A WWOOFer-less Winter fast approaching

As I write this the signs that winter is approaching are only too obvious. The wind is clearly coming to us directly from the Arctic and we are expecting really hard frosts over the next few nights.

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The week began with weather that could have been mistaken for early summer if it were not for the autumnal colours of the trees – misty sunshine and cobwebs spot lit by the low rays of the sun. However, by mid-week the frosts were harder and all the signs pointed to a change in the weather. Have you, like we noted a new word in the weather presenter’s lexicon – the wind now ‘streams’ – the vocabulary of the digital age takes over another aspect of life!

I have been indulging in that most reprehensible but basic human impulse – labelling! Finding ourselves now woofer-less, I have been exploring within myself what perceptions I have gathered and experienced regarding mankind’s similarities and differences, and how they relate or perhaps rest on age, gender or cultural consideration (in which I would include religion – or lack of it).

  • It seems clear that in respect of issues such as use of television, reading, and newspapers, age is the main driver. Love of music, mainly broadly across genres, I was happy to discover was a common thread between most of us.
  • Attitudes to law obviously stem from our different legal systems. Attitudes to the police and civil servants are very different from ours. On the other hand, we all seem equally negative about politicians!
  • Lack of interest in politics and lack of knowledge as to how governments operate seemed to be a generational issue.
  • Attitudes to work put our society to shame though the notion of tea breaks was popular!
  • The only observable comment I might make about differences related to gender was that, in regards to tidiness and interest in cooking, it was a level playing field.
  • Marmite was a real divider! After one session attempting to explain its origins the word ‘sludge’ came into play and has been adopted by the family instead of YUM!

To the farm – it was not a bad week overall; some 76 sheep went off the farm, our poorly lamb and cow finished the week in a much better state than we expected, and the continued compost spreading and the need to make short term space for the straw means our windrow area is looking tidy! The vet will be onsite this week to check the cows who were expected to calve this autumn and haven’t yet done so, and we have also made progress on gating part of the barn’s new extensions.

The organic straw we had ordered in has arrived and been stacked under the right-hand extension of the barn. More straw will be coming but that is non-organic and for bedding.

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A big decision taken mid-week was that there would be no Christmas event for the SCBS held at the farm this year. In truth, the decision was a bit of a relief. These events actually need a great deal of planning, preparation and work on the day, and historically much of this has fallen on those of us who live here. There will of course be a lambing day and a summer ‘do’ next year.

Although technically we have given up selling vegetables from the garden, three of our most regular customers continue to have their requests met. The last two weeks one of us wore a new hat and not only managed the system but also harvested the vegetables and got them ready for delivery and collection!

Gratefully, we have Kath and Jasper staying with us as volunteers but only on a fortnightly basis which is more than enough to keep things ticking over. Hopefully we also have a new woofer coming in the spring to help bring, in a limited way, the vegetable gardens to life.

We have been eating apple purée for some weeks now using the windfalls from our trees but on Friday we with heavy, but grateful hearts, picked the last of the eating apples from the tree in the small orchard by the garage. They will be stored in the old foaling box for eating later in the year. I have previously commented on the moorhens love of apple windfalls but this week apart from noticing four in our front garden, I discovered another three groups in other parts of the farm. The sparrows, great tits and woodpeckers also seem to thrive here.

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Last month I thought we would have holly berries from the garden for Christmas decoration but this week the wood pigeons have been guzzling busily and already most have gone!

Ulula had a good month for sales, if not for profit given the current value of the pound. With one of the key players out of action after their recent illness, it has been all hands to the pump to continue to get orders out promptly!

Finally, Earth Energy seem near the end of the work of installation. The special fluid has been pumped into the 10 kilometres of piping; connections have been made which has meant holes were filled in, our fingers are firmly crossed as I expect are those of the contractors that the softly spoken hope that heat will become available next week will come true! Just in time for a heatwave I hear you say…?

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