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Hedges, growing and beef...

Emma Heseltine - 27 January 2013

This time of year it is all about hedges and I’ve been working on two this week. The first, at Wallacefield, is a fairly well contained affair that just needs a little off the top. We work our way along with loppers taking out the straggly bits and piling them up on one side of the fence to make a bonfire later. It is of course full of blackthorn which is the spikiest natural substance known to man.

The second hedge is at Stone Raise and is somewhat more unruly. This requires a chainsaw so I leave that to the expert and spend some time hauling some old rusty barb from the hedge. Then I get to piling up the brash away from the line where we will hopefully put in a new fence next week (frozen ground permitting). This hedge is also full of a particularly vicious strain of blackthorn. The end result of all this is that the hedges look a lot neater, there is a spectacular pile for a bonfire and I look like I’ve lost a battle with a sack of angry cats.

I’ve decided to have a clear out in the greenhouse which has been left to its own devices since the last tomatoes ripened way back in the autumn. Its time to get the sweet peas and tomatoes in so all the dead stuff has to go. I mercilessly pull out anything looking feeble and or dead but do find a little goldmine of parsley which is doing pretty well without our intervention thank you very much. Soon its looking ship-shape and I’ve got a big pile of pots lined up for the sweet peas once they have chitted. I’m definitely ready for things to start growing.

We have been a bit short of beef since before Christmas. The last of the ‘I’ heifers, Iona, went to the abattoir the other week and we are collecting the first half this Friday for private customers and the market on Saturday. The meat is butchered at Askerton Castle which is about 30 min drive away. We collect it in big black boxes which keep the meat cold, although this isn’t much of a problem at this time of year; when we get to Askerton there are several inches of snow. I’m looking forward to having a look through for something for my dinner; I’ve got streak baguettes on my mind. Unfortunately (for me) we have got a lot of good orders and there is very little beef left. I do find a bit of mince and put that aside for myself, perhaps I’ll make some burgers instead. I must remember to put an order in next time.

Emma completed a degree in Creative Imaging at Huddersfield University before working for a photography studio as an editor. Taking a break from the office world she worked in outdoor education for several years, climbing, abseiling, shooting, trampolining and even life-guarding with children of all ages. When Emma found out about the apprenticeship scheme with the Soil Association it seemed the perfect chance to do something worthwhile and fulfilling. After much searching and badgering farms in the North of England she found a position with Hadrian Organics and started in July 2011. So far it is living up to her expectations, every day is a new challenge and every day is different.


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Emma Heseltine
03 February 2013 12:00

Indeed! I'm still picking thorns out of my hands.

Ruth Harding
29 January 2013 18:05

or woman!

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