This Farming Life

Last week, Series 3 of the massively popular, award winning This Farming Life was back on our screens and judging by the reviews to date, it’s even better than ever!

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Our This Farming Life journey began in September 2017 when a friend tagged us in a Facebook post that said ‘BBC are looking for new farmers and crofters for the next series’. We don’t have a TV so we’ve never actually seen the programme but it sounded like an interesting opportunity so we fired off an email and left it at that.

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After a short screen test and a 3 month wait we got a call from the producer Jane in early January 2018 saying ‘we really want you to be a part of the next series and can we come and film you next week’. Yikes was our initial response swiftly followed by YES!

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And that was the beginning of our 9 month filming adventure. You’ll see us say goodbye to our first pigs, welcome our first cattle, sheep and bees and build our Eggmobile. It will offer an insight into the highs and lows of starting up in farming where we work with our animals, our land and our environment to produce the best food.

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And why the programme? Well, we just want to share what we do because it’s quite a special world we live in and the more we can reconnect with it (and the more we can help others to reconnect with it), then all the better.

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We’re a little nervous about being on the tele, so if you see us out and about and you’ve enjoyed watching Team Lynbreck, feel free to stop us and let us know.

BBC screenshot Ep 2

 

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A week in the life of…. Week 7 Feb 2019

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

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Sunday 10th February

Despite all this TV distraction, we’re still focussing on practice for our new food processing area. The next logical step after making sausages has been this – Lynbreck Smoked Streaky Bacon. Um yeah, wow…..

Sunday

Monday 11th February

Last year we were invited to a This Farming Life wrap party at BBC HQ in Glasgow where we got to watch the first programme and meet the other farmers (giving us a flavour of the highlife ). What a fantastic episode and what a truly brilliant, inspiring bunch of people. You folks are in for a real treat

Monday

As crofters, we are business owners. We need to deliver profitability for our land, our community, our bank balance AND our own well being. We’re so excited to attend training this week to help us finesse our skills in all those areas. Excited about spreadsheets? YES WE ARE

Monday 2

Tuesday 12th February

When we started filming for This Farming Life in January 2018, we had such big plans but low confidence. HOWEVER, by the end of it we were serious nature friendly crofters with a new team and lots of new business enterprises in the planning. AND we were very, very tired….

Tuesday

Wednesday 13th February

We think Junior might be trying to tell you about something that’s happening tonight…

Wednesday 1

We hope you enjoyed the first episode of This Farming Life. Just a little teaser of us but next week we are ALL over your screens. Expect tears…

Wednesday 2

Thursday 14th February

We are genuinely honoured to be shortlisted for the UK Best New Entrant to Farming award, run by the James Hutton Institute. Our inspirational friends David and Bekka from the Horned Beef Company are also shortlisted – no joke, they rock!

Thursday

Friday 15th February

On Thursday next week, we’ll be holding our movie night in Grantown on Spey. If you like to eat food, you should come. And bring your friends…

https://tinyurl.com/y8ajlvx8

Friday

Life changing to spend 3 days at the holistic management course organised by Soil Association Scotland. We have all been given a toolbox to take away to build social, economic and environmental resilience and profitability into our farm businesses. WE are the experts on our farm

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Saturday 16th February

After 3 days away, it’s nice to put our ruby slippers on, click our heels 3 times and say ‘there’s no place like home’. Et voila! Real version? Early start, wellies on, sickly hen but the last bit still applies

Even in the snow, our pigs snuffle and work for us, breaking up dense grassy tussocks, opening up small niches for trees, grasses and wildflowers to colonise. They don’t seem at all bothered by cold snouts. Fantastic beasts

Saturday 2

A week in the life of…. Week 7 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 3rd February

Our morning commute from feeding the flerd and the oinks is quite something at the moment

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It’s the kind of Sunday when the mountains shout LOOK AT ME. So you stop, and you do

Sun 2

People often ask us ‘hey, what’s it like to run such a busy little croft business?’ This. It’s like this

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Monday 4th February

According to Chief Highlander Ronnie we had snow again last night. Don’t worry. This is why we only have hardy breeds like Highland Cattle that are built for our environment. She’s since had a massive breakfast of hay and dusted off the snow

Mon

Tuesday 5th February

GOOOOOOOOOOD MORNING CAIRNGORMS

Tue 2

All this snow ain’t no bother for our hen Wee Ghosty. This time last year she used to battle the elements to walk over to the old croft house to lay her eggs. She’s over that now but her hardiness carries on

Tue 1

Wednesday 6th February

Why did we sign up for This Farming Life? Firstly, to share our passion for high welfare, nature friendly farming. Secondly, to show what real life is like for new entrant crofters. *Spoiler alert* – we do cry and make mistakes but mostly we laugh and smile

Wed 2

Delighted to feature on the EURAF website as an example of a farm using agroforestry in Scotland with a short piece on why we’ve been planting so many trees to build long term resilience for our growing croft business

https://euraf.isa.utl.pt/resources/featured-farms/Lynbreck_Croft

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Thursday 7th February

Today we had a visit from Mairi Gougeon, Minister for Rural Affairs and Natural Environment. She met the team (which included a pig scratch) and sampled some of our produce. The outcome? Well we think she might have quite liked it here and we look forward to next time

Friday 8th February

Hey come to our MOOvie night

In Our Hands screening – celebrating small scale, local farming

21.02.19 Join us

tinyurl.com/y8ajlvxb

and

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDDghrqUHGQ&app=desktop

Saturday 9th February

For This Farming Life, we were followed by a TV crew for 9 months. These people shared our toughest year with us and they have firmly become part of our Lynbreck family. They were even up for a bit of beekeeping TV!

Sat

We’re sending a big THANKS to NFU Scotland top man Andrew McCornick for his incredibly complimentary words, posted in an article entitled ‘Farming has a future’ on the front page of this weeks The Scottish Farmer. We’re very humbled. And he’s right….. what box?

Sat 2

Winter Bites

It’s fair to say that we’ve now well and truly leapt into winter with snowbells on. December was strangely mild, likewise the beginning of January, but when your car temperature read -8celsius, it’s a fairly good indication that winter has arrived.

It’s clear that winter at Lynbreck is a visual delight. Frosted trees in the foreground, the might of the snow topped Cairngorms Massif in the background. It’s a wonder we can ever get any work done with all that distraction.

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But there is plenty of work to do, and most of it involves defrosting pipes and water troughs, which can swallow up hours in a day. As we have started from scratch here with all our infrastructure, we still have much tweaking to do to keep everything running smoothly. At present, water does not run smoothly and so filling up containers in our bathtub for trough top ups has happened more than once over the past few weeks…

 

We’ve had to take a hammer and chisel to break up the ice in the pigs drinking trough. Nothing like fishing out lumps of ice with your bare hands to bring a small tear to the eye.

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As ever, our animals take top priority. We give the flerd more hay when it’s really cold and snowy, although they will still dig for any old grass they can find. Our daily twice hand feeding regime means we can monitor closely how much they eat, making sure they have fully cleaned up the last lot before the next meal.

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And our pigs get their allocated ration, plus the little grass scraps from bales of hay which they LOVE.

Our poor hens don’t venture far with their little bare feet and legs but we put some straw around the Eggmobile so they can get outside and sunbathe. And of course there’s plenty of dustbathing to be done underneath.

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Winter has its challenges for sure, and some days, when things just work against you, it’s relentlessly hard. But every challenge we strive to meet. Our vision to live and farm in harmony with our land and our environment drives us on to overcome the challenges and towards a celebration of life and living.

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A week in the life of….. Week 5 Jan/Feb 2019

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

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Sunday 27th January

Hey. Have I got something on my face?

Sunday

Monday 28th January

Yesterdays al fresco dinner date in the Highlands

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Tuesday 29th January

Introducing Nature, dressed in her finest winter coat. She’s quite a looker eh

Wednesday 30th January

*sound on* Our ladies who lay aren’t fussed with all this snow. They are much more interested in scratching their fresh bedding in the Eggmobile

Thursday 31st January

The secret is out! Team Lynbreck coming soon to a TV screen near you – This Farming Life Series 3

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Friday 1st February

‘In ones lifetime, one might need a solicitor once a twice, you’d need a doctor possible once a month, but a farmer you need 3 times a day’ In Our Hands screening – celebrating small scale, local farming. 21.02.19 Join us tinyurl.com/y8ajlvx8

Friday

Saturday 2nd February

Snow Whirlipig

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Some people go shopping, or maybe to a football match on a Saturday. Here in the Cairngorms, we spend our day digging ourselves out of the croft through the snow

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This Farming Life

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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.

 

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

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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

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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

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‘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

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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…