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December 19 at Stourton
What a Year – Thank you!
Saturday 7th December marked the final event in our calendar for 2019, and after much decoration hanging, tree placing, chilli cooking, deer prepping and wine mulling 10am arrived and we flung the gates open! Not for the first time this year we were overwhelmed with the number of people who popped in to see us, whether for a dog walk and a coffee or a deer safari and chilli lunch; a few of you even left with your Christmas tree and some great gifts. We would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you who attended, not just the Christmas Open day but any of the events we have held this year.
We had a tricky start to the year with a couple of last minute weather related event cancellations but with some different themed events and last minute additions to the calendar we have been delighted to see so many visitors here this year. If you’ve been following our progress you will know that we made some events bigger (and hopefully better) such as AutumnFest and the Enchanted Lit Woodland Walk and tried some new things such as the Pub night at the Water Tower. Your support of these events means that we will continue to grow your favourites and try more new things in 2020 – if you have any suggestions please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org and do keep up to date with our developments on social media!
Many of our events up until this year had been in their infancy, whilst we try to gauge what you want us to deliver and how we best do this. Installing the Safari Tent in the arboretum has given us a great base to offer refreshments and has (weather permitting!) allowed us to grow all of our events in terms of scope and scale. We are still a small team here at Stourton. This has meant that many of our staff have had to ‘muck in’ and carry out extra tasks that strictly speaking aren’t their ‘day jobs’. Every time something extraordinary has been required of them our team members have stepped up; be it driving and commentating on our deer safaris, helping to build our bale castle, expertly making a decent cappuccino, clearly directing traffic and parking cars or creating a water fountain for our enchanted lit woodland walk… the list is endless! We cannot thank the team here enough for their dedication and enthusiasm and we hope that they all have a well deserved rest over Christmas and New Year before we start again refreshed for what’s in store in 2020.
On the Farm
We are now settled into our winter routine of chasing pigeons around the farm to keep them from eating our oilseed rape crops. Ken is busy in the workshop; his current project is to build a cage to keep our gas bottles safe. Next on the agenda is to make some tweaks to the vari-rate oilseed rape drill we built earlier this year.
The wheat we drilled at the end of October is largely up now but is a little patchy, anywhere there is a slight issue with soil structure or drainage it is struggling.
Planning is underway for our spring drilling program, some considerable changes have had to be made due to the lack of winter wheat we have got in. We will be growing spring oilseed rape for the first time (time will tell whether this is foolhardy). We have some spring wheat seed in store to replace some of the area of winter wheat. We also have our normal area of spring barley and sugar beet to sow.
We currently have around 40% of our 2019/20 sugar beet crop to lift. Unfortunately we are unable to get on the field with the beet harvester due to ground conditions. Needless to say we are currently praying for a dry spell though history tells us to be careful what we wish for!
That’s it from us until next year. Whilst the team here enjoy the festive period at home both the farm and office will be closed from Friday 20th December re-opening on Monday 6th January.
We hope that you have a peaceful and relaxing Christmas period and wish you a healthy and happy new year.
We hope to see you in 2020.
Helen and Antony