Moving on

NEWS FROM WARREN FARM FOR JUNE

It is the season of races; our one son has run in the Brighton marathon, good friends have both run in the London marathon and even our local blacksmith runs crazy races over mountains.  I thought that maybe Victoria and I could take up cycling.  Not too much impact and its downhill in every direction from Warren Farm.

I’ve recently got into buying a few bits at auction; very often as an internet bid.  There was a sale of some high performance mountain bikes (we are on a hill).  It has to be said they were in a police sale of stolen, unclaimed bikes.  Each lot was sold in threes but you couldn’t go and see them, only look at a picture.  Anyway, I bid on a nice collection of three bikes, one black, one silver and one blue.  I won’t reveal how much I paid but I won the bid and went to collect them.  Victoria was waiting at home and I really wished she hadn’t been  because although there were three bikes, I had the front of the black bike, the back of the blue bike and just the frame of the silver bike.  I did point out to Victoria that I had also managed to purchase some excellent bits of railing, a piece of pavement and lock still attached to the silver frame!

When I realised that our cycling future was still far off we had started lambing so I had other rather different mountains to climb. Sometimes I think that spring on a farm is a race.  What are we actually racing against?

To finish lambing so I can clear out the lambing shed to be ready for the corn.

To put the fertiliser on the fields before it rains too much.

To plant the oats before the ground dries out.

To mow the lawn because it will be too long next week.

To prick out some seedlings so that I can plant some more seeds.

To fix the fence before the cows find the gap.

To guard the new hedge plants before the deer eat them.

To wean the pet lambs before I need another bag of milk powder.

To get all the jobs up together before my son goes away to work.

To collect the chicken’s eggs from the hidden nest because I’ll forget next time.

I’ll catch sight of the first swallow and martin, hear the cuckoo and watch her swoop over the hedgerow.  Spy violets and primroses by our newly laid hedge.  Disturb tadpoles in the watery scrape by the wood and see the bluebells get brighter in the spring sunshine.

Spring is a race for life and as farmers we are part of it.  May be I’m already a long distance runner, what a relief; perhaps I’ll sell my bikes on ebay.waterfalls 069

news from warren farm june 15

BASKET MAKING

 

28th February/1st March 2015

Come and create your own handmade willow basket to take home and enjoy.

Suitable for beginners or with experience

Make at least two baskets over the two days.

All materials, refreshments and lunch included in the price.

Cost £125

Contact Helen Munday

Tel. 07972 789329

email. helnhorse@yahoo.com

NEWS FROM WARREN FARM FOR FEBRUARY 2015

 

There are some things money cannot buy; so when you are an Archers fan like my wife, Victoria and the Archers production team contact you to see if your farm could host a writers team building day, not all the gifts in the world could have pleased her as much.

Fifteen of them came on an idyllic summer’s day.  The view from Warren Farm under the archway and beyond to the Lickey Hills was sublime.  The producer and agricultural advisor stayed for bed and breakfast and our two dogs Parry and Brock entertained them whilst the other writers arrived after breakfast.  I found it interesting from an agricultural point of view and understand the slant on the agricultural story lines much better.  It is they exclaimed a ‘dynastic drama’.  Well they’ll have to do some quick changes to the plot if the dynasty of Brookfield is to stay in-tact.

Any way back to the day; they had a trailer ride round Warren Farm, it is the first tour of the whole farm for five years that we risked going down through the wood to Lower Brockhampton.  The countryside was so beautiful whatever the story line.  Lunch was farmhouse soup from our veg patch followed inevitably by crumble and custard.  They sat outside the whole day in glorious sunshine.  I actually think Tor (Victoria) would have paid them to come here!

A few day after the visit we were contacted by email from the Archer’s sound engineer.  She wanted one of us to do some recording for an archer’s episode coming up soon.  Life could not get much better for Victoria; the thought that one of us might actually be on the Archers. The sound engineer said she would send us through the scene and we could let her know what we thought.  The episode in question was when Jill was sitting at the kitchen table and Biff the old dog whined at Jill and then went and sat down by the aga.

Yes, you’ve guessed it they only wanted Brock our sheepdog, he was to be the Archer’s star.  When the girl game she spent an hour with both our dogs.  Parry the old lab having loads of treats and making ‘old dog flopping on the floor’ sounds and Brock whining to bite the fluffy sound microphone.

We listened like proud parents to the episode when it was broadcast, how funny to have our dog on the radio.  Life at Warren Farm is rather like a ‘dynastic drama’, it certainly is never dull.

New Year

NEWS FROM WARREN FARM

Sometimes it’s worth paying for skills.  Before Christmas we decided to kill the fatted calf (or at least send a beast off to the abattoir.)  Somewhere along the line there was a communication breakdown so that when me and another farming friend got to the slaughter house to collect my beautifully vacuum packed beef and his pork, I wasn’t expecting what we actually got.  I drove the golf estate to pick the meat up as Victoria said the pickup truck was too dirty.  The men working at the abattoir watched me and my mate climb out of the car, open up the back and wait for them to load up the boxes of beef.   Instead they put eight parts which made up one animal, four parts from another beast and two whole pigs.  The suspension has been tested on the VW.  This was at 4 o’clock on a Saturday afternoon and not the best time of the week to get hold of a qualified butcher!  Once home I put the Hereford beef in the chiller and spent Saturday night looking on the internet as to how to chop up a cow.  Amazingly it’s all there on a useful EBLEX (English Beef and Lamb) site.  So on Sunday, whatever we may have had planned, instead we were chopping and bagging up meat.  As a task it was actually very interesting how important it is not to have a beef animal too fat, too thin or too old.  How the muscles are connected was fascinating.  Maybe this is how Damien Hurst got started!   If anyone wonders why fillet steak is so expensive you should understand how little of the animal is that tiny band of muscle.  It was a long day and we hadn’t stopped for lunch, Fergus our only boy at home then, offered to cook tea.  Victoria looked delighted and I’ll eat anything; “I’ll only cook”, says Ferg, “if we can have steak for tea!” 

Going back to my opening sentence, butchers definitely have skills worth paying for. What lesson have I learnt from this; well perhaps I should consider becoming an artist, but overall it has to be that VW estates have many uses! 

News from Warren Farm

When you work on a farm, especially with livestock, there is always a certain aroma that surrounds the farmyard, the house boot-room and sometimes even me!  I try very hard not to smell of cows all the time but it can be hard.   

For Christmas I got quite an abundance of ‘smellies’ which made me wonder if I wasn’t always successful in masking the smell of cow muck.    Indeed the one box claimed to be just as useful as socks but more interesting.  Perhaps in my case it meant, to my friends and family, not to me.

This reminded me of last summer when I had been resisting the need to wear reading glasses all the time and Victoria had sent me shopping for some bits.  I saw some deodorant, the roll stick type, and thought about the need to smell sweet.  I used it for probably for ten days or so and found the smell to be quite good, but one evening whilst having a bath I found my armpits to be frothing before I’d even applied the soap.  This was obviously quite alarming and when I shouted to Victoria she suggested I had a look at the deodorant bottle.  With my reading glasses on I found that it was shower gel that I had been applying each morning for the last ten day.   I now take my reading glasses with me when I go shopping.

On Christmas Day our entire meal was home grown.  It was a good moment for all of us here at Warren Farm.  The hours and months of work that have gone into producing the meat, the vegetables and condiments to go with dinner.  A year on from starting Warren Farm Veg and the field has been very productive during the time, despite the slow start to the season.  Maybe the 21 century man isn’t quite the hunter gatherer of old but on Christmas Day I came close

WARREN  FARM DATES FOR DIARY 2014

HEDGE LAYING COURSE – ONE FULL DAY

Saturday 15 February 

Learn the skills of hedge laying and be part of the regeneration of ancient hedgerows on this estate.

Price: £90 per person which includes tuition, morning coffee,  cake and lunch

Not suitable for infirm or children

Hedge laying equipment provided

Sturdy footwear and warm wet weather gear needed.

Start  9.00 am  Meet at Warren Farm     

Lunch 1.00 pm

Finish 5.00 pm

LAMBING WEEKEND  – ONE OR TWO FULL DAYS

12th and 13th April

Sheep husbandry for any newcomer to keeping sheep.  Covering lambing techniques, and general welfare of ewes and lambs.

Price:  £90 per person per day which includes tuition, coffee, cake and lunch

Not suitable for infirm and dangerous for your health if pregnant.

Lambing equipment provided.

Sturdy footwear and warm clothing needed.  Overalls are useful but not essential.

Start 9.00 am  Meet at Warren Farm

Lunch 1.00 pam

Finish 5.00 pm

CHICKEN LOVE – HALF DAY

Monday 26th May

All you need to know about keeping chickens in your back garden.

Price:  £40 which includes tuition, morning coffee, cake and lunch.

Wheel chair access into yard

Chicken equipment provided

Sturdy footwear and warm clothing needed (depending on weather)

Meet 9.00 am  Meet at Warren Farm

Coffee 11.00 am

Lunch 1.00 pm

Finish after lunch

OPEN FARM SUNDAY

Sunday 8th June

Find out what goes on at Warren Farm.  Learn about the farm calendar and how the seasons blend together.  Test your knowledge with quizzes and competitions.  There are also trailer rides to explore further from the farm and meet some of the animals that live here.  Refreshments and light lunches are available during the day.

Wheelchair access around farmyard and tea room

Sensible footwear to explore the farm.

Start 10.00 am Meet at Warren Farm

Finish 4.00 pm

Price:  Free for all ages.  This is a national event that Warren Farm takes part in.  

WILD FLOWER MEADOW WEEKEND – HALF DAYS FOR ONE OR TWO DAYS

31st May and 1st June

Discover the great variety of wild flowers and grasses that grow on our ancient pastures. 

Price:  £50 per person for each morning which includes, identification  techniques, coffee, cake and lunch.

No wheelchair access

Binoculars, camera and or magnifying glass (all three are not essential)

Walking boots/walking trainers advisable

Start 9.00 pm  Meet at Warren Farm

Coffee 11.00 am

Lunch 1.00 pm

Finish after lunch

DIG UP DINNER

Saturday 6th September

Discover the amazing vegetable patch on our farm and learn about our veg box scheme; then pick and dig for your lunch.

Price:   £40 per person which includes guidance and tuition in growing and cooking your lunch plus morning coffee and cake.

Some wheelchair access

Digging and cooking equipment provided

Sturdy footwear  and  coat (depending on weather)

Start 9.00 am Meet at Warren Farm

Coffee 11.00 am

Lunch 1.00 pm

Finish after lunch

 

MILLING AND BREAD MAKING – ONE FULL DAY

27th and 28th September

Milling wheat from our farm in our mobile mill followed by bread making in the farm kitchen.  Understand the farming process to produce good milling wheat and how it can make the perfect loaf.

Price:  £90 per person which includes tuition, coffee, cake and lunch.

Wheelchair access

All equipment provided

Sensible footwear is advisable

Start 9.00 am  Meet at Warren Farm

Lunch 1.00 pm

Finish 5.00 pm

 

CONTACT DETAILS:

Warren Farm, Brockhampton Park, Bringsty, Worcester, WR6 5TB

www.warrenfarms.co.uk    email enquiries@warrenfarms.co.uk   Tel. 01885 482409

Direction:  Take A44 from Bromyard for one mile, Warren Farm is on the left

 50 metres before the National Trust’s Brockhampton Estate.

Warren Farm Rape Seed Oil

WARREN FARM RAPE SEED OIL

Here at Warren Farm we have a unique location, situated on the National Trusts Brockhampton Estate. Stunning views, traditional farm buildings ancient woodland, tree-lined watercourses and orchards.

 As part of our arable rotation we grow oil seed rape which has historically fulfilled a useful role as a “break crop” in the farm rotation – to suppress weeds and improve soil quality – for cereal crops such as wheat and barley. We sell some rape seed to the trade and some we cold press into oil. Rapeseed oil is one of the highest yield oils – it has very black seeds, which are like poppy seeds, and they are 45% oil – and the other 55% is high protein animal feed – an amazing piece of nature. In our arable crops we have created habitats for birds, using wild bird mixes and wildflower margins, this has helped provide sites for feeding, nesting and over-wintering coupled with margins round all arable crops have created a fantastic network of wildlife corridors.

The end result of the cold pressing is Pure Herefordshire rape seed oil.Environmental awareness is at the heart of the management of Warren farm initiatives are in place that will improve wildlife habitats and encourage bio-diversity across the farm.

At Last

Tuesday 4th September we started to cut the wheat. 19.5% moisture, it should be 15% .A very challenging time combine getting stuck,only able to do some fields one way. Still the sun is shinning,  which makes me feel better but the the yields are the worst ever.

 

Supper and Sculpture at Warren Farm sample menu

Sorry Supper cancelled due to unforseen circumstances

Getting all arty next week as we have a sculpture and supper evening which should be entertaining. All the ewes and lambs have been weaned and wormed and dipped and moved to the other Farm.

We have had trouble with gates been left open and cattle chased with motorbikes still I will catch them one day.