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Snickerdoodles (Cinnamon cookies)

Apparently snickerdoodles aren’t German, no matter how much I think the word sounds it. Whatever they are, they are also quick, soft, and delicious. I found this recipe whilst staying with my brother and sister-in-law when their twins were only two months old, and we all quickly decided that these were perfect snacks for the late nights that were going on. I usually make two or three times the dough in one go, and only bake some at a time. The rest I put into one or two bags and leave in the freezer for when I want something sugary.

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A change of tune (Bridport Times, May 2020)

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

Written by Ellen Simon

On a recent brilliant sunny day, I was riding our pony Salix, at speed, up the committee fields to visit the cattle and sheep littered in the fields at the top of the farm; the phrase ‘in May, I sing all day’ came to mind. The road at the top of the hill and the sky above were quiet because we were already in ‘lockdown’. Maybe part of the reason these words came into my mind was that this silence matched the quiet days of my childhood. For me, the words are from a time when the world had less noise and the rhyme from which they derive is part of my primary-school lore:

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From Winter to Summer (Bridport Times, April 2020)

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

Written by Ellen Simon

April is the changeover from winter to summer. In the winter the animals depend on us for their food and comfort. Most of them, all the ones indoors, would be knee deep in muck if we didn’t clear it away for them and give them fresh bedding; they would be without food unless we gave it to them, and that depends on our having saved the grass from last summer. In summer, by contrast, the animals are all outdoors and don’t really need us. We see them daily but, if all is well, that is all we do: we look, we see that they are comfortable and that they seem happy and we leave them to themselves. April is the month by which the big change-around has happened. It is a relief to finally return to the summer pattern; we have by now become weary of feeding and bedding and it is a pleasure to see the animals enjoying the weather and the sweet spring grass. For the vegetables, there is an equivalent shift around now. Through the winter and well into spring we are dependant on last year’s plants and last year’s work and now we are setting out this year’s and just beginning to crop the earliest of them.

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Why did the caravan cross the road? (Bridport Times, March 2020)

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

Written by Ben Scriven

Visitors to West Bexington may have noticed a rather strange pair of caravans sitting in a field and wondered how they seem to mysteriously move around periodically. They represent my latest (bird brained?) idea: can we produce eggs without importing feed?

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Rain, rain, go away… (Bridport Times, February 2020)

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

Written by Adam Simon

Do you remember playing with water and building dams as a child? Something we all learned very quickly was that water runs inexorably downhill. You can channel it, slow it down or hold it temporarily but ultimately it insists on going downwards. On our farm, water ends up harmlessly in the sea quite soon, but it can be troublesome en route. Readers will have noticed that, after the dry summer, we had a lot of rain early this winter and we have needed to help some of our water find the ways we wanted it to take rather than letting it choose its own.

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Bess’s Tail (Bridport Times, January 2020)

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

Written by Leila Simon

Just thirteen years ago this month, Ellen returned from Puddletown veterinary surgery with a roly-poly, black, tan and white collie called Scamp. Probably between 2 and 4 years old, Scamp was, we hoped, to be our new sheepdog. We’d spent two months without one, struggling to gather and move the sheep alone. Perhaps more difficult than that, we’d had no loving doggy presence in the house or companionship out and about. For years we had been looked after by a golden retriever who thought we kept the farm especially for her to play in, and then we got Moss as a puppy who we trained up as a sheepdog ourselves. She had died suddenly at 8 years old from an undiagnosed liver cancer that haemorrhaged. She had been asking for gates to be opened rather than jumping them, however she had seemed fine and was working well – just the evening before, she had moved the cattle very neatly from below the car park at Cogden to the field next door. The day she died had been spent apparently enjoying herself as a passenger in the tractor cab but when she got out she clearly felt bad, and we were on the phone to the vet when she died curled up in her basket. We had mourned the loss of a companion and a working partner and felt we couldn’t wait for a puppy to grow and, as we couldn’t afford a trained adult dog, we tried out a rescue dog.

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Sad news from the farm – Arthur Pearse

Arthur Pearse

17/03/1927 – 30/12/2019

We’re sorry to have to tell you that Arthur Pearse died after a short illness on the 30th of December.

Arthur, who many of you will know, started Tamarisk Farm with Josephine in the early 1960s, and ran the market garden well into his eighties until handing it over to Rosie.

Arthur and Josephine at our Annual Christmas Carols, on 24th December 2019
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Between you, me, and the gatepost (Bridport Times, December 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

Bhutan, we hear, measures its success in gross national happiness instead of gross national product. Provided we stay above the breadline and can pay the bills, I think we might measure the farm’s success by whether the gates are good. Gates in good order are a joy. A gate should unlatch with one hand and easily swing open with just a light push. It should stay roughly where it is left, neither swinging wide open nor closing onto the person passing through. It should not touch the ground or have space underneath it to allow lambs to find their way through. It should have clear space at head level for the user, with no bramble shoots or sallow whips to catch unwary faces. It should close readily and latch securely when given a gentle nudge in the right direction. It should make a distinctive noise as it latches so that one can be totally sure without going to check that it cannot be opened with a shove from the next passing animal.

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