August is harvest time on the farm. The wildflower meadows have long since finished blooming and have had a chance to turn to seed. We leave our harvest late in the season to ensure that the seed heads have had a chance to drop and thereby begin the process of regenerating our meadows for next year.
Some years it’s been even later in the summer before the timing is right – but not this year – the high temperatures and lack of rain has meant that everything has dried out super fast.
Some of your will already know that we work closely with Northiam Dairy to get our harvest in. The dairy is just in the next village and they harvest our wildflower meadows for haylage to feed to their cows. This means the milk we provide for you in your welcome pack is produced by cows fed from our meadows! The cows love it as it’s herb rich and very nutritious. And we love knowing that the milk we provide our guests has very few road miles in its production process.
We also keep one field of hay back. This is the field known as The Poor Field – it’s our most established meadow at 30 years old and is the most species rich in terms of plantlife. We bale this hay into small bales that we scatter across our younger meadows as a method of seeding them – nature does the rest. Later in the autumn we will move sheep into these younger meadows to help the reseeding process further through grazing. We keep some of our hay to feed our own animals – the donkeys and goats enjoy it as part of their diet. And last, we sell some of our hay to other conservation projects looking to create their own wildflower meadows. Next year we’re considering expanding that wider and selling bales of wildflower hay along with a step by step guide to anyone who might be interested in starting their own meadow (and who lives close enough to collect a bale or two from the farm) so if you might be interested do get in touch and we’ll put on our list for 2023!
It’s a fun week for our guests when harvest is happening. Visiting children (and grown ups!) love seeing the big tractors on the farm. The process of mowing, turning and baling is fascinating to watch – I find it very calming – I guess it’s a kind of ASMR for me!
This summer we’re being very strict with guests about campfires. Of course cooking on a campfire is a focal point of a glamping trip, but we’re cautioning everyone to keep their fires in the firepits small and manageable, never leaving them unattended and most importantly asking that they MUST be extinguished with sand or water at the end of the evening. The surrounding grounds and landscape is tinder dry and we don’t want any accidents!
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