Stone carving weekends

Peter our resident stone carver has been organising stone carving weekends for a couple of years now. He provides all the necessary tools and materials as well as lunch and a constant stream of tea and coffee  to aid the creative processes.
It is possible, in the two days of the course for a complete beginner to create a successful stone carving.

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The next class is on 5 and 6 May 2012 with further ones planned for 9/10 June, 7/8 July, 11/12 Aug, and 8/9 September.
The price for the two days is £80 so contact Peter for more details on peter.r.brown@btinternet.com. We can suggest some lovely B and Bs in our local town of Beverley or more rural locations.

Come and have a go! I did and carved an owl.

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Peter is currently working on a commission for the sensory garden at Burton Agnes.

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How It All Started

About four years ago we came to the sad conclusion that we were not making enough money from the time and effort we were putting in to our pig and dairy herds. Continuing disease problems coming out of the Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak at the begining of the century together with the high cost of feed was the problem with our pig enterprise. The low price of milk coupled with labour problems finished our dairy herd.

Once all the animals had gone the farm was very quiet and sad. Our traditional farm buildings were still in good repair and were great for calving a cow or housing a poorly pig but were totally unsuitable for modern arable agriculture.

The problem of what to do with them was solved by an advert which I saw in the Beverley Guardian. Artist requires studio to rent. This was the start of Calf House Studios.

The artist in question was Peter Brown. He was an advertising executive who was relocating in Beverley and wanted a studio to rent for his stone carving business. From his studio at the farm he creates tactile and beautiful stone sculptures to his own designs or for comissions. It proved to be the ideal location for artists. A friend who was looking to restart her art career soon followed with her wonderful acrylic paintings. One thing led to another and we now have seven resident artists. They all teach as well as creating their own work.

We were able to turn our weakness, remote quiet location with poor internet service into a strength as this was what the artists wanted to help develop their careers.

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Pea Drilling is Completed

The Green pea Company has just finished drilling 10,000 hectares of land with peas for Birds Eye .

This operation took 10 weeks and has used 15 tractors and drills which were all satellite controlled for accuracy.  The drilling of the crop was organised so that fields will be ready to harvest sequentially and will not all ripen at once.

At Cold Harbour Farm we have 43 Hectares of this total which the pigeons are currently enjoying feasting upon when given an opportunity.

The area covered  from Caenby Corner to Sledmere and from the East coast to Selby and they are all destined for the Birds Eye factory in Hull. The planned start of harvest is 7th June, the earliest on record.  Up till last weekend most areas have recorded less than 20mm of rain since 27 Feb.

Nathan drilling at Molescroft

This is Nathan drilling peas near Beverley in typically dry conditions.  The yellow globe on the top of the tractor provides the link to the satellite so that his hands are not on the steering wheel while the tractor is going straight across the field.  This gives him the freedom to check the correct operation of the drill while driving along.  He still has to manually turn the tractor round between runs.

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Spring Again

Another New Years resolution to restart the blog has already lapsed.

However the lovely weather of the last few days makes it seem like anything is now possible.  It is my favourite time of the year with lots of things going on all over the place.

All our crops have now been drilled,and there had been an ensuing panic over wheat bulb fly and pollen beetle in the oil seed rape. These crops have now been sprayed, so the next problem is what colour bull to get to replace Simon. Simon is in no danger of being pensioned off yet, but it is cheaper to buy a young bull and get him used to our happy calm way of going on rather than suddenly aquiring a grumpy old man who is set in his ways.

The informed money is on a shiny, sleek, native  black version.

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Slugs

Slugs are a recent problem to us. Before the days of oilseed rape and when we were allowed to stubble burn we never had a problem with slugs,except the ones which used to eat the potatoes in the garden!

Recent changes in our crop establishment have shown that we may be able to reduce our slug problem without recourse to chemicals.

For the last two autumns we used a Simba DTX cultivator on some of the land and conventional plough and press on other. The land cultivated by the Simba had less of a slug problem than the ploughed land. This is only after two seasons so it is too soon to be certain  but we feel that the results look promising.

The early start to winter in November meant that the slugs dropped down to lower levels of the soil profile out of harms way earlier than in recent years. .

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Bale Art

We are having a go at making a camel out of bales for the Weetabix bale art competition. The idea was kindly supplied by our resident sculptor, Peter Brown www.peterbrownartworks.com Hopefully it will have two humps but I am not sure if we can achieve exact camelid type proportions with our bales.

As bales only come in large blocks, although they can be shaped with a chain saw so long as the band is not cut, the number of shapes that can be made are somewhat limited. I had no ideas at all but Peter kindly found inspiration form a picture aof a lego camel. We hope to construct this during the first weekend of open studios 2/3 October 2009.

This ties up two of the now many facets of Cold Harbour Farm by making a link between art and farming.

We do not need to bale as much straw as we used to because reduced animal numbers means less bedding is required. It is usually chopped to return the nutrients to the soil although this year we did sell one field of straw. Not needing to bale and cart all the straw makes harvest much shorter and allows us to get started on autumn cultivations sooner.

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The swallows are leaving the farm

It’s the time of year where the swallows are preparing to leave the farm. They are still raising their second brood and are busy feeding them.

There were 20 chattering away on the phone wire this morning. It will make life easier on the farm as we were having to keep all the doors and windows shut on buildings where we did not want them to nest.

Lynnda from Oak House Studios has a prime view of the swallows favourite collecting point. I hope the chattering does not disturb her creative thoughts as she is busy preparing for another television appearance.

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