News from the farm gate – June 2018

Pellier-0326-1aLambing season has finally come to an end for us here at Orchard Farm. Like many other sheep farmers, we have experienced a really tough season mainly due to the cold, wet spring we have had. Thankfully we haven’t had too many losses as we were able to keep most of the sheep and lambs indoors until they were stronger or the weather brightened up for a day or two. However, we have been lucky thanks to the shed space we have and the neighbours letting us shelter some sheep in their indoor horse ménage.

Andrew is now turning his attention to the cattle which have started to calve over the last few weeks. We had to have the vet out to one cow that needed a caesarean section. This cow had a pedigree British Blue bull calf which had very broad shoulders, hence why the vet had to come out and perform a C section. It’s safe to say that Mum and baby are doing well and within a few hours the calf was up on its feet and trying to find some milk.

I’ve recently tried my hand at some Facebook advertising to help promote the sheepskin rugs we have produced. For only a few pounds you really can reach a lot of people and so I thought ‘what have I got to lose’. Since spending the grand total of £9 I have received a few enquiries, seen much more traffic to my website and Facebook page and a few more customers coming up to the farm to purchase eggs on a regular basis. I would say that was a good result!

A few weeks ago, I attended an event down in South Northamptonshire called Baa Baa Brackley. The event was highlighting the heritage of the town and the versatility of the sheep and wool trade. I was invited to have a stall and take along our sheepskin rugs. There were many other stallholders there selling woollen garments and a ladies group running a knit and natter craft workshop. Outside the NFU had their sheep roadshow and there were several groups who were conducting displays from times gone by. It was a lovely day and I had many people stop and chat to talk about the rugs, admire how well-behaved Angus (our 6-month-old son) was behaving, and pick up some information I had been sent from AHDB. This included things like menu recipe cards and giveaway squeezy sheep. I even made a few sales, so all in all it was a productive and worthwhile day.

When I last wrote I mentioned that I was organising a Joules seconds clothing sale. This took place in late March and exceeded all expectations. The event was very well supported, with many people grabbing themselves a real bargain. I was thrilled to be able to hand over two cheques, one to Farming Community Network and the other to the Rural Support Network for just over £1,000. I am hoping to have another date for a sale later in the year or early next year so watch this space!

Looking ahead to the Summer and we are looking at heading to a few agricultural shows. Andrew may take one of two cows which he has halter trained. However, we might just go as a family and enjoy a day out rather than getting up at the crack of dawn to wash the cattle. One show we will definitely attend is Blaston Show which is being held on Sunday 24th June. This show is located between Market Harborough and Uppingham and is what I class as your traditional one-day agricultural show. It really is fun for all the family with a dog show, trade stands, classic cars, horse gymkhana, rides.  And at £15 per car, it is a real snip. The event is run by volunteers who work tirelessly to put on a great day, which is now in it’s 61st year. I hope you can get along.

 

Since having Angus back last November, life has become so busy with taking him to swimming classes, baby sensory and meeting up with my other Mummy friends. It’s also nice to be able to invite friends and their little ones over to the farm and show them the animals. It is really satisfying to know that Angus is going to grow up around animals and in the fresh air with lots of space to run around. We really are very lucky.

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