Essebeare Farm School 2022
22/09/2022 Class 4 Group 1
This week we returned back to Essbeare Farm with the Year 6 pupils to visit Farmer Ollie.
It was great to be back on the farm seeing what developments have been happening.
Farmer Ollie had been busy using his seed collecting hopper to collect the seeds from an area of red clover. He uses red clover in some of his fields as they are very deep rooted (almost 100cm) and are very drought tolerant. He had also collected some of the flower seeds from his hay. The pupils used a giant sieve to separate the seeds from the stalks and then a smaller sieve 2.5mm square to separate this even more. Finally using his new seed blower box to get the final collection. Because Essbeare farm is an organic farm and have such a diverse range of plants Farmer Ollie sells some of his seeds to other farms.
We discussed the effect of the hot summer temperatures on farms and the concern with the “greenhouse effect” on future farming practices. At Essbeare farm they had grazed the cows in a 75 acre woodland area over the summer because of the high temperatures. The woods having its own micro-climate, about 5 degrees centigrade cooler.
We then visited one of his top fields that had flowering chicory (which is also a very deep rooted plant) and watched the Goldfinch birds come in to feast upon it. They love the chicory seeds off the plants. We learnt that the Goldfinch female lays 3-4 eggs, two to three times a year. The eggs are incubated for 13-15 days and then the birds leave the nest after being fed by their parents for one week. A lot of the males stay in the UK but most females travel abroad to France and Belgium.
Farmer Ollie said earlier in the month he had about 1000 Goldfinch on Essbeare farm.Wow !
06/10/2022 Class 4 Group 2
This week some of the Year 5 pupils visited Essbeare farm to see what Farmer Ollie has been doing. He had earlier used his seed hopper to harvest some of the organic flowers and grass seeds.
The pupils used some of his sieves to sort out the seeds from the stalks/chaf. They started with a 10 square mm gauge sieve reducing eventually to a 2.5 square mm sieve to collect the seeds.
Within the seeds there were Bird Foot Trefoil which is part of the pea/legume family this fixes nitrogen back into the soil.
Also seeds from meadow thistles, yellow rattle, red clover, sharp-flowered rush, crested dogs-tail grass, sweet vernal grass and knapweed.
Farmer Ollie estimated that there was probably about 30 different types of seed.
The pupils then used his vacuum seed cleaner which separates the chaff and seed cases from the seeds.
The end product being a mixture of organic seeds. Farmer Ollie prepares the seeds to sell by the kilo.
Essebeare Farm School 23/03/2023
This week, Our Infant B, group 2 pupils visited Farmer Olly to continue with the tree planting project at Essebeare farm. On our arrival we had to shelter from the rain in farmer Olly's poly tunnel. We shared ideas about the different signs of spring that we can see in the fields, hedgerows and the garden. The children had noticed lambs jumping in the fields , buds growing on the trees and flowers starting to shoot up from the ground - All showing wonderful signs of spring has sprung.
After the rain had stopped we took a walk down a muddy track, looking for signs of spring along the way. We came across a Hazel tree with many catkins ( lamb’s tails ) and the yellow flowering primroses.
We arrived at our destination, in the middle of a field. Farmer Olly wanted us to help plant new saplings amongst the trees he had already planted, with class 3. Farmer Olly showed us how to use the tools safely which enabled us to plant over 25 saplings. It will be great to see them grown over time while we visit Essebeare.
Congratulations to The pupils on class 3, despite the cold weather, they all worked tremendously hard over the previous 3 farm school sessions and were successful in planting 62 saplings all staked and with protective sleeves.
Every tree planted makes a difference for wildlife and people. Trees combat climate change, give shade, shelter and habitat for birds and insects, they boost your wellbeing and improve the soil - as well as looking beautiful of course!
We have planted Alder, Hazel, Rowan, Hornbeam, and English Oak saplings.
Thank you to Farmer Oliver Walker at Essebeare 😁