Monday, April 22, 2013

Piglets and Party

Last week we welcomed to the world 15 Gloucester Old Spot piglets - mum and babies are doing well!  

All of our Gloucester Old Spot pigs here at Fordhall Farm are free range. After they have been weaned off their mum, they are fed on a mixture of GM free pig feed as well as spent brewer’s grain from the local Joules Brewery in Market Drayton.

Our piglets really do run about freely – as they are so tiny, they can still fit under the paddock fence and explore the farmyard…but they soon run back to mum when they get hungry…or if they meet a cow…or even a chicken for that matter!

The Gloucester Old Spot breed was first officially recorded in the UK in 1913, although, there are numerous paintings from centuries before depicting spotted pigs.  The breed originated in South West England and were also known as The Orchard Pigs as they were usually kept in cider and perry orchards.  According to folklore the spots on the pigs back were bruises caused by the falling fruit!

This lovely old English breed is tough and hardy, yet easy to handle. They enjoy rolling around in the mud and playing around the paddock!

Mud, mud glorious mud!
The staff at Fordhall also enjoy playing around in our own paddock…we somehow managed to pick the windiest, wildest evening of the week to hold our Staff BBQ!  The team at Fordhall has grown so much over the years and it was fantastic to be able to get everyone together for a chance to socialize outside of work.

We managed to hold out against the elements and everyone had a lovely evening! Thanks for doing the cooking Ben!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Spring Weekend Fun

What a brilliant weekend we had here at Fordhall Farm! 
Our AGM was held on Saturday afternoon, the sun was actually shining, the birds were singing, the sky was blue and we had a fantastic day! The chairman of the board Chris Eldon Lee led the proceedings and had our shareholders in stitches! 
Ourlovely chair, Chris Eldon Lee made the day
very entertaining
The usual meeting stuff took place, with a report from the treasurer, voting on accounts and board members and a report from John Hughes on the Owen Paterson visit we had earlier in the year. After a delicious bring and share lunch, Charlotte gave an update on the all the FCLI’s activities and Ben followed with an update on the goings on of the Farm Business. 

We were really fortunate to have Ginny Mayall, from Pimhill Farm as our guest speaker.  She talked about the history and creation of Pimhill and had the audience enthralled with her story.
Ginny Mayall, daughter of pioneering compost
farmer, Sam Mayall.
The afternoon consisted of group discussions on what people would like to see happening at Fordhall in the future and the chance to plant their own seed to take home and grow a bit of Fordhall in their own back garden! 

The Barn Dance and Hog Roast kicked off in the evening with Ceilidh band “The Shropshire Heroes” and caller Baz Parkes leading the dancing.  After the first half of do-see-doing and promenading the food was served. Revellers enjoyed a mouth-watering pork bap and a glass of local ale before beginning the second half of the evening.  The night came to a close at around 11pm, with lots of happy faces heading home to get some sleep before the next days celebrations.

Sunday morning began with a ground frost, it was very chilly and I was beginning to worry that the event would not go down very well… How wrong could I be?!

Everyone say "Aaaah"
Stall holders arrived and set up their wares, the lambs and their mums were brought out to meet everyone, the chicks were chirping in their incubator, the may pole was set up and Dan and his Cannons were ready to go...

No one seemed to know what they were doing - but everyone still had fun!

Dan's Cannons

The wonderful Fordhall volunteers had arranged the tea and cake stall with a delicious array of cakes. Ben and his catering team were cooking up a storm and the smell of sausage and burgers was wafting around the field!

Mmmmmm - Sausage Baps!

Helen Stanley - expert Basket Weaver

Kaleidoscope Theatre performed to a big crowd who were completely taken by their heart-warming “silent-cinema”.
Kaleidoscope Theatre - silent cinema 

We had over 1000 people attend the Spring Celebration!  The farm came to life with happy families taking part in all of the activities we had to offer. The sun shone through the clouds just enough to allow people to sit and enjoy the buzz go on around them.
Bustling Marquee

The whole weekend, was such a success – we love having so many people on the farm, enjoying everything that Fordhall has to offer. It created such a lovely atmosphere and all I could see were smiling happy faces!

Happy Smiling Faces!
Thank you to everyone who came to celebrate spring with us and to all the stall holders, craft demonstrators, activity leaders and of course, the brilliant volunteers, without whom none of this would be possible!

Thank you one and all!