This Farming Life

theyearitallbegan2019

The secret is out!

We’re delighted to announce that on Wednesday 13th February at 8pm on BBC2 you might be interested in a TV series that is coming out. Why are we blogging about this? Well last year, for 9 months of our lives, we were followed by a film crew from the award winning programme This Farming Life.

They captured our first full year as new farmers – all the highs and the lows, the laughter and the tears! It’s a real ‘fly on the wall’ insight into how we have worked so hard and faced so many challenges in trying to set up our new farm business, where mother nature rules the roost!

The series will be 12 episodes and follows 6 farming families across Scotland and Northern Ireland. This is a national series so you should be able to pick it up wherever you are in the UK. We don’t actually appear in the first episode (it’s the only one we have seen and it is really good) until the end but we are very much in the series from that point on.

We really hope you enjoy it – we’re quite excited but a little nervous.

 

Advertisements

A week in the life of…. Week 4 Jan 2019

A week in the life of…. Week 20 Jan 2019

A summary of our week sharing highlights from our social media channels on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

social media icons day one

Sunday 20th January

Oh HEY there Junior

Monday 21st January

img_20190121_164324_454

Our native breed Jacob Sheep can dig in the snow and find some old grass to wat that was left over from last summer. Just like our Highlanders they are built for our land and our environment

Tuesday 22nd January

snow beast

Snow Beast

Wednesday 23rd January

Today has been a moonset to sunset kinda day

With the time in between involving

  1. Defrosting various watering areas
  2. Animal checks, scratches (pigs) and feeding rounds
  3. Stopping to enjoy this amazing day (must do more of 3.)

Thursday 24th January

Like our sheep, our cows only eat grass. Yup, just grass. Okaaaay maybe some tree leaves and heather and herbs too but again, you get what we’re saying…. And whoop they LOVE it, keeps them fighting fit and produces the finest AND healthiest meat.

Friday 25th January

fb_img_1548575970050

‘The shorter the chain between raw food and fork, the fresher it is and the more transparent the system is’ Joel Salatin, US regenerative farmer. We only raise and sell pure, rare breed Oxford Sandy and Black pork,, from pigs that can express the pigness of the pig

Saturday 26th January

dav

We don’t know why it is, but every day it’s the same. Our ladies who lay in the Eggmobile just L.O.V.E. this nestbox. Little hen quirks like these are too adorable…

Eating Grass

Last week’s arrival of snowflakes, frosts and crisp winter days were a welcome change to the unusually warm and dry spell we’ve been having. I know a lot of you might not agree but it’s nice to finally feel the bite of winter and know that a night by the cosy wood-burner is very well earned.

Snow beast.jpg

This is our first winter carrying a full suite of livestock through. Last year we just had the pigs and some hens, but this year we’ve added our Highland Cattle, Jacob Sheep, lots more hens and our Black Bees. So in some ways, we’ve been really grateful for a kinder winter, in comparison to last year’s long cold spell and now infamous Beast from the East!

Every day we have been ‘hand feeding’ our cattle and sheep. Twice a day they get a serving of some diverse grassland mix hay that we bought from a farmer nearby. If blogs had smell-ternet, you would get the waft of a sweet scented warm summers evening in a hay meadow. Whilst hand feeding takes us a bit longer, it helps us to understand how much they need on a daily basis. If they clear it all up and then settle down for a good chew of the cud, we know we’ve got it right, or thereabouts. It also means that we can always feed them on clean ground.

fb_img_1545643741385

Sometimes they will forage a bit during the day, filling their bellies on the old grass that wasn’t eaten last year. Every day we watch and observe them, always learning about how they interact with our ground. We monitor things closely to avoid parts of our fields from becoming poached or compacted. Both of these would be bad news for our soil health, so it’s worth our while to keep a close eye and keep our animals moving between fields.

img_20190121_164324_454

From the point our cattle and sheep come on to the croft, they are 100% grass fed. It’s quite common for cattle to be fed grain as this helps them to fatten a bit quicker. However we are working with native breeds who are slow to mature and we’re happy to let them do that at their own natural speed, producing the finest meat that nature can provide.

 

A week in the life of… Week 3 Jan 2019

A summary of our week sharing highlights from our social media channels on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

social media icons day one

Sunday 13th January

img-20190110-wa0004

Sunday sunbathing at the Eggmobile. After a morning breakfast of organic pellets, and a big stretch of their wings, our free to range ladies who lay are catching a well earned 40 winks

Monday 14th January

On the move

We move our animals all the time so we can give our different fields as much rest as possible. We always try and keep it low stress – for them and for us!

Tuesday 15th January

more farmers

Stressed about Brexit? Worried about food shortages? Fear not loyal followers… Join us on 21st February to celebrate all things local food and farmers. We’ll still be going strong in the post Brexit world.

Tickets here! https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/more-farmers-better-food-tickets-54603073262?utm_term=eventurl_text

Wednesday 16th January

img-20190110-wa0001

Nature is our guide. We observe and then copy natural processes. We’re trying to build a healthy, resilient small farm business that works for our land, our animals, our community and ourselves.

Thursday 17th January

Snow ain’t no problem for our hairy beasties

Friday 18th January

nom

Nom!

Saturday 19th January

snowffling

In winter, it’s less about the snuffling, and more about the snowffling…..

 

A Week in the Life of…. Week 2 Jan 2019

A summary of our week sharing highlights from our social media channels on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

social media icons day one

This week we celebrated our UK farming heroes who have inspired us via their social media channels. They share examples of key environmental, social and economic deliverables of farming while telling their story

Social Media Farming Hero 1 Mossgiel Family Farm

mossgiel

Farmer Bryces positivity, ingenuity, humour and passion for nature comes across in every tweet. We love his moo-rvellous updates and we only wished we lived closer so we could buy Mossgiel milk

https://mossgielfarm.co.uk/

Social Media Farming Hero 2 Louises Farm Kitchen

louises farm kitchenLouise runs a business delivering quality diversified artisan meats from small scale producers direct to the public. Her business model is a real inspiration for us and her pictures of food always make us hungry

https://www.louisesfarmkitchen.com/

Social Media Farming Hero 3 Kintaline Farm

kintaline farm

We love posts from their ‘living larder’ and take great inspiration from their drive for sustainable living by working with and harvesting nature

http://www.kintaline.co.uk/

Social Media Farming Hero 4Tap o Noth

tap o nothThe lovely James and Rosa educate us on selling produce via a community supported agriculture model. Their market garden is a productive natural beauty to behold

Home

Social Media Farming Hero 5 Joyce Campbell

joyce campbell

We find Joyce an inspiring storyteller of farming. She is so positive and her love for her work, her community and her environment comes across so clearly.

https://www.armadalefarm.co.uk/

Social Media Farming Hero 6 Smiling Tree Farm

smiling tree farm

Christine is a powerful and positive advocate of regenerative agriculture and holistic management. Her business is an inspiration and her passion for building soil is infectious

https://smilingtreefarm.com/

Social Media Farming Hero 7 The Horned Beef Company

horned beef company

David and Bekka are passionate about farming with nature. We love pictures of their ‘wildings’ and are inspired by what they do and how they are doing it

https://www.thehornedbeefcompany.com/

As an industry, we don’t celebrate what we do or each other enough. Our approach has always been to build relationships and collaborate rather compete. It’s been a pleasure to highlight the work that these great people do.

And in other croft updates….

We signed up to become members of Pasture for Life, an organisation that promotes regenerative agriculture by feeding animals ONLY grass in a way that delivers benefits for nature

dav

Our sheep eat grass. Just grass. Grass, grass and grass. Ok maybe some tree leaves and herbs but you get the gist. And no, we’re not sampling it. It’s just a selfie with Chief Lamb Nugget

img-20190110-wa0002

Rush hour on the croft. Hens busying to dustbathe. Highlanders looking for a spot to lie and chew the cud

img-20190110-wa0003

Oxford Crofting

This year we were invited to share the work we have been doing at Lynbreck at one of the biggest farming conferences in the UK, the Oxford Real Farming Conference (ORFC). Our expenses were covered by the Nature Friendly Farming Network, a new charity that we are members of that seeks to represent a growing community of farmers who put nature at the core of their rural business.

talk team

Crofter Lynn (NFFN Scotland) with Tony Henfron (NFFN Wales), Martin Lines (NFFN UK Chair) and Jon Andrews (NFFN England)

The ORFC was formed 10 years ago as a fringe event to the more traditional, established Oxford Farming Conference. In that short period of time it has now grown in size to become the largest of the 2 conferences. It brings together all food growers celebrating everything from smallholdings and community farms, biodynamic and permaculture to much larger commercial farming units.

dig

This was a talk by Ridgedale Permaculture – a farm in Sweden which farms with nature and is impressively profitable!

dig

Pasture for Life and Woodland Trust ran some great talks on agroecology and agroforestry

dav

Our NFFN chair even contributed to a session on farming and rewilding

We talked at a session called ‘Farming Green puts you in the Black’. We explained how we have started up a small scale croft business where we use farming with nature to produce and sell our meat, eggs and occasional veg at a true price direct to people in our community. We talked about how we advocate healthy environment = healthy food = healthy people.

michael gove

Even Michael Gove was keen to hear what we have to say

We’re only just at the start of our business journey but it was an honour to be invited to the conference and an inspiration to meet so many fantastic farmers doing amazing things throughout the UK, supplying nutritious food to their local communities.

mde

Bundles of tree hay!

Our take home message?

Food is all about farming

Farming is all about people

People are all about nature

 

A week in the life of ….. Week 1 Jan 2019

A summary of our week sharing highlights from our social media channels on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Sunday 30th December

Flerd TV

We had a nice visit from BBC Alba before Christmas – they wanted to know all about tree hay! (Sorry for the grainy copy….)

Monday 31st January

Our latest butchery practice – chorizo style venison sausages (with a little pork fat for moisture). They are deeeeelicious

img_20181231_155911_772

Tuesday 1st January

New Year Piggle Spa treatment

Wednesday 2nd January

Little Lambs. Big Sky. Wild beauty. Happy Crofters

img_20190102_151152_416

Half of Lynbreck on tour down at the Oxford Real Farming Conference with the Nature Friendly Farming Network

img_20190102_224325_030

Thursday 3rd January

Nature is amazing

As morning breaks….

img_20190103_173128_505

Friday 4th January

While Chief Crofter Sandra held the fort, Networking Crofter Lynn was on the offensive at the Oxford Real Farming Conference

Networking status? Pretty high!

img_20190104_180655_326

Saturday 5th January

Hurrah our log store is nearly full! That’s 2 years worth of a cosy cabin for us as we are totally reliant on woodfuel. Needless to say, we couldn’t have done it without the help of our Lumberchooks doing the stacking…..

 

*Next blog post will be an update on our adventures in Oxford!