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2022 in review & A Happy New Year 2023

Updated: Jan 17, 2023

Phew! What a year it has been.

January started with a visit from BBC Countryfile with Matt Baker, who learned how to make vegan HUNNY and joined us Wassailing the Orchards on twelfth night. Their visit was closely followed by the first snow of the year.

The programme aired on 23rd January and brought a welcome boost to our sales of vegan HUNNY and other products, clearing out most of our stock, and I have been on catch up with food production ever since.

We were already fully involved with hedge planting, and we completed a couple of kilometres more new young hedging.

We did another wassail on old twelfth night (17th January) under the full wolf moon and howled to the moon. Thus began the monthly full moon fire circles. These have been quite magical for all involved. Huge thanks to everyone who has joined a moon circle or other seasonal festivities in the wheel of the year, and shared your spiritual journey with us.

Also in January I was named among the top 100 female entrepreneurs of 2022 in the f-entrepreneur i-also100. This led to invitations to round table events with senior government officials to discuss challenges faced by small businesses. I attended a reception at the House of Lords in March with the other i-also 100 nominees. It was lovely to share space with so many positive and innovative women.

January topped off with our annual food hygiene inspection and we maintained our rating of 5.

February was a little quieter, but we worked with a team of students from Northumbria University Business School on their project, and took part in the Eco-fest at Dalton Park, where I held a couple of willow weaving workshops.

March was quite busy with visits to plan school trips to the farm, my visit to London, another visit to the South, purchase of an ancient mini-digger, me learning to drive the digger by digging out four and a half ponds, a Spring Equinox Fire and Drum Circle, and an unexpected place to train as a Forest School Leader, starting at the end of March. Tom and I managed to see Van Morrison in concert too.

Early April brought a lovely visit by some of our family to the farm, and then Forest School training, foraging walks, garden willow workshop, and I joined BNI Invincible to help grow my business.

May brought some very hot sunny weather, willow basket weaving, a lovely group of ladies from the WI for a day on the farm, foraging, mindful morning, drum circles, full moon circle, and the first school visit of the year.

June and July brought the usual smattering of events at the farm, a visit from the Saltwell Park Community Orchard group, several school visits, a private family 80th birthday foraging walk, and lots of studying on my part to get the necessary course work for Forest School Leader training completed, oh, and lots more hot sunny weather, which was a big stress for our new young hedges. We’ll have to wait until the coming spring to see how many of the plants have made it through safely.

August kept up the pace with delivery of our super new label printer, Seaham Food Festival, Willow Dragonflies, Summer Forest School at the farm, and a big 80th birthday party at the farm for a lovely family group.

September was even more busy with Forest School Leader training and assessment, Autumn Forest School at the farm, online training for linking education and farming (CEVAS), Autumn Equinox, Full Moon Circle, Mindful Morning and a trip to see Brian Cox at the Newcastle Arena.

October brought pumpkins - lots of them, plus the usual workshops including Full Moon, Drum Circle, Willow basket weaving, twilight pumpkin hunts, pumpkin painting and the Hallowe’en trail.

November was hand in date for the CEVAS coursework, swiftly followed by many hours completing the coursework for forest school leader training, to be handed in at the start of December.

December brought the cold and snow, a couple of rather disappointing and frozen markets, a very welcome spa day with a friend, two Christmas meals out on the same day and then the flu got me. I managed to recover sufficiently to host the Winter Solstice events at the farm, (they were fabulous), and the meet Santa and Christmas Treasure Trail, then retreated into resting over the festive season with my family.

My feet have hardly touched the ground all year and I’m hoping for a bit more balance in 2023. There is always lots to do at the farm though, as Mother Nature sets the calendar and she does not wait around. We have lots of plans to get on with too, and I am starting plant based coaching training in January, so it looks like there won’t be any dull moments in 2023.

I’m going to take a few deep breaths just now and set my intentions to be ready for the year ahead and whatever it brings.

Wishing all our family, friends, followers and customers a joyful, healthful and blessed new year.

Thank you for your input to our 2022.

We look forward to seeing you during 2023.

If you haven’t already done so, I invite you to make this January the start of living vegan 🌱 for the animals 🐄🐖🐑🐓🦃🐇🐬🐟🦀🐙🐐🐣🦆🐝, for your health 💚 and for the planet 🌎

We can only thrive with kindness to all kinds x

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