joshuafmetcalfe

Archive for November, 2012|Monthly archive page

Working weekend away.

In Agricultural, education, farming, getting started on November 26, 2012 at 1:11 pm

It’s been a while since my last post and in many ways it’s a relief to write a new one. I think this is because I am only able to write one when I have been up to something (which isn’t often at the moment). Though I honestly feel I am doing well in my position; I even ‘butchered’ my first pheasant in the back yard of my Uni house last night (pictured), and I use to term ‘butchered’ very loosely. I’m thankful for the friends and contacts I have, I’d have gone insane by now without occasional access to hands on farming work.

I spent this weekend at my associate contemporary Sophie’s house (https://twitter.com/SheepishSophie) temporarily immersing myself in the rural lifestyle again. We spent Saturday fence posting and clearing undergrowth at the far end of one of her fields in order to ready it for her grazing rotation. I always underestimate the weight of the fence poster: This becomes an apparent mistake a few hours after you finish when everything between your fingertips and your shoulders hurts. I feel this eventual pain was potentially aggravated by me then using a chainsaw to clear fallen branches and brambles too.  However, though this might sound unpleasant I thoroughly enjoyed it and can’t wait to put it into practice when I get my own flock next year.

Of course I took advantage of Sophie’s passionate love of Sheep and asked as many questions as I could think of. We took a while to discuss potentially viable rare breeds for my own flock and I came to like the look of a handful of breeds; Whitefaced Woodlands, Castlemilk Moorits, Norfolk Horns and Jacobs (pictured, also courtesy of https://twitter.com/GBinNZ). Sophie has a flock of Moorits herself and she has nothing but good things to say about them. ‘Good feet, good size, good lambing, highly prized fleece, good meat’. As I am in the same position as Sophie I am sure that a rare breed is the way to go (for now) and I am very grateful for all her advice and knowledge.

I look forward to spring and lambing time. I want to get out and help as many people as possible; get as much experience as possible. There still seems to be no shortage of helpful people which I am thankful for.

On another note, today is the eve of the first episode of Farm apprentice. I urge as many people as possible to watch here; http://www.fwi.co.uk/farmersapprentice/ and be a part of this revolutionary project yourself. Please show your love and appreciation for agriculture and tune in!

Also please check out this blog, it’s called ‘The good life in practice’ for a reason; http://thegoodlifeinpractice.wordpress.com/ 

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Plan ahead

In Agricultural, farming on November 6, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Post Farm Apprentice I have loads of ideas, or ‘Business plans’ as they might be called. In truth I feel a little intimidated by the fact that I am seriously thinking about my future. I feel this will certainly and quickly subside as I plan my venture whilst I study in my final year of my English Degree.

What a week though. It almost seems like it never happened really. It seems to have passed by in a blink of an eye: I’m not sure if this is because I loved every second or because it was constant work. In any case it was the most rewarding and enriching experience I could have hoped for. Considering that it was the first time it has ever been attempted, I think it went incredibly well. From it I have learnt valuable lessons, gained useful contacts and made good friends. It is an experience I would wish upon anyone! Never before has looking to the future held so much potential for me. Winning doesn’t even come into the equation, purely because everybody was so pleasant that I forgot we were competing for £10,000. However, it fills me with envy when I hear that the other finalists are already making a move towards farming. My degree frustrates me and although I will miss my uni friends, I look forward to graduation.

In the past week my attention has really turned to finding a Farm that I can work on. I thought I had struck Gold when I discovered a little charity farm hidden away, 45 minutes from my front door. I woke up nice and early last week and set off walking, only to find out that in order to volunteer I had to pay a £10 membership fee and £1 for every day I work. Though this is understandable, as the farm runs as a charity, volunteering there is out of the question for a poor student like me. I’ll just have to keep looking, hopefully with winter drawing in there are farmers about who could use an extra pair of hands for maintenance work.

Also thanks to my friend Sioned, who substituted a newspaper photographer this week. Pro photography;