Strimming, a broken thistle cutter and the Cumberland show... : Latest blogs from @SoilAssociation

Strimming, a broken thistle cutter and the Cumberland show...

Emma Heseltine - 11 June 2012

I’m doing the strimming in the small paddocks again. To really get rid of the rushes you need to keep on top of them by strimming them all through the summer whenever they pop up. Trouble is Peanut, our resident troublemaker pet lamb, is in the field too and thinks this looks like a great game. She proceeds to follow me about the field as I attack the rushes, thankfully she has enough sense not to go nosing around the noisy end of the strimmer but I still worry.

How many people does it take to fix the thistle cutter? An embarrassing amount it turns out. We have many capable people kicking about the farm most days but this job has all of us stumped. The thistle cutter has come out of winter hibernation, and I am heading down to Tarraby with it to do some damage. It’s a nifty bit of kit, a little mower that hooks up to the back of the quad bike. I managed to get it started after a few attempts and tow it round to the container with the intention of filling it with petrol. Of course as soon as I fill it and try and start the thing again absolutely nothing happens. Hmmmm. I put the right fuel in, check. Fuel is switched on, choke out, speed sat to ‘hare’ but nothing. Ian the gardener comes for a look and can’t seem to see the problem either. Then the pull cord snaps. Susan comes to see what the commotion is about and suggests Lee in the wildlife trust office might have a spare cord. Lee appears with said cord and the mechanism is dismantled and reassembled with a little swearing and twanging of cord. All reassembled and guess what? It doesn’t go. Tell you what lets call the mechanic…

We are going to the Cumberland show at the weekend and having a stall. Last year it was a bit of a wash out so we are hoping for better weather. There are also two of our regular markets this weekend so it’s going to be a busy one. On Friday we go to the butchery to collect the meat, there isn’t a lot of beef but we have three lambs to pick up. It’s a nice run out to AskertonCastle to collect and when we get there one of the resident peacocks gives me a massive fright by hooting at me as I open the Landrover door. It’s some operation getting ready for a market so getting ready for two is even more complicated. We split everything between two vehicles and then take the trailer down to the showground to get set up, that way I only have to take the meat in the morning. We are also doing a cookery demonstration and I have tested a recipe for Susan to do, stir-fried beef with ginger, its dead easy to do and very tasty, a perfect combination. We are cautiously optimistic; the weather forecast says only a rain shower in the afternoon.

Of course neither Hazel or Helena have had their calves yet.

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.

Lee Holdstock

Lee Holdstock is Relationship Manager for Soil Association Certification.

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