I was wondering how to review this month without making it into a catalogue of breakages and breakdowns. Maybe add stoic musings on resilience and thoughts of Spring being just round the corner .
Maybe not just yet. I imagined our roadside daffodils shouting ‘idiot’ as Eunice and Franklin passed through. The next one ( unless from America ) is to be named Gladys; doesn’t sound destructive.
Prior to the storms, Phil had worked on cutting down several dead trees particularly along the roadside. So there was no disruption to traffic post storms, the only roadside casualty was an Ivy covered maple which blew into the paddock.
Battening down the hatches consisted of strategic bale placement to save the garage door and later a 4 bale high stack to prevent further unwanted ventilation in this shed.
It was a little draughty in this weaner shed for a while.
Strategic placing of tyres when various roof sheets started to peel limited repairs to single sheets. We have several sheds well past their best before date but as in food labelling, that is only advisory and they are still a vital part of our infrastructure.
Several trees have been blown over in hedge lines, of course they never fall without taking the stock fence with them. There was a lot of wood in this willow to clear up but at least two branches have been put to use in temporarily propping up the fence.
Under rules designed to protect habitat, no mechanical tools are to be used on trees and hedgerows after the end of February so there has been a lot of clearing up going on in haste - rewarded at the end of the day with a satisfying bonfire.
The digger has been in action maintaining ditches and volunteers from Essex Wildlife Trust have continued to plug away at hedge planting. You can certainly see where they have been with the cardboard protection boxes. They were ‘ rewarded ‘ with a guided tour of the farm and a visit to other fields they would not normally have access to.
Impressively Phil only over ran by an hour and despite squally weather, the feedback was positive.
Northumbrian Water who own the reservoir and surrounding fields, some of which we tenant, hired in this long reach digger to sort out some overgrown reed beds and re instate a channel. Only a small area was done so as not to disturb too much habitat in one go. Only a days work for a minimum of two weeks hire charge.
Onto mechanical breakdowns. Coming round a corner with the not so mechanical method of feeding wet food to the breeding gilts ( trusted bucket from a barrow ) to find the automated dry feed system had decided to prolapse its auger. Another successful emergency fix for Phil to perform. The cause was a 4 cm lump of concrete jamming up the works. We hope it has no friends.
The issue of one of the loaders losing power was more of a head scratcher and did need outside help to resolve. Dark thoughts of expensive repairs to electronic circuitry were quashed by a telephone diagnosis from a photograph by the mechanic at Crawfords. With much relief a slipped jubilee clip on the intercooler was tightened ( who knew ? ) and Phil can once more achieve a sensible speed on the road for hay deliveries.
The stock also require you to keep up to speed. Too slow to arrive with more silage for the cows and calves and the 2021 calves can fit through the barrier and play in the feed passage.
Keeping an eye out for the arrival of the morning feed, this ram lamb ( a few ringing failures are being kept separate indoors to prevent unwanted pregnancies ) has found just the right gap to be on look out. The imaginatively named ‘ Cat ‘ happens to be passing and is fed in the old dairy once the lambs have come out to feed.
It was really exciting to have a photo shoot with Rae recently ( RAE SHIRLEY PHOTOGRAPHY AND DESIGN 07837 139414 www.raeshirley.co.uk
In which we discovered our meats are much more photogenic than either me or Phil.
How tempting is this beef platter ( available as a beef box ) from our 100% grass fed, Angus suckler herd ?
Speaking of which - there is fresh 28 day matured beef coming back this week and available at Colchester Market on Friday 4 th March 9:30 am - 1 pm outside the Mercury Theatre.
Pre order by 6 pm on Sunday 27 th Feb and we can bring along exactly what you would like.
This week there is also fresh lamb, pork, bacon, gammon, sausages, ham, eggs, Sutton Hoo chicken and STUFF’D Pies.
Orders appreciated by 6 pm on Sunday or just come and see what we have in the shop.
Due to overstocking we currently have frozen ham at 50% off the marked price.
Smoked or unsmoked, 4 slices per pack, while stocks last.
Phone photograph - not one of Rae’s !
Here is the plan for March so you can order fresh meats for collection ( Thursday/ Friday / Saturday 10 am - 4 pm ) or delivery locally every Thursday.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Further details about Wigborough Meats can be found at
If you would like to make contact, please email