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Your Monthly Newsletter

Church Farm Saturday 10 May 2014

Charlie’s Story and my Lambing Experience On the 28th March 2014 I had my first encounter with a foster lamb. The lamb was cold, limp and struggling to breath. An alert call was sent out and he was collected from the field. He was wrapped in a blanket, put under a warm heater, and introduced to bottle feeding. After being given lots of stimulation and encouragement to suckle, although his response was slow, his recovery was good, and he was given the name Charlie. He continues to improve each day, and has fighting spirit. As a relatively new member of staff with Rural Care as an Activity Organiser, I feel very privileged to be involved in such a worthwhile and new experience. On a daily basis, I am improving my knowledge and understanding of how lambs develop and their wellbeing. It has been inspiring to support the Co-Farmers (people with additional learning needs) in carrying out the bottle feeding and care for the foster lambs. This has been a large part of the daily schedule over the Easter period.

Camping Under The Stars

A perfect opportunity to spend a great time with family and friends, Camping Under the Stars is back for another year of wonderment underneath big open night skies at Church Farm, Ardeley.

I now look forward to monitoring the progress of Charlie, and the other foster lambs, alongside the Co-Farmers.

The beginning of May brought the first of these lovely evenings, underneath clear celestial skies. Setting the mood, a large crackling bonfire surrounded by strawbales, supported by local musicians performed throughout the evening belonging to the community based Folkstock Arts Foundation (www. folkstockartsfoundation.com) providing live “acoustic, folk and roots� entertainment.

Lorraine Harvey

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The Co-Farmers have been given training and guidance on how to safely care for the lambs, and how to handle them appropriately. The excitement, enjoyment and discussions I have shared and witnessed with the Co-Farmers and Church Farm staff, has made this experience extremely rewarding.


Spring Time at the Jolly Waggoner It’s that time of the year again, where everyone goes Pimms Crazy during Pimms Season at the Wags, so come and celebrate in style with a jug. We also are offering georgeous Mtsvane wine at 20 percent off during May. Simply quote: Great food great wine. Don’t forget that the Annual Jolly Waggoner Beer Festival is on the weekend of July 19-20. Like the huge success it was last year, this year promises to be even better.

Heaven and Earth Couldn’t Stop this Little Titan It’s always a special event when a calf is born on the farm. Between us at Rural Care and some very dedicated staff and interns we have been busy raising 23 lambs for the past 4 weeks. Last Tuesday we got the call that a calf had been born and wasn’t doing very well. The calf had had a long birth and was tired and unwilling to take milk. Unfortunately, mum, unsure what to do had walked away. We waited a couple of hours before taking him into our care. We brought him in with the lambs, who were overjoyed with their new playmate, and rubbed him dry as his mother would have done. Following, we managed to get him to take a little milk. Worryingly, he couldn’t stand and didn’t

With an outstanding team in beautiful surrounds, you simply cannot go wrong if booking for two, a group or a function. Noted in the CAMRA good beer guide, we are one of a handful of pubs in the country leading the way by going back to the tradition of serving proper local food that where possible is grown in the same village as the pub, along with real ales from local brewers.

Coming up in May and June

Feed the Lambs: Come help feed our orphan lambs. 11am and 5pm (2pm weekends).

Egg Collecting: Meet our hens and collect a treasure trove of their lovely free range eggs, with a memento of a half dozen to take home with you (2pm daily).

Camping under the Stars: June 07. Prebookings are necessary. Church Farm Open Farm Day: June 08.

seem to have the energy to try. We moved him into the barn for the night, continuing to keep him warm and stimulated. We stayed with him until the early hours of the morning hoping that he would survive the night. The lambs all bundled in around him keeping him warm. We arrived again at 6.30am unsure what the outcome would be. As we looked over the barn door he looked up and mooed. He then slowly got to his feet for the first time. He has come on leaps and bounds literally in the past week. He is drinking about 3.5 litres of milk a day now. He has great fun frolicking around with the lambs. The Co-Farmers have been looking after him during the day and he is a bit of a favourite of the farm staff, who look after him in the evenings. Whenever we have an animal who isn’t doing so well we all rally around to give them a bit of extra TLC. We also feel it helps to give them a strong name to help them on their journey. This calf is called Titan. He is going to be quite a character and already a handsome young calf. He is strong and extremely special to us. Come and see him in Homefield, he loves visitors.


The Bee’s Knees Of Doing Great Health Every news story about bees these days seem doom laden, so it is time to bring good news from the Church Farm apiary. Since beekeeper, Euan Brierley, moved his hives to the orchard in the autumn of 2009 they have prospered, even if some summers have not brought much honey to reward the beekeeper’s labours. But, Euan measures success differently. The health and wellbeing of the bees and their capacity to gather enough honey to survive the winter is what really matters. That measure of success has been 100% over the last five years, even against the backdrop of deadly diseases and ‘colony collapse disorder’. This triumph is achieved true to the Church Farm principles – without treating the bees with chemicals or medicines. The last mild winter and a warm March has kick started the bees into their natural lifecycle very early Beehives in Church Farm Vicar’s Orchard and it has caught Euan off guard. One of his hives swarmed at the end of April. Swarming is the bees’ way of reproducing. The queen bee leaves with about half the worker bees when she knows that a replacement queen and the remaining bees will keep her old colony going. So swarming only happens when the colony is strong, normally from May to July. Weekly inspections of the bees in the summer means that with appropriate management swarms can usually be prevented. It is good news that the bees are doing better this spring than in recent years and luckily the swarm was spotted in one of the apple trees. That would be only a staging post, before the swarm moved on, to find a hollow tree or wall Bee Swarm in the Vicar’s Orchard cavity. Euan was able to gather it and put into a new hive. Losing a swarm often means there is not enough honey for the beekeeper to take a share but fingers crossed it all bodes well for good supplies of Church Farm honey in 2014. (Increased losses of honey bee colonies worldwide is a complex phenomenon (approx. 30 percent annual global Vicar’s Orchard in blossom this Spring showcasing biodiversity of more winter loss 2006/7-2013/14). Recent studies cite the parathan 130 varieties, including apples, plums, pears and gages, that are natusitic mite Varroa,’Colony Collapse Disorder’, current hive rally grown. management strategies, and intensive agricultural practices, including widespread pesticide use, large scale monocultures and decreasing biodiversity in the landscape (Press release, International Bee Research Association, “Understanding Honey Bee Colony Losses”, 2014)).

Get Your Company Green at the Farm Whatever size your work place, you can contribute to this local, ecological enterprise. Support your local farm and have a great day out with your colleagues. An event with us won’t cost the earth, it will enrich it. To find out more or arrange a visit, contact us on: 01438 861 447, info@ churchfarmardeley.co.uk


Camping Under The Stars

(from Page 1) Kids frolicked and played among bales, while adults relaxed in the burnt orange glow, while soaking up the inky blue of the night. Campfires also dotted the field perimeter, from the campers’ tents creating a happy community of candour and warmth. A to die for melt in the mouth Church Farm hog roast was also merrily cooking away, if one was suddenly struck by pangs of hunger, yours in a soft floury bap. Bring your tent and sleeping bag for a truly lovely night of revelry and camaraderie around the campfire. Further campfire nights are: Sat 07 June Sat 19th July Sat 30th August. Costs are a very reasonable £10 for adults, under 16s £8 and under 2s free. Spaces are limited, so please purchase tickets in advance by emailing info@churchfarmardeley.co.uk, or calling us on 01438 861 447. Church Farm is one of the few places available to experience wild camping. Available all year round to campers, or if you choose, book one of our charming wooden rustic huts allowing a little more comfort, with a wood burning stove. So close, inexpensive and get to at the drop of a hat, and yet allowing one to get away and escape for a weekend or a while. Camping costs per night are £7.50 for adults, under 16s £4.95 and under 2s free. Cabins are £20 per night, with the same fees applicable as camping.

Caucasian Old Vodka now in Production at Church Farm Visit us at Church Farm for a true taste of authentic Caucasus. Produced and bottled at Church Farm Ardeley, Caucasian Old Vodka is a triple filtered high quality premium vodka. Using Ardeley Spring Water and high quality premium wheat grain spirit, it originates from a traditional family recipe founded in the 19th century that has been preserved as a treasure in the family’s heritage for over 200 years. We produce and bottle our own vodkas, where you can choose from a range of percentages and flavours to suit your own taste. Come in to Church Farm for a free tasting. Contact us about opening times on 07561 808782, or email info@ oldvodka.co.uk.Visit us on Facebook. Caucasian Old Vodka is the true taste and quality of authentic Caucasus.

Church Farm, Ardeley, Stevenage, Hertfordshire, SG2 7AH, T: 01438 861 447 E: info@churchfarmardeley.co.uk www.churchfarmardeley.co.uk

Cf newsletter may2014  
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