View from a High Point

| 3rd January 2020

I love the Twelve Days of Christmas that begin with feasting on December 25th then allow us almost two weeks of relaxing, reflecting, appreciating friendships and planning.

Planning, albeit gently, how we can learn from the lessons of last year to make this new year more productive/relaxing/successful/significant (delete those that don’t apply!). I see the calendar year as a journey down and up a valley between two mountain tops, with New Year and Christmas at the summits. The bottom of the valley is a summer sun trap and as we embrace autumn, we climb again towards the high point of the year and our next festive celebrations. As we stand, once again, at this High Point we can both look down behind us, viewing the valley of last year, and look ahead to the journey of the year to come.

It’s really good practise to stop regularly, on any journey, to assess, learn and be thankful. To celebrate small steps as well as milestones.

The trends over recent years to publish our #BestNine (usually the most popular pictures that we’ve posted on Instagram) shows us what others have liked, but let’s not forget the more personal delights that we may have chosen not to share to the world. For our family, we’ve had some personal highlights with our children both transitioning into the next stages of education and training for their chosen careers – we are so proud of them.

As a business, Hen Corner will be celebrating it’s 10th Birthday this coming April, and it’s always with a mixture of pride and humility that I look back to the blessing of the year just gone. The #BestNine picture above shows some of the events of 2019, be that the Bee Garden Party where we met Mary Berry, the Countryside Live Days introducing our chickens to literally thousands of East London school children and the Urban Food Awards where I was recognised in a special category, Women in Food.

Other highlights of 2019 have been to work with Pam Wade Photography as we’ve been trying to capture the seasons and celebrations throughout the year, with many of her photos being published in local and national magazine articles.

Back in the garden, we’ve been meticulous in logging all the food that we’ve gathered from the ground, the trees, the chickens and the bees. The Harvestometer from Big Dig has confirmed that 2019 found us harvesting £1,708.75 worth of food from our London garden (pretty good compared to the £1,515.34 of 2018) this equates to 213.18kg of food contributing towards 2665 meals. We were jolly pleased with this, and must give most of the credit to the chickens who laid a whopping 2,750 eggs between them!

Looking forward to the year ahead, I aim to be very strategic with my time with a real focus on sharing what we’ve learnt with others.

I’m setting aside more time for writing and will invest into mentoring both new bee keepers and new food businesses.

Via the Feeding The City programme, I’ve been asked to be a Food Advisor/Mentor to an exciting new business, Kina Mama. Some of the founders came to visit Hen Corner this morning, you may recognise a couple of faces from the Together Community Cookbook that was published in partnership with the HRH Duchess of Sussex and The Royal Foundation to support the Hubb Community Kitchen created by survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire.

I’m still mentoring new Bee Keepers through the London Bee Keeping Association and am delighted to be continuing my support as I train new Bread Angels (Just 4 spaces left on our March training course) and mentor them in their first year running new food businesses.

Key events that we are looking forward to this year include our regular presence at the Country Living Fairs, we will be bringing some of our chickens to Alexandra Palace again, 23rd – 26th April, where there will be a fresh focus on four content strands: Grow, Taste, Design, Make.

Finally, if you’ve been following us on Twitter or Facebook, you’ll know that we are really excited about ‘A Taste Of The Good Life’ an all-inclusive week’s holiday in the sunny Tarn-et-Garonne region of South West France. There are only 12 places available for this, so if you are interested, do book early to avoid disappointment.

Other news:

  • We are planning a bit of building work to replace our well used conservatory
  • Our planned wood oven *should* be installed in the garden at the same time
  • An American Package Tour for Chicken enthusiasts (!) are planning to include a visit to Hen Corner next year – which will include lunch for 60 😀

Jobs for the week:

  • Start sourcing some superb Seville Oranges for our Marmalade courses on 21st & 28th January
  • Visit some nurseries to pick out new lavender plants for our garden hedge
  • Do my Tax Return!

Do take time over the next few days to be thankful for the blessings of last year and I hope you can be encouraged as you look ahead at what’s to come,


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iamthesunking 3rd January 2020 at 4:56 pm

I know someone else who is turning 10 in April! #jointparty #jambondebayonnebakes

Sara Ward 3rd January 2020 at 5:04 pm

Hurrah! Ours is on Easter Sunday how appropriate

iamthesunking 3rd January 2020 at 5:58 pm

Whereas our mutual friend’s is on 30th April a.k.a May Eve, the second creepiest night apart from Hallowe’en.

Emily Scott 5th January 2020 at 4:55 pm

You’ve achieved so much Sara, congratulations!

Sara Ward 5th January 2020 at 5:10 pm

Thanks Emily x


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