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September 2021 - this 2021 blog has been found in the bin and in drafts. Updated for 2022!!

Interesting to read this blog from 2021 (that somehow failed to publish at the time) and how the month compared with 2022. I have updated, and added 2022 at the end.


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, 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 sooo nice to get out again to markets and meet people face to face, after a year of relative isolation.

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’

Update on 2021

We didn't win the Rural Business Awards in 2021, but as I said at the time, we were more than chuffed to be shortlisted on the first attempt, straight out of lockdown.

We would have entered in 2022 but we disn't get the accounts from our accountant in time (grrr) so couldn't. Sadly the awards have been discontinued in 2023 so we don;t get another chance.

The ear lesion turned out to be a tiny melanoma and needed wider excision, which was done over New Year. The dressings were safely hidden under my hat for the visit from BBC Countryfile in January. All is well so far, although I had a simiiar looking lesion removed from the other ear in 2022, that thankfully turned out to be nothing important.

September 2022

September 2022 was - you guessed it - busy! haha - definitely no other option here at Dalton Moor Farm.

Some of the things going on ...

Making Soap, Giant Spiders, Pretty Flowers, Bush Craft, Forest School, Campfire Cooking, Goodbye Queen Elizabeth, Harvest Moon, Mushrooms and Giant Mushrooms, Giggles, Happy Smiling Faces, Lots more Pretty Flowers, Berries, Apples, Nuts, Leaves, Drumming, Harvesting, Autumn Equinox, Rainbows, and early signs of life in the new newt ponds, and studying, studying, and more studying.

Between the work on the farm, all the harvests, Forest School Leader training for me at Rainton Meadows - and lots of course work, Forest School on the farm, CEVAS training online - overlapped with forest school but with a farming focus, IT training online, and moving the fish to their new larger pond - this was as stressful for me as for the fish I think, we were all soaking wet all day anyway, haha, but they got safely to their new deeper and much larger home in time for winter.. Along with all the business organisation and admin, I never stopped. But hey ho, it keeps me out of mischief I suppose.

By the by I learned lots, including lots more about fungi and we even ate some - and lived to tell the tale. Onwards and upwards - never stop learning.

I have such a thirst for knowledge, understanding and connection with nature / humans / etc. that I could never live long enough to do or learn everything I want to. ... but I will keep on learning and keep on sharing what I learn with others for as long as I can.

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