We're having a complete battle with the weather and getting the sheep sheared. We've managed to shear the commercial flock but the Manx Loaghtan and Castlemilk Moorits will have to wait till next week. The rare breeds are fine to wait as they seem to be more resistant to fly strike. Thanks to Jon Simpson of Jon's Shepherding for a lovely job, the sheep are now relieved to be rid of their winter coats and ready to grow next year's wool.
Our late sown spring crops are catching up nicely. The spring barley (Laureate) is looking lovely and weed free. The spring oats (Delphin) are doing a good job suppressing weeds as well due to their ground covering abilities, we consider them a valuable part of our three year rotation. We have planted a new grass/clover ley this year as part of our rotation. The grass is utilised in different ways, we can graze it with our own cattle which obviously improves the soil but we also sell the standing grass to other organic farmers for a late cut of hay.
Above is our spring barley...
We've started another new enterprise this year. Cut flowers from Home Farm. We have installed raised beds and have sown seeds and taken cuttings to begin to produce some lovely blooms to sell next year. Below are some pictures of some of the blooms we've produced this year...
Leading Edge Garden Services have started landscape at the holiday let. They are chopping down scrub and nettles with a view to sowing a wild flower meadow with mown paths. We will of course have a nettle patch as stinging nettles support many insects, including overwintering insects. The seed heads in the summer produce food for seed eating birds like sparrows, chaffinches and bullfinches. Nettle patches are very important for the ecosystem.
We have now officially named our holiday let to reflect its heritage. As it was a dairy in its past we have decided to call it 'The Old Milking Parlour'.
Next month I'll include pictures of the building work which will be nearing completion.