Friday, 17 June 2011

Our Countryside Comes to Life

Yesterday the Estate held it's bi-annual Countryside Foundation For Education day.  It is a great day out for our local schools getting their children out onto a real farm to see exactly what happens.  The groups of about 20 children had 8 different 'stands' to look at.  The groups rotated around the stands having about 20 minutes at each one.  I was looking after the farm machinery section where we told the children how we grow, feed, look after and then harvest our crops.  We started with the Topdown, followed by the drill, fertiliser, sprayer combine and finally the grain cart.  After my stand the children moved on the visit Paul, Rod and Tom, (our keepering team) where they got a taste of the good, the bad and the ugly in the countryside.  Many frozen animals that had been trapped over the past year came out of the freezer to play their part in the tale.  the highlight being the unveiling of a newly hatched pheasant!  The kitchen gardens handled the next stand looking at growing vegetables, and why they are good for us, how they are grown and what pests can attache the unaware gardener.  The final stop off was to visit the stable where we had a couple of sheep with their (not so small) lambs and Suzanne who was spinning wool.  This was a real hit with the children to actually see the fleece being spun in to a usable fibre.
After a well deserved lunch break under the watchful eye of the combine the children headed off for another round of stands.  First up was William from Frontier Agriculture who was talking about the crops grown on the farm and what they were turned into after they had been sold.  He had a helper making pancakes with some of the wheat grown on the farm. Toff Millway followed William throwing clay pots and talking about his favourite subject 'Food'!  This linked in well with the whole story of the day, how our food is grown where our food comes from and how we look after the countryside.  After Toff, Martyn and Alan did a talk about the estate woodland, how trees are managed and what our timber is used for on the Estate.  The final stand was with Roger Umpleby, known locally as 'The Bug Man' who had a collection of creepy crawlies that he had gathered under some logs in the wood over a few days prior to the event.
All in all the children had a great day, we just about remained dry, most of us kept our voices and the day was a great success.

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