Sunday, January 18, 2009

Busy weekend with a hedgelaying course at Ourganics in Dorset and a lambing course at Beech Hayes Farm just down the road!
Pete set off with 2 of the hedgelaying contingent who had arrived on Friday night to lay a very prickly hedge with 5 others who met him there whilst I met the lambers, and introduced them to Ruth and each other before rushing home to prepare a lunch of vegetable and lentil soup, home made bread rolls and home produced sausages to which they were all invited. Then rushed down to the hedgelaying to grab a portion of Pat Bowcocks fantastic stew followed by crumble and local forgotten today!
Did some hedgelaying and arranged 2 more courses for the 1st and 15th come if you can £50 for a day of fantastic training by Pete complete with fantastic hot meal and cake!! (and a chance to see Ourganics which was featured on the BBC programme 'The One Show' on Friday!)
Absolutely shattered by the evening and couldn't keep my eyes open!
Back to the money fight tomorrow.........the little cartoon is rather topical!
The lovely friend who came down for a stay this week is one of the only people I know who understands the stress of being dedicated to something huge that is really 'ethical' and her stresses are so much more than mine at the end of the day because the end result affects so many people.........she is a real tough cookie with a soft centre who is the genuine article and really cares....she has a charity called The Big Green Idea....visit the site, its going to become something amazing!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Frustration is the only way to sum up my week....interspersed with a visit from a lovely friend!
I am trying to raise the finance to go ahead with my expansion plans.....
The good old British Gov have bailed and bailed out the banks and this week announced help for small businesses by underwriting the risks of banks lending them money..........sounded great, looks theory!
However they would not play ball as they would only lend 30% of the finance needed and then only if I put in 70%.....but the whole point of borrowing is because you do not have the it not?!
So we have decided to do a remortgage on our house to raise the bit needed to invest and take the business forward.....not a huge risk to us as we only wanted a small amount.....
Fine said the morgage lender to our shock.....but urmm well oh.....oh well actually eventually NO!
Back to the drawing board.....
Mortgage brokers say......don't worry we will find you a mortgage!......and they did.....and I found a great unit and said yes to it.....and the paperwork for the mortgage arrived and I thought yipee.....
And then the phone went and the mortgage company there was a problem....I keep sheep!!!!! 8-o
WHAT the bleep bleep bleep has that got to do with it I ask dumbfounded?
Ah umm well that means you are a farm and we don't do agricultural mortgages!
No.....we are residential, we are and all ways have been residential......we just have 9 acres.
But you keep sheep AND you ARE a farm........
NO we are residential......this property is NOT a registered farm business!
Oh yes you are oh no we are was sounding like a pantomime!
But urmm you have a countryside management business there too.....perhaps you are commercial premesis......where do you keep your heavy plant?

At this point i was beginning to think it was did they know I had sheep.....and how many AND the fact that I'd just imported one from France AND that Pete has a tree surgery arm to his countryside management business???? And more worrying were mentioning pictures of me dyeing wool in horror of horrors my kitchen!
FROM THIS BLOG!!!! and my and Petes websites!!!

Big brother is certainly watching! I had no idea that underwriters spent hours investigating their mortgage application clients websites to try and 'catch' them lying!!!
I am horrified!

So eventually it was decided we apparently were not residential because our garden was more than 60% of our total plot, we were not agricultural because we just kept sheep for pleasure and were not commercial as we did not have either heavy plant on the premesis not was my kitchen a dye factory.....that point we ran out of options and became unique!
So we are still trying.....
AND for the benefit of any underwriters reading this I have contacted the BBC and they are very interested in your activities!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I have a very interesting dilemma at the moment! We are expanding the felt business! We are going to start processing waste wool into recycled felt and knitting wool and start making house insulation from the early summer when we have a needle felter.........if all goes according to plan! We are also going to be moving to a bigger building where we hope to put in wood and solar powered water heating for the wool washer and other environmentally friendly options! Wool is at last being taken seriously!
The dilemma.......the variety of buildings we are being offered and that are becoming available! I am seeing 2 on Monday and one is within cycling distance of home!!! (less than 2 miles...... my cycling distance that is!!!)...all very exciting and amazing! I am also dyeing fabric for a top London designer which is also very exciting!
It is still freezing here but that is preferable to pouring rain even if it means lots of hot water shifting to thaw out the pigs water trough twice a day! All the sheep are fat and happy munching on racks of haylage in their fields and now we just await Merinos blood test results (for blue tongue) though with current temps the chances of him having been bitten anytime recently by a midge should be zero!
We also have bookings for the next litters of piglets due areound the end of April which is very encouraging! Here is a picture of one of the last litter....we are rearing 3 for pork and sausages!
Please watch this video if you care about what is happening in Gaza.............Also this blog written by a medic in Gaza.
I cannot add anything.....let it speak for itself

Friday, January 02, 2009

Happy new year everyone!.........good grief, where did the last one go!
2009 is exciting and terrifying at the same time, huge opportunities if we take them and make the most of them .........and lots of unknowns that make it similar to being in a minefield!.......but hey life is like that and thats what makes it exciting!

Woolly Waste is just about to expand into another business unit.....with more machinery as it becomes clear that our existing unit is just too small to operate in.........and we have some wicked ideas for using waste wool.....just watch as the year unfolds!

On the home front its been a cold winter holidays with Hoar frost for days on end with crunch frozen ground and frosted sheep.............shows just how well insulated they are when black sheep walk around all day with a covering of frost, yet if caught and felt, feel as warm as toast next to the skin! Just look at this frosty picture taken from the bathroom window at 2pm on New years day!
Merinos is very settled and here is a pic of him too, with a frosty beard enjoying life in southern England!

I have had the kids home at various times over the daughters....pictured here at Glastonbury festival in the summer came laden with goodies and returned home laden with different ones! It was nice to see them and their partners.....and dog!!....a lovely pointer called Ottie who belongs to my eldest daughter and gets on very well with our dogs!
My eldest son also returned for Christmas, he now works for the National Trust and resides in N Devon.
He does estate work and is a careership warden and spends most of his time chopping trees up, enjoying the countryside whilst doing various jobs and helping with the estates flock of Jacob sheep and Ruby red Devon cattle.
One thing struck me over the holidays and that was the optimistic arrogance of the my son who works with a young woman on the estate keeps telling me when I question him about what they are doing with their livestock.......' you might have an opinion mum but she knows you know....she was born on a farm.....!' mmm one wonders how being born on a farm can give authority.......obviously a lifetime of experience farming counts for nought in the eyes of ones children!!!.....more of that next time......He is however a great kid and I'm very proud of his achievements and the fact he is doing exactly what he has always wanted to do!