Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Sharing Fernhill

We had our first proper residential group staying for a whole week! 24 people spent their time getting actively involved on the farm; feeding the pigs and our 18 baby piglets, attending to ewes & newborn lambs, collecting their eggs for breakfast and watching their first sheep being shorn with a few brave enough to have a go at shearing / sheep wrestling! They then spent their evening turning their freshly shorn fleece into a rug for their common room.
We had a team spud planting mission with a Mendip rain cloud for company, cooked sausages on our fuel-efficient stove in the garden. Then back to work using our home-grown willow to create pea and bean supports ready to take back for their own allotment project.
A true Mendip memory was their night nature walk with local ecologist Adrian Boots as their guide - discovery by starlight!
Next morning a lucky few opted to see dairy cows being milked, a visit to the cheese factory and ending up in the shop to buy their local cheese thanks to farmer Nick from Farmlink.
For their final evening here at Fernhill with the instruction from Alex (Chew Valley Charcoal) they completed the whole process of making charcoal ready for their party with their own hand made sausages and burgers. All washed down with the real taste of Cheddar ales and Somerset Perry. They even created their own entertainment for their party after a techno-team day VJ-ing using video images taken around the farm and mixing music and images, followed by an evening by the campfire with a sing-a-long.
A truely moving experince for all of us and one which we hope we can repeat. We love sharing with others the wonder of our lives at Fernhill Farm. 
Since then we have just recovered from our biggest function yet - the in-laws Golden Wedding Anniversary Party. A sit-down lunch for 75 and buffet supper with music. 

The Mendip Mind

Friday, 24 April 2009

BGG and the CLIC24

 We've been very busy lambing recently, it's that time of year.

The Big Green Gathering is coming back. The dates are 29th July - 2nd August. Music, dance, theatre, kid's area, sustainable homes, permaculture, crafts, healing field, food and farming, earth energies, campaigns, green markets, workshops, discussions ALL powered by the wind, sun and the people. Tickets are available at

Another big event coming up is the CLIC24. Mendip's charity mountain bike endurance event. If any of the riders need accommodation before or after the event or want to come back and sample the great mountain biking in the area they can stay at Fernhill Farm. We're perfectly situated for riders to get on to Black Down or any of the other bridleways in the area. For more details about accommodation at Fernhill Farm go to the Stay page and click on the Mendip Hills Camping Barns link.

The Mendip Mind is back to the lambing sheds now to see how those contractions are progressing!

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Letters from the Children

Alongside our 'normal' farm life, the accommodation barn and being an active part of Active Mendip we're  also involved in the Send a Cow and Grow it Global campaigns. You've 
probably seen in past blogs that we've had Jane over from Africa to help local children understand global farming. We thought we'd share with yo
u some of the 
letters the children sent about their visit to Fernhill Farm with Jane.  

"Dear everyone at Fernhill Farm,
Thank you for letting us visit your Farm. I really enjoyed seeing the animals, making tip taps and bag gardens
. I also enjoyed digging up the mole hills and the tour around the farm.
I learnt that pina
pples grow on trees, Ugandan boys and girls sleep in separate huts, they had to walk two kilometres to get 
water and a child had to grow their own food and sell them for clothes.
Yours sincerely
Longwell Green Primary School"
"Dear Jen,
I am writing to say thankyou for inviting me to your farm. I really enjoyed the trip.
The thing i enjoye
d the most was the tip taps and making it. I liked the African dance it was really fun and funny and walking around the farm.
Thankyou again
Birdwell School"
"Dear Jen,
Thank you for having us around your farm it was really fun. My favourite part was making the tip taps.
When we were doing gardening I liked planting the runner beans and peas and when Jane was carrying the bottle of water on her head.
I like the walk with farmer Nick and when we got our hands really really really muddy. I like it when we made
 tip tap and after we play fottball with the plastic bag ball.
Yours faithfully
"Dear Jen,
Thank you for letting us go and see your farm and the Ugandan farm.
It was very cool, i liked the tip tap and all the farm animals. Jane was verry nice and the way she sang was very good.
I made a bag ball but it didn't last very long.
Yours Sincerly
Lenny Chilcott
Birdwell Primary School."

I have many more with some lovely drawings to go along with them so would love to get them onto our website / blog soon.
Sorry have to dash now - we had 729 children involved (this project was conducted here, in Stratton on Fosse and Cornwall so many more children benefitted) but have to go and look after all the other bits of the farm now.
More soon from the Mendip Mind

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Aardvarks on Zipwires

Aardvark Endeavours are one of those outdoor adventure comapnies that we're involved with through Active Mendip. In fact Ian who runs Aardvark is a Director of Active Mendip like me. Aardvark are proud to announce the opening of a permanent archery range and air rifle range at Fernhill. Both archery and rifle ranges have been designed to be mobile as well, so subject to a suitable venue you can have these activities at your function or event.  Coming soon to Fernhill will also be a zipwire, so the facilities on Mendip's newest venue just got better!

I might try some of our sheep on the zipwire but they're rubbish at archery, no opposable thumb you see.

The Mendip Mind