Beechnut is stuck, helping the neighbours and seminar... : Latest blogs from @SoilAssociation

Beechnut is stuck, helping the neighbours and seminar...

Emma Heseltine - 29 January 2012

The boss is away and I’ve been left in charge. This is quite a daunting prospect as things tend to keel over as soon as she goes away. Today disaster is averted though when I spot Beechnut acting oddly at Wallace field. She is up near the fence and looks like she is eating the grass through it. I go past again and have a closer look about 20 minutes later and she is still there, that’s not right. I go over and sure enough she has got her horn stuck in the fence. The grass is always greener, but she is not best pleased. As you can imagine it is much harder to disentangle one of our big mama’s than one of the cheeky sheep (who take great delight in getting stuck in fences, gates, hedges, baler twine, troughs etc…) With some help from Ian, one of our Monday volunteers, I get her free. She is very happy and is eager to get the hay we have brought them. The fence needs to be patched but at least there hasn’t been a cow disaster. She would have eventually just pulled the post out and then may have been off up the road to Armathwaite, which would have been a headache.

In order that I don’t get too cocky about managing on my own the Land Rover decides to break down. It refuses to entertain the notion of going backwards, which make getting out of the yard an impossibility. I have to get the garage to come and take it away and fix the gears (please don’t let it be an entire new gear box) good job I have my own car too. Lets make sure I don’t break that.
Trim is with us at Wallace Field and someone else is herding sheep. As you know Trim wont listen to me so we often have herding problems, but this time its not even our sheep. There are some guys who have come down the drive with a portable pen to check and dose the rent-a-sheep our neighbour has in his field. I realise that Trim is missing just as we are about to have dinner so go to investigate. She has decided that as sheep are being herded within earshot she has a responsibility to help. I go to try and retrieve her but it turns out she is doing okay and actually helping the guys and their dog, despite ignoring all commands aimed at her. I apologise but they don’t mind too much, they think it’s pretty funny in fact. Perhaps we should have been charging them for freelance dog services. Later when we are crushing some wheat Trim falls asleep in the hay, she’s an old lady and it was a tiring morning.
It the weekend and I’ve to get down to Loughborough for the latest of my apprenticeship seminars. This one is pure agricultural so it just me and James, we are staying in the lap of luxury at Lubcloud Dairy farm in Joanna Herbert-Stepney’s cottage. The subjects to be covered are Arable and Beef. I don’t know much about arable but I’ve been spending a lot of time with our cattle so am hoping I have a reasonable knowledge. It’s great to get out and see other farms, everyone likes a good nosey, and the farm which we do our beef unit on also has Longhorns so I am very pleased at this. I come away with a much better knowledge of arable systems and some homework from the beef seminar. How much does it cost us to produce 1kg of our finest beef? It’s a good question which might take me a while to work out!

Emma completed a degree in Creative Imaging at Huddersfield University before working for a photography studio as an editor. Taking a break from the office world she worked in outdoor education for several years, climbing, abseiling, shooting, trampolining and even life-guarding with children of all ages. When Emma found out about the apprenticeship scheme with the Soil Association it seemed the perfect chance to do something worthwhile and fulfilling. After much searching and badgering farms in the North of England she found a position with Hadrian Organics and started in July 2011. So far it is living up to her expectations, every day is a new challenge and every day is different.


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