Well here is another posting to anyone who is vaguely interested...!
This whole year has been hard work to say the least mainly due to the weather and plans not going as well as I would have hoped. There have certainly been upsides but it has been a bit of a slog on the whole..
We have however been pleased with the shows on the whole and we still have a few left to do on the run up to Christmas. One plus point is that the whole range of ciders have done remarkably well indeed and we have found it tricky to keep up. We are still unable to offer the whole range of ciders both through our retail outlets or online which is disappointing but it is a lot of work just keeping up with the demand from the shows particularly and the farm shop. We also have the situation that certain ingredients are finite as in the elderflower and also our damson crop has utterly failed this autumn.
Hay making has been hard work too trying to find a slot of decent weather. I planned to make 4 fields totaling about 9 acres. The first field went well and I am so pleased with the work that was done on the baler. The bales are popping out brilliantly and are holding their shape. This was a problem with mis shaped bales. Finished the field go the bales in and attended Far Forest show next day AND it also rained! The second field was cut and was making during the biggest show that we attend which is Ludlow Food And Festival. It was just as well I could call on some of my buddies to help at the show as I had to leave early each day to turn it. On the sunday I managed to bale it and get the bales in just as it got dark and then went back to Ludlow castle to pack up the stand and then celeberated by going to the pub! The third field was made as autumn was knocking on the door and the sun was lower so some of the headland did not get the sun. The whole job was particularly hard going. At this time of the year the heat is just is not in the sun and on the day I was hoping to bale it it just was not ready which was gutting and then that night it rained.... Anyway mangaged to eventually get it in but it all took longer than I had hoped. The last small meadow I was hoping to do has had to be left which was disappointing..
The weather as we all know has been dreadful for months and has certainly made everything more hard work. The relentless rain we have had, has been very heavy indeed and has caused a certain amount of damage. The drive has occasionally doubled up as a substantial stream and has not only made it rough but funneled a heck of a lot of water down to where the farm buildings are. I am convinced that the water table has been so high that water has been coming through the floor in several barns which I have never seen before! The fields have had very little chance to ever dry up and so I had very little opportunity to take a tractor onto the fields without making a mess.
The festivals however have done pretty well and we were pleased with the results. It was a great shame that Burwarton show was cancelled however we have been very lucky that on the whole we escaped these ridiculously heavy rain showers.
We have had several barn events which apart from the weather went quite well. Weekends have been really quite busy either doing a show or and event at the farm. My whole summer has gone really quickly indeed. I did manage to go and see a very good buddy over in Belfast for a few days and had a fantastic break. The gutter is that it was the time that it was a few days of good weather back here which meant I missed an opportunity to make some hay.
Just recently I have been able to gather myself as the hectiness of the show season has eased up. We have a handful of shows to do on the run up to Christmas so hopefully might see a few of you before the end of the year!
We were planning to sort out a special halloween weekend at the farm with lots of owls, decorations and mulled cider to build on the success of our last falconry event but the Falconer has recently been ill so we have decided to try and organise one closer to Christmas if possible. We wish Chris a speedy recovery.