Young farmers…

The boys have varied ideas on the subject of ‘what they’ll be when they grow up’ ranging from ‘computer game designer’, through ‘zoo keeper’ via ‘wildlife photographer’ and ‘lego designer (this one being particularly high up the list!) but the smallest boy has pretty much always wanted to be a farmer… Regularly heard starting sentences with ‘When I’ve got my farm..’ he has a clear mental image that involves pigs, horses, hens and lots of fields of wheat and barley that he will harvest ‘the old fashioned way’ (we’ve watched a lot of ‘living history’ programmes in the last couple of years 😉 ) The rest of us will, incidentally, be allowed to ‘help’ him on his farm and also to buy his flour and bread (free labour and a ready market, a savvy farmer no less!!)

So, when we get the chance a couple of times a year to join up with other ‘home-edders’ and visit a local organic arable and livestock farm we very much enjoy ourselves…

This week was all about their recent wheat harvest. We looked at the grain being stored ready for sale, we learned about the different varieties, old and new and about the things that need to be considered when farming organically versus conventionally. We learned it’s a tricky business and after a very wet Winter & Spring, as we had this year, we wondered how on earth farmers survive! We walked the field and found some stray stems. Being an old variety it is long stemmed and the ‘straw’ can be used for thatching.

Apologies for the awful photos, I travel light with my ancient iPod 😉

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farm4 farm3 farm2We checked temperature (no more than 15 degrees is ideal), we tested the moisture content (again, 15 is the magic number), we hunted through samples for common weed seeds (dock and thistle are common) and evidence of insect damage (none thankfully!) and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

The icing on the cake was getting to bring away some grain from this year’s harvest – and as it’s the perfect time to sow Winter Wheat we now have our very own ‘field’ of Wheat for our own little farmer to cultivate… if we’re lucky we might have enough for a loaf of bread. How wonderful!

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