13-6 is a tremendous result and resounding success; we’ve never managed it before. I can’t claim all the credit - well I suppose the English rugby coach said sometimes luck goes your way, and I did think that, in time, it would be our moment.
Guilty is the main star in all this; having been moderately rude about her personality last month I hadn’t realised then what she had pulled off. Out of her 10 piglets there are 8 girls, and her sister, Auntie, managed 5 girls out of 9. Having had a year of producing boy goats, boy lambs, boy chickens, boy calves, boy piglets- I have nothing against boys, I love boys - but in farming one boy goes a long way! So more than double the number of girls to boys - good for the finances, shop, cafe and our new butcher Joe.
Remaining with the piglets I am wondering how to prepare them for the news that apples are not an all year round pudding - their little noses waiting for apples to take to a corner and munch through. I have softened the blow by putting some carrots on the menu, and am sourcing some fodder beet, but it's going to be tough. Maybe some runs around the park will take their minds off food. I think I could write books on the subject!
It was our 4 year TB testing time last week. Every cow on the farm was injected with the vaccine and then tested 4 days later to see if there was a reaction. Everyone holds their breath a bit, as it could cause havoc, but luckily it was a clear bill of health. The vet, Leslie, called the whole operation “ horn dodging”. It's a huge amount of effort getting needles in the necks of 100s of cattle of all shapes and sizes. I was concerned if the Shorthorn bull, Fortune Maker, who is on loan, would get into the crush, but he was so laid back and very relaxed.
Cows ready for TB testing
Fortune Maker taking everything in his stride
Leslie the vet washes down after “horn dodging”
Sadly our black Highland cow had to go. She has been such a striking iconic presence, but at 15 years old and not having had a calf this year she has had to make way for the younger generation. I have high hopes for the young black highland heifer, so we will still have the blonde, brindle and black colours in the highland team.
I never feel anyone really listens to me - I have been mentioning a river of mud and rain water flowing down our lane for several years - and when the cows are in it means hosing down wellies and dogs after every walk. But joy, it's all changed, after some digging up concrete and soil this is the result!
The Harvest festival was a wow, mainly due to the Nancy Jackson apple crumble. -The church was full of people and produce, but in a short space of time we have replaced the fruit and flowers with poppies and World War I shell cases and boots - the poppies threaded in amounsgt some camo netting made a striking image. We remembered our dead from our village from the two World Wars and a modern war in Iraq. It was good to ring the Church bells to commemorate the Armistice anniversary, and know that church bells were ringing throughout the country.
Back at Swinithwaite Tim, our yurt site manager, has done an amazing job of taking down the yurts and hanging them up to dry, this is when underfloor heating and large barns come into their own - just needs a heap more wood in the boiler to heat the water.
Guy Fairhurst well known local chef, whose successful outside catering business, Fairhurst’s, has asked to take Berry's forward and will be in charge from the New Year. The food will be of a consistently high standard and where possible the meat will be from the farm, otherwise locally sourced to blow the trumpet for farmers and producers living here in the Dales. We are really proud to be able to provide a stepping stone for a young, family run business to expand.
My role will be to help establish the Farm Experiences and Tours and to enjoy and develop the Berry’s Farm Team, we are also putting in an extra yurt for 2019 season, after a very busy year .
To acknowledge the Berry’s staff’s hard work we are having a Berry’s table at the Vinni Music Night and Guy will be showing off his skills in the kitchen. The Vinni Music Night is now on the 7th December and not the earlier date of 30 November. the menu will be Piggy Platter and a pudding, or a vegetarian Hungarian goulash with horseradish dumplings and a pudding. Tickets have been going fast but there is still a small number left for anyone who would like to come.
We seem to have had a lot of requests for Birthday cakes recently, it's a great time for a birthday and this is one of the ones cooked by our multi talented accountant Marzena.
Yes it's all edible!