24 Hours of Farming
In this bid to raise more public awareness in the role farming has in putting food on our table, we thought we would capture our week leading up to this 24hr event.
From our Farm just outside Stratford upon Avon we run a Luxury Farm Stay Experience with The Coach House and Granary, two individual self catering properties which both sleep 6 people.
Friday Morning, my first job of the day is to feed our pig we currently have just one on the farm as her two sisters went for slaughter on Thursday and are currently being jointed with residuals being made into Stunning Oaks Barn Farm Sausages to be collected on Tuesday. Then on to a quick check of our ewes and lambs who have now been separated to allow the lambs to fatten and the ewes to put on condition prior to being put to the Tup on Bonfire night, giving us Lambs on April Fool’s Day.
A week last Friday The Granary changeover with guests departing at 10:30 and welcoming a new party of 6 arriving at 3pm in the Coach House that same afternoon, this gives a three hour window for cleaning throughout and changing all of the bed linen.
Managed to tile a new splash-back for the Granary ready for grouting on Saturday morning.
In addition we like to get all of the gardens to each property looking at their best which generally takes 2 hours to mow and strim all of the lawns to both properties and the orchard and play park.
A little after 6pm our returning guests arrived for their booking with us, this is the third year back at the farm with a Friday through to Monday booking for the Battle of the Proms at Ragley Hall, at 8pm after dinner and being the best way through a bottle of wine, get called out to fix the TV after checking all connections from the main house later found out that the ariel had been disconnected at the wall, but the upside was getting a glass of fizz for my efforts.
Saturday morning and it’s off down to feed our pig, mucked out and replenished bedding, took a bale of hay down for her, checked over ewes and retrieved lamb with head stuck through fence, fortunately had not been there long and sending Jimmy our Jack russell down the opposite side of the fence was enough to free her, as she had become entangled between the wire and the hedge. Although not a sheep dog by breed he is developing into a useful dog when working the sheep.
Back up to the farm to grout the tiles on yesterday’s splash-back, ready for our incoming guests from Yorkshire for a Saturday to Saturday booking. Final clean up with the help of Sue, and the Granary is ready, back to the kitchen to a sausage Sandwich and a well earned cup of tea.
Set up shooting targets for Ed and Mick, have saved up some cans from guests to make the shooting a bit more fun. Ed and Mick get a tour of the plant and drying room for the Biomass boiler which has been installed since their visit last year, they are amazed at the changes as the Granary conversion has also taken place.
Add guests to the gate and then text the gate numbers, deal with three guest enquires, send of quotes.
3pm and our guests arrive from York, and are welcomed into the Granary 3:05pm and the children have found the play park.
3:25pm and the Taxi arrives to take Lenore, Ed, Jane and mick to Battle of the Proms, while sue and I find ourselves dog sitting watching the Spitfire from the farm flying over Ragley Hall followed by firework display, we like our neighbours at Ragley, they put some great events on for us!
11pm and it’s time for bed, sue has found the last of our pork Joints out and has cleared the freezer ready for our batch of pork from Longcompton.
Sunday Morning and we let the pig out for the day most of which she will spend under the shade of the ash tree.
Show the children from the Granary where to collect their eggs from, join Ed and Mick for a spot of shooting before they head off for a walk to the pub.
Wash truck and car and pop over to Dave and Jeanie’s for a coffee.
Back at the farm and prepping pork skin for crackling, pick some of our runner beans and Sue has some of our main crop potatoes freshly dug and prepped to be roasted.
Deal with further two guest enquiries.
Remembered to shut the pig up for the night and that’s jobs done for today.
Monday Morning and a busy day ahead, our Coach House guests due to depart and coach house changeover and laundry to do.
Confirm next year’s booking with Ed and Lenore, and then get on with changeover, log on to Internet banking and confirm guest payments and deposits, process refunds. For 3 years running they have always had perfect weather. It’s a sunny day so strimming and lawns to mow.
Confirm tomorrow’s collection from the abattoir. Telephoned Sue of Farmers Finest, about supplying local produce to our guests, rather than Tesco deliveries, this has some real potential for supporting our Rural economy.
Confirm collection for our meat customers.
Tuesday starts as all mornings feeding the pig and checking her timings ready for her to be put into pig.
Spend a couple of hours processing laundry, this is made so much easier with the drying room, heated by the biomass, but still takes time.
Off to the Abattoir to collect 80 kilo of our own sausage and all the meat back it takes three of us 2 hours to tray wrap and freeze the sausages, and it’s Sausage and mash for tea with customer collection at 7:30pm
Go and watch the sun going down across the fields with Sue, and sell our Granary guests three packs of sausages for £10 delivered!
Confirm with my uncle, tomorrow’s concreting job for completion of the biomass step.
Wednesday morning feed pig and check on sheep, had great conversation with Andy from Organic Energy about tailoring our biomass plant, meanwhile John arrives and all I have managed to do is get the mixer out. John gets the first mix on then it’s shuttering time and time for a quick cup of Yorkshire Tea.
A further two mixes and the step is in, realise that I said I would try and pick up some hard board for john, which I had failed to do last week, so hitch up the trailer and collect 5 sheets, realise that John can not steer a B&Q trolley despite being senior in years and experience. We make our apologies, and leave the store, secure sheets to trailer and back to the farm to cut for him to take home.
Sue asks if we need to get the sheets in the barn in case it rains, confident that it will not rain, we head in a quick bit of lunch made by Sue, seeing that it is now raining heavily we run out to unload the trailer before the hardboard becomes soft and useless, we get it in and cut the remaining sheets unhitch the trailer and load the sheets into John’s car, back to the farm for a cup of tea whilst discussing loft hatch size v hardboard, John was confident it would fit through, as he was with it nor raining.
John leaves and it’s time for a few emails and guest enquiries, I get ready for the dentist, and take my iPad hoping to get a start on this blog ready for tomorrow’s #farm24 campaign on Twitter, I did not get this far.
3:30pm and Sarah arrives to collect her pork and sausage, boxed it looks amazing, at the same time our Coach House guests arrive then I leave for the dentist, after an all clear and appointment made for next year, I return to the farm.
Check on emails Facebook and Twitter,
waking up on Thursday morning I realise that at some point I must have gone to bed and slept.
1st task of the day
I than got a call from my eldest daughter Kaier, to tell me her Results
B in Maths, A Additional Science, A Tripple Science, A Sociology, A Geography, B English Language, A* in English Literature, and an A in Spanish.
What a great start to the day! Well Done Kaier…