Logo: Loxley Valley Community Farm

New year's resolution

11 Jan 2022

It's been over a year since the last blog post, we could blame covid for a slow down in activity during 2020 and the blog posts sort of dried up too but actually we still managed to get quite a lot done.

The more we achieved in 2021 the more daunting it became to write it all up - so New Year's Resolution: write a new blog post on 2021 and continue with more frequent updates thereafter...

Chainsaw

For Harry and Stu 2021 started rather well, they went on a chainsaw course to learn how to use one properly (the more sensible members deemed the training necessary before use on the farm) they enjoyed every minute of the week long tree felling in the freezing, raining, snowing outdoors at Holmfirth in January. They both passed the test and now hold qualifications in tree felling using a chainsaw.

Clearly all safety lessons learnt are being applied to the letter!

Clearly all safety lessons learnt are being applied to the letter!

Veg baskets

The baskets/crates/trays that we used to divide up the produce on workdays desperately needed somewhere to go following the disintegration of their previous shelf - later it got a roof over it too as tree sap was making them a bit icky.

Nice when a bit of the farm gets tidied - shame it doesn‘t usually last

Nice when a bit of the farm gets tidied - shame it doesn‘t usually last

Roundhouse gets some walls

After many many conversations over what type of walls/infill the roundhouse should have; a Lego wall, walls made from bottles, hay bales, woven willow, logs, etc, it was decided that a quick and simple approach was needed.

The lower part of the walls have been completed using shiplap cladding, and the upper part using poly-tunnel plastic to create windows of a sort - some of them even open (we're optimistic that it might be hot in the summer).

The roof is beautiful but took so long to build we needed quicker and simpler walls

The roof is beautiful but took so long to build we needed quicker and simpler walls

Illuminated business

In the autumn we forked out some cash for some solar powered lights for the loo and roundhouse. Initial results appeared good so more were ordered for the kitchen and container - but by the end of the year they don't seem to be working too well so may have to go back.

Light in our loo courtesy of the sun

Light in our loo courtesy of the sun

As cunning as a fox who's just been appointed Professor of Cunning at Oxford University

For sometime we've been wanting a landscape master plan, something to put some structure around the long term management of the site.

It needs to take into account wildlife, flora, tree stock, planting, water, hedgerows and provide a survey of what we have now and balance all of this with the farming needs of the group. A large part of our site will revert to woodland if we don't manage it which although wonderful for the wildlife does make it harder to use for farming if our membership numbers continue to grow.

Having disappointingly being refused a grant application from one organisation at short notice we applied to the TransPennine Express Transform Grant programme and were absolutely delighted to be awarded just over £4,000 to put towards commissioning the plan and then getting it started.

We now have a professional survey of the tree stock on the site and most importantly notice of which ones could be considered a risk - those have been tagged!

We now have a professional survey of the tree stock on the site and most importantly notice of which ones could be considered a risk - those have been tagged!

Tom from The Steel Valley Project leads a consultation to gather views on some of the ideas being proposed and any other concerns members might have.

Tom from The Steel Valley Project leads a consultation to gather views on some of the ideas being proposed and any other concerns members might have.

Please don't poo there

Having got somewhat fed up with the stupid chickens constantly pooping in the big box they also lay their eggs in, a nesting box frame was constructed around the inserts from an old nesting box structure. Hopefully it's the right size for them to realise that these compartments are more for nesting than perching, having a nap (and therefore also having a poo - who doesn't before/after sleeping?).

Six new nesting boxes made from left over wood and trays from a previous nesting solution (that they didn't use properly either)

Six new nesting boxes made from left over wood and trays from a previous nesting solution (that they didn't use properly either)

New members

We've welcomed many new members to the farm over the year, we've staggered their arrival dates so a small group of families at a time can integrate with the existing team for a couple of months and then we ask the next group to join us.

As the website didn't get updated neither did the message for new volunteers although the message is still much the same, we still have a waiting list and are actively bringing people in from that list in the order they were added.

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