Don’t care what they say, cider will always be part of my 5 a day!

Recent news reports suggest that fruit juice is not as healthy as previously believed and that some fizzy drinks may be better for you. Well personally I think if we all stick to “natural” ingredients and simple sugars in moderation, this has to be healthier than artificial sweeteners and flavourings. A bit like real cider, made from 100% apples, has to be much better for you than ciders with 35% apples with 65% sweeteners, water, colours, flavourings etc.. (not that we’re biased!). Keep it simple, keep it healthy.

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Jim enjoys his “5 a day”

Had a bTB test reading here on Friday and although we all suffered a high degree of stress, we got the all clear. After breathing a sigh of relief, we sat down to a nice cup of tea (with real sugar) only to find that the postman had delivered some tracer test requests (bought in calves to be tested due to their previous farm going down with bTB), so still more testing to do later this year.

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Some of our cattle

We’ve finished our courses here for 2014, with cider making being our booziest yet and we begin our lambing courses again in February 2015. Well done to all who attended them we have met some fantastic people and made new friends, its amazing how many people com back on more and more courses. I always think we might be enjoying this diversification a bit too much! Not sure what the animals think…. I’m heading to London again this month to talk at the Farm Innovation Show, please take pity if you see me wandering lost in the big city.

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Wonder what she’s thinking…..

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Raddling the tups

Our tups have been working hard and the raddles (marks on the ewe’s bums from paint on tup’s chest) indicate that we are in for a busy lambing season from February until April. Why not join us? Additional March dates will be on the website this week.

On a final note, sometimes its good to not fit in with the crowd. So hold your head up high and be proud as you walk on by…..

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Hold your head up high and walk on by.

Take care,

Kate x

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Real Cider – one of your five a day!

Our multifunctional stone barn


We have a very special stone barn here on the farm. It is Grade 2* listed and possibly the last barn of it’s kind remaining in agricultural use in the county, if not in South Wales. Housing animals during the Winter months it also hosts village events during the Summer. Neighbouring White Castle has records of a farmstead being here as early as the 12th century with the cider house being added on in the 17th century. Kate’s Country School classroom is above the cider house (top of the steps in the photo). The farm is seething in history, myths and legends. By the 18th century, most farm workers’ wages included 4 pints of cider which is why many farms had a cider press, we still have ours. Payment by cider became illegal in 1887 so we just drink it!!
Cider making team 2012

Cider making team 2012

Following the poor apple harvest this year, we did manage to bring in extra apple supplies from over the border (Much Marcle). This resulted in an amazing day in October when students pulped, pressed and filled our ex-single malt wooden barrels with scrummy juice. This will produce 200 gallons of cider which they are returning to sample in a few months. With no added sugar or yeast, it has to be one of your five a day!

Filling the barrels

Filling the barrels

Due to the soggy conditions, our cattle have happily come inside so will require mucking out and feeding through the winter months. Gertie, Bessie and Liz (our Gloucester Old Spot pigs) have also been brought in to the piggery as they are all about to farrow and their outside enclosure is very wet. Watch this space for piglets……………..

Our bronze turkeys are now very free range and are enjoying the many scenic walks we have around the farm.

Bronze Turkeys

The January lambing ewes all had an ultrasound scan in October. We were extremely happy with the 201% result. The ideal is 200% (two lambs per ewe). We can now feed the ewes accordingly as sheep carrying one lamb require less feed than sheep carrying multiple lambs. If you have booked on the January lambing course (now full) it looks like you’re going to be very busy!

Can you see twin lambs in this scan?


The tups have now all been removed from the ewes which means we should finish lambing by April 5th. There are course dates available in March with special St. David’s Day celebrations on March 1st!

All our 2013 course dates are now available via the website. Please do not hesitate to contact me direct for details or if you are a group wanting to try something new. Don’t forget, if you’re looking for unusual Christmas gifts we supply gift vouchers which can be posted or e-mailed directly to you. The perfect present! Sheep husbandry, Country writing, Butchery, Wildlife, Shearing, Stone Walling and much, much more……….Loads of subjects, dates throughout the year and all for £90 or less. There must be something here for you.

On a final note, as the temperature drops, keep warm and please remember the wildlife. Well replenished birdfeeders are wonderful to watch out of the window and remember many wild animals are hibernating so try not to disturb your “messy” garden areas.