News from the Farm February 2022
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Buzzard as captured by our trail cam
It's been a busy week or so for sightings of birds of prey at the farm. Alongside our regular buzzard finials on the posts and telegraph poles along the farm road, the kestrels have been more conspicuous than I've noticed for some years, perhaps this year they will nest nearby.
While the kestrels brings a smile to my face our resident sparrowhawks manage to unsettle me. I had two such encounters today in the snow, the first watched intently from the hedge as I drew level in the tractor, before nipping and skirting away. The second was atop a starling, pressed into the fresh snow now seasoned with small dark feathers. On its back, little of the starling showed beyond an opening and closing beak while the hawk, apparently disinterested in the condemned life, scanned its surroundings. Then presumably assured of its own safety it exited the scene, starling pinned to the undercarriage.
The tawny owls calls in the forestry on the far boundary have travelled well some of these bright still nights though I haven't been lucky enough to spot a barn owl here since last summer. More unusually a hen harrier travelled across the fields a few days back and, a few more days prior, a goshawk caused puzzlement as it took a leisurely flight above the farm buildings. Working in the butchery last week a red kite passed by my window view several times as it cruised around an adjacent field. A decade or so ago we supplied an excess of trapped rabbits that had been decimating a barley crop here to the RSPB to help feed the kites at that time being re-introduced to the area and released near Aberdeen. It's a happy long-term return on our â€˜rabbit investment' to now see them here regularly.
I take very much pleasure in the birdlife we have here and am anxiously protective of it, I love to see it survive and thrive, then one of them eats another and I'm left with a complex bag of emotions. I feel it every time the sparrowhawk rips through the large goldfinch flocks that feed on the knapweed seeds in our flower meadows each late summer. Knowing everything I know as an ecologist and a lifelong naturalist, I'm still rooting for the finches, thrilling in the presence of the predator and desperately hoping it finds lunch elsewhere. It is, perhaps unsurprisingly, a very similar set of emotions that I experience in the process of raising and killing our farm stock for meat. The only really solid, long term, response I can apply to these contrary emotions is to continue to stimulate as healthy a biological farm system as we can here; a living soil, multiple healthier and diverse habitats, many opportunities for many species to live in robust abundance. And they will, as they must, form their natural circles as we form ours within the farm and livestock.
The February order form is now open. Unfortunately, this month there was no Banchory market, but you can still order your delicious farm meats and pies to collect at the farm, or to have it delivered to your home next week.
Very exciting we're offering a limited edition pie this month, a delicately spiced Wood Pigeon Pie. And of course, there's our usual range of pies and meats from the farm:
* There's our usual list of aged Belted Galloway Beef and Hebridean Hogget/Lamb, and our range of home cured bacons. We also have some delicious native breed Pork Fillets (frozen). * Our famed Wark Farm pies, made with our own hot water pastry recipe and filled to the brim with high quality meat (frozen) * SPECIAL THIS MONTH: We have delicately spiced Wood Pigeon Pies, made in limited batch size, so we'll only be having these on the menu for a limited time. All our beef and lamb meat is cut fresh, which means that it can be frozen at home. It also means that, while we try to accommodate everyone's requests, we cannot guarantee not to run out of certain cuts. We treat orders in order of receipt, meaning that the sooner you get your order in, the more likely it will be that you will get everything you requested for. ORDER INFO: Ordering deadline: Wednesday 23rd February, noon. Order confirmations are not sent out automatically, but will be emailed to you by latest Wednesday 23rd 6pm. COLLECTION/DELIVERY INFO: Customers can choose for either collection at the farm (Sunday 27th February, from 11am to 2pm) or delivery (Friday 25th February.) Delivery is only possible to certain areas in central Aberdeen and Aberdeen City, Deeside and Donside and is free of charge for orders above Â£40, otherwise it is Â£5 delivery charge. If you'd like a delivery of pies only and no meat, we ask you to order a minimum of 8 retail packs to justify having our driver drive out. These are frozen pies, ready to be baked, so they can be kept for a long time in your freezer. Alternatively, you can combine it with ordering some of our delicious meats or bacons or come and collect a smaller order at the farm. PAYMENT INFO: Invoices will be sent out by email at latest Wednesday 2nd March with information on how to pay by bank transfer. The updated order form link is below.
As ever please get in touch if you have any queries.
Laurel & SaMFebruary Order Form