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Woolly jumpers for woolly grazers (Bridport Times, June 2019)

We write monthly for the magazine Bridport Times. To see this article as originally published, view the pages on Issue.

Written by Leila Simon

Sheep grow wool. It is perhaps the feature which defines them most for people who are not part of the farming world. We need to shear them every year, taking off their wool and leaving them cool and comfortable for the summer, and making flystrike much less likely. Wool is also a valuable product: once vital to the English economy it was eclipsed first by cotton and then by artificial fibres. More recently, society is beginning to see its value again, using it not only as an eco-friendly alternative to polyester and nylon clothing, to start reducing the pollution of the oceans, but also as a replacement for glass fibre and plastic bubble-wrap. It is used in a wide variety of forms from building insulation to packaging: we send our meat boxes out packed in wool and we have our own wool spun as knitting yarn (see Bridport Times September 2018).

Continue reading “Woolly jumpers for woolly grazers (Bridport Times, June 2019)”
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The Spice of Life (Bridport Times, May 2019)

We write monthly for the magazine Bridport Times. To see this article as originally published, view the pages on Issue.

Written by Ellen Simon

When I was a child, the only other farm in the village changed from being a mixed farm to an entirely arable farm. I don’t recall exactly when we stopped seeing the cows walking past the house for milking morning and evening and stopped seeing the milk-churns every day waiting on the solid stand of railway sleepers for collection by the milk lorry. Looking back, I can make an intelligent guess about it: I think it very likely that the farmer’s choice to stop dairying tied up with that collection of milk.

Continue reading “The Spice of Life (Bridport Times, May 2019)”
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Beginnings (Bridport Times, April 2019)

We write monthly for the magazine Bridport Times. To see this article as originally published, view the pages on Issue.

Written by Ellen Simon

Our cows’ main job is to be mothers, and they are very good at it. We can recognise the start of each cow’s mothering by hearing her talk to her young one. She will start when she is beginning labour and uses her special mother’s voice only for the next day or two. As human beings we raise the pitch of our voice when we speak to our babies. Cows lower theirs, making a very particular sound, one we never hear at any other time. If we hear the characteristic quiet, brief lowing as we go out in a darkening evening to check the cattle, we know for certain that there will be a calf newly dropped or one about to appear. It’s a mother calling for her little one.

Continue reading “Beginnings (Bridport Times, April 2019)”
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The Seeds We Sow (Bridport Times, March 2019)

We write monthly for the magazine Bridport Times. To see this article as originally published, view the pages on Issue.

Written by Rosie Gilchrist

Without seeds a vegetable garden has few plants and without plants there are no vegetables to eat, and that would be a very sad thing. Choosing seeds, sowing and nurturing them feels like the foundation of a vegetable garden. There are some vegetables such as tubers and cuttings that we propagate by other means but certainly most vegetables are annuals, grown from seed every year. With equal certainty, seed propagation is one of my favourite jobs around the market garden.

Continue reading “The Seeds We Sow (Bridport Times, March 2019)”
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Real Bread Week (Bridport Times, February 2019)

We write monthly for the magazine Bridport Times. To see this article as originally published, view the pages on Issue.

Written by Rosie Gilchrist

If you were to wander into elevenses at Tamarisk Farm there is a fairly high chance you’d encounter some home-made bread being eaten, with some accompanying ‘bread chat’. The chat arises because once you start baking ‘real bread’ it can get pretty geeky; every loaf can be analysed and deliberated over. It also turns out that, in growing several good grains and processing them here on the farm, we are doing something quite uncommon. It attracts a small but keen community of bakers and bread and grain enthusiasts. We grow well-chosen, mostly old, varieties that have not been over- bred for the modern baking industry, mill them on an old stone mill here at the farm, and sell directly to loyal customers at the farm shop and a few other locations.

Continue reading “Real Bread Week (Bridport Times, February 2019)”
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Horsing Around (Bridport Times, January 2019)

We write monthly for the magazine Bridport Times. To see this article as originally published, view the pages on Issue.

Every day we  check the animals, several different groups in all their different places around the farm. Our fields have thick hedges and scrub patches and the ground has hollows and rises. All this can make it difficult to be sure you have found them all. It can take several scans across the field to be certain you’ve not miscounted. This no longer feels like a chore when combined with a self indulgent pleasure of doing the work on horseback.

Continue reading “Horsing Around (Bridport Times, January 2019)”

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Putting the garden to bed (Bridport Times, November 2018)

We write monthly for the magazine Bridport Times. To see this article as originally published, view the pages on Issue.

I often get asked by people what on earth I grow over the winter. There is a pretty strong misconception that not much can manage over winter, and although it’s true that there is less variety of things that grow, and that what is in the ground really slows down, there is still a lot that’s harvestable and a lot to do in the garden regardless!

Continue reading “Putting the garden to bed (Bridport Times, November 2018)”

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Hardy Country (Bridport Times, October 2018)

We write monthly for the magazine Bridport Times. To see this article as originally published, view the pages on Issue.

When we took on the conservation grazing land at Cogden in 1995 we changed our herd of mixed  cattle with its wonderful array of colours and shapes to mahogany coloured, deep bodied pedigree Red Ruby Devons. These  hardy animals (also called North Devons) are particularly known for living outside all year round on the wild coast and moors of North Devon and Somerset, but have been local to this part of Dorset too. Continue reading “Hardy Country (Bridport Times, October 2018)”

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Homespun (Bridport Times, September 2018)

We write monthly for the magazine Bridport Times. To see this article as originally published, view the pages on Issue.

We do complicate our lives by having a lot of different breeds of sheep. Each is a different colour, has specific needs and their own rams. And they have very different personalities.

We did not select them all for good hard-headed business reasons.We chose the Herwicks (our most recent breed) in a reminiscent mood: we lived in Cumbria early in our married life where we saw and loved them when walking and climbing in the fells. Continue reading “Homespun (Bridport Times, September 2018)”

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