WTM Newsletter No 54 ........ bales and yet more bales.
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Next fresh beef : Friday 31st July.

Orders in by 6pm on Tuesday 28th July please.

It is an Angus cross beast which was born and reared at Garr House Farm; grass fed and will have hung for 21 days.

Orders taken for individual joints or a mini beef box.

MIni Beef Box -  made to your requirements but usually contains 2 joints ( from a choice of Topside, Silverside, rolled rib, brisket, rib on the bone or Sirloin if your wallet is up to it ), 2 steaks ( from a choice of Fillet, T-bone, Minute, Rump or Sirloin ), 4 x mince ( normal or 'best' which is minced Silverside , 4 x casserole packs ( shin, stewing, braising, skirt ) with an option on sausages and burgers. Basically spend over £50 on individually priced beef items and get 10% off.

Beef sausages will be plain and packed in 4's.

Burgers - 4 oz packed in pairs with the choice of plain, onion and black pepper, sweet chili or horseradish.

The gluten free  plain sausages and burgers have gone down well and we will have a small quantity made again - please let me know if you are interested.
WTM will be having a stand at the above show and having a Show Offer of 4 packs of sausages for £6. This will include beef, pork and lamb sausages. We will also have a selection of burgers, steaks, bacon and ham. For full Show details go to www.5parishesshow.co.uk 
This is a long running, one day, traditional country show with a full programme of main ring entertainment from 11 am till 5pm including medieval Foot Knights, Suffolk Samba and Tendring Dog Agility plus a horse show, dog show, craft marquee, competition marquee ( schedule on the web site ) and around 60 other outside stalls and entertainments. Entry £5 per adult, £4 concessions and £1 per child. There is also a chance to enter for free the Musical Bales game with your dog in the main ring at 1:45pm. When the music stops all 6 feet need to be off the ground and on a bale. See you there !


The new batch of locally produced honey is now available at £4:50 / jar ........ while stocks last.

Currently available from Bob's garden:

Produce grown between the buildings at Garr House.
Potatoes, onions, garlic, runner beans, spinach, tomatoes, sweet peas.
Please order so these can be freshly dug or picked for you to either collect or have delivered locally for free on a Thursday.

We have recently had a new delivery of organically cured, washable, lambskins.
All are a large size with the white ones priced at £37,  rare breed at £47 and Jacob skins at £50 they make wonderful presents for any age - perfect for a new baby or someone getting on in years.

The photo is of a double skin ordered by a customer. The skins are expertly stitched together either side by side as shown or end to end at no extra cost.


Shop summer opening times :

Fridays and Saturdays 10am - 5:30pm
On Thursdays from 11am when we are labelling up the fresh meat and processing orders for FREE DELIVERY
It does not have to be a large order; some customers just have half a dozen eggs - if we are passing, we are happy to drop an order off.


Most Fridays and Saturdays there is a chance for you to collect your own eggs - they will have been laid that morning, you can't get fresher than that. If you would like to come on another day please let us know before 10am when the regular collection happens
We have been making hay while the sun shone. Waiting for it to shine to dry out the grass which had got wet. Waiting for the weather to make up its mind if it was going to do more than drizzle and following the radar pictures as yet again a dark orange, heavy rain indicator turns into a light misting by the time it reaches us. The angst of trying to preserve grass in the English climate. 

Silage is not as weather dependent as hay, only needing to wilt for 24  - 48 hours before being wrapped to exclude the air and allow anaerobic fermentation to take place. Yes, the bales are slightly alcoholic leading to happy stock ! We have a wrapper which is controlled remotely allowing one man ( OK, one good husband ) to unload the bale from the trailer onto the wrapper, push the button to set the wrapper going and while it is wrapping to remove the wrapped bale and stack it.Then press another button so the wrapper tips the bale off. Repeat until the rest of the team stop bringing bales. Probably an indication that I don't get out enough but it is quite satisfying watching the wrapper working - see what you think. The rather loud warning bleeper sounds when the wrapper starts up and also when it tips the bale off.

Watch the video by clicking here!

The photos are of the mowing and baling ( conventional small bales mainly destined to be consumed by local horses; £3 / bale ex farm ) but there are several days of turning and spreading in between, more than once on a good drying day.
Hay turner is spread position.

The mown rows are scattered so the sun can dry the whole crop but at night or when rain is forecast it is gathered into rows again to keep the moisture off as much of the grass as possible and also expose the bare ground which will then dry out quicker ready for the grass to later be scattered again.

Gleaning information from fellow contributors to an online farming forum Phil inhabits,  we have been to Booker and purchased large quantities of cooking salt. This has been spread in small quantities between the layers of hay which is slightly below the desired 16 % moisture reading as apparently it will stop mold developing. The idea is sound in that it will draw moisture out of the bales - time will tell.
A row of '56 sized' squeezer loads.                At the back -  hay bales stacked for winter.
The conventional baler tows a sledge behind which arranges 8 bales together in a flat pattern which can be picked up by a grab on the front of the tractor. In the field 7 of these 'flat 8's' are stacked on top of each other then another implement which fits on the back of a tractor squeezes the stack of 56 bales ( 7 x 8 ) so they can be transported back to the barn. This is usually done under time pressure as a race against an impending downpour. At a more leisurely pace the stacks of 56 can then be re-stacked to the full height of the barn using the flat 8 grab. Yes, Phil spends several evenings just shifting bales around.
We have also had contractors in with a much larger baler to make large rectangular bales and round bales which require less handling when feeding to the cattle indoors during the winter months.
     The multi - purpose water tank / electric fencing unit which was pictured under construction in the last newsletter has now been completed. there is a solar panel ( top left ) which hopefully will keep the battery on the fencer charged and the cattle in. It is the first time we will have had stock out of our sight as they are going on land we have rented round the reservoir - daily checking is going to be added to the routine list of tasks which manage to fill a stockman's day.

                 Jamie                                                                                                          Vicky

We shall have a change in our junior staff at the end of next week. Jamie has completed an apprenticeship through Otley college with us over the last 2 years and is moving on to either a tractor driving job or fencing work depending on the result of his driving test on Tuesday.
Here he is pictured  in a supervisory role with Vicky who is with us completing 10 weeks pre - college experience prior to starting at Harper Adams in September. They are attaching a water bowser before going round the hedge plants which were put in this Spring and are now suffering from the recent dry weather.

Giving the usual amount of notice ( ringing up at 9am on a Friday to say the gang will be with us at 11am the next day ) the ewes and rams have been shorn or
sheared according to your grammatical preference. The gang is organised by the same chap who does our pregnancy scanning in early Spring and this year they were from New Zealand; 3 shearers and 2 rollers. They are paid per animal so it is important to keep the pen full which they get the sheep from and the floor cleared quickly of the fleece. It is hard work on all parts of the body but particularly the back and the shearer at this end uses a sling for support.

The land we are renting near the reservoir causeway at Layer Breton had been planted with a grass mixture which has really done well. It is being left to seed so the crop thickens fit enough to be grazed. Currently it is humming with insect life with many butterflies flitting about. There is going to be a serious quantity of bales from there too as soon as there is a weather window of opportunity. Anyone care to gamble on 6 rain free days ?

The next newsletter should feature more bales but of the straw variety.
 Please visit our web site              www.garrhousefarm.co.uk
Or contact us on 01206 735 694  or 07790 095 052

Kate Gladwin        Garr House Farm, Layer Road, Gt. Wigborough, Colchester Essex CO5 7RR

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Wigborough Traditional Meats · Garr House Farm · Gt.Wigborough · Colchester, Essex CO5 7RR · United Kingdom

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