dirty mucky business - but great fun!  CAR BOOT SALE SUNDAY 24th MARCH see details opposite

making bird feeders...!

Saturday, 9 February 2013

week 4 and 5

This week started with taking two of the pigs off to the abbattoir!  They took quite some loading, splitting them up from their brothers, but we wanted to take two at a time; partly as they are quite a bit bigger than one of the others.  The other reason is that we don't have large storage facilites, and so two are easier to sell than four at a time!  They will be ready next week - let's hope they taste as good as our Oxford & Sandys...!
We got the Ewes in again to check them over, wanting to make sure they are having enough hay, and that their feet are ok - we need to pay special attention to 'June' who's having triplets - they may turn up early, and she must keep in good condition with the others.  We don't want to start feeding them 'hard' food too early, otherwise the lambs will get too big, and then be difficult to lamb.

Thursday, we nearly had a full house, and spent the morning unloading and stacking hay bales for the sheep, and some DIY was needed on the sheep shelter due to the snow and wind.  The farrier came to shoe the two horses.  

Friday, we had a special visit from 'Coopers Hill' school in Gloucester.  They have started a 'Farm Club', and wanted to come and see what we get up to here.  16 children aged from 6 - 9, had a lovely morning, feeding the pigs, collecting eggs, feeding the hens and ducks, and meeting the sheep.  After break, we moved to the Poly tunnel, where they planted their own 'salad' seeds and each took a pot back to school.  They all behaved beautifully, considering it was a horrid freezing day!

Don't forget we have Pork available next week.....!

Monday, 28 January 2013

Week 3

I'm afraid all the students and volunteer were cancelled last week due to the Snow! It was far too slippery on the Monday, and too much snow the rest of the week.   Unfortunately we also had a burst pipe in the Ladies...so all in all not a good week!  

some photos of our lovely brood of bantams...
Everything takes SO long in the snow - i was completely exhausted by Friday.  We had to get water for the pigs from down in the stable yard and push it up through nearly a foot of snow to the pigs!

Great excitement...... TODAY Monday 28th, the sheep scanner came and wait for it.....3 of our Ewes are having twins, and our fourth Ewe, June, is having triplets!

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Week 2

Well the weather's taken a nose dive this week....luckily not till Thursday!  We've had a busy week again, with the freezing conditions and snow arriving, we have had to make sure the sheep are having enough hay so they don't lose condition.   We've just heard that the sheep scanner is coming the last week of January - SO exciting!
Helen has been learning how to use the 'crook' to catch the lambs in a pen, and doing really well (and extremely proud of herself!)  The Wilts and Glos Standard came to do an article about the Project again this week - i wrote a letter last week to the paper, thanking the residents of Ashton Keynes for their donations, and added a 'ps' - it's about time you wrote another piece on Care Farming...!  They took some lovely photos of Helen feeding the sheep, and working on painting the Hen House.
The plaque given to us
with the funding for the new house

Rolling the House into position!
Talking of Hen houses, we managed to move the new house out to the field on Thursday, using the 'rolling poles' technique, as the Manatou tractor had another puncture! It was great fun, and hard work, but it now looks very stately alongside all the other older houses. The Gloucestershire Community Foundation gave us the funding for the Hen House.

We will have two Berkshire weaners ready to go off in another two weeks - so if you would like some pork get in touch!
Let's hope the snow doesn't stop the students getting here this coming week - it's hard work looking after all the animals on our own...!

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Week 1 Spring Session 2013

one of the weaners exploring 
We're back....and straight into the woods!! The weaners had completely
Ella and Hilly collecting for the
project at Christmas in Waitrose!
stripped their end of the woodland - not helped by all the rain so, this week we moved the electric fence to give them loads more space - they loved it!!  I think they should be ready to go off to the butcher before long.
We have been painting our new Hen House ready to get it moved outside -can't wait to move the hens into their new home.  We can then do some much needed repairs on Ella's old play house!
Helen cleaning out the pig troughs

The Bantams making themselves at
home atop the clean straw for their houses!
The Rotary Chairman, Chris Tovey arrived with a cheque for £750, from the 'bag packing' day!  Fantastic....thank you to Hilly, Ella, Margo, Penny, Bill, Mike, Luke, Gerry, Martin & Rob, Chris & Liz - and all the Rotarians that helped packing bags for Christmas shoppers at Waitrose & shaking tins!