This last month we've been mostly waiting for rain which hasn't come! I know complaining about this sounds terrible after all the problems we had last summer with too much rain, but we have only half the amount of hay and silage we need to see us through winter and unless we get significant downpours, the grass isn't going to grow. Somehow, the rain keeps passing us by, though other parts of the country are getting deluged. I've been reading that farming leaders are saying these extremes of weather, from floods one year to drought the next, are the biggest problem we are facing in agriculture, and these last two years have certainly been extreme.
The up side though, is that we've had some great outdoor meals, from the traditional barbecue with sausages, burgers and a good rump steak accompanied by a generous helping of our family's special BBQ sauce to lamb kebabs and flatbreads on an open fire by the Mullybrook. Our son Jim has been helping on the farm this summer and has built a clay oven and made great pizzas and bread and it's been good to get me out of the kitchen! At River Cottage's Park Farm, they celebrated the reopening of their cookery demonstration kitchen which burnt down over a year ago, and we made 450 lamb koftas for their party which went down very well and are now regularly on the menu at the Plymouth Canteen this summer.
Last week I took some of our wool to be spun and dyed at the Natural Fibre Company in Cornwall and it should be ready in the Autumn. It was a bit strange lugging all this wool around on such a boiling hot day and thinking how warm it will keep us! I'll be selling a range of our wool in 50g and 100g balls in a range of colours DK and Arran weight, later in the year on the website and have some unspun wool for felting or handspinning.
Next week I'm off to the North Devon Show just down the road from us at Umberleigh, so do come and say hello if you're there! And lastly, congratulations to Sarah Lucas from Surrey who is the winner of the free draw which everyone who placed an order during the month was entered for.
With very best wishes
Tim and Jo and all at Higher Hacknell Farm
p.s. Please will you nominate us for the Devon Life Food & Drink Awards 2013!