As we enter a new month, we have moved into our new, completed building. It consists of three main zones – a central entrance leading into an area for removing outdoor clothing, warmed by a solid fuel stove/cooker. The right hand side contains an enormous dining table and benches to enable everyone to eat together, as well as a sofa and comfy chairs for relaxing. The left hand has our main kitchen area at one end with an office at the other. The whole building is heated and is an absolute pleasure to spend time in.
We have been very lucky that we have been able to use funding from the Big Lottery, as well as a very generous donation, to achieve this fantastic 'farmhouse'.
We have welcomed a number of new animals to the farm. The first Monday of February brought the first Lane End Farm Trust Poll Dorset lamb. This long legged, knobbly kneed, rather large male is currently known as Albert and is proving to be a very confident young chap. He already enjoys human company, running over to say hello and head butting at every opportunity.
Since Albert’s arrival, we have been lucky enough to have another 4 single lambs, one set of twins and a set of triplets born, all of which are doing really well and have doting mothers.
As well as these youngsters, we also saw the arrival of our new piglets, brought from a local smallholding. We chose an extremely friendly, 10 week old Gloucester Old Spot female (Dotty) who we hope to breed from.
Along with Dotty, we have brought in four Gloucester Old Spot cross piglets who are 8 weeks old and, although more timid than Dotty, are starting to get used to their human companions.
Ben, our Irish Draught cross horse, seems to have recovered from his bout of arthritis after treatment and TLC. We are continuing to monitor him, especially as the cold weather continues, and give him Glucosamine in the hope that we can protect him from this discomfort in the future. All three horses have developed beautiful winter coats, which have ensured they are warm during these months. They have also maintained their not unsubstantial weights, despite the winter grazing.
As well as new animals on the farm, things are starting to appear in the greenhouse. Seeds including broad beans, cauliflower, garlic, salad leaves and Sweet Peas have already been sown and some are starting to sprout. In early spring, they will be ready to transplant into the beds, which were prepared by our students, staff and volunteers.