Showing posts from 2010
Ok - it has been a very busy last few months so unfortunately I just have not had a moment to find to keep up the Blog - sorry.... Anyway here we are now and the theme of the last two months have obviously been making cider. Started off very well indeed. The mild weather in November meant that the trees hung on to the apples so it enabled us to start off with the early varieties.This was a bonus as it meant we got more apples from each orchard. The apples were in very good condition indeed which helps our processing of the apples a great deal. This year has been an exceptional year for fruiting. We have estimated that the orchards we used this year have fruited three times as much as last year. We rattled on and was very pleased with the results, hard work but well worth it. We reached a point that we were waiting for the next apple delivery and a small window to 'do other things'. One of these other things were to prepare for an event we were planning to do in December on the
The last few weeks have been very busy indeed and also a lot of fun. We have attended a few shows and also hosted a show at the farm in conjunction with the Titterstone Clee Heritage Trust. The TCHT event required a lot of preparation as there was not only an afternoon event but there was a party in the barn afterwards. The weather during the day was glorious, we could not have wished for better weather. The event itself was great fun but we were very disappointed in how many stall holders let us down at the last moment and did not come. Despite this we felt the day went well. The evening event in the barn was also enjoyable however as with the day event it would have been better if more people attended. The talk about the trust was well received and the band (called Hagglebag) was excellent. It was a shame that it was only really in the last hour that I could drop my responsibilities and let my hair down and do a bit of dancing.... The week after the event was light duties only. There
I have at last managed to make my hay for 2010! A week of fine weather arrived at the end of August/start of September. Makinh hay at this time is a bit late really and the heavy dew and cooler nights meant it took longer to make. The old baler started off very badly and I had to even resort to the instruction book... Eventually she sorted herself out and the last field the bales were brilliant. Bridgnorth food festival went very well and the atmosphere was terrific. Ludlow Food Festival was another ggod event. Very big and very tiring but we were very pleased with how everything went. The tractor engine is still being fixed up and we have missed being able to use it particularly during hay making. The days are now drawing in and the nights are getting cooler. Just over a week ago we asked someone to come and process all the wood that I had collected over the winter. This machine was brilliant. The wood was loaded onto a conveyer where it was cut to a given size and then the wood was s
Cider sales are doing well! We are only just keeping up with the bottling... The van always struggles coming back loaded from a bottling pick up but we have now 'tweaked' the engine and it it seems to be doing a whole lot better. It used to be embarrassingly slow even when empty but that has all changed which is excellent news! We have also repaired the rot on the back door which is a brilliant job done!! I hit the rear door with our forklift some time ago now and coupled with the classic transit van rot on the bottom of the rear doors it looked awful. We have now cut off the whole bottom of the door and replaced it with a new section and painted it! A very good job done indeed!!! I am still waiting to do my hay and there has been no real decent slot of weather for me to have a go. I am not planning to do that much this year but it is still fairly important to get some done for the winter for the horses. Had a go on the Porsche the other day which was both exciting and disappo
I received some truly horrific news two weeks ago today when I was informed of a death of a very close friend of mine indeed. Maybe not the subject to post here on the Blog but it has to be honest really knocked me, and it has affected a great many people I know. He and his lovely fiance were planning to hold their wedding party on the farm in a couple of months and it was something we were all looking forward to a great deal. Bri I am going to miss you terribly - may you rest in peace.... The food fairs are now in full swing! Bridgnorth food festival was brilliant on the 31st of May. Fantastic atmosphere and plenty of people attending. I think a festival has the upper hand when it is free for visitors to attend. The summer Much Wenlock festival on the 5th of June was even better. We always enjoy ourselves when doing a show at Much Wenlock and the biannual summer show on the Church Green was brilliant. Held at the same time of a longer Festival of arts at Much Wenlock it had a sprinkli
How time has started to fly.... With the start of spring everything kicks off and we have been very busy to say the least. The shows are starting and it appears that there is an evergrowing list of jobs. That said we feel that we are more or less keeping on top of everything but just as well the days are longer! We have had several shows and an open day with varying success but generally it is positive. We hosted a farm walk in conjunction with Worcestershire County Council on the 8th of May which went well. The weather was good and the Bluebells albeit later this year were putting on a good display. We started off hosting the 12 people who came and took them on a guided walk on our nature trail. The member of staff from Worcestershire County Council then continued on with an extended circular walk through two parishes and then ending up back at the farm. We then gave them a talk concerning how we make the cider and then the enevitable tasting! As the 'theme' of the walk was Na
I attempted a job that I have been wanting to do for years... On the nature walk there is a wooden footbridge that I built over 12 years ago that crosses a stream. Underneath the bridge is a lovely old stone tunnel that was the original bridge and was wide enough to take vehicles. The start of the tunnel I assumed was blocked and the stream had made its own way around but was starting to erode the structure. So I had a dig around to try and find the start of the tunnel. It was a lot longer than I had thought but eventually found the start and tried to open it up. I was hoping that it was just sediment or a log that had blocked it but unfortunately I think the structure has collapsed. I think that it is a very old structure as it is made with stone rather than brick. The local brick kilns were in operation in the early 1800's so I would assume it was made before then. Anyway I have now got the water going through it again which was a very nice sight to see! At the end of last week w
Spring is here and I am managing to do many of my plans on the farm. I know I keep going on about collecting wood but at present I have probably got about 7 tons back at the farm ready to be chopped and logged etc. This is a very pleasing sight as we are so dependant on wood to keep warm during the winter. The other fact is that the farm is being improved with the tidying up of hedgerows. I have also being 'improving' one of our old orchards. It was quite a sad job as it is a very old orchard which interestingly enough was the spark of how we started making cider over 11 years ago. About three years ago we had some very strong winds and we lost three lovely big apple trees - probably the best we had in the orchard. They were blown over and split the roots which killed them. It was like tidying up a battlefield and I have now removed the remnants including the stumps. It looks so empty now as the trees we have replanted look so very small. We are more or less up to date with the
Spring has certainly taken hold and the sound of lambs bleating mixed in with birds singing is certainly confirmation. Last weekend was a tasting at The Granary Shop at Weston Park. The park was open for Easter and we were asked to provide tastings of the cider that we sell there. Lovely weather and there appeared to be a good turnout. A lot easier than doing a show for us and I of course enjoy meeting new people. Three other producers were there and I thank them for allowing me to graze their produce for the entire day for sustinence! Thanks also to my great buddies in Newport for entertaining me again for the friday night! We are continuing with spring jobs including the lopping of overhanging tree branches around the fields. We are doing this for two reasons - overhanging branches damages the tractor with any field work we have to do and also to continue with the quest for collecting wood for next year. The small twigs and branches are the pain but our old silage grab helps to remov
I have at last got the Land Rover's four wheel drive system working! I am very pleased indeed! Most times I have attempted to use the machine I have ended up getting stuck. Not what I expected from the best 4 by 4 by far.... Anyway a special effort of finding out what was the matter was definately needed. Took the floor plate out and had a look at the gearbox linkage system and attempted to see how it works and the whole thing just came out. How it was meant to work was a mystery so tightened it and put back together as we found it. Jacked it all up off the ground and started it up and fiddled with the front hubs and managed to get the system working. Quite exciting. Took it out to a wet patch in the field and drove into it and instantly got stuck. Pressed the four wheel drive button which had appeared to do absolutely nothing mechanically and... as if by magic the vehicle just drove out as if it was invincible! So dont quite know what we did to it but fingers crossed at last I h
Managing to carry on doing spring work which is pleasing. Fixed up another trough and got the old JCB up and banging. Disappointing to see that she managed to spring a few hose leaks which cost a fortune to fix. But after the problem was addressed she did well and saved a lot of back breaking work. Did another wood run in the 'beast' which was very successful. Managed to find some brilliant dry and dead wood which burns beautifully. Land Rover is working ok of sorts - still confused with how the damn 4 wheel drive works and seems that every time I get in it I manage to get stuck somewhere... I am aware that the 4 wheel drive push button is not correctly lined up but I always thought that low box is permanent 4 wheel drive plus there is the endless fiddling with the free wheeling hubs on the wheels. I think I have managed to get three wheels spinning but by that time I have dug myself in. Anyway I am sure I will get it sorted. The roof rack is brilliant and lots of stuff can get
Well the show at the weekend was OK but nothing really exciting as far as we were concerned. People seemed to be about but the Rugby and Grand Prix may well have made a difference. I feel that we are at the very start of when the cider season begins to take off. Enjoyed it though and thank you to the people who turned up to see us. Back on the farm we have moved on to dealing with the replacement of the waterpipe feed on a trough on the farm. This particular trough has been a bit of a bugbear as it has not been working for quite some time yet this last winter sprung a fierce leak which was a nightmare. So the main line was cut and 'new size' pipe was attached with a tap, drain, and new ball valve all set into an inspection chamber. We then filled in the large hole we had to dig to remove the wet soil and to make a sink hole to drain the water. The whole job went fairly well - always takes longer than you expect but a great job to at last complete. The list of spring jobs is alw
First drop of rain this morning for quite a few days. More birdsong in the morning which helps to reinforce that spring is just around the corner. No yellow daffodils quite yet - still just the leaves poking up out of the ground. Fencing went quite well yesterday despite the Land Rover deciding that it had had enough at the end of the day and refused to start. I am hoping that this is because I did not use the tedious 'warming up' of the plugs for long enough AND I have started and stopped it about 8 times during the day and it never really had a good chance to charge. Apart from this I think the Land Rover is going to be quite a success as it enables me to get to the more remote parts of the farm to do jobs. Today I am loading up the van and heading off up to Telford for this evening. Stopping the night and cracking on with the farmers market at Telford for the weekend. Looking forward to a couple of nights out in Newport but not so much the early mornings.... Had an intense l
The days are certainly getting noticibly longer which is brilliant as I am able to squeeze more useful hours into the day. The fencing at the farm entrance is now complete and we are very pleased with it. The entrance has been widened to make turning easier and we are just waiting for our new 'welcome' sign. After finishing the fencing I have moved on with trying to sort out my recent purchase of the Land Rover. After initially getting excited about the project disappointment began to filter through when there seemed to be a million of things that needed to be done, and then like sun breaking through a grey dull sky things are starting to look up again. Used it today for an 'official' job of repairing fencing on the farm and all seemed good. I can know start it on a key rather than hotwiring it with a long screwdriver each time I use it. I have now got some seats too which helps the ride across the fields somewhat. The bonnet is now the correct one, which hels as the Se
The website is continuing to be improved and admittedly I have got carried away with uploading photographs.. The fence project at the entrance to the farm has almost been completed and it is looking fantastic - vast improvement. I have recently purchased an MOT failure old Land-Rover which I am quite excited about. Managed to get the engine working, pulled it out of someones field and mangaged to get back home. Many thanks to my buddy Rupert which seems to be more excited about the whole project than me. Yes it does need some attention such as clutch, brakes and floor pans but the main thing is that the engine works and its deisel. My intention is to use as a run about on the farm and save the unnecessary wear and tear on the transit van. IF it all goes well I am planning to purchase a winch and will help me get firewood from the remote places on the farm. Photograph of the Land- Rover is on the website. Today started with locating the horses which seemed to decide to break through the
Well at long last I am making definite progress with re doing the website and entering a whole new world. Very excited indeed by the whole project. This would not be possible without my new freind called Bob who I cannot thank enough for the time he has spent in helping me make such progress. I have lots of things planned including.. well we will have to see how it goes! Cider is busy fermenting away and they are all working well despite the relentless low temperatures. We are planning our show dates for the forthcoming year and we hope to do more shows than ever. Spending time on the farm is order of the day at this time of year when things are beit quiter on the cider front. Latest project is replacing the fence at the entrance at the top of the drive. So far so good but grim weather keeps slowing the progress.