As many of you will know my Primary School Gardening teacher, Sarah and her family, moved to Dumfries in Scotland this summer
and this weekend me and my Mum, finally went to visit her and it was totally #EPIC!
Sarah and her family have bought a 65 acre farm, with lots of outbuildings, lots of (man) sheds, lots of space to grow veggies and a huge pond. Sarah describes it as 65 acres of relaxation.
The farm is set amongst the beige coloured hills, similar to the Highlands of Scotland and was so peaceful, it was almost silent. Along a dirt track, weaving in and out of large envelope coloured mounds, the farm building appeared. Whilst Herdwick sheep passed with their glaring eyes, overlooking the valley, a water hyacinth covered pond glistened in the distance; I’d found paradise!
The pond is absolutely covered in water hyacinth/water hawthorn; whilst it looks beautiful, it’s also clogging the water below. Sarah, Andy and their friends have spent ages going in – with waders on – to clear it, but deep parts made it difficult. So, they have covered half the pond, with a thick black membrane to block the sunlight. The pond is full of life, there’s water insects, fish, frogs and toads and I’m sure it will flourish once they get rid of some of the hyacinth. One weekend, they dismantled the old bridge and built a new one, isn’t it amazing, they are such hard workers and very creative. In spring, they hope to take their first dip – I’ll be straight in there too!
Grow your own
They want to be as self-sufficient as possible and no garden of Sarah’s would be complete without lots of veggies, herbs and fruit. There’s a polytunnel, where lettuce, carrots and mint is currently growing, an orchard with pears and apples and lots of other growing space too. There was a couple of acers, my favourite trees and they were rich in colour.
Teal, a German wire-haired pointer, deserves a post all of her own, she’s incredibly boisterous, playful and has a big heart to match. She’s the perfect farm dog, blending in with her surroundings and I absolutely fell in love with her!
Sarah is new to being a shepherdess and has chosen Herdwick sheep to start off with; she is very proud of her magnificent ram called, Henry! We were there on 5th November, so it was ‘tupping’ time….
Here’s a handy way to remember the length of pregnancy in sheep: if the ram goes in with the ewes on bonfire night, the lambs will be born on 1st April
Sarah is getting some really good advice from a farmer who uses her land to graze his sheep; I loved watching his sheepdog, Flash, round up the sheep to move them into another field. I’m looking forward to hearing all about Sarah’s first lambs in spring.
There are 4 Tamworth red pigs, which I helped to feed, brush, take for a walk and weigh.
The chickens are a bit of an unknown breed as they were adopted, but they laid good eggs, which we scoffed for breakfast!
I loved all the tools, gadgets, equipment and materials in Andy’s humongous ‘manshed’ – it was like heaven! The roof is so high, there was even a swing.
My favourite thing of the whole holiday was driving the Kubota. It was my first experience of driving anything and it was absolutely wicked. I was a bit shaky at first, but by the last day I was totally in the groove!
Check me out……..
We had a great time celebrating bonfire night, using all the wood Sarah and I collected from around the farm. We toasted s’mores, Mum and Sarah drank mulled wine and we had a fab time howling at the full moon!
Just before heading home, Sarah and I had a little explore along the ridge, looking out to sea, where I flew my drone. It was the perfect end to a perfect visit!
No blog of mine is complete without listing my wildlife spottings – great spotted woodpecker, red kite, roe deer, redwing, fieldfare and hare. A barn owl when we were driving home at night and on a cheeky visit to the Threave estate, I saw a peregrine falcon perched on the castle, 4 golden eye, 3 deer and a sparrowhawk #Awesome
Until next time
I totally loved this place and I was absolutely miserable when I left !
Thanks to all the new people I met up there and Wendy and Brian for answering all my millions of questions! Thanks Sarah, Andy and Lauren, we had the most fantastic time, your farm is amazing and you’re definitely #LivingTheDream
Tomorrow (Thursday 9th Nov) I’m heading to London as I’ve been invited by the RHS Director of Science, Alistair Griffiths to a climate change conference. The John MacLeod Annual Lecture, will look at the ‘things gardeners can do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, store more carbon in soils, and maintain resilient and diverse landscapes’.
I feel really honoured to be representing children at such an important conference and I will certainly do my best to write a good blog about it on my return.
Here’s what I read to prepare me for the lecture – RHS Gardening in a changing climate
One rainy day me and my Mum did this art project to help me understand the problems faced by climate change….
The event will be live streamed at 4.40pm
That’s it folks, have a good ‘un, I’m off to scouts!