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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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A Necessary Obsession (Bridport Times, August 2018)

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

The weather is a British obsession. “Oh isn’t this rain terrible?” “It’s so cold!” “Could you believe the wind this morning? Blew my washing all over the garden”… But even more than that, it is a farmer’s obsession.

For winter crops we want late summer rain to allow early cultivation after harvest, and dry to kill the weeds before we sow seeds; we don’t want saturated or cold soil over the winter but we do want some sharp cold to kill some of the bugs. We want a warm moist early season to get a good leafy growth on the wheat then Continue reading “A Necessary Obsession (Bridport Times, August 2018)”

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While the Sun Shines (Bridport Times, July 2018)

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

Our stock live on the grass which grows here. In the winter, there is not enough fresh grass to keep them comfortable and growing. We need to save the riches of the summer to fill the space in the winter larder. The way we save it is to sun-dry grass: we make hay.

In my memory, hay making is a time of sunshine, of sticky warmth, hard work, well-earned aching muscles, and hay fragments down my bra. Now it is different but it has the same quality of urgency and vitality and is an iconic part of the farm’s summer. Continue reading “While the Sun Shines (Bridport Times, July 2018)”

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Ruminations on Grazing (Bridport Times, June 2018)

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

There’s an old saying that “the best manure is the farmer’s boot”, meaning that careful and frequent observation of your fields and crops is the key to farming. Every day, come rain or shine, we visit our grazing animals spread around the farm to see them all and make sure they are well. We observe how many are relaxing and chewing the cud, whether they look well-fed and contented or whether they are noisily complaining to us that the grass looks greener Continue reading “Ruminations on Grazing (Bridport Times, June 2018)”

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Biochar Bonfire Night – Saturday 27th October 2018

An evening of fire, food and fun!

Join us for the chance to learn about Biochar: the latest and oldest soil-improvement you’ve never heard of. We’ll show you how to easily make this special kind of charcoal, and what it can do for your garden.

Advantages of Biochar:

  • Less watering
  • Less disease
  • Suitable for all soil types
  • Up to 30% better yields
  • Long lasting, never needs reapplying
  • Locks climate-damaging CO2 in the ground

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