After the permission…

Permission was finally granted on the 24th August 2016. This had been a long process and a bumpy ride with a big gap in the middle of my scribbles. But within days of the letter arriving we had the roof repair underway; the permitted timespan was only September to October so time was of the essence. The main labourer (!) had planned the exercise and the repair was successfully completed in time. No man, nor creature, was upset by this and afterwards a gale arrived to perform the roof test which was duly judged to have been a resounding success. 

During this very hard work I was busy dealing with the Public Enemies,

  • Ground Elder
  • Wild Garlic
  • Stinging Nettle
  • Couch Grass
  • Brambles

Some of these enemies were pretty indomitable; for the next 6 years Wild Garlic will reappear, a sad fact. Ground Elder is undead, but confined to a specific plot. I struggled on with the enemy and after 2 weeks a vegetable plot finally appeared.

On 25/9/16 I planted very first potatoes, Duke of York, and on 28/9 some Maris Piper. I planted in hope, not faith, and will see the outcome before Christmas. Also, on the 28th, I saw the first fox at Rock Fields. It was late afternoon and he was sitting in the adjacent field looking down, probably watching voles. He seemed resentful of my presence, which he noticed straight away. Just previously Head Pheasant Lazarus had been round for a snack! 

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May 2016

After many months we have achieved a lot of change but are still waiting for beaurocracy to allow us to progress with many of our plans. So here are some notes about what we’ve been doing! 
The Shed

Uncle Joe, or Joe Sherratt, was a retired Guardsman who loved horses and saw that at Rockfields Farm he could keep close company with them. His shed:


The outside had joined the inside, but outside was a jumble of old cans and broken tools. It was a colossal task to empty the shed. We kept many items that we use today and we kept the basic shed structure. The whole shed was leaning and precarious so Chris made a structure that would stand up to the winds we get, from all sides as we are on the top of the hill. The shed became strong, fortified with scaffolding planks and upright with every joint double checked with the spirit-level! 

Roxy wanted to check everything

Joe’s old loo


The Orchard

We peered in. 

Just jungle


We saw a single fruit tree. 

One Apple Tree

First glimpse, south side

What’s in there?

East side

That’s a path

Lots of clearing done

First Winter

Winter, with the single apple tree centre stage. It shared the orchard with The Caravan Shed! Helen chopped and cleared through this wilderness until it was accessible. We needed the tree-surgeon but had to delay him in in summer ’15 because one chick was still waiting to fledge and its plaintive cheeping was to be heeded. (Invisible in this image is another building, The Cowshed and Barn.) In May 2016 the apple tree is full of promise, for the first time in many years light and sunshine bathe her roots. 


Who cares? Well, the Blue-Tits feed here, along with Greenfinches, Robins, Goldfinches, Sparrows, Bullfinches, Pheasant, Partridge and pigeons. This year, 2016, should be the best crop of apples ever. 

The Cowshed and Barn

We didn’t know this existed until we beat a path through the orchard and found that we could peep inside through the stable door. We thought it was an old stable, but it’s a cowshed with hard standing and partitions. Very old flagstones a the entrance. Amazingly, we see the initials CB carved in the middle one. How weird is that?


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The early days, restoring the farm. 

It was 31st July 2015 when Rock Fields Farm became ours, after a wait of almost nine months.  

 
This special place, which enjoys some of the best views in the county, had gradually worked its way into our hearts. It hadn’t been our intention to own it but to help our friend Bill, who was an executor, to sell the farm on behalf of his mother Hannah who was 100 years young. 

He had known the farm first as the home of his uncle, and then as his mother’s home after the death of his uncle in 2005. 

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