So…its been a while since I posted about what we’ve been getting up to on the farm.
To be honest between the relief of getting the first year of lambing over with and planning a wedding through to actually getting married I haven’t managed to steal enough time to dedicate to the blog, so I have decided to cram what we’ve been up to on the farm into one large blog post extravaganza. Then it’ll be back to monthly farm posts as usual!
First things first. Obviously we have still been furiously fencing. Just assume that we are always fencing (I think we’ve worked out we’ve done around 15,000m of fencing since we took on the farm almost a year ago). But, I’m not going to go into detail about it- I’ve bored you all enough with the fencing chat already!
Just assume that we are always fencing (I think we’ve worked out we’ve done around 1,500m of fencing since we took on the farm almost a year ago).
After lambing was over, thoughts turned to shearing. We sheared the ewes a few weeks after lambing just to keep fly strike problems at bay. For those of you who don’t know, one of the things that sheep struggle with over the summer is flies laying eggs in their wool and producing maggots….I know, it is as disgusting as it sounds – and precisely why we shear the ewes to prevent this from happening! We have a lovely bunch of shearers that come down from Wales, 4 shearers and a rousey*. Having a large gang of shearers working means we can get through alot of ewes in a day (I think our record is 1100!) and it gets it done in a couple of days, rather than dragging it out. Its a hard slog, it at least its over quite quickly, morale is kept up with an intresting mix of ‘tunes’ all picked by the shearers and has been known to range from Celine Dion through to Eminem. We also have regular snack breaks…and by snack breaks, I mean SERIOUS snack breaks. I have been known to get through 4 cheese scones pre 9.30am…
Along with shearing we turned our attention to establishing some new herbal leys that we have put in this year (a mix of chicory, plantain and clover with grass), after putting the seeds in, we had a slight charlock weed problem, but with strategic mob grazing and a bit of topping in the tractor the leys are looking lush and were ready for some rotational grazing** from some weaned lambs.
Which leads me onto weaning, we weaned all of the ewes and lambs in mid July and also sheared all the lambs ready for summer (for the same reason as the ewes). We then put them onto some nice fresh grass paddocks for a few weeks before we started selling lambs onto other farms for breeding stock.
Locks Farm Produce BURGER BARN
Aswell as farming, those of you who follow me on Instagram will know that we also run a food pop up called ‘Locks Farm Produce’ that we set up last year. We have only done a couple of festivals so far to trial it, but so far so good. We sell grass fed beef and lamb burgers from the farm and lovely Colin on the home farm made the amazing stand from left over pallet wood, then I handpainted the sign (it took a painstaking 8 hours). The food stall is something that has worked really well, and we’re looking to do a few more events with it next year hopefully, ya know, inbetween all of the farming shizzle….with all the spare time we have.
So…where are we now. Well, as Autumn draws in, the days are getting shorter and we have almost been at Cocking Hill Farm a year (there will be a post dedicated to this very fact!). We’re now a married couple (3 weeks and 4 days to be exact as I write this!), and our attention is turning to getting the farm smartened up, and prepping for tupping*** time in November. It also looks like, in addition to our 180 calves that we rear for another farmer, we may be getting a small herd of Sussex cattle to start, hopefully in the next month or so…watch this space!
I can’t wait until we have been here a full year, just knowing what to roughly expect each month will be great and I wont be coming at everything blind. I think thats just about everything, if you have any questions or if I’ve missed anything just let me know!
*Someone who works with the shearers to collect and bag up all of the wool once its been sheared
**Where you split your paddocks into small sections that can be grazed by livestock, and moved on every few days, this increases the productivity of the grass, if timed right.
***Putting the rams in with the ewes