HLS Scheme(May 23, 2015)
We have been busy with Higher Level Stewardship Scheme work....... sowing conservation seed, trying to keep the slugs at bay, and enjoying the favourable weather.
The scheme involves lots of conservation work, which we are used to, having been founder members of FWAG (Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group) back in the day. One of the HLS projects is to keep wild bird seed feeders topped up, in all corners of the farm acreage. This pays off as we see more Greenfinches, Goldfinches, Bluetits, Great tits, Long-tailed tits, and even Nuthatches in the woods. The clever little Robins are evolving to take seed from the feeders, and Blackbirds, Thrushes and Pheasants feed on the spilt seeds.
The Old Yard is being cleared of 3 generations of detritus and treasures, making way for conservation of buildings rather than conservation of flora and fauna. Inches of fallen leaves, mosses, bricks and tiles have covered some of the pathways, and each of the red brick barns/stables/cowsheds have been cleared. Some of the foundations stones must have come from Burrough Hill ramparts, in the late 1700's, when it seems that robbing the stone was the best way to get your house built. There is also evidence of burning, and so the walls above the stone could have been wooden, rather than the old brick we have today. It is interesting to unpick the progress in Agriculture from this project. After the war, we had to intensify to feed the nation. Open-range laying hens were victims to rats, foxes, and heavy clay land. So we have been taken through the stages which resulted in battery cages during the late 20th century. Farmers were expected to deliver food, and efficient and clean methods had to be used.
We have had a busy time at the Farm Cottage.................. lots of returning visitors, who enjoy the views, the wildlife, the peace, the walking and visiting relatives and friends. They say that you don't necessarily want to go to Leicestershire, but you may need to go there! We don't do Online Booking as we like to communicate directly with our guests from the very start. Our website says it all, and we are lucky to have so many visitors. To be in the Hospitality business, you have to be hospitable, and we like to leave the cottage door unlocked for our visitors , but catch up with them when they are settled in. This is usually when we see them relaxing in the conservatory.
The Oilseed Rape is beginning to form pods, which is always encouraging. Lots of fieldwalking is going on, to establish the next move, be it fertiliser or sprays. Things have been a bit different here since 10th March, when Chris's ladder slipped and he dislocated his shoulder and has massive rotator cuff tears. His repair operation should be on 2nd July. So, for the time being, Paddy has stepped up to the spraying, and Chris has caught up with his office work, although it is surprising just how much work he is managing to do with one arm only!
Well readers, this has turned into a bit of a blog, hope you find it interesting.