Been busy in the kitchen today… Had fun making hot cross buns for the first time.
A test batch before I make them for our daycare clients, I even glazed them. I think I boiled the syrup a little too long though as the final few I glazed the syrup was getting a bit thick to brush on….. Proof is now in the tasting Yum Yum …….
Everyone has been all too aware of the weather all over the news in the past month, storms here, flooding there. It is tragic the affects it has and no one seems to come away unscathed! My father was out walking at Westwood Ho!, North Devon and not adverse to picking up the odd find even this was too much for his scavenging ways …. gates, strainer fence posts and more.
He did however find an electronic, fully functioning, set of kitchen weighing scales ditched in a hedge so kindly donated them to us! We will certainly make use of them somewhere!
Our land is unusual here at Rixham, as previously a Deer Park all the hedgerows had been removed and the drainage off the fields is rather odd if not non-existent! We are having to work very carefully around random ditches. Our mission at present is working out where best to fence, paddocking off areas to make the farm more workable. We have taken a Google earth view of the Farm and amalgamated old maps passed to us from a kind local builder, we were then able to plan our fencing lines…. this has been where my colouring in skills have been utilised, I knew that GCSE in Art would come in handy one day!
We were affected by the extreme weather, our loss saddened us immensely, the first loss of stock at Rixham farm. During a night of stormy weather and howling gales a tree had come down in the woodland area the Sheep were taking shelter. Two of our pedigree Lleyn ewes in Lamb were killed, I will spare the details. I am sure we will lose more stock over time, in farming it is inevitable but this was a horrible sight and I sincerely hope we will see nothing like it again.
Farm sales are a day out for some, certainly a big social affair for many! It’s a bit of an alternative to the horse races I went to in the past – not Ascot but point to point. I do enjoy the outfits as if it were Ascot though….Some come in shorts, t-shirt & wellies despite temperatures barely above freezing; Others attend in full tweed and designer boot set up. Although I don’t have the tweed, Luke and I fit in both categories… Luke is the shorts and t-shirt guy and I am wrapped up in the warm coat and my trusty neoprene lined Muck boots sometimes sunglasses too (great to cover up my lack of make-up nowadays!).
We managed to get a few gates at the last farm sale we attended, there wasn’t a lot else we needed there, plenty of big machinery we’ll be needing in the future. More sales coming up in the next month, so fingers crossed we can find a bargain or two. We have a long list of items we need from sheep equipment to general farm items so the search is on.
Perhaps I’ll be able to snap a few pictures at the next farm sale?
Solomon has his tractor so he is a happy boy 🙂 ready for work…….
Farming is somewhat a baptism of fire for me, I never saw myself as a farmers wife let alone running a farm business with my husband. We are a team however and hopefully will be a good one, as Luke says he is the beauty and I am the ……. I’ll stop there cheeky git!
Luke is ‘Hands on’ that is for sure, come rain or shine he is the one outside to make sure the livestock are all ok, I will certainly aim to keep it that way.
We finally moved our ‘Rixham residents’ over here in November and finally the fields felt alive, we had our 82 sheep grazing the top paddocks and 23 bullocks here for B&B come December. Yes it is called Bed & Breakfast, I am not making it up and no the cattle do not come inside and go to bed!!!
I cannot wait for Spring now as our ewes are due to lamb in February! The place will be just wonderful when the sun is shining and there are young spring lambing bouncing around the place!!
Watch this space for updates! I have to be a little careful trying to take photos of the sheep and lambs as I am pregnant although, if I can get Luke to do a video clip or two, I will upload here! Here is a link about why pregnant women should avoid close contact with sheep for those of you that don’t know…. http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/934.aspx?CategoryID=54&SubCategoryID=131
In December we also purchased 30 more ewe lambs some of which were pedigree Lleyns, the others the first of our 3 way cross breeding program… Lleyn X Texel. They are some beautiful ewe lambs purchased from experts in Lleyns, Joyce & Steven Childs. The support we have been offered from them has been highly valuable as we have a lot to learn! The are very nice looking, a bit like cotton wall balls, fluffy white and round.
We also have our Daycare service up and running. Currently two men join us a couple of days a week… the feedback we have received has been amazing. They rave about the fresh food and general activities being out on our farm…. It is things like that that really makes it all so worth while doing. Before I met my Luke and his family I had no experience of interacting with anyone with special needs, it was an eye opener. When I saw the good work Luke was doing on his parents Tenant farm, it made sense to support him in any way I could to set up a care farm of our own. We are now listed on www.carefarminguk.org
This is a picture of some of the lads we have visit us, I took this on Lukes Parents farm when we were over visiting….
We hadn’t moved far, from East Devon to Mid Devon, approximately 20 miles. Thank fully it was a fairly easy move and due to Lukes parents being so understanding we were able to stagger the move and make the transition easier. Cadbury is certainly an area of the county we had not explored and we are in love with how untouched it seems. It is part of the Fursdon Estate, we are slowly learning about the history of the area and we are already doing regular walks talking all our family and friends up to the Iron age hill Fort that is ‘Cadbury Castle’. The Fursdon family have celebrated 750 years on the estate http://www.fursdon.co.uk/A-family-history-like-no-other.html .
The views from the Iron age hill fort are spectacular, there you can see for miles 360 degrees! We need to review ordinance survey maps but we think we can see Sidmouth gap, Dartmoor & Exmoor?!
I have now joined the Mother & toddler group held in our local village Thorverton, Solomon settled in straight away. He kissed and hugged all the children on the first day as his introduction and since only kisses and hugs anyone new. Where he gets that from I don’t know but it is very sweet to watch. He picks up every bug going, as do they all I am sure, maybe he’ll have immunity to other things on the farm that ‘towny’ children wouldn’t?! Everyone seems very friendly and we are looking forward to being part of a community.
I am looking forward to getting to know more of the Mums, Luke seems to meet many of the Local Farmers. They pop in to say hello and introduce themselves so the Kettle is almost permanently on and over Christmas I was continually baking…. Mince pies are popular!!!
Luke & I were among many young farming couples looking to get that next opportunity to start a business and find a tenancy on a farm.
In March 2013, 5 farms came up for tender with Devon County Council and we decided to go and view two we thought could have been suitable for our business requirements. Unfortunately the ‘Tenants’ fixtures amounted to figures that would have seen most, if not all, of our Capital absorbed leaving us with nothing to get a business off the ground. The idea was abandoned and we continued saving.
In July, Luke out on the tractor and myself home with our son we received a text from a good friend. Mr POOTS!! He had sent us a link to an article in the Farmers Weekly Journal about a ‘competition’ to win the tenancy of a Farm in Mid Devon. http://www.fwi.co.uk/articles/11/07/2013/139978/video-devon-estate-seeks-new-farmer-applicants.htm
We had nothing to lose so started the process. It was fast to say the least, first stage was in early August and having won the Tenancy, Rixham Farm was our new home as of 10th October.
A whirl wind of excitement and nerves suddenly overwhelmed us…….
So we now have a blog set up… now time to start writing….
So watch this space, photos and updates will be up soon, perhaps even a video if technology savvy enough? We will aim to update you on the growth and generation of the new ventures we ‘The Knights’ are undertaking…..
A new business – Traditional farming & Daycare for Adults with special needs
A young family – Luke, myself, our son Solomon (19months old) and a baby due in May.
and anything else that takes our interest, so perhaps the odd debate?!
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