Our last post told you about the great time that we had on our Feather Down Farm Holiday, this week we are telling you more about Billingsmoor, the Farm in Devon where we stayed.
Just a few hours out of London, Billingmoor Farm in Mid Devon is on Prince Charles’ Duchy of Cornwall Estate. Farmers Jayne and Robert were an inspiration and seeing the farm in action confirmed my convictions that organic farming is not just good for us and the environment, were you as pleased as us to hear about the recent ban on Neonicotinoid Pesticides?, but is absolutely the best way to care for the animals that feed us. ‘They may not give us as much milk each day compared to intensive dairy farms,’ says Robert ‘but our cows live much longer and continue to give us top quality milk for years’. A highlight of our stay, and a priority for Jayne, is the Farm Tour. Each group of guests is invited to walk around the farm with Jayne and Robert; meeting the animals, both the new calves in the yard and the milking cows in the parlour, hearing their story and a chance to ask the questions that we were all thinking… How much milk from each cow every day? Why are there no boy cows? Where do they live in the winter? ‘The holidays do help the farm as it opens the eyes of our guests to the realities of farming.’ says Jayne, ‘Farmers are in the press if it’s bad news, like low harvests which increase prices or when we want something done to stop the badgers spreading TB to our cows, but it’s rare for farmers to be cheered on or told ‘Well done!”. As we stood together in the sunshine Robert went on to tell stories of farming in bad weather, ‘Even if it snows so bad that the milk truck can’t make it up the farm path to collect from us, we still need to milk the cows at 6am and 4pm, every day, even Christmas.’ What happened when the milk couldn’t be collected? It had to be thrown away; it’s heart breaking.
After the farm tour, we gathered with the other guests around the wood burning oven in the lower field and enjoyed hand-made pizzas together. Many of the campers were experienced Feather Downers and the others intend to return, for us it was a timely reminder as to why we haven’t moved out of London to farm ourselves and how much respect and admiration our British Farmers deserve providing food for us every day of the year, come rain, wind, snow or shine.
- We had a lovely time celebrating Anne’s 60th Birthday with a bespoke course ‘Cheese & Biscuits – make your own’
- We have spilt the colony of bees and are now hoping that they rear a strong queen that mates well to lead the new colony
- We’ve bought a pig! Well, a half-share in an 8 week old Saddleback that will be reared for 6 months until…
Jobs for next week:
- Take some homemade bunting & produce down to Brentford Market
- Replace the rotting wood frames of our raised beds with recycled plastic lumber
- Run an Intro to Urban Smallholding Course for a family during Half Term
Join us on the Journey!