Farmers’ Blog 2013-14
Friday, 21st March 2014
The first day of our journey has been good fun! We enjoyed watching some Disney DVDs on our coach trip as well as talking about all the exciting things we look forward to at the farm! We even managed to trick Miss Stockham and Miss Anderson into eating some very sour sweets! Their faces were hilarious! Luckily for our teachers nobody was sick on the coach!
Stopping at Westonbirt Arboretum for lunch we enjoyed a walk in the sunshine searching for trees from around the world. Mr Jones taught us lots of interesting facts about the trees and how they came to be in this country.
When we arrived at Wick Court we had a cake and some squash and met some of the farm staff.
Group three then went out to work on the farm first while the other groups unpacked. Miss Anderson’s group loved our first farm adventure- we fed the sheep, horses, chickens and collected 11 eggs!
After dinner our groups swapped around. Group one had a lovely walk down to Oldbury with Mr Jones where we fed some calves and saw the dairy for the first time. Meanwhile group two went with Miss Stockham to feed some pigs- we were very excited to see some piglets!! Then we visited the lambing ewes and bottle fed a two week old lamb. Aww!
Now it is pyjama time and our first diary time before we have a hot chocolate and head to bed. We’re very excited to be here so I’m sure we’ll be allowed to talk for a bit in our dorms first!
Saturday, 22nd March
This morning we were up and out early at 7:30 for our first farm jobs of the day! Some of us fed chickens and pigs with Miss Stockham, whilst Miss Anderson took some of us to bottle feed a lamb and the sheep in the field. Mr Jones stayed inside with the rest of us for our household chores.
After coming back in for a long breakfast (bacon and eggs! Yum!) we were back out for our second jobs of the day. Mr Jones took our first group on a walk to Oldbury farm, where the dairy cows are kept. We saw some cows getting ready to be milked and learnt all about their milking machinery whiles we fed the herd.
Miss Stockham introduced our second group to Farmer Brian and his grandson Alfie who took us to check the ewes and lambs in the field. We had to hold our food buckets up high to stop the greedy ewes grabbing them!
Group three went with Miss Anderson to the stables where we cleaned out the stables and made sure the horses had fresh hay.
Next was a delicious pizza lunch before our next farm tasks.
Group one went out together to see the ducks for the first time and cleaned out their coop – it was smellier than we thought!
Miss Stockham’s group went to weigh the pigs – a very funny experience that required a lot of teamwork!
Our third group enjoyed some gardening in the sunshine, which involved getting compost from the compost machine (also known as the dragon!). It has the most horrendous smell we’ve ever known! We used the compost to plant some pea seeds which the kitchens will later use for dinners!
We’re now all extremely tired as we’ve had our first full farm day, and have enjoyed a nice hot chocolate before trying to get an early(ish!) night!
Sunday, 23rd March
Our day today started nice and early out in the sunshine! Groups one and three were taken out to the farm to feed the horses, sheep, pigs and chickens whilst group two stayed in to complete some house chores.
After a delicious breakfast of sausages made from the farm’s own pork we got straight to work on our next jobs. Group one headed over to the stables to let out the horses and do some mucking out (a job strangely enjoyed by everyone!). Group two took a stroll down to Oldbury farm where they fed the calves and cows and learnt about the milking machines and running of the dairy farm. Staying in Wick Court, group three did some more mucking out of the chickens and geese.
Lunch was an amazing roast dinner from farm lamb, and our tummies were very full afterwards so we put on our trainers and headed out for a long walk! We strolled around the meander of the River Severn and learnt all about river erosion and the pattern of the tides. Then we looked across the river towards the Forest of Dean, and even managed to see the Severn Bridge in the distance! We arrived back at the farm just in time for supper!
For our last jobs of the day group one were in charge of putting away the horses, chickens and geese for the night. It wasn’t quite as easy as we first thought! Meanwhile Miss Anderson walked her group down to Oldbury to give the calves their milk! Miss Stockham stayed in with her smelly group for some showers and free time.
It’s been a lovely Sunday today and our walk and working has very much tired us out! We’re all looking forward to bed tonight (the teachers hope!).
Monday, 24th March
We’re really getting into the swing of things now! This morning it was group three’s turn to do some housework so groups one and two put on our wellies and headed out to feed all the animals. We’re starting to understand how hard farming life is with these early starts!
After breakfast group one headed off for a new adventure with Mr Rye, down to the chicken farm next door! We found out all about chicken farming on a large scale and how different it is to looking after the small number of chickens Wick Court has!
Group two loved going to the stables to meet the horses for the first time! Though we didn’t enjoy mucking out the stables as much as grooming the horses!
Group three wandered down to Oldbury for our next job, and had a good look at the milking machines and the inner workings of a dairy farm.
Then we had a drink back at the house for a break. We headed up the the classroom on the top floor of the house, and wrote our letters home- keep an eye on the post, they’ll be with you soon!
After an enormous dinner, group three stayed in to have some free time whilst groups one and two headed back out to the farm. Mr Rye took half of us down to Oldbury to make sure the calves were settled for the night, whilst Miss Stockham took the rest of us around Wick Court to put the animals away and make sure they had enough food and water.
We’re writing in our special farm diaries every night before bed, which we’ll be bringing home with us so that we can remember the wonderful time we’re having!
Tuesday, 25th March
Today’s been an exciting day as we’ve done some new activities that we haven’t done before!
We began with feeding the animals on the farm as usual, each group taking either pigs, horses or chickens and sheep.
After breakfast group one went to Oldbury, where we saw the cows being milked by the robot-like machines. Group two were close by, at the chicken farm next door, where we learnt about all the different breeds of chicken and how they’re farmed. At the same time group three went to the stables to groom the horses- one of our favourite jobs!
Once we’d had lunch, we went to our new activities. Group one did some cooking! We made a fantastic pizza which we’ll all have for tea later!
Group two worked on our teamwork and map skills with some orienteering. We had to find ten stamps attached to trees in the orchard and race back to the starting point. We realised very quickly that teamwork was very important!
Group three also had a new activity- we went bird watching! We went out to the bird hide with some binoculars and had to see how many of each bird we could spot!
For the rest of the afternoon all the groups swapped around so that we each got to do the three activities! I think overall our favourite was making pizzas!
We’ve really enjoyed the new activities today, and that every day on a farm is different!
Wednesday, 26th March
This morning we were very excited to have Mrs Atkinson joining us on the farm! What a lovely surprise!
Group one went to the stables this morning to feed the horses and let them out on to their field whilst group three headed out to feed the Wick Court animals their breakfast.
Group two stayed in the house first thing to do some house chores like setting up for breakfast and cleaning the living room. They were very good at playing Cinderella!
After breakfast (croissants- lovely!) group one went back to the horses with Mel who told them all about the horses jobs around the farm!
Group two walked through the muddy fields to Oldbury to have a good look at the milking machine- an extraordinary piece of technology involving lasers and Bluetooth tags!!
Popping over the road, group three visited the chicken farm where they got up close and personal with the chickens and packed some eggs- look out for them in Waitrose soon!!
Later in the day we visited the farm’s gift shop a group at a time where we very much enjoyed spending our money on souvenirs!
After the best lunch yet (beef stew and dumplings!) we suited up in our waterproofs and headed back on to the farm. Group one split themselves in two between Mr Rye and Mrs Atkinson to do some gardening. We spread some three year old manure on to the vegetable beds and planted some seeds in the poly tunnel.
Miss Stockham’s group went with Farmer Mel to clear any cardboard and wooden rubbish from the orchard and made a bonfire. The children brought the branches over and Miss Stockham and Mel put them on the fire. We had a great time watching it slowly burn!
Miss Anderson took group three to weigh the pigs- a very funny activity. Of course we wanted to get in the weighing box and weigh ourselves afterwards too!
This evening was nice and rainy, so group one got a bit wet as they fed the animals on Wick Court and group there walked half a mile down to Oldbury dairy farm! Luckily for group two it was their turn to stay in for showers!
After our diaries we had a hot chocolate to warm up before bedtime. We’re getting tired from all the farm work now, so some of us have even asked to go to bed early! We have one more full day working on the farm so we’re going to get a good nights sleep to enjoy our last day before coming home!
Thursday, 27th March
Our final farm day! We were all determined to make the most of it and have a great time!
Group one took off early to feed the animals around the farm- pigs, chickens, geese and sheep. At the same time group two trotted down to the stable yard where we fed the sheep and let out the chickens!
Staying in for housework meant that group three were able to make sure we leave the farm house clean and tidy for when we leave tomorrow.
After another lovely cooked breakfast we all went back out in our waterproofs and wellies. Group one checked the sheep and lambs in the fields and collected some eggs from the chickens, ducks and geese. It was really interesting to look at the different shapes and colours of different eggs. We’ve been noting down how many eggs we’ve collected in total across the week and we’ve nearly beaten the record!
Miss Stockham took group two back to the stables to feed the horses, and sheep their hay. We even got to put some fresh hay in ‘lambingham palace’ (a shed where the lambs live!).
Finally, Miss Anderson and group three waded through the mud down to Oldbury. The puddles and paths are slippery now from all the rain and walking across it- we have to be careful not to get our wellies stuck in the mud!
After a short break we hopped on a coach with our packed lunched and went to Slimbridge Wildlife Wetlands Centre. We spent an hour pond dipping and found some really interesting pond life! We met the centre’s otters and listened to a talk about how the otters live. We went for a walk and saw lots of different bird species. Mr Rye even bought us some bird feed so we could feed them from our hands!
Back at the farm we really enjoyed our last supper, before going upstairs to pack. This is where we realised that our teachers were right when they said we needed to be tidy- some of us had to spend a while looking for the lost socks we’d left lying around!
We completed our last diary entries for the week and had a brilliant time reflecting on the week, our favourite activities and animals and our funniest moments! We really have had a fantastic time!
Before bed we finished with a hot chocolate as usual. We’re all very excited to come home and see you all tomorrow, but I think we’ll miss Wick Court too!
See you all back at school tomorrow afternoon!!