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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.

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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.

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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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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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January on the farm (Bridport Times, Jan 2018)

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

 

The start of the year is also the end of the year. Our animals are still outside enjoying the last of the grass. 2017 was very good for grass on Tamarisk Farm and we like the stock to stay outside with all the choice of where to go and what to eat. Most of our stock are tough native breeds and as long as they’ve enough to eat and a bit of shelter they are happy outside whatever the weather throws at them. You often see this as selling points for Devon Bulls, advertised proudly as “… overwinters at 1000ft on Exmoor”. All our sheep are breeds originating on islands or high ground. Our part of the Dorset coast has a lot in common with the islands off Scotland; it is rarely cold but often wet and windswept.

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