Monday, 14 April 2014

Security Alert

We have been selling eggs at the farm gate for a couple of years and have only experienced theft once in that time.  In the last two weeks we have been robbed twice and the last time Mike thinks he caught sight of the culprit.  Later he saw the same car in Lidl's car park and managed to get a good look at the driver.  Not sure what he intends to do with that information, but he is on the case. Cue Lone Ranger music.

In the meantime we have installed another sensor on our alarm system and moved the egg cupboard inside the entrance so that we are alerted whenever someone walks towards the gate.  

The female alpacas are grazing the shop paddock when the shop is closed and they set off the alarm whenever they get close to the shop.  Sometimes it sounds as though there is a barn dance going on up there!!

Coming soon - Ice cream and cold drinks for sale in the farm shop.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Willow Photos

Nick and Mike spent yesterday morning planting our new willow trees in the winter paddock wetlands.  They look a bit straggly at the moment but Nick used to work for a tree nursery and he assures us that they will quickly be ready to coppice and tidy up and we will have whips (cuttings)  to sell next year.  We have had to put some electric fencing around the saplings as the alpacas quickly demonstrated that they thought the willows a tasty treat.  Nick says they are a natural wormer.  He did not say whether the alpacas think they have worms!

 We made two trips in our van to collect 11 saplings.

Nick and Mike planted them in a previously bare marshy area and surrounded them with electric fencing to protect them from enthusiastic browsers (alpacas and sheep).

Monday, 7 April 2014

Wind in the Willows

Today we collected 11 willow trees for planting in the "Wetlands" in the winter paddocks.  I read an article about the Somerset Levels which mentioned that it used to be famous for its many willow trees and indeed there was a thriving industry in willow for basket making.  We have long bemoaned the fact that we have about an acre of wetlands which mainly supports a few birch trees (which are lovely) and lots of marsh grass.

Rather than try lay land drains and generally disturb the wild flora, such as marsh orchids, we thought it might be a good idea to plant some willow which will thrive in the boggy conditions.  This combined with constant cutting back of the marsh grass should make that area a really lovely and natural conservation area.

Our only concern is whether sheep or alpacas will strip the willow!!   We are currently trying to decide the best way to protect the new trees.   They will have to be staked until their roots grow strong (about two months, we were told by our friendly local nursery lady).  We should be able to start coppicing as soon as the roots have taken.

We are hoping to get them all planted tomorrow before they have time to dry out.  Photos to come!!