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CAMPSITE

Five sets of people came to stay on the campsite during the weekend after Christmas. (1) It was fine but rather cold. One brave couple stayed in an unheated tent on a very frosty night and cooked a hearty breakfast the next morning (2). Repairs and maintenance continue during the winter after the high winds. The water tap stake had to be replaced (3). The contractor has got more enthusiastic about advertising and now has a highly decorated van (4) The door on the electric meter box needed to be put back on (5) after it had been blown off in a high wind.

FARM

Recently one flock of sheep had to be scanned to see if there were pregnant. (6, 7). Any sheep that were “empty” ie not pregnant, (8) were sprayed with a red dot and sent on to market the following week to be made into kebabs. Singles, twins and triplets are now expected from about 20th March. Another flock of sheep is in the polytunnel and barn busy having twins at the moment. Disposing of old iron is always a problem and costly when collected by a skip, so we had ours collected by a registered scrap metal dealer (9) who should pay us in due course. We now have a budding tractor driver who has been practising with the Matbro (10)

Recent storms brought a lot of debris down to the sheepwash gully causing flooding. The Matbro was used to get rid of the bulk of it (11), with the remainder moved by pitchfork (12). Its amazing the number of trees that are washed down the River Char when we have flash floods (13) Contractors spent hours chain sawing (14) and using the wood splitting machine (15) getting rid of a huge wood pile. We now have enough wood for our Rayburn for the whole winter. There is a lot more wood to collect around the farm at some stage when we have time.

All the geese were sold and once they were dressed they were put back into the cold storage unit which was set at 2 degrees. (16, 17) The last few geese were collected on Christmas Eve, with some people getting very excited about the birds. During the previous week I had rendered down all the frozen goose fat I could find and strained it into containers to sell at the door and farmers’ markets. (18)

CIDER MAKING

We had one cider pressing late last autumn and, as mentioned in an earlier newsletter, sold the rest of the apples to a local apple juice producer. The following photos show the process by which a cider “cheese” is made. When the work is complete the team has refreshments of bread, cheese and tomatoes. Cider is optional as we have some teetotallers in the group. Every day for a week pressure is gradually increased to squeeze out all of the juice into a container . Eventually the cider cheese is only a few inches deep. The remaining pulp (pumice) is given to the cows for a special dessert. (19 – 31)

LOCAL EVENTS AND PLACES OF INTEREST

The Hive restaurant at Burton Bradstock was open on Boxing Day so we went along to have lunch. (32, 33, 34) There seemed to be hundreds of cars so we expected long queues to eat, but it seemed that the majority were walking along the beach. (35, 36) Dogs of all sizes and colours appeared to be everywhere. (37) We later walked along the sand in the beautiful sunshine before returning along the cliff top footpath which was incredibly muddy. (38)

Big Breakfasts on a Sunday have been all the rage during the last few years with lots of villages putting on these events to raise money for churches, village halls or charity. Salway Ash Hall, near Bridport probably has the most Breakfasts. We always arrive early so we don’t have to queue (39). The kitchen is a hive of activity from 8.45 am onwards (40) and the people on the front line were very co-ordinated in dishing up the meals as quickly as possible (41, 42) Another village that has a annual Big Breakfast is Whitchurch Canonicorum. (43) They have been running this event for over 10 years. Toast is always on tap (44) and there is plenty of choice for cereals, fruit and fruit juice (45, 46)

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