Here's a scary thought... Christmas Day is only five weeks away today. Things are beginning to get busier in the shop with orders coming in and Covid is still presenting us with loads of problems. Hopefully, with help and patience we'll get through and enjoy the festivities.
Farming-wise. I can report that we've finished drilling all the winter corn seed - that's planting to town folk... With a view to improving the establishment of plants, we've been trialling a new drill. I couldn't be sure, but I think some of those involved were more impressed with the big, shiny 200-horse-power tractor that came with the drill. Personally, I'll wait to see how the crop performs.
This morning I removed the rams from the ewes. Hopefully they will have done what's required of them. One or two look as though they've taken their responsibilities to the extreme and will need nurturing back to full strength.
At the same time, we introduced some new Beltex rams to the ewe lambs that we're bringing into the main flock. Any of these that conceive be rear a lamb will be something of a bonus. Generally, though, it does improve the ewes' mothering instincts.
Wednesday morning was taken up by an inspection from Animal Health, Shropshire County Council, to renew our licence to feed home=produced food to the sheep and cattle. All is well. The paperwork is all up to date.
Next week we're expecting the Christmas trees to arrive. And hopefully, December 3 will see the reopening of the Cote Cafe and perhaps we'll start to feel a bit more normal.
It is now the end of July and harvest is upon us, weather permitting. I am pleased to report that our crop of oilseed rape has been harvested already.
It's a very versatile crop.
We sell the seed to be crushed so that the oil can be extracted. This is used either for cooking, making dressings or alternatively, for fuel. The meal that remains after crushing is used in animal feed and the remaining plant stalks are chopped and spread to form humus in the soil.
We are also harvesting grass, which we bale and wrap as silage to use during the winter months to feed our cattle and sheep.
Talking of sheep, one of the jobs we are doing at present is to give the ewes a pedicure. Sometimes the hoof can get overgrown and, as a result, the sheep may become lame. At the same time, I take the opportunity to physically examine the sheep to ensure they are suitable for breeding. Fortunately, this time, most passed the test.
On the shop and cafe side, I'm pleased to report that everyone seems to be coping with the Covid situation. Masks are now compulsory for shoppers, so people's speech may be muffled, but we all get by.
Monday August 3 sees the introduction of 'Eat Out to Help Out', a scheme we have enrolled in. This means that on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, we can offer 50% off on meals in the cafe, up to a maximum of £10.
David Clarke has been farming at Churncote for many years. He and wife Sue started selling the produce from the farm in 2003, which gives him long-standing insight into the reality of the farm to fork process. David will be sharing his experience regularly here.