The Flower show, stamping on grass and a trip over the border...

Emma Heseltine - 16 September 2012

It’s the Houghton Village flower show this weekend so we had better enter some things. I’m not much of a flower person but photography is certainly my thing so I enter some pictures. I also take a big risk and enter some of my amateur jam: plum, orange and cinnamon. Susan decides to enter some apples, one of our ridiculous marrows, the marmalade and some redcurrant jelly. It’s a bit of a dead loss for me, I don’t win anything. Our marrow and marmalade are shunned but the apples win a second and third and, the jelly wins first prize. It’s a shame we didn’t have that many redcurrants and there are only two jars of our prize winning jelly left!

I’m attacking the potato patch. It’s got a bit overgrown and I’m not sure where the potatoes are. I decide just to dig up the entire area and hope for the best. The goose grass that was strangling the hedge has died back so I pull all that out too. Of course I end up covered in sticky buds; it takes ages to get them off. In the end I end up with two barrows full of weeds and a handful of potatoes. Not sure it was worth all the effort.

Wasi and her new calf, Kipling, are doing well so they are going to Crosby. The thing is John and Jill who own the field have the builders doing a new floor, so we cant get anywhere near the gate to the field. We’ll have to walk them down the drive. The idea is not to get them walking on the nice neat grass and just have them walk down the drive. Seems like a big ask, cattle are notoriously not keen on concrete. We get unloaded and Wasi gets off to a good start, staying on the path. Kipling has no idea what is going on and doesn’t seem keen to leave the trailer until mum spins round and gives her an encouraging moo. We manage to get to the field with minimal grass mutilation, just a few stamps here and there. Then there is a big reunion as Cypress and Hadley greet Wasi and the calves get acquainted. Good move, as always having enough people to do the job is key.

I’m going for an outing today, there is a Soil Association event going on at Lamancha near Edinburgh and I think it’s a fine excuse to revise my knowledge on soil and compost plus go visit my friend and fellow apprentice Meg who works at Whitmuir. The event is well attended and the first subject, working with soil life is quite a scientific and fascinating talk. I never realised the microscopic world living in the soil was such a cut throat place. We have a good section on compost and green manures which sparks some discussion. Then before I know its time to head to Whitmuir for some delicious lunch, a bit of a chin-wag and a tour of the farm. We have a look at the Argo-forestry field where wheat is being grown in strips with willow, the poly tunnels and some green manures in action. All the while followed by a curious chicken, obviously very interested in what’s going. Later I get the chance to say hello to the pigs and turkeys. They have Tamworths and there are a great number of little ginger piglets running about. It’s somewhat bigger than my little operation!   

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