Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Medieval fishpools

The work we have been doing to reclaim the medieval fishpools has been progressing. Check out the dams that were built to contain the water probably over 900 years ago.

Ploughing so that we can plant some grass

As part of the higher level scheme we are grassing down some of our fields to address soil erosion. I will keep you up to date with progress. At the moment we have ploughed the fields and turned the soil over. We will then made a good seedbed for the grass seeds and then plant them into the soil. With some warmth and good rainfall at the right time the seeds will germinate and the grass will grow.

Primroses on the banks of the stream

The primroses too are brightening up the banks of the stream in the wood.

First wood anenomes

The first wood anenomes are peeking through in the wood. Hopefully they will be abundant soon.

Lichens in the wood

Lichens are everywhere in the wood. I will try and photograph some different ones from my walks.

Fungi in abundance

The flora in the wood is varied at the moment - the old wood from fallen trees is starting to break down and is covered by fungi and lichens - see next post.

Spring is a little behind this year

At the start of April last year the tulips and daffodils were in full bloom. This year they are a little behind. Check out the difference!

Different view of The Malvern Hills

The Malvern Hills are so beautiful at all times of the year and they are starting to lose their winter hue and gain the green and blue tones of spring and summer.

Buzzards flying

The picture is pretty poor but the buzzards were flying in pairs on Sunday calling to each other - a majestic site.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Cover crops are growing

The cover crops are growing before our very eyes - it is amazing to see the change in just seven days.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Moles are busy

Now the soil has fully defrosted the moles have been very busy!

Enjoying life

He was definately enjoying the sunshine this morning!

A brace of ducks

Love is in the air at the baptismal pond! A brace of ducks have decided to return for another year to the pond. Last year I wasn't able to get close enough to take a photograph but I must be getting better in my technique! Let's hope that I can get some photos of the ducklings too when they arrive.

Birds on the plots

Check out the birds after we had mowed the plots. We are thrilled that we have provided food all winter for them and you can sense that spring is coming now. The birds were singing away this morning and love is in the air - check out the next post.

Mowing the trial plots

Rob has mowed the trial plots and it has released a lot of the final seed onto the ground so they were very busy this morning in the sunshine.

Building update

Well the building is safe a week later but we hope that we can return it to its former glory very quickly. Fingers crossed and will keep you posted!

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Poor old building

We love the buildings on our farm - they have a character all their own. The crack in the wall has identified that there were some structural problems. As we have taken the tiles off the roof you can see if you look closely that the roof has moved. We are researching ways in which we can fund the repairs.... more news to follow.

Catkins in abundance

Well the catkins are out on the hazel trees - promising that spring is just around the corner. Click here to find out more about catkins.

Cover crops - photos

Each plot has a different mix of seeds to promote either birds, bees or small mammals.

All the seeds have now been eaten by the birds
This is how the cover crops currently look - at face value their benefit to wildlife might look limited but just wait a few short weeks .... The birds are still getting valuable food from them too
Look closely and there is lots of new growth!

Food webs

Do you want to know more about food webs? Sometimes people talk about food chains, and food pyramids too. Well check out this fantastic website by Woodlands Junior School in Kent. The site uses really great ways to communicate about what farmers all over the country are trying to support as well as growing nutritious and safe food.

Cover crops in March

We had a meeting this week to discuss the Natural England cover crop plots and the exciting plans for this year.

It is still quite amazing how many birds are feeding on the cover crops. The problem is the delay on the camera, and my reactions are too slow to picture them as they fly away from the plots. The plants are starting to renew and grow and we have been planning this years farm visits so that we can show other farmers the benefits that we have seen especially in the winter plots.

Some of the plots are alive with insects especially spiders which will be a good food source for other birds and small mammals. This will help the food web on the farm as the small mammals provide a food source for the owls which we have seen hunting this winter.

March flowers - snowdrops

The snowdrops have been bravely herading spring for a few weeks now - they survived the February snows and look beautiful amidst the March frost - a real flower of hope. To read more about snowdrops click here.

February flowers

Spring flowers despite the snow - find out more about celandines here.

February snow

We were hit with a lot of snow in February which slowed us down a bit on the farm and meant that we had to burn lots of gas to keep the chickens warm! Still we managed to capture this beautiful sunrise!