Newsletter January 2008

Lou the Lamb3 p.m. one afternoon, Paul walks in to the dairy and sighs, “Where does the day go?” Indeed, where DOES the day go? Equally, where does the year go? Let’s find out! Here is the first monthly newsletter instalment of life at Lower Shaw Farm, 2008:

We have a new arrival at Lower Shaw Farm who needs to be announced without further delay! It’s Lou! Lou the lamb! Lou the limping lamb! Lovely Lou! A little black lamb bestowed upon us by the Swindon and District Animal Haven, she was rescued after her mother was killed by dogs loose on a footpath. Sleeps by the Rayburn much of the day, she does, much to Matt”s consternation, who thinks she should be pining for the Welsh mountainside, with its driving rain and gale force winds. But no! She is a house lamb! Having taken well to bottle feeding, she is sturdy despite her little limp, caused by an infection apparently not uncommon to newborn lambs. Lou is a welcome addition to the farm.

BirdwatchingThe working weekend this month was very wet, but productive and fun nonetheless! Mary and Peter, from London, donned their never-as-yet worn over-trousers, their smiles and their willingness and did their best despite the rain, processing ash wood for the earth oven and cleaning out the chickens. Newcomers included Travis and Tracey, Swindon locals happy to muck in and help shuffle about caravans. (Thank you to Eve for the newest addition to our caravanserai!) Friend of the farm, Ben Z., also from Swindon, energetically dug out a veg bed and split wood. Derek, another LSF wwoof-regular, tidied up after everyone else and kept our compost heaps neat – and piled high! Felix, from Alsace, has been with us for two weeks. The day of his arrival, his previous hosts rang and let us know what an asset he had been as a wwoofer! We have found him very helpful, as well. Particularly, much to Claire’s and my glee, with the tricky weaving of various willow structures around the farm.

Other events have included a Family Learning Focus group (nearly cancelled due to flooded roads!), an evening meeting for compost ambassadors, and the RSPB Great Garden Bird Watch! Earlier in the month, Andrea, Paul and I attended a one-day training event for walk leaders, hosted by the local Council. Our intention is to organise half-hour ‘walks for health’ from the farm, or elsewhere in and around West Swindon. Keep an eye on the website for further news on these.

Painting the larderHouse projects have included much decorating; the larder, the porch room, and the centre kitchen! Many hands do make light work.

On the 27th January Holocaust Memorial Day was observed all over the UK. In Swindon, there was a commemoration at the cenotaph in the centre of town, followed by a gathering at the Friends Meeting House of the Quakers. Organised by Matt, on behalf of Swindon Borough Council, the event was attended by people of many faiths. Individuals shared their experiences, strength, and hope for a vision of peace and tolerance, and the Swindon Scratch Choir united us all with their vocal harmonies.

In February we look forward to a lantern making weekend with Mary Maguire! There are still a few spaces for this event so have a look in the ‘Events by Month’ section. Other events include compost ambassador training day and a Pregnancy Nourishment day with Rebecca Brain.

And with this, in the spirit of unity, Salaam! Shalom! Peace! Om Shanti! – Til next month!


Ducks on pond