We have just started lambing our early lambing flock of ewes; these are theaves which means they are young ewes having their first lambs. They tend to be a little flighty and need careful management, meaning lots of late nights and early mornings in the lambing shed. When the weather dries up a bit the ewes and lambs will be turned out on fresh grass near Broughton. Like most livestock, ewes and lambs are happy outside, even if it is a bit cold, they hate the wet.
We are also in the midst of calving both our commercial herd of Belgian Blue x Angus cattle and our Longhorns. So far this year we have had two sets of twins which is quite rare in cattle, and not always ideal as the cow uses a lot of energy feeding her calves. They will be getting plenty of extra TLC.
For those who have seen the “Free Range” Longhorn calf around the farmyard and car park he is a bit of an escape artist! He is very friendly and never strays too far from Mum, choosing to suckle through the feed barriers rather than returning to the barn.
The asparagus fern that was left to grow at the end of last year’s harvest has died down over the winter; this will be cut off and the rows ridged up over the next couple of weeks. By leaving the fern, the carbohydrates and energy are returned to the crowns via photosynthesis. This is crucial to the development of the spears for the following year’s harvest.
Fingers crossed for an early warm spring, everything on the farm would benefit, including us!
This Winter has been a busy time for the farm shop and with Christmas behind us we can look forward to planning the year ahead, in particular the expansion of our vegetable patch and the planting of more asparagus crowns. We have taken on a new full time member of staff to concentrate on growing more fruit and vegetables for the shop. Stefan has been busy so far planting raspberry canes, gooseberries, rhubarb, broad beans, Christmas trees with more to follow.
As you might have noticed we have a few new lines in the shop including ale from Cats Brewing Co, Shennington and Cotswold Gin from Brailes. Organic, sugar free Chocolate from The Chicken Shed, Sulgrave and delicious cakes, tray bakes, puddings and tarts from Cotswold Baking, Swerford, well worth getting fat for!