Pathways Progress – 26 January 2017

Its not as cold as the Arctic!

Well done Stuart and Jem. Christmas morning was so beautiful, the sun was bright, the sky was blue, thousands (well many hundreds) of people came out to see the spectacle and these two intrepid trailblazers (along with Ben, Simon and Bruce) braved the North Sea.

If you click on the photo you can see it all unfold and hear the immortal quote: “I can officially say its not as cold as the Arctic!”.

The final count has not yet been disclosed but reliable sources suggest that the total raised on the day – to be shared amongst 10 charities – will be around £10,000. How fantastic… Happy Christmas one and all.

Where to work when its cold

Here is today’s weather: It has turned very cold. Maybe not as cold as the North Sea on Christmas morning but the farm can be a little chilly (see piece below about the polytunnel).

One of the great things about a muck heap is that it naturally gives off heat and one of the best possible jobs when a cold easterly is blowing is to transport barrow fulls of the manure to the vegetable beds… in a few months, when you read about the wonderful produce we have to sell, please think back to this piece and remember the toil of the hardy winter workers.

Like a pig in…

Of course, shovelling muck and digging it in whilst in the polytunnel is an even warmer job. Can you imagine how much the tired soil appreciates this kind of supplement. Here you can see volunteers and co-workers all ‘mucking in’ together. It may be winter outside but in my heart its spring…

Work starts on a reception area

This is one of the small barns in the courtyard. We have laid a new concrete floor ready to insulate and the stud wall is now up. The roof has been patched to stop rain coming in but we need to completely line it and add more insulation. Things are progressing nicely.

Unfortunately, before we could do a great deal more in this room, avian flu hit and we have had to use the space to house the chickens as we can’t keep them outside again until March… at least they have a classy room to enjoy – I hope they appreciate it.

Conservation course

We have recently completed a six week conservation course with students from Lowestoft College and run by Ash (pictured above left). Ash has done a great job with the students as they looked at some aspects of woodland management, building a bug hotel, hedgehog houses and bee bedsits (right). The course has been very well received and we will be rolling out more courses throughout the year which will include bird identification, food chains, providing both nesting and feeding areas for a range of pollinating insects, bees, butterflies, moths, hoverflies etc, and allowing the growth of wild flowers along margins or in other areas… lots of very exciting stuff – I intend to sign up.

Pathways and Parliament

… well, a representative of Parliament… We had the privilege of hosting a visit from Peter Aldous MP a short while ago. Peter has been a very loyal supporter of the Care Farm and a real encouragement as he regularly puts us in touch with local agencies or organisations who share our ethos or objectives. Here I think he was responding to my question about Brexit and how it will effect the mental health of those who voted to remain.

Lounging about

When we started out on this journey in October 2014 the old stable block and hay loft looked such a mess I thought we’d never even start on them let alone make a useable space in there. How wrong could I be. We have toiled for about a year, students from Great Yarmouth College made a great job repairing the outer walls and also helped clear years of rotting wood and old rubble.

We laid a new floor, insulated the walls, treated the woodworm, put in a new staircase and a new floor above. Added windows and a roof light, new electrics and finally, just after the last co-worker left for the Christmas break, we (Dennis and Jane mostly) laid the carpet tiles.

The third of the photos above shows what the room was meant for… lunch and socialising. Now to get the log burner and flue fitted.

The photo (right) shows a new, hand-made balustrade in the old hay loft. Soon to be the farm office and meeting room… aren’t we posh?

and finally…

This is what we are really all about. This is a quote from a relation of one of the fantastic people we have the privilege to work with:
“The change in C has been remarkable. From a withdrawn, remote individual, he has transformed into a smiling, bright-eyed interactive part of the family willing to instigate conversation which, before coming to pathways this didn’t happen. His confidence has grown massively and he has come out of his shell.
Pathways has been a massive part in this and I cannot thank the team enough.”

Just to finish, we are having the first work party of 2017 on Saturday 4 February and we will be around from 10am. If you can make it we would love to see you.



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