With the end of August, comes the end of Winter… the first 25mm of rain to fall marks the start of Spring: tiny green buds and pink blossoms, the happy chatter of birds, the smell of sweet pollen on the breeze, the crunchy dry grass begins to return to a soft green carpet all signal the start of Spring!
With this excitement also comes the excitement of putting into action the last few months of planning. We’ve had a quieter time during Winter that has allowed for much planning, calculating and goal setting. Now is the time to put it all into action. We are both chomping at the bit to get going but alongside this is a fair amount of nervousness to a big commitment!
During this time we have met with some potential element partners….
Watch this space….
One of these partners is Matt from Hamilton Farming. Matt is doing pasture raised poultry in the same way we are – mobile pens, out on pasture 24/7, giving the chickens the best possible life in the sun, eating grass and bugs, having a dirt bath – raising premium quality products ethically. We have teamed up with Matt during Winter to keep up our supply of pasture raised poultry for our loyal customers. It is too cold in our area of Fort Nottingham to have the chickens out on pasture during Winter. Matt is in a warmer area and has been able to run his chickens through Winter. This partnership has allowed us to keep our customers happy, and give Matt extra sales streams.
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The other partner is Kim from Happy Heart Foods. Kim is also a small scale grower based in Nottingham Road. Between Bramleigh and Happy Heart, we are able to supply our both of our customer sets with greater consistency and variety.
We have begun stocking our produce at Notts Farm Stall at the Junction in Nottingham Road. There you can find our pasture raised poultry, fresh veggies on a Friday, eggs and our very popular sourdough pizza bases! These super thin and crispy bases are ideal for vegetarians and vegans. Add your own toppings and grill. Dinner – sorted! The natural sourdough fermentation process produces a delicious flavour but also breaks the protein and gluten bonds making it easier to digest and the nutrients more readily available.
Our Market Garden has had a good time of rest during Winter, except for cover crops and carrots. We tried to cover all the beds with plastic sheeting to lock in moisture and encourage the weeds to germinate, that will then be suffocated by the plastic, die and decompose back into the soil as organic matter before planting. However, August is incredibly windy and we found ourselves daily trying to replace these sheets as they flapped about it the wind. These massive sheets became perfect sails and it became near impossible to keep them down with the strong wind gusts. So the market garden beds have been worked gently with a broadfork and then covered with a thick layer of organic matter to protect the soil and break down slowly over winter to provide a rich base for planting in, in the coming weeks. Our raised beds have been covered by cover crops and these will soon be removed and replanted too.
Delicious homegrown tomatoes – a winter experiment in the greenhouse
We are in the process of clearing a new space in the workshop to convert into a warm, cosy and draft free brooder ahead of the arrival of our first batch of broiler chicks for the season! We cannot wait for them to arrive and get going again. The pasture raised poultry is intense but it is fun, and a good cash flow injection at the beginning of the season.
We have been amazed at the effect our last batch of broilers had on the grass – as soon as we had a bit of rain and the temperatures increased a bit, two very distinct lines of green grass shot up in the orchard where the broiler pens had been. This showed the positive impact that the heavy manure load of these chickens has on the ground. So while pasture raised poultry is good for the chickens, and produces good meat for us, it is also very good for the land. Our layers have had a similar effect in their rotational areas. The land needs animals!
Winter lends itself to completing all of the big projects that require a dedicated length of time, but also all of the little jobs that get swept under the rug during the busy times! One of the other big building project that we embarked on was the last phase of our solar installation. Andre and Thulas worked tirelessly to get this up and running while we were closed. We are now running almost 100% of solar power! A few tweaks, geyser timers and appliance swaps and we’ll be there. Come and test it out – the electric blankets, heated towel rails, hairdryers and other creature comforts will not be removed!
We had some fun and games with Elliott this week – he ran away chasing a pair of Hadadas, decided to go exploring and landed up in a snare set by people who are logging on our neighbour’s property! Never a dull moment!
The start of Spring is such a special time that we can’t help but get excited about sharing it with others. We invite you to spend some time enjoying the sight of green buds and pink blossoms, the smell of pollen, the feel of the lush green grass and the sound of happy birds singing away with our Spring Special – book a 2 night stay in September and get a 5% discount, plus a bunch of farm fresh veggies and 6 eggs from our chickens so that your tastebuds can also enjoy Spring!