From July 28th to August 1st, I took part in a second week of work experience at Meadow Cottage Farm in Churt. I was delighted to be asked back by the Haynes family, as this has been my favorite work experience placement so far.
Today was the day before the Winchester Farmer’s Market. This is the biggest show of the year for the family, and Celia is known to sell over 300 bottles of milk on this one day. Therefore, I spent today frantically filling milk bottles and helping with the ice cream production. By the end of the day, the van was full of milk and ice cream and I was feeling very happy as I know I was a lot of use. We prepared some extra ice cream tubs for Celia to take as spares, so that she would not run out of the popular flavors such as Vanilla, Chocolate, Vanilla and Ginger and Butter Toffee. By the end of the day, I was very tired but very much looking forward to coming back again tomorrow.
Today was the Winchester Show, and we waved Celia off early to the market. Today I spent much of the day helping with the horses on the farm. The breeding farm, The Weydown Stud (www.weydown.com), that the Haynes’ daughter, Julie, and her husband runs is very successful. They currently have two colts for sale, both four months old. Today, a lady came to see them from Wales. She was very tempted by Norman, and was not put off by the cut on his side. However, she wished he had a slightly more expressive movement, like Gerald does. In the end, she decided to go away and think about the decision and try and plan the logistics of a new foal. Today was a pretty relaxed day, as the ice cream side of the business stops over the weekend, to give Julie and Laura some time off.
Today was back to normal with beginning the day by scraping the yard and turning out the cows to grass. The ice cream part of the business was back and so I spent a lot of the day labeling up ice cream lids and helping to stack the ice cream into the freezer. It was good to have Julie and Laura back as they are very fun to work with! Today, Norman’s side was looking a lot better and was healing very well, though he was still running around the field like a lunatic!
Yet again today, I was placed in charge of feeding the pigs. They were due to go off to slaughter tomorrow, so I took this time to ask as many pig-related questions as possible. This is when I discovered quite how brutal pigs can be! However, they were very well mannered and enjoyed the skimmed milk very much! I have been told that the Haynes’ are getting nine more piglets in about a months time, so I will go and visit them when they arrive!
Today, the four pigs went off to the slaughter house in Farnborough. I helped Mark and Peter to load them up into the trailer, however there was one pig who really didn’t want to load, and resorted to jumping over the boards that Peter and Mark were holding; something they hadn’t encountered before! However, after a while, they were all safely on board and we set off to the abattoir. Half an hour later, we unloaded the pigs into the abattoir yard and then mucked out the entire trailer and power hosed it down. This is compulsory for everyone who brings animals into the abattoir, due to reducing spread of disease. Meadow Cottage will receive four sides of pigs back, with two sides going into sausages and another two sides going to make bacon. This will be very profitable for the farm as the bacon and sausages are always very popular. This evening, I milked with Peter. The milking is becoming a very regular part of my routine and it will be very strange to stop it!
Today the plan was to muck out all of the stables which contain the calves. This meant moving all of the calves from their stables into different ones while the tractor was removing all of the straw. The way we did this was to construct a small runway from one stable to another. The calves absolutely loved it! They decided it was a game and began to run from one stable to the next, jumping down one step and up another. It was a delight to watch, and luckily, Mark asked me to keep an eye on them, so I was allowed to stand and watch them!
We also had to move the young bull from his pen so it could be cleared out. His name is Dunkirk, due to his being born on September 11th 2011. He is a very well trained bull, and it able to be lead by only Mark at the moment, as he is still quite small. To give him a break we put him in the bull’s pen, and tuned the bull out.
The whole of the day was brilliant, as was the entire week. I will never forget both weeks I have spent at Meadow Cottage Farm, and I am delighted that they would be willing to take me back again!