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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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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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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.

Continue reading “January on the farm (Bridport Times, Jan 2018)”

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