Becky Sherman, The Squire Farm, Chapel Lawn, Bucknell, Shropshire. SY7 0BW
Shropshire, South Shropshire, Clun, Ludlow, Knighton, Offas Dyke, Marches, Leominster, Presteigne, Bucknell, Long Mynd, Craven Arms, Bishops Castle, Chapel Lawn, Bucknell, Brampton Bryan, Leintwardine, Newcastle, Anchor, Kington
Cottages for you, country retreat, beautiful landscape, hills, AONB, area of outstanding natural beauty, forgotten countryside, trees, grassland, sheep, horses, cattle, forestry, natural woodland, small fields, hedges, ancient woodland, ancient oaks, river, stream, crayfish, buzzards, kites, rolling hills
Traditional, low beams, farm cottage, open fire, inglenook, hot tub,
THE SQUIRE FARM
The Squire Farm, Chapel Lawn, Bucknell, Shropshire SY7 0BW
FARM NEWS 2017
This month we have had two stretches of hedge laid. The hedge was planted by Becky back in February 2008 and fenced both sides.
Nine years later and the hedge has grown sufficiently to be ‘laid’ or ‘pleached’. This involves the trunk of the young sapling being sliced low to the ground and enabling the whole plant to be bent over at an angle and wound between stakes like a woven basket. This provides a living, stock-
New shoots will grow up from the base of the newly laid hedge, thus creating an even thicker and denser barrier. Fencing either side with stock netting does allow the shoots to grow and not be eaten by the sheep and horses or cattle (if we had any).
In a few year’s time, the hedge will be thick and strong and my neighbour will come and trim it every two years or so.
The hens are out. A few days wandering around in the sunshine and they have already migrated back to their comfy barn and whatever pickings there are around from sheep and horse food. I have told them that if they don’t go outside in the fresh air, they won’t get their supper!
Our neighbouring farmers are starting with their lambing; the field next to ours has ewes that are having only one lamb each and are therefore staying outside. They remind me of pop-
We don’t start lambing until the end of April, the theory being that the weather will definitely be clement by then, but also there will be more grass for the young lambs and as we keep sheep for mutton, we don’t need to fatten lambs before next winter, so early lambing is not so important.
We had a visitor during April -
April and May
We had late lambs this year. Starting on 21st April and finishing on 6th May. All went well until the very last sheep to lamb, which lost a lovely big male lamb and finished with a weedy little female! Mum is very protective -
Update 1st June:
Molly has not needed a bottle now for over a week -
This is a very good thing because I sprained my ankle last Friday and struggle to get around at the moment.
The Wild Sheep of Chapel Lawn. Early June; it is like trying to stalk wildebeast or photograph zebra on the plains of Africa -
26th and 27th June, the thistles are cut and the cover for the wild life, aka ‘sheep’, is blown! Our neighbour (retired) came and topped all the fields ahead of most of our other neighbours. However, this is because they are all busy making hay while the sun shines and we aren’t. We have no plans to make hay this year -
I have discovered No-
Of course we also have lots of weeds still though I am only showing a tiny picture of those!
The relief! The sheep have been shorn and before the hot weather really kicked in thank goodness! Of course they didn’t like it much and many kicked up quite a fuss and made life difficult for the poor shearers, Simon and George.
What made it even more difficult for the boys was the fact that their boards had to be on a slope due to us shearing outside in the field! There are not that many suitable flat areas of field near enough to an electricity source and although It was only a minor slope, it was enough for the sheep to keep sliding downhill and away from their shearing spots!
There’s always one! The last sheep to be shorn got away from Simon in the wrong direction -
Gathered and penned ready. That was the easy part…
The indignity and some of them really show their displeasure.
Ready for off; the first bunch are preparing to do battle!
Bob kindly rolling fleeces to save my ankle!
And.. Who? Oh yes, Porter and Nev without their coats!
Last few ewes waiting their turn
My son has come to stay and I have made use of him to cut down this grey willow in our garden. It has been infected with aphids and drips grey sooty fungus on everything underneath it, blocks the sun from the vegetables, is undermining the wall behind and using too much water. Time for it to be removed!
First off are the lower branches, then the bigger accessible branches.
The final cuts to the main trunk and it was evident that the tree was not going to go the way it was planned! Hearts in mouths we watched the tree topple over the wall. By good fortune the wall did not fall and only one tomato plant was slightly damaged! We now have some evening sun on our conservatory.
The seasons move on and having had a very busy September, we are now thinking of Winter. The Autumn colours are just glorious and the weather has not been too bad for October. Walking at Black Hill is a delight as can be seen from these pictures.
The clocks have now gone back to Greenwich time and we keep running out of light at the end of the day.
This is a big problem if we want to ride -
More importantly, from our visitor’s point of view, Peter has been replacing the slightly dodgy or defunct outdoor lights to the cottages. Visitors will now be able to see the way to the door and unload their cars after dark without having to balance a torch alongside their cases!
We’ve had snow! At first it was a sprinkling and great for pictures. The sheep and horses could get to the grass and only needed supplementary feeding.
Then, yesterday, being Sunday, we woke to deep snow and it went on snowing all day. We had to bring all the sheep in because they had finished their bale of haylage and more was not forthcoming in the near future and the fodder beet they get was being buried in a foot of snow!
These cute little poppets were lined up on the gutter for a few days last week. There were five of them, but I only managed the one picture with four. Every time one of the adults flew past, they would simultaneously open their beaks wide, hoping for an insect or whatever else they eat. Mum (or Dad) would feed each in turn, barely stopping long enough to pop the delicacy in the youngster’s mouth. They had, it seems already had their first flying lessons as they all took flight as soon as I clicked the shutter on the camera
Our Garden Plans Thanks to this last bout of dry weather (we haven’t had the thunderstorms others have), the pond in Xidong garden has given up even pretending to be a pond and is now a sunken ‘area’ in the middle of the garden. Now would be the time to do something about it, but unfortunately, poor Peter is not well and it will have to wait it’s turn along with other projects. At least the hot tub is working still!
Our poor hens have had to be kept inside from November due to the Avian Flu which has been hitting some of our birds. I say ‘poor’ hens, because they don’t know that the government can stop them going outside and they cannot see any reason why they have to be stuck in a stable in the barn when the sun is shining and the grass is growing! Mind you, they don’t appreciate either, that they are also protected from the wind, rain and snow. The young pullets have started laying, but so far I have only had one blue egg out of two Cream Legbar hens (which lay blue eggs). This is either because only one is laying or they need sunlight or grass to produce blue eggs. Anyhow, today we are legally allowed to let our hens out (with restrictions of course) and if they are lucky, I will move them into their summer accommodation tonight, after dark. This is not because it is a furtive operation, but so that I can catch them while they are roosting!
Peter is laying more stone on the track and putting in surprise sleeping coppers to keep visitors on their toes! It might be worth warning us if you are a potential visitor with a low-
He is also finally fitting the decking behind Xidong -
There is also exciting work going on in our joinery workshop and barn; last week saw the first of our new Shepherd Huts being assembled; we will be adding one of these to our accommodation here at Squire Farm -