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September 2021

September 2021

September has been a busy month indeed. Are there any other kind of months?… I ask myself … Well, No!

Life with a BIG ‘L’ and all that!

I have been studying Fungi, and to use a well-aged pun, they are quite ‘fun guys’ 🤣 Tricky though! So I have just started trying to identify various fungi around the farm to work out what families they are in.

That, in itself, is pretty complex, but it seems it’s a good place to begin. I have examined them from every angle, done spore prints and looked down the microscope at the spores – amazing stuff. I even discovered some fungi that grow on other fungi! Safe to say I’m not ready to eat anything I have identified just yet, although there are a couple of ‘fun-guys’ I am close to being confident about. No point in trying to rush these things … there are ‘old foragers’ and there are ‘bold foragers’ but there are no ‘old, bold foragers’. Always remember that!

I had an excision biopsy from my ear at the start of the month. Still waiting to know what it was of course, as the NHS has seized up rather more than it had before (pleased I retired when I did). Fingers crossed, I didn’t need to know anyway 🤞 Apart from a tender ear-lobe, I’m fine.

September has brought an abundance of tasty goodies from the hedgerows, with Blackberries galore, Rose-hips in all shapes and sizes, big fat red Haws, Elderberries (making a brief appearance before blowing away in the wind), Sloes in abundance, Sea Buckthorn Berries (delicious), Guelder Rose Berries, Hazel Nuts, and so much more. Every day I am in awe of Mother Nature and her generosity.

Meadows still have plenty going on too with vast areas of wild Fennel, a particular favourite of mine, now at seed stage – amazing little bursts of intense aniseed flavour, Wow!

Much more other harvests still to gather in too.

We are harvesting our Mustard Seeds by hand (we do most things by hand), and who knew that the little pods of white mustard have vicious little spines on, that get stuck in your fingers? Anyway we are still on with that.

We cut the long grass in a couple of paddocks and made hay. We’re using the bales as seating for the outdoor classrooms and we’ll use some as mulch around the farm. The dogs have been having a whale of a time playing with the little hay bales. These make relatively inexpensive dog toys, at £5 each, if you are looking for something to entertain your pups!

I had chance close encounters with wildlife too this month. I was fortunate to find a Wheat-Ear perched on the fence right beside me, A very pretty little bird and I haven’t noticed them close by for several years. Then a few days after that, a lovely dragonfly was insistent on sitting on my head. I have no idea what was the attraction, but I persuaded it to fly on to the grass instead. Then the other evening I got shouted at by a Tawny Owl when I accompanied one of the dogs out to the Rabbit Lawn. All very special moments in Nature, reminding me always that I am just a very small part of it, tolerated by all other beings on the farm.

We have been to markets in Glasgow this month, following on with our UK tour of Seaham, Newcastle and Edinburgh the previous month. It’s so nice to get out again to markets and meet people face to face, after a year of relative isolation in 2020/21.

We were sorry to miss this year’s Festival of Thrift, first time in 4 years, but perhaps we can fit that one in next year again as well.

We’re looking forward to the Bishop Auckland Food Festival this coming weekend. I’m hoping to be there myself, but have been out of action for a few days with a tummy bug I managed to collect from Glasgow last weekend. Thus, I banned myself from the kitchen this week, so we only have the stock we already had for BAFF, as I wasn’t able to make any more – food hygiene rules! Feeling much better now but unsure about being on my feet all day – we’ll see.

We have lots coming up between now and the end of the year. Take a look at our Events Pages and be sure not to miss out on the fun. We’d love to see you here on the farm.

Now I’m keeping everything crossed for the results of the Rural Business Awards North, tomorrow afternoon 🤞🙏🤞🙏🤞🙏🤞

Could we win our category ‘Environmental Impact & Sustainability’?…….

We’re up against some other brilliant Finalists, and each one of us would be a deserving winner. I don’t envy the judges making their decisions.

The real reward anyway is in seeing the results of our work every day.

Recognition though is always welcome as it brings greater awareness to our work and helps build the network of people and organisations doing good for planet and people.

‘Earth Care, Fair Share, People Care’

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