I hope this finds you all as well as can be expected and that you have been surviving lockdown as best you can. We sadly lost a member of our family in March, my mother who was 95, but thankfully not to Covid-19. We are yet to celebrate her life and plan to have a big party in her honour once this is all over.
Obviously as farmers we have carried on working throughout the pandemic. Lambing had just begun when lockdown started. It was quite a successful lambing season although the large number of singles did bring down the percentage. They are all thriving and growing well.
The arable crop we have this year is spring oats and despite the early drought they look well. The damage done by the dry weather can be seen in the short stems meaning straw will be short this year - quite literally!
Two of our projects unfortunately had to be put on hold for the past few months. Cliffe Farm Dairy, the new holiday cottage, was closed from March until now. We are all now working hard to get it ready for reopening this weekend. It won't be quite the same with cushions and books being removed and sadly no welcome basket. We loved getting the basket ready for our guests with our homemade scones and a few essentials. We look forward to the day when we can start that again as we loved adding our personal touch to the cottage and giving our guests a warm welcome.
We have our first guests arriving this weekend and we can't wait to have the cottage in use again and to show off the wonderful Wiltshire countryside. Landscaping the surrounding fields is underway with a native hedgerow planned as well as a wildflower meadow with paths mown for visitors to stroll through. We will encourage them to sit and enjoy nature at its best here.
Our other project which has stopped for now are the Flowers from the Farm. We had just entered our second year of growing cut flowers and when the virus hit we decided to plan ahead and prepare more flower beds to increase our flowers for next year. We have grown a lot of vegetables this year as well for our own use. We were gifted rhubarb crowns which have done very well and there are raspberries and currants growing as well.
The apple trees look good and we now have a heritage apple orchard of 139 trees. By next year the smaller rootstocks may produce enough apples to make our own cider. This is something we are really looking forward to.
Lastly the haymaking has started and the small paddocks round the village have been baled and are under cover. Hay will be short this year, again the early drought forced the grass to seed early so the crop was not huge.
Hopefully when I write the next blog I will have caught up with my family and not just through Zoom and texting! Perhaps there will be more a sense of normality about the place. We can but hope.