February 2019 at Wark Farm
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The normality of farm life, the normality that is an intimate ebb and flow connection to the land and animals, is perhaps not a very normal normal for most people. Living separate from the land is a more normal in industrialised societies. It’s a good thing when the worlds collide and normal gets a makeover. It happens to me in cities. It happens when spending time on the farm ...
"Two lambs were born the last week of January, amid snowy and windy weather. Arjen found the lambs, one white, one black and said the mother wasn’t taking well to the little white one. So we took the tractor and drove down, passing through a world of white meadows, frozen ponds and fairytale like trees, their branches heavy with snow stacking upon them. From the inside of a warm tractor the world outside seemed almost serene. Almost. The lambs were slightly apart from a group of feeding sheep,looking just perfect, balancing on thin match like legs, still a bit uncertain about the world around them. The black one a little bit more confident, finding its own way already, the white one seeking milk and connection from its mother, only to be pushed away. At least the lambs had made it through their first moments, meaning that originally the mum had allowed them to suckle. A few hours later we had them installed, a corner pegged off in the large barn where the geese reside with silage and water provided. The ewe calmed down, the lambs each found their way to the warm milk they so desperately needed. All seemed fine. The next morning we gave the white lamb some replacement milk just to be sure as the ewe still didn’t seem very friendly towards her, but once again, as the day progressed, ewe and lambs seemed to settle. One morning later, we found the little white lamb and the ewe perfectly fine. But in a corner lay the black lamb. Dead. Its mother had likely accidentally crushed it as its belly was still full of milk when we found it and skinning the lamb indeed uncovered some bruises. Two more mornings later, we found the white lamb hypothermic and underfed. We tried warming it up, but it died in our care a few hours later. Happiness, beauty and death followed each other over the course of a few days.
But living close to nature brings more than only beauty. I believe it actually brings something far more important. It brings appreciation. Appreciation for life. As farmers we treasure life, as organic farmers maybe even more. Yes, it is true that for a living, we bring our animals to the abattoir and sell their meat, but where nature continues its ever turning cycle of life and death, we strive to be humane in the way we treat our animals, allowing them freedom and a life that fits as much as possible with their nature. We allow our animals space to roam and encourage the wildlife around them. And when we sell our meat, we are proud about its source. We are proud to bring you something that isn’t just casually flung into a business model. We bring you something that was raised, almost crafted, with care and love and that can be a product of nature as well."
A glimpse, through fresh eyes, of the normal of life connected to the land. The experience of years makes it normal, but never renders it dulled.
For this month we have our full range of fresh Belted Galloway Beef, Hebridean lamb (half bred) and dry cured bacon. We have pies too for collection from the farm or at the farmers market, some new varieties on offer just now, experiments in the revival of our pie making enterprise following the fire. An up to date order form can be found here. We are delivering to our usual areas in Deeside, Donside & Aberdeen on Friday 15th, will be at Banchory Farmers Market on Saturday 16th (9am - 1pm) and open at the farm on Sunday 17th (10am - 1pm).