A week in the life of…. Week 12 Mar 2019

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

social media icons day one

Sunday 17th March

This is Ronnie. She used to be skittish of everything and everyone. Now she’s the boss. It’s a special thing to work with this lot and so important to build everything we do on nurture and respect – they work for us, we provide for them

Our MP Drew Hendry said some nice stuff about us in the UK parliament a few weeks back. Safe to say we’re incredibly chuffed. Thanks Drew

Sunday 2

Monday 18th March

3 years ago to the day we took ownership of Lynbreck Croft. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves in to. It’s been the most amazing and hardest 3 years of our lives. We wouldn’t change it for the world

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Tuesday 19th March

Eeesh you leave the quad and trailer alone for ONE MINUTE and this happens

Wednesday 20th March

Nature and People. We want our croft to be a place for both. People ARE Nature. So we’re excited to be talking with a local artist on some new projects that will help our customers and visitors reconnect with nature – the animals, the food, the land

Wednesday 1

Croft Dog Olive enjoying the sun. A good reminder for all of us to take time for the little joys in life

Wednesday 2

Our jobs are so varied on the croft. Today we’ve been out putting down some cardboard mulch mats around trees we planted last winter. The ground prep for this planting was done by our first pigs. They did a super job and the trees are looking great. It’s an important job they did and a fitting legacy they have left

Wednesday 3

Thursday 21st March

This is what life looks like when you haven’t got a care in the world

Friday 22nd March

Picture One – mini Ronnie, always at the back, always wary

Picture Two – Chief Highlander Ronnie, always at the front, always magnificent

Saturday 23rd March

Eeny meeny miny MOO

Saturday

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Our 3 year Lynbreck Croftiversary

Three years ago to the day, we moved to Lynbreck and started our new farm business. To mark how far we have come, we have decided to run a series of Lynbreck Croft Tours and Experience weekends. It’s quite a big and bold move for us to open our doors to the public but we wanted to explain why for us, this is a key part in delivering our vision.

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This picture was taken 3 years ago to the day on our first proper exploration of our new home

We started at Lynbreck with no goal other than to feed ourselves and live closer to the land. Within a few months, this had grown into a vision to build a small ecological farming unit that would help to feed our community by working with our land, our animals and other small businesses and provide people with a space to reconnect with nature.

Woodland Trust

Some of our very first visitors were from Woodland Trust Scotland, including UK CEO Beccy Speight

We are starting to get into our stride with the food we produce. It takes a while to build up a regular supply but we are beginning to find our groove with that (and more to come there in a future blog post). And what we really want to do now is work more and more with our local and wider community to spread the word about nature friendly farming or otherwise put – we farm to be wild.

We’ve been proud to host visits from some of the key players in Scotland including the CEOs of SNH and the Crofting Commission, Head of Scottish Agriculture and the conservation legend Roy Dennis

Running our tours and experience weekends helps us to share what we do directly with you. We show you our animals and how and where they live. We have nothing to hide here. We want to help our guests connect with our land and understand the quality of the food that we produce. We don’t deny that our produce, in a monetary sense, costs more, but it can cost a lot less for your health. In fact we see it as an investment – eating good food can put time in your life bank and time in our whole climate and environment bank. And we only ever charge what we think it is worth.

Soil Association 2 RESIZED

Last year we hosted a course for Soil Association Scotland, a charity who puts good food and healthy soil at the heart of what they do

And, we want to share our learning with others. We know there are lots of other people out there who have a dream to run a small farm. We want to share as much of our knowledge as we can with YOU to help make the journey a little less scary.

And then we’ve hosted large groups including the Reforesting Scotland tour and the Highlands and Islands woodland officers from Forestry Commission Scotland

By charging a small fee, it adds another diversification string to our bow which helps us continue to do what we do and build resilience into our farm business. We don’t want it to be a place where only people with money can learn – we want Lynbreck to be accessible to all.

So come see us, we’d love to meet you

A week in the life of….. Week 11 March 2019

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

social media icons day one

Sunday 10th March

Size doesn’t matter. Hens rule the roost here

Monday 11th March

HIYA! Let little lamb Nugget be your Monday motivation. Just GO FOR IT

Tuesday 12th March

Oh, HI THERE Spring……

Tuesday 1

Latest draff donation from our local brewery Two Thirsty Men. It’s little projects like this, working with other businesses, that makes our Lynbreck journey even more exciting. Maybe more to come on this one. Watch this space…

Tuesday 2

Wednesday 13th March

We’re popping back on to your screens tonight. It’s time to introduce you to the Highlanders (and a few new pigs)

Thursday 14th March

Last nights highlights? Pigs, Highlanders and of course more hen action (and a sneak peek at the BEES). A growing team that helps us build our croft business where nature is the boss lady. Oh and there is SO much more to come. This is just the warm up….

We burst with pride to have Highland Cattle. Yes they are smaller and take longer to grow. But we celebrate that. They are fine tempered, hardy and a joy to work with. They are built to live off land like ours and we think there is no finer beef

Thursday 4

Friday 15th March

You didn’t actually think we were all done did you? We’ll all be back quicker than you can get yourself an Elfie, Mario, Vanessa, some prize dairy, a 666 Buffalo and of course some pigs, hens and a Highland Coo. The wait won’t be too long

Friday 1

Saturday 16th March

Why did the chicken cross the field? To lay on the other side….. No really, she likes to lay in the big barn. ANYWAY…. We have all sorts of stories like this about our croft life quirks. Come see us on one of our tours or experience weekends for a whole lot more www.lynbreckcroft.co.uk

Saturday 1

And so it snows. Live from the flerd

A week in the life of…. Week 10 Mar 2019

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

social media icons day one

Sunday 3rd March

Nothing like a lazy Sunday morning worm hunt in the field after a late egg laying session

Sunday 1

Monday 4th March

Looks like the flerd might need some Monday motivation to get going today

Monday 1

We extended the pigs grazing paddock yesterday. You can see on the right where they have been working and snuffling before we moved the fence. Regenerative woodland pig grazing in action

Monday 2

Tuesday 5th March

In the last 2 years, we’ve planted just under 30,000 trees on the croft. They won’t all survive but it will be many more ‘000’s than we have now to shelter and feed our livestock. So it’s SUPER exciting for us to see them just about to burst into Spring glory

Tuesday

This is a box of flerd poo. We’ve just dropped it off at our vets and they’ll analyse it to see what’s in it. A first time for us. We think it could be a useful way to monitor the health of our land and the health of our beasts. Why? No nasties = no treatment

Tuesday 2

Wednesday 6th March

Our farming life is all about working with nature to produce the healthiest food from the happiest animals. We encourage people to always question what you are eating, where it has come from and how it has lived. Know your farmer, know your food

Wednesday

We take a break from your screens tonight but we’ll be back in next weeks episode with lots of our new arrivals. In the meantime, enjoy getting up close to a pig snout….. you’re welcome

Thursday 7th March

We’ve made a great big SUN with all our leftover beeswax. It’s the next phase in our new project with friend Mhairi from The Craft Lounge. Maybe we should all try and Bee like Nature more – work together, use everything, waste nothing

Thursday

Friday 8th March

We’re DELIGHTED to see interest starting to come in for our 2019 croft tours and experience weekends. We want to share our story of what we do here and why we do it. AND, you’ll get to see these pair. Check out our website for more details

Friday

Saturday 9th March

Our croft has been inhabited for centuries, providing life for generations of people and nature. This is the back of the original croft – that view! Sometimes it’s a wonder we ever manage to get any work done…

Saturday

To graze or not to graze

As we are starting to see the end of the Winter (hopefully), we’ve decided to get stuck into our grazing planning for the growing season ahead. We have a lot of different animals all over the croft with some leaving and even more coming on. It’s really important for us to try and plan who will be where and when so that we can be sure they are having the most positive impact on our land. We are always trying to make sure our animals utilise their natural behaviours to do the big important stuff like build soil organic matter which is central to our land and animal health. We use a framework called holistic management to help us plan our grazing year.

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We’re taking our time to plan our grazing this year. Holistic Management gives us a good structure to work with but at the end of the day everything we do is specific to our land and our way of working

Our pigs will do some work in our pasture this coming season. We have lots of moss in our sward and they are great at breaking this up.

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The strip on the right is where the pigs worked last summer. In some places they got a little too excited with their snouts (!) but you can see already how much greener it has come back this year

We’ll then put them back in the woodlands later on to continue to fantastic work they have been doing in there.

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The disturbed ground on the right is what the pigs were working on before we moved the fence and extended their grazing. We are delighted with the work they have done in here and they really thrive in a woodland setting. We’ll now give the area that they have worked a good long rest and observe what flora comes through

Our flerd are currently in large paddocks in our fields. We rotate them around so that they never stay too long in one place.

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We use electric fencing to break up our fields into large chunks where the flerd can free roam

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There’s plenty of place for them to mill around and either lie in the sun or shelter in trees from wintery weather

This coming May we’ll start to move them around in smaller paddocks, with carefully planned rest periods in between. It’s quite a tricky planning process as we will also have lambing, more steers arriving and our heifers going to the bull to factor in. We work out how many animal days per acre we think we will have and this will be an important benchmark year on year to see if we are improving our grassland productivity using only our animals to do so.

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We’ve been out with the measuring planning our new water system and looking at possible summer grazing paddock sizes

And then there’s our eggspanding hen army. With more coming on in Spring time, we need to work out where the Eggmobile needs to be and when. The hens are great moss scratchers as well as bug eaters and cow pat excavators. We don’t have much flat ground that we can take them on so we have to work out where the flerd will be at different points so we can maximise their mutually beneficial impacts.

Hens in pasture

They may be tiny but they are fantastic little animals to work with. And the eggs are a much needed regular stream of income and have helped us to build a really good local customer base

Mind melt! But if we can get a good plan in place, it acts as a starting point. We can always change things as the season progresses but it helps so much to have a framework and then replan, replan and replan. And it means we don’t exhaust ourselves running all over the place. The days are long in the summer!

 

A week in the life of….. Week 9 Feb 2019

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

social media icons day one

Sunday 24th February

Hey Wee Ghosty! How much wood would a woodchick chuck if a woodchick could chuck wood? Haha. Well Football thought it was funny…

Sunday 1

The pigs are gonna be seriously excited with this little unexpected gift from a friend today….

Sunday 2

Monday 25th February

Not now human. We’re busy

Monday 1

Busy boys in the Springtime sun. Snuffling, breaking up tussocks of thick vegetation, creating patches for new life to colonise and grow. They do what they do and they do it well

Monday 2

Tuesday 26th February

Hey #flerd….. it’s BRRRRRRREAKFAST TIME

When you just know you’re being followed…..

This really is a special place to call home. Live for the moment, be kind and help one another, cherish the wonders of nature

Tuesday 3

Wednesday 27th February

We’re brewing up an exciting new project with our friend Mhairi from the Craft Lounge in Grantown on Spey. But what are we up to? It’s certainly got us buzzing with excitement….

Wednesday 1

Tonights This Farming Life episode sees us doing our favourite thing, with our favourite folks – planting trees with the Woodland Trust

Wednesday 2

Thursday 28st February

Key highlights from us from last nights episode? Hens, hedgerows, more hens and some pretty awesome people doing wonderful things on our croft. Soup and cake are the answer hurrah!

Hey. Wanna come see us this year? You can join us for a croft tour or a Lynbreck experience weekend. We want to share our story with YOU!

Friday 1st March

Are we excited about Chief Crofter Sandra returning today after a week off the croft? YES WE ARE

Friday 1

Thanks to the Cairngorms National Park Authority for inviting us to talk at the launch of their new forest strategy. An honour for us to share the stage with big hitters including Jo O’Hara, Chief Forester for Scotland, Andy Heald from Confor and Jeremy Roberts from Cairngorms Connect

Friday 2

Turns out the ladies who lay are pretty delighted the Chief Crofter has returned as well. And it’s straight back into the farm chores: animals to feed and water, eggs to collect, pigs to scratch…

Saturday 2nd March

Whoever said country living was peaceful? Not when you live with this lot….

A week in the life of… Week 8 Feb 2019

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

social media icons day one

Sunday 17th February

Our ladies who lay are very grateful for the snow melt. Here’s our look-a-like Tina who has been out and about on the regular scratch, worm and dustbath trail

Snowdrops? In February (usually March)

Daffodils? In February (usually May)

Bonkers (says Croft Dog Olive)

 

Feeding time for the pigs be like….

Sunday 5

Monday 18th February

Our moo-gnificent Flora in last weeks snow (in contrast we’re to see 15degrees this week…..)

Monday 1

Last chance saloon. Just a few more days to get tickets for our film night in Grantown on Spey. Celebrating everything local food and farming with all profits going to charity. Mmmmm food

Monday 2

Tuesday 19th February

Little and Large at Breakfast

Tuesday 1

We all have our ‘off’ days. And sometimes, you just don’t feel like laying a big egg

Tuesday 2

Wednesday 20th February

We are the Champions! The new Scottish Government appointed ‘young farmer climate change’ champions that is along with 3 other farms in Scotland. Climate Change is real – so we are acting now…

Wednesday 1

https://www.heraldscotland.com/business_hq/17445163.farmings-young-stars-to-lead-climate-change-campaign/

Okay okay. No more teasing, now more waiting and for us, no more hiding. Tonight Team Lynbreck bares all

Wednesday 2

Thursday 21st February

Last night for us was raw emotion. Reliving the hard bits and shedding more tears. Laughing along with the good times and thinking ‘hey, we’re really giving this a go’. The pigs, the trees, our land, the food, our health. All connected. This is our This Farming Life

Friday 22nd February

Last night we invited members of our local community to join us in an evening celebration of small scale farming where good food production, nature and local networks take centre stage. And join us they did! An evening full of positivity and hope. Thank you so much everyone

Friday

Saturday 23rd February

With Chief Crofter Sandra off in Switzerland learning how to make sausages and cured meats and the like, Crofter Lynn is alone holding the fort

At this morning’s team meeting, hen Football put herself forward to stand in as acting Chief. This could be interesting….