Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Modifications to the truck

We recently scrapped my old Renault Trafic Van, long wheel base, carried 1.4 tonnes. The only vehicle we have now is the 1 tonne D22 Nissan, used for beekeeping, markets and moving livestock.
The sides are shallow so we are always limited to what we can take to market. The plan was to extend the sides to take a more vegetables and sheep whebn needed but also be easy to take off the truck when used for beekeeping.

Above you see the truck half way through construction. The sides stop level with the top of the cab so to reduce wind resistance and keep the vehicle stable when fully loaded.
First used in anger, it's doubled the volume, solving our transport problems in the short term.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Bees moved

Just got back from moving some bees, they were the remnants from hives we had on an oil seed rape site. Mainly nuc hives we hadn't got round to moving.

This is the latest we've moved bees but I was concerned because they were very exposed to north winds and at over 650' ,generally not thought to be good wintering conditions.
They are now at 400' south west facing and will I'm sure winter much better.

Moving bees is said to stimulate brood rearing which could use up winter stores, so to be safe we'll feed them next week to keep them topped up.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Market update

This week we attended Ludlow Farmers market selling mutton and Shrewsbury retail market selling vegetables.

The demand for mutton seems to be increasing from last month and I sold out at Ludlow using our mobile chiller. Beef sales have been slow but lamb and hogget sales have doubled on last month.

Comparing Shrewsbury takings this week, with last year shows that sales are about 4% down year on year. 2007 when compared with 2006 was 3% down year on year.

Next week we have Moseley Farmers Market traditionally our best market of the year. The other Moseley Markets have maintained income on a par with last year, so it will be interesting to see what happens on the 20th Dec.

When all the seasons figures are in there will be a better comparison to tell how the markets are going.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

New Ram

This is our new ram he is a six year old Lleyn who was till this week living on an organic farm at 1300' so he will feel quite comfortable now he is only at 600'.He has good feet and teeth so we will hopefully get at least three season of work out of him.

Monday, 8 December 2008

New Ram arrived

We brought the new ram home today in a hired trailer fancy loading ramp and all.The intention is to use this lad for two or three years to produce a new crop of ewes as replacements then buy in a younger ram we can use for up to five years on the replacements.

He is a pedigree Lleyn six years old, not in the first flush of youth but hopefully a good couple of years left in him. We have a small flock so won't be asking too much of him.

By the time we got him back it was too dark for decent photos of our new stud, so will post them in the next day or so.

Hopesay Glebe Farm in the frost

We had a heavy frost last night so I went out with the camera.
North facing bank, this bank of trees stops the worst of the South Westerly gales but does mean that the western part of the holding is shaded 20hrs a day during winter. The trees (not owned by us) are now getting so large that even in summer large parts of this area are unsiutable for growing vegetables.
Looking east to wards Hopesay Hill, the frost here will stay all day.
The western corner of our holding where the sun doesn't shine much in winter. The hens are still out on the range but are now even more enthusiastic about their hot mash feed.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Shrewsbury Farmers market

In the ongoing campaign to sell organic meat to the good burgers of shropshire we attended Shrewsbury Farmers Market. It was not the best day we have ever had and in because of the high stall fee we came away with no profit. As you can see it rained all morning and was cold which kept the crowds away. We will have to see if we do it again, it fits well with other markets but at over £70 the stall fees are prohibitive.

Next week we have the regular produce market in Ludlow, so the animal we had slaughtered for this market will be available for Ludlow.

There is a definite interest in Mutton recently both from young people trying something new and for older people who remember eating it when they were young. It's important that the animals we use for mutton are of high quality and are not too old. This maintains the quality of the meat and will hopefully sustain demand.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

New Ram

We have been to look at new ram this week, he is about 6 years old so will do us for two or three years including this one.

We will select the best ewes he produces, these will be our replacement breeding ewes, after three years we can buy a young ram that will last for a few years with our young replacement ewes.

Will post a photo when he arrives, probably Monday.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Market report, Shrewsbury

The weekend we did the usual friday and saturday market, they are improving a little after the slump of 4 weeks ago and although we are £60 to £70 down per week we are seeing a market improvement in footfall.

Many small businesses are talking about a small downturn in sales but so far it is limited .