Carrots, Goosegrass and docks...

Emma Heseltine - 19 May 2013

The veg for the pigs comes from Eva’s Organics (where I also get my veg box) on a Wednesday. All sorts of things get thrown their way from potatoes and peppers to melons and tomatoes. The only things they can’t eat are onions and citrus, both these would upset their stomachs. Today’s delivery is quite big, and it's carrots. Three boxes of carrots to be precise. The pigs do love carrots and are somewhat torn between gobbling them up and scoffing the barley; barley wins inevitably. They really love barley. Now with this quantity of carrots to be consumed I can only assume I won’t be able to sneak up on them to get the food in the trough before they notice me anymore. Carrot improves eyesight right?

I was only away a week but it seems that the goslings have grown tenfold. They were quite small and cute before, now they are louder and are loosing their downy gosling fluff so look somewhat scruffier. They have also learnt the joys of goosegrass, otherwise known as Cleavers or if we are being scientific Galium aparine. Beloved by children everywhere for its ability to stick to clothing, and beloved to geese for unknown reasons. They fight over it, its like sweets to them. Soon there will be none in the garden because its so much fun to pick it and feed it to them, which is win-win really.

The barley in the park field is growing well, but something else is growing well too – docks. Thankfully its pretty easy to pull them out and a big gang of us can soon make a good dent in the field. As it has been ploughed they just pop out with a bit of a wiggle with the fork. This is in complete contrast to the ones in the grass fields which hang on hard and have a terrible tendency to snap when you think you have a good grip on them. We are well into dock season now, we have to get as many as possible before they set seed and before we have to cut for hay. River field is getting cut this year and we have been working hard on it, I feel like we might be almost winning. . . then I go in the aptly named dock field and get a bit depressed.

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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