It's been such a beautiful and exciting week here at Farm on the Hill!
The sun has been shining down on us as we planted the new traditional orchard comprising of 97 different varieties of heritage trees from a selection of quinces, pears, perry pears, plums, damsons, apples, cooking apples and cider apples!
Like every job, it took slightly longer than i anticipated...but nowhere near as long as it took to plant the 5,400 trees in the woodland!!!....no job will ever seem big after that one! :-)
The trees are now all happily in the ground, tree guarded from any potential rabbit attack, and to top it all off, have been watered in nicely by today's gentle rain :-)....i love it when it all works out perfectly, which to be honest it always does! :-)
So....project one of the new year completed, now to move on to to projects number 2 and 3; the opening of the craft shop in less than a month (!!!) and the fencing of the 'living garden centre'.
wishing you all a wonderful week from everyone here at Farm on the Hill :-) xxx
Hi everyone :-)the last couple of weeks have been all go on the farm!It can seem like you have forever to do winter jobs but all of a sudden time starts to fly and the new spring season fast approaches! (Not that i mind at all, i'll be really glad of some warmth!! :-); This winter has been so cold in the house, I'm seemingly getting a bit old for no heating!, and i'll be glad for the time when i can take my coat off when i'm inside again! :-)...)
We've been busy weeding the veg plot, (this is one job that you may find i continue to mention every time i write an update as, as every gardener knows, it is never completed! :-))
...and cutting down some of the willow ready for the first deliveries of willow cuttings that are going out to as far away as Orkney to start their new lifes.
It's amazing when you stop and think about the life of the willow plants. Originally they were bought in as cuttings from Yorkshire (where they would have originally been bought in as cuttings from somewhere else!) they then are planted here, get cut down, re grow and are cut again and again, and each time the rods are cut into foot long cuttings which then travel to their new homes, in order to grow, and be cut down, and passed on again! :-) The willow family tree would be a great one to trace! :-) xYou can see some photos of the different willows wegrow we on the slideshow above. Much of the willow we cut this year will either be replanted on the farm as we are extending ourwillow areas, or dried and used for weaving. We'll be holding a willow weaving course during the summer months were you will be able to make your own basket :-)last week saw me sowing the first seeds of the season, I've sown early lettuces for the veg plot as well as a variety of flower seeds for the new 'living garden centre'. This will be open to the public for viewing and sales. The idea is that, a bit like in times prior to the plastic pot, the plants will be growing in the ground rather than in pots and will be available to buy, with plants being dug up during the dormant season
This is a much more 'eco' way of having a garden centre/nursery as the plants will not need daily watering which is the case when they are kept in pots in garden centres. They will not need artificial feeding and can be grown totally organically (most composts used for pots run out of nutrients within a few weeks leading to garden centres either having to feed them with plant foods or discard them as a waste product.)And in addition to the above, the plants, unhindered by the confines of a plastic pot, will be able to grow into big healthy and happy plants! :-) win win win! :-) xxxx! x
....so excited about this project! :-)This week i have come across two requests to help out with crowd funding community projects whic i would love to share with you. For those of you that haven't come across crowd funding before it is when community groups/projects ask for financial backing to help them to set their dreams in motion.
Both projects are very different, very similar and literally miles apart (!!!)The first one is to help save the old lock up studio in Cromford, watch the video below to hear all about this wonderful project and how you can help...for as little as £10!...and you get a tshirt!, and if you pledge £20 you get a free art course for a child - brilliant :-):-) to support this fantastic project please visit:http://www.peoplefund.it/help-save-the-old-lock-up-studio-2013/
and I think that's it! :-)
now to sow some seeds; tomatoes, peppers and broad beans....it's a fruit day on the biodynamic planting calender :-) xxxx
my very best wishes and have a wonderful week :-)
Hello from Farm on the Hill :-)
And Happy February!
This last week has brought with very type of weather; snow, winds, thunder and lightening (which i have never ever seen when when the ground is covered in snow..i'm still not quite sure how that happened!), rain, and today..beautiful February sunshine. It brings it all back when you find yourself uploading photos of the farm covered in snow at the same time of pictures of grassy fields and sunshine!
It's not surprising that as a nation we spend so much time talking about the weather..there is always so much of it to talk about!
Thephots above tell this weeks story much better than my words ever can but here's a quick summary....
goats in the garden!!!
I went outside to get the post and found 2 beautiful, friendly.....and extremely smelly (really they smell so much..you don't even have to be that close!) unexpected visitors! They had decided to leave the neighbours field in search of greener more pleasant lands and ended up in our garden! They must have found something they liked becuase even though the snow has all now gone..the goats haven't!!
Due to the weather (yes i mentioned it again but...!) ,over the past couple of weeks i have found myself spending long hours in front of the computer improving and expanding the website and learning how to use twitter! The brilliant consequence of this is that we now have many more local artists showcasing their work on the site. I'm stunned by the varied and immense talent that surrounds us, and you never even see it...but now you can!
Please visit our online craft pages to have a look at their work, find out all about them and what they do...and then visit their sites to buy wonderful pieces of art , craft and jewellery! :-)
...and then tell everyone you know about it! :-)
You can see some examples of their work on the slideshow above :-)
Also if any one wishes to add their work to the site, or knows of anyone that would, please get in touch, the more of us the merrier :-)
My snow painting :-) ....
At the end of the last blog i mentioned that i was about to start a painting, and I did! :-)
There is a picture of it above, i loved doing it, my first painting on a canvas for 20 years :-)...totally inspired by all the wonderful creative people i am now in touch with (thank you all so much! ) :-)
....i'm now working on some upcycled pendants for the craft shop made from old magazines....pictures next week :-)
and today i took a sunny walk around the farm with my camera and captured some beautiful things; stunning February skies, delicate seed heads, a huge badger hole ....and an ever faithful hound :-)
Have a wonderful week everyone, and thank you all so much for reading :-)
my very best wishes xxx
A big snowy hello from everyone at Farm on the Hill! :-)The last few of days have been so beautiful on the hill,I've taken lots of photos...all of them snow themed!we have dogs in snow, snowy fields, a snow covered fairy....it made me laugh while writing the captions!! snow snow snow!! :-)The very first day it 'snowed' ;-), Ben and I took to the hill with a snow board and made a little video - set to a snow themed tune of course! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0q0tvas3NpUclick the above link to watch ben going down the hill, falling over at the bottom, then going down again, and again...and maybe even again!! :-)now i'm off to make a snow themed picture...feeling inspired :-)my very best wishes to you all xxx
the last couple of days have mainly been spent updating the website (!!!) - (we now have an about us page, a woodland activities page and a walks page... and also doing that much needed task of learning about social media - i now have a twitter page!!)
... but you can't keep me away from the outside for too long so come yesterday afternoon it all become too much and me, ben, and dylan, (our trusty, oversized, labrador companion), decided to go for a walk around the farm and then down into the valley.
The first half of the pictures in the slideshow above tell the story! :-)
- a windturbine, a raggedy flag, one very friendly pig, the cherry tree in flower and misty views across the valley floor.
...and of course, very cold photographing fingertips!! :-)
Today when we woke the sun was shining, frost was on the ground and the world beckoned to me to come and play....so I did! :-)
- a day spent digging in the veg plot, rooting out the nettle roots, docks, and old sweetcorn stalks and replacing them with freshly tilled soil all ready for the new season :-) - it's so exciting!! :-) :-)
the garlic we planted are growing and growing, the new buds on the fruit trees are opening, there is signs of the new season everywhere :-) spring here we come!!! :-) xxxxx!
oh and a gardening tip...an allotmenteer told me yesterday that seed is in short supply this year due to last year's weather so order early! :-) x
my very best wishes
hello and happy new year :-) xxxxx
New Years resolution no.1: to make regular blog updates!!!!! :-) xxxx
The past couple of months on the farm just seem to have flown by; the two main highlights are perhaps that we now have a wind turbine!! (:-))(yey!!!!!!!) (although it has temporarily decided not to work!) and Anna has a beautiful baby girl called Zara, (see photos)...oh and of course there was christmas! :-)
There is nothing like the feel of a new year! I love new year! :-), each new year brings with it such possibilities, and today and yesterday up in the veg plot it felt like a new year...i'm pretty sure it actually smelt a new year, if that's even possible! :-)
1.The year the veg plot is magnificent...and the nettles stay quite happily in their allocated spaces!
2.The year we open the craft shop and start the craft courses
3.The year we plant the orchard
4.The year we open the tea garden
5.The year we plant the living plant nursery....
and much more!!!!! :-) :-) :-)
the last two days of dry weather and sunshine have meant that Ben and I have been weeding in the veg plot (we're on our way to realising prediction number one!) with the trusty help of Dylan and the chickens of course..dylan flattening down newly dug ground and the chicken eating any soil life that moves!
Have a look at the pictures above to see a little of what we've been doing, and what we've seen!
It's so good to be back out with camera!
Hello :-) xxxxx
Hope you have all had a wonderful few weeks :-) <3
It's been a while since i have found the time, and an adequate computer speed, to update this blog (sometimes it can take my tired computer about an hour to upload one photo!! :-)) but today we did it!!!....
above are some photos of the last few weeks taken around the farm...
and below..... the 'what we did' section!!....
let's see if i can still remember...!!
Lianne came to stay :-)... (she can be spotted in the photos :-))
Lianne, a student of Regional Development, is on a 5 week work placement from her university in Holland. She found our farm on the internet, and now she's here! It's amazing to think that people across the world can see our website and what we do!
So we've been working!! An extra pair of hands round here is a complete God send and has been taken full advantage of!!
We've been chopping down thistles in the new woodland/meadow planting, rescuing the vegetable garden from weeds, revamping the museum, serving teas and cakes in the cafe, planting crops, repotting plants, campsiteing, hiring bikes...and making craft things. In addition to which Lianne has also made a wonderful guide for the farm museum which i hope to upload to the website soon, detailing all of the items and their uses....something i can not imagine having found the time to do!.....thank you! :-) :-) xxxxxx
The work for the farm wind generator has begun :-) the base has been put down, the cables dug in and now the wind generator stand has arrived....just waiting for the blades and we're off!! It's such an exciting thing!! :-)
We've been felting... which i absolutely love! So far we have made some bags, and a hat :-) The bags are now available for sale at the farm and will be uploaded to the internet soon :-)
I attended my first campfire at the campsite :-) Thankyou very much to Fee and everyone for the invite...i had so much fun! :-)
and George and Anna have had a baby...a beautiful girl called Zara, so the farm now has a new addition :-)
and that's about all i can remember!! :-) :-)
lots of love to everyone :-) and best wishes from the farm :-) xxxxxx
The past few weeks have been another busy and diverse time here on the hill.... we've again seen our changes in weather; the dry spells, the wind , the rain, the sun, hail, cold and warmth, I've finished fencing around the veg patch and the crops are now growing unhindered by the previous rabbit onslaught. The cafe floor has been finished, the tables and chairs are back in and we're once again open for business (weekends only at the moment...there's so much to do in the field and i can't be everywhere at once!), I've learnt a new recipe for tea loaf from my granny...it is absolutely delicious! :-). Adam from countryfile and his cameramen have been to visit and bought an Irish moile bull from my dad and Margaret (it was aired last Sunday night on BBC 1 but is still available to see on the BBC I Player for anyone that wants to - -38 mins in i think! ) and the universe was amazing enough to send me an experienced and wonderful spinner called Hilary to stay in the cottage, who just happened to have the time to help me iron out all my spinning errors, teach me to ply properly and fill my head with loads of exciting and inspiring spinning facts.....and become a wonderful friend xxx
I heard a term used a few weeks ago, both on the allotments, and by my granny, that i hadn't heard before, they said the ground was starved. They meant of warmth, of the sun's rays, and it made me think about how important it all is...how there is such a gentle balance at play, the perfect amount of sunshine, against the perfect amount of rain... too much, or little of one, the plants suffer, the seeds don't germinate, the crops don't grow.
We are so blessed to live in one of the most wonderful growing climates on this planet, the range of food and plants that we can produce is so diverse...and yet hangs so delicately in the balance.
Do we take it for granted...probably
The last few weeks have brought with them the much needed sunshine, warming our earth and allowing seeds to germinate and roots to grow. This has been followed by a few days and nights of gentle rainfall..once again nature has worked her miracle mix of sun and rain and produced just the right conditions for lush growth.
and i want to say a huge thankyouto her ! :-)
thank you for the sunshine, thankyou for the rain, thankyou for the plants and for our food, thankyou for this life! :-)
It has got me thinking though.....
Last weekend brought with it the Jubilee celebrations...it was great to see everyone having fun, the families and friends getting together, the sence of community...
so it would be easier to not mention it, to just join in with the smiles, but i can't!!!! (my apologies if this dampens your day!)
but....Did you see all that waste?
In our local town alone, there was apparently 8 miles of plastic flag bunting!!! 8 miles in one town...and it was advertised in the local paper like it was huge achievement!
Can you imagine how many plastic flags were made, and thrown away, over one weekend.
And that doesn't include all the plastic cups, plates, all the waste food and drink.
We can't continue to take it all for granted.
This is not me preaching, i'm as at fault as the next man or woman, but we have to make a change at some point, or the gentle balance that produces this beauitful world will be lost.
Nature did it this time , she brought the balance that made it all grow, but if we continue to disrespect and take this planet, our greatest gift, for granted, will she always?
my very best wishes to you all xxxxxx
and loads and loads of love x
A whole month has passed, somewhat busily, since i last managed to write a blog post! The pictures, as always, serve to remind me of how very much can happen and change within a short space of time.
Here on the hill there has been snow, frost, sunshine, rain and tremendous gales. Every possible type of weather has come to visit and play with us little folk here on the ground.So much rain has fallen in the past few weeks that the cows actually had to be brought back in again after been let out to pasture for the summer months, the wind has been so strong that the gales took down another shed on the allotments, pollytunnel number 2 and another couple of panes from our greenhouse, the temperature so changeable that we are still experiencing frosty covered mornings. Today the sun is shining brightly,.... and the wind is blowing the grass almost horizontal. It seems to be a time for dramatic challenging weather, reminding you of your size, and place.
This last month i have been learning to spin, which i completely love! I was fortunate enough to be given a spinning wheel by a lady who no longer spins, and to find enough sheeps wool in the surrounding hedges to get me off to an enthusiastic start...it's amazing, it drives you insane for the first couple of hours, seems impossible to do, and then, click, it's yours, you can spin (to a degree!! ):-) Since then a fortunate meeting with the local shephard (i found a sheep upside down in his field and ran for help!!!!) has meant that i now have a huge bag of black fleeces to spin...much better for me as, with all the will in the world, i've never been able to keep anything white for long!!! :-)
So many seeds have been sown this last month and the greenhouses are now packed to overflowing with trays of emerging seedlings; cottage garden flowers, herbs, wildflowers, vegetables, fruits, at least 100 varieties of different plants all crammed in protected from the crazy weather. The seedlings are starting to emerge inthe garden too; carrots, radishes, lettuces, peas, mangetout....all slowly but surely making there way up from the ground, braving the elements (and the rabbit attacks!!!) in order to provide us wth this season's food, thank you plants, thankyou so so much xxx
The rabbit attacks on the veg plot have been recurring...they love nothing more than our seedlings and young plants!! I've tried talking to them, determined that a bit of heart felt negotiation might do the trick....but it doesn't seem to have done!!! So I have resorted to good old-fashioned prevention and have been fencing around the plot to keep the out! In true farm on the hill style we've used mainly what was lying around (bought 1 roll of wire fencing and some nails); some old fencing planks picked up from freecycle as firewood last year (couldn't be burned because of the wood stain on them), left over wooden tree stakes from the woodland planting, left over tree guards (cut into corrugated planks!!!! - it works - proper blue peter moment!) some bits of left over netting, willow, bamboo canes, and anything else lying around!!! and we now have a fence!!!! :-)
The floor in the cafe is nearly finished...it seems to have taken much longer than we thought!! and the date for opening has been put back over and over, but i think we are really close now..about 4 or 5 more boards to find and fit and then we can open. We will be doing tea and cake like last year, but also offering evening meals prepared from food we have grown and wild food that grows around us..it should be great...and very tasty :-)
...and we have sown another patch of wildflowers; about an acre, joining together both the original and new woods using left over seed fromt he original meadow planting. The remainder of the seeds left over have ended up in many places, from gardens in the village, to an orchard in Alton, all the way up to a garden in Lancashire...spreading the flower love xxxx
the community allotment is doing well, so far the girls have planted potatoes, carrots, beetroot, parsnips, onions and brassicas...i've been asked to say that any help weeding the remainder of the plot would be greatly appreciated!!! (they're all at school with busy homework gcse schedules)..all food will be donated to the
and i think that's about it so......
best wishes from all of us here on the farm xxx