Wark Farm

Organic Farm and Butchery in Aberdeenshire

Phone Number: 01975 581149

News from the Farm April 2023

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  • Admin
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  • Posted date:
  • 07-04-2023

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Above: Our little pack of collies

April 2023

In common with most occupations, particularly if they are in the shape of a small business, running a farm and food operation is a real hodge-podge of roles and tasks, routines and dramas, ups and downs. One of my consistent bright spots amongst this variety is the time I spend with our collie dogs when there is sheep work to be done. I’ve lived with dogs around me my whole life, from the rolling around-on-the floor playmates of my childhood, through the companions of some difficult years, to the working partners of my farming life. The company they bring is ever-present and most of them have got well under my skin and deep into my affection.

While the company is certainly life enhancing, there is a particular pleasure, often times thrill, about the working partnership formed over years of doing jobs together with the collies on the farm. I’m certainly no expert sheep dog trainer and what the dogs and I create is a some kind of loose partnership. They bring speed, intensity, obsession, intelligence and hunting prowess and I bring, or rather, try to fake, the impression that I am a pack leader worth taking a lead from! After that we try to understand and accommodate each other and work out what we are trying to achieve. Communicating with another species is a fascinating process and I don’t doubt that the collies gather much more data on me than I manage to pick up about them. Mostly we jog along nicely and with a bit of chat and instruction we get the days job done; gathering, moving, sorting, checking. Other days we all end up a bit frustrated, disheartened and puggled, literal and metaphorical tongues lolling. Then there are the sessions and days when they are on song, I’m not getting in the way and I get to see up to two, maybe three or four collies working as a team with me to achieve things I could just never do without them; watching a pair quietly balancing a bunch of sheep a few metres from me so that I can look through them at leisure; a wise old dog nipping ahead without my asking to guard a gap in the hedge in case a sheep tries to escape through the hole when when we pass it along the track; a flighty ewe with a lamb stuck during birthing walked quietly into a field corner for assistance, held there only by the intensity of my companions eyes. Maybe they're not such big things, these sessions, these moments. But they release a kind of deep content that feels more primal than new, with a glow that remains as I turn with my pack back into the remainder of the day, one foot in the next job and the other in our atavistic past. The April order form is now updated and online. Our regular customers already know that it's first come, first serve for our delicious meat cuts that are not only full of flavour due to the breeds we use and their grass/herb diets, but also free of nasties such as pesticides and antibiotics. You can find all the info on the order form, including more info about the specials of the month.

As ever please get in touch if you have any queries.

Best wishes

Laurel & SaM

April 2023 Order Form