Own your own Bedales lamb

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By Andrew Martin, Head of Outdoor Work

Lambing this year reached 188%, meaning we got 47 lambs from 25 ewes with no fatalities. In the sheep world, this is very good news! Recently, parent Craig McGregor got in contact to share his story about keeping his own Bedales sheep, an extract of which is below. If you would like to try your hand at some shepherding please get in touch. We will be selling live lambs from mid-July and they will be the tastiest lawnmower you will ever have! Contact me on 07786381427 / email amartin@bedales.org.uk

By Craig McGregor, parent

When I first read Andrew’s email from Bedales last spring offering lambs from the Bedales flock, I confess my first thought was ‘Yum!’ rather than ‘Awwwwww cute…’. I’d kept a few pigs in the past (they were delicious too) and I liked the idea of trying some sheep for a change, despite the odd cautionary tale I’d heard in the past. As it happens the Jacob’s sheep at Bedales behave more like [mountain] goats anyway, and they have provided my family with lots of entertainment over the past year!

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They have been very easy to keep and look after, especially as Andrew had given them the necessary medicines before I collected them, and even loaned me his trailer to get my four lambs home.

I know you shouldn’t name future meals in your paddock, but one of them (they are all rams) showed such leadership and smart thinking that I praised him and inadvertently called him Timmy one day, and that stuck. The others remain nameless, though all of them are very happy to chat at any time, and they are very curious by nature. They are fast learners and so can be beckoned from far away when they know it’s mealtime, or see me with the rattling bucket.

IMAG0105-20170619-231803296The biggest benefit of course is the grazing, and they have kept our two fields to a nice neat length, and we haven’t needed any extra topping, which is very handy and saves some money too.

Their next milestone is our local butcher, who will be cutting and preparing the meat.  As they’re just over the year, they are officially young hogget’s, apparently, and are absolutely delicious when slow-roasted…

Of course I am also collecting another three or four from this year’s lambs to repeat the cycle. Highly recommended! And happy to chat with any other parents…

 

How about taking a Bedales pig home?

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For the past 18 months we have been keeping pigs and learning lots along the way! It is a venture / journey that we are delighted to have undertaken; our rotund friends have added so much to school life, student wellbeing and Outdoor Work lessons.

One of the driving forces behind the decision to keep pigs is to offer students a very real experience of the ‘farm to fork’ process. Having pigs at Bedales has allowed us to examine the entire life cycle, from ‘conception to digestion’ – a process not everyone is comfortable with. Some have found the idea of the pigs going for meat upsetting, which is understandable. Such differences of opinion have been welcome, and led to interesting discussions about vegetarianism, veganism, animal welfare and the importance of informed choices.

I’ve been delighted that over the last year several parents, students and neighbours have taken Bedales bred pigs home to rear themselves. The stories below speak volumes, and if you are interested in doing the same, please do get in touch via email or phone on the contact details below. We will have two litters of Oxford Sandy and Blacks crossed with Vietnamese Pot Bellies available at the end of April, once they are about 8 weeks old. Crossing these two breeds is not something we have heard of elsewhere – so if you want to get in early on a (possibly) entirely new variety of pig, you know what to do! We also have a litter of pure bred Oxford Sandy and Blacks available at roughly the same time.

– By Andrew Martin, Head of Outdoor Work. Contact: amartin@bedales.org.uk / 07786381427

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Making your Christmas that little bit more special…

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By Andrew Martin, Head of Outdoor Work

instagramcapture_ad13deea-0a88-4c91-9bc5-867cc1ee6e83As I’m sure most of you are aware, Outdoor Work is run as a cottage industry as well as a department within the school. This unique position allows us to offer you a selection of homemade goods, most of which have been made by students, whenever possible using produce grown here.

This year, thanks to Feline, our produce list is bigger and more exciting than ever! It includes apple and tomato chutney, pickled rainbow beets, poached pears in elderflower champagne, elderberry cordial, hay cordial, hay salt, jam, hedgerow jelly using crab apples and hawthorn berries and plum compote. Our mince pies have developed their own cult following, and are available most days at reception…if you can get to them quickly enough!

We have a very limited number of sheepskin rugs from our own Jacob sheep, priced at £95, each one boasting its own unique, distinctive pattern. We are also expecting a range of shawls, scarves and blankets from our Jacob fleece, please email either myself (amartin@bedales.org.uk) or Feline (fcharpentier@bedales.org.uk) for details.  All profits are ploughed back into Outdoor Work, so please take a good look – staff, students and animals greatly appreciate your support!

You can pick up goods either from reception at anytime, or at the Bakehouse from 12pm -1.30pm on Saturday 3 December, or from 1.30pm on Friday 9 December.

A very merry Christmas from all of us in Outdoor work!