THE SQUIRE FARM
The Squire Farm, Chapel Lawn, Bucknell, Shropshire SY7 0BW
Becky Sherman, The Squire Farm, Chapel Lawn, Bucknell, Shropshire. SY7 0BW
October 11th 2014 Getting to the church on time!
Peter’s horse did not want to play ball and thought he was going racing, which would not have been the right way to arrive at the church! Half way through the service the sun came out and stayed out for the rest of the day.
Our local choir made up nearly half the congregation; the singing was wonderful with an anthem composed by Richard Lewis especially for the occasion and other choral music all through the service. The Cezanne Trio entertained the guests before we arrived and played us in with ‘The Entrance of the Queen of Sheba’ and out with Mozart’s ‘Musical Joke’, the music used by the BBC for the Horse of the Year Show. The reception was held next door to the church in the village hall, where we had a delicious meal of Moroccan food cooked by our dear friend Carolyn Chesshire. The party in the evening packed the hall, the bar served drinks well after midnight and a stalwart group of friends danced all evening and refused to let the band go home. Appleby Kinsey, the band, were excellent and I don’t think they realised they were a dance band until then! The whole day was one of happiness, sunshine and love.
Mr and Mrs Sherman would like to thank all their friends and relations, not only for coming to celebrate their marriage with them, but also for getting stuck in and helping so willingly and cheerfully.
The most important news for Squire Farm this year is that Peter and I are getting married on October 11th in St Mary’s Church, Chapel Lawn. Plans are going well; the music is arranged, and it will be a magnificent musical service; the dress is nearly finished; the cake and the catering ordered ( home grown mutton tagine -
Oh yes, we have kittens -
Peter is busy getting wood prepared for the winter fires. It appears we will have plenty, but then there are three houses to feed! It is all this year’s cut, so not properly seasoned yet.
There are apples and plums nearly ready for picking and plenty of blackberries in the hedges. Amazingly, this year we have hazlenuts to pick. Usually the squirrels nab the decent ones before we humans get a look in; either there is a glut of nuts or the numbers of squirrels have dwindled?!
I’ve bought ten new hens, shut them in the beautiful hen house for 24 hours and risked losing the original, indigenous hens in the process (not that they were at all impressed by the new accommodation) and the first evening after letting them out, they all roosted outside in the tree! Given that some of the new hens came down from the tree on the wrong side of the fence; Peter got the chain saw out and cut off the branches. So that night, no hens at all roosted in the run or the hen house!!! They did, however roost in the nearest trees and I was able to capture nine of them and shut them back up in the house. Meanwhile the original four (including Napoleon II, cockerel) and three or four youngsters are doing whatever they please, eating a lot of food, but not laying one single egg. Also, Mr Reynard was around last night barking from the Dingle; laughing I suppose!
During July, a lot of hens started disappearing; having started the month with 10 hens, one cockerel and 10 youngsters, there are now only four hens, 5 youngsters and the one cockerel. It appears the hens found a way out of the hen shed early in the morning -
Shearing has taken place -
Go to the picture gallery for more photos
During lambing time we were also doing some conservation work in the woodland. This involves cutting trees back to ground level (coppicing) to leave stumps which regenerate and improve the health of the trees; filling in and planting up gaps with new young hazels and alders with a few oaks interspersed and pollarding one of the beautiful old oak trees which was in danger of splitting in half as it is completely hollow in the middle. We have also created a shallow pond and hung a variety of bird boxes. This is all to provide a suitable habitat for endangered birds such as Redstarts, Spotted Flycatchers and Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers and as an added benefit produce plenty of firewood for years to come!
28/3/14 The last lambs have been born and Peter and I can get back to a normal way of life. Just 16 days was enough; farmers with large flocks have weeks and weeks of short nights, hard work and microwaved or cold meals to put up with! As the sun and warm weather has come back, most of the ewes and lambs are now outside; still being fed twice a day, but enjoying some fresh grass.
26/3/14 Lambing is well under way now. After putting ewes and lambs outside last Friday, then bringing them all in again in the dark and wind and rain that evening, we have kept our little furry bundles inside since then! They’ll go out this weekend again I expect.
We have lambs (only two so far) and daffodils and it is definitely feeling like spring. The days are getting longer and with the clear skies, we have had some sharp frosts, but when the sun comes out during the day, the ground warms up and you can tell that things are starting to grow.
Peter has been out on the digger to try to repair the track after all the rain has helped to create such big potholes again.
It is now February and I am not hobbling so much! Spring is definitely in the air in spite of the rain; the snowdrops are out, the light has changed and it is not that cold. Some of the roads have been flooded, but being near the source of the streams and rivers, the water drains quite rapidly and we have not been inconvenienced at all. Further afield, after the flooding a few years ago the Teme (our major river in the next valley) has been dredged in places and it doesn’t seem to burst it’s bank quite so readily as it did.
In the cottages, we are slowly replacing the original light fittings; re-
At the end of November I had a ligament reconstruction operation on my knee and am now hobbling around the house trying not to do too much and regretting it when I do. My cleaner Linda and Peter are doing a great job keeping the cottages up to scratch and we have not been very busy, which is fortunate given my condition! The dark evenings and the dreary weather have not helped my outlook, but now we have Christmas to look forward to and more visitors and maybe some more snow, though not too much please!
We have had a fruitful and colourful Autumn, though quite wet too. Black Hill Forest, just 10 minutes in the car has been full of wonderful fungi, mushrooms and toadstools this year. I didn’t have my camera with me until last week, when we found just one red spotty one left in reasonable condition!
We bought Big Nev (pictured) at the end of September at the Builth Wells NSA Ram sale. He is a North Country Cheviot and only one year old.
He was put out with our 18 ewes on 19th October and in just under two weeks had covered half the ewes (or more -
However, he seems to be doing his job and come March we will find out just how well.
Muck has been spread on Squire Field by a machine which seemed to dwarf our little property! We have also bought our hay and have it now safely under cover.
Harrowing The Werns Muck spreading in Squire Field
The contractors turned up on Wednesday -
Machinery was unloaded…, inspected…
Put to work…
And, here are the results: Before: After:
Inspector Flea doing his duty! x
Happy New Year!
Christmas has been and gone. Peter and I are still trying to catch up with jobs not done while we were away in Goa. The weather has been kind, not too cold, not too wet and windy and occasionally we have had some really lovely bright sunny days, which always make one feel better. We have found a supply of fodder beet for the sheep and they are tucking into those and last summer’s hay out in the field. The ewes will come inside sometime at the beginning of March ready for lambing. The last of our summer kittens has finally been re-
The farm and cottages forgotten, we abandoned life as we know it and spent a whole month in Goa, India. We left the farm in the capable hands of Adie who fed the sheep, mucked out the horses, exercised the dogs and found linens for the cottages. She even taught herself how to make bread in our AGA for the benefit of our guests.
Meanwhile, we were enjoying sunshine, sand, sea and jelly fish! One or other of the beach huts was our office for the day and from there we could watch the local livestock!
Sadly, while we were in Goa, my old mare Indy had to be put down due to a violent colon infection. She was not ill for long and poor Adie had the very difficult task of telling us, which she left until shortly before we were due to come home. Indy was a fabulous little horse, my first; she helped many people get back into riding or even to start riding. She took two of my children through their Pony Club years, had four foals, the last of which I now ride, looked after several young horses while they were being trained. She put up with me learning to ride side-
More new arrivals at Squire Farm. Four more kittens; two black, one ginger and white and one white with black patches. These will probably be the last kittens we have as Goose is getting on for 9 years old and although she loves being a Mum and we love having the kittens, there comes a time when we have to say ‘No more’!
Skollie is growing rapidly and starting to use his weight to his advantage. I don’t think he yet realises just how much ‘weight’ he has to throw around -
Most Sundays we take the dogs to Black Hill for a good run. It was beautiful last weekend -
Somehow March just passed us by and now the clocks have changed it seems as if someone is stealing our days!
All except one ewe has now lambed. We have just one orphan lamb, Sixpence, whose mother thought one large female was enough trouble without a little runty male (he’s not a runt, just small)
The dragon tree has been fully pollarded and another two sections of woodland have been coppiced. There seems to be no evidence yet of our bird boxes being occupied, but perhaps it is still too early in the year?
Go to the picture gallery for more spring pictures
We have a new addition to the Squire Farm family… Skollie, a lab x border collie puppy.
Looking a little like a mole!
…and a cat in a basket