Visit number 2 to Church Farm, Ardeley
Not even a cold, damp January day can detract our resilient Hollybush farmers from having more fun on the farm!
I remain ever impressed by the efforts taken by Church farm to maximise their opportunities in order to keep going. We know from last year that they have a large orchard of over 900 fruit trees and of course we planted strawberries last session, all of which will harvest fruit to be sold in the farm shop or cafe later this year. Today our farmers were harvesting herbs which the farm will send out in their organic vegetable boxes which are delivered to people in the local community. The children cut their own sage, bay leaves and rosemary and made little bunches which were tied with string. The rosemary smelled lovely and reminded us of roast potatoes on a Sunday lunchtime! It was quite a fidgety job but the children were very good at helping each other. They then added a label which said that the bunches had been made by children from Hollybush School and each child signed their own label to personalise the bundle. They looked lovely, very decorative and definitely appetising.
The next activity saw the children engrossed in den making. Each group split into 2 teams and their mission was to build a den which they could all fit inside. I was expecting them to finish with a shelter but not our creative bunch! We had straw carpets, a willow wreath, a water shaft, seats for everyone and even an ammunition area to ward off unwanted guests.
The farm tour showed us how the farm and it's jobs change over the seasons. Last time there were 120 turkeys here but only 10 were left today. Everyone enjoy their Christmas lunch? The animals were mostly in the smaller pastures at this time of year so they can be fed and looked after in the colder weather. The children were somewhat alarmed yet excited to be feeding the bulls!
The farm was a sea of mud and water today much to the children's delight. We only had one boot come off in the mud but well done Benjamin for keeping your smile!
Have a look at today's pictures, we've had so much fun! Thank you to Rozelle and Tom, our fabulous hosts and also to our coach driver who welcomed us back on board with a cloth to clean our boots and a cheerful smile in spite of the somewhat soggy state of us! We're already looking forward to trip 3 when lamb season begins!
So another year begins at the farm and yet again the beautiful weather has enhanced what has been a truly fabulous day!
The first session is always interesting because many children were joining us for the first time and didn't really know what to expect. For example some came with a fear of chickens but left having fed and picked up chickens by themselves in the free range field. Mathilda walked straight into the field and even before we'd shut the gate, decided to have a cuddle with the first bird that she came across! Many including me dare I add, were slightly more cautious; although by the end of the day children unanimously agreed that feeding and running with the chickens, then categorising the 296 eggs which our children collected, was the highlight of our day.
Additionally today we did a farm tour where we saw the winter fields and met the many animals living there. Sophia said she has seen black and brown pigs but saw pink pigs for the first time today and they even had piglets. All the children learned to talk turkey; we gobbled and they actually gobbled back to us! We have been told that unfortunately the turkeys won't be there on our next visit! The cows were huge and according to Jacob "smell awful"! Alfie even saw a fox running across a field. We visited the farm shop and cafe and saw some of the eggs and vegetables harvested and sold there, all sourced from the farm. The strawberries we planted later during our day, will eventually be sold in the farm shop when we harvest them ourselves next Summer ... and no doubt taste a few too!
The children as ever were an absolute credit to Hollybush School and this was endorsed by Rozelle who said she'd have us back everyday ... a very tempting offer!
Enjoy some of todays' highlights. As for Hollybush farmers, we are already eagerly awaiting our Winter return just after Christmas .
Dr Finley, a stick story! Part 1
During our last visit to the farm Finley Cakebread picked up a stick which he was asked to leave at the farm where it would be looked after until our next visit. What Finley didn't know as he reluctantly agreed to say goodbye, was that this would be the start of an adventure for his stick, now appropriately named Fin.
Enjoy this lovely story of Dr Fin, written with dedications to Finley Cakebread, by Dave Hobbs, co-farmer at Church Farm Ardeley.
Task: Find your favourite day and draw a picture for Dave's book. Or maybe you can write a story of your own special object.