Wild Bird food and Racing Pigeon food

From the farm....

Countryfile

Countryfile

Many children want to be doctors, or bus drivers, or the classic ‘I want to be a pop star’, however, my children (especially Robyn) just wanted to be some kind of odd outdoors person who’s on Countryfile. Finally, success is coming on Sunday! I must admit, every time Kate Humble came on the tele she would turn to Chris and I to announce ‘I could do that’ – lo and behold, she can. For those who don’t know, BBC’s Adam Henson came to us last Tuesday to film a Countryfile segment all about our pigeon corn, pumpkin patch, and Robyn’s ‘soap empire’. It was a truly surreal day for us all, but one we won’t forget! Probably the most odd part for me was the producer saying Chris should keep his holey North Face fleece on rather than getting changed, to look more authentic. The craziest part of this whole thing...

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A Spooky Surprise

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We’ve been keeping quite a big secret for a while now, with an emphasis on big – you could even call it… giant. Last year, as you’ll remember, we had an absolute blast doing our pick your own pumpkin festival, and we are so excited to be doing it again. Of course, that isn’t the secret (or if it is, then we’re terrible with secrets), our secret is that we’ve been growing some Atlantic Giant pumpkins in our massive commercial polytunnel! We didn’t want to announce it until the plant was mature and was definitely going to produce a pumpkin, you never do know with farming, and we were very sad when our sunflowers didn’t grow last year! We never can just do normal things at Laverock Hall, my husband thinks he’s a maverick, and I think he’s a madman, but we digress! This pumpkin is going to get so large...

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Why I love hedgehogs

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Marrying into a family with the surname Hogg it’s almost a given that I would love hedgehogs too! Indeed, I even joked about our children having the surname Hogg, and perhaps we should have named them Road, Hedge and Wart so they have to be very thankful for the names they do have. We have a family of hedgehogs in our garden and a few years back they had three small baby hedgehogs running around the garden most evenings, much to the delight of the family, and sadly there are no photos of them as we just enjoyed the moment. Although, I do hope those hedgehog babies have grown up and are living a great adult life nearby. Some of you will also remember that Frank, our Vizsla, was trapped (or so we thought) under Chris’s Garden shed trying to engage with a hedgehog - all we heard was barking and...

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​​A farmer’s wife who cannot garden: a saga

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    In 1991 I stopped being a farmer’s daughter, and instead became a farmer’s wife. This is both quite boring, and also very funny; my dad and my husband were both ‘large scale gardeners’ as I like to say, and yet I cannot garden on a large or a small scale. For years I have tried to enjoy gardening, my dad had a veg garden that was beautiful, tidy, fruitful and of no interest to me – I didn’t understand him doing small scale gardening as a hobby for when not doing large scale gardening. My husband gardened with his grandad, but I was too blinded by young love to think of the fact that I had no garden skills to add to his. This has been a heavy feature for my life, forever seeing people who garden and watching my plants wither! I watered them too much, too little,...

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We used to Plough the Fields and Scatter

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  Spring 2022, The 2nd Anniversary of Lockdown, the ongoing situation in Ukraine and surrounding nations, petrol prices, inflation and much more to worry or stress about for all of us, that is if you watch the news or read the papers. However, after digesting all that, the reverse is that ‘Life goes on’ no matter what is happening, and it certainly rings true here in our little Laverock Hall Farm bubble. I posted some pictures last week on Facebook of young Colin the calf (named by Chris) – the baby was an unexpected arrival, he was born to one of the cows who are lodging here for the Winter and will soon be off with his mum to pastures new, quite literally!  He’s such a cutie and a favourite with all the family but as you all know its dangerous to get too attached as they must go off on...

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New Year, New Birds

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Of course, New Years is the biggest time of year for setting yourself new goals. My daughter Robyn is determined to spend more time writing and working on her business (by getting off Netflix!) and my daughter Lydia is going to try and reduce her stresses and do more exercise. However, it doesn’t have to be about exercise or changing priorities – we have another idea at Laverock Hall! Last year we encouraged you to think a lot about Veganuary and how instead of not eating meat you could look to feed the birds and encourage a flurry of wildlife to your world. This year, we are encouraging you to feed the birds on a regular schedule! It’s important to feed the birds on a timescale that works for you too – your goal could be to feed them once a week or once a day, but a walk in the...

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Lets make today Green Friday

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We know that everyone loves a deal, and Black Friday is always a wild time to find them. Here at Laverock Hall we may not be doing some crazy flash deal, but instead we are encouraging you to remember that Black Friday week is also a busy time for animals and wildlife. We know that everyone is just out there looking for a deal that doesn’t cost the earth, but this Black Friday weekend you could do a great deal to help the earth instead – even if it is your own little world! So I’ve compiled a few garden creatures that would definitely love some TLC this weekend from you, instead of buying something new! Not money off, but hopefully some (bird) food for thought! (haha) Of course, birds are always first on our minds here at Laverock Hall! Our British wild birds are always hungry, or at least they...

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Its a cover up

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cover crops

I've mentioned Cover Crops a couple of times on Facebook and in a couple of Blog Posts too  but I thought I'd write a post explaining what they actually are and why we choose to farm using this method. Basically the old fashioned or usual method of Farming was that after the crops were harvested, the straw would be left in lines and baled into bales, either round or square, then led away to be used as animal bedding for the Winter.  The fields would then be ploughed and left over the Winter months for the frosts and cold weather to break down the soil before it would be cultivated in the Spring, then planted with the next crop which would be harvested in the Autumn. The minimum tillage method that we have adopted  means that instead of baling the straw we have it chopped very finely by the combine harvester...

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Whats happening Now

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What a blast we all had with our Pumpkin Patch, and we hope that if you managed to join us that you had a good time too and managed to choose your best pumpkin (or 10 as many of you did). It was great to meet so many of you and share in making memories for so many people over the two weekends we were open, the photos of so many people in our field, on the Pumpkin Express, and on the straw bales surrounded by pumpkins was amazing. As well as the usual pumpkins this year we grew edible squashes, these proved to be so popular, especially the blue/grey ones called Crown Prince Variety, in fact these are the ones that are used for Pumpkin Pie in the US, and lots of people have since contacted us to share recipes and photos of their culinary masterpieces, and there were rather...

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Its going to be a Spooktacular Pumpkin Season

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    Now, those of you who live nearby, or follow us on Facebook, may have noticed our pumpkin content last Autumn as we did our first ever Pick Your Own Pumpkin season here at Laverock Hall Farm. Well, we had so much fun, and think you did too, so we’re gearing up and getting ready to welcome you all back again this year! The pumpkins are growing, the signs are being repainted, our staff are ready to help, and I’m writing this blog! We had such a blast last year, that we’re going to be bigger than last year, with some surprises to be announced once they’re all finalised!  Since we’re a working farm, we are growing so many fun varieties of pumpkins and squashes too - some we know are great for taste and cooking, others are great for growing big and carving, and some are cute or knobbly!...

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Am I married to Jeremy Clarkson?

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This week’s blog is somewhat different to the usual – since this week, instead of doing our own farm work, we have instead been watching Jeremy Clarkson making a meal out of making meals! We were sitting in the lounge laughing away at Mr Clarkson making a measly £144 and drawing so many parallels of the perils of farming that we realised that our wacky farm had its own version of the Diddly Squat Farm family. So, without further ado, introducing: Chris, as Jeremy Clarkson My husband is Clarkson-like for his silly outbursts and love of cars before he even began farming, but now it seems they are even more similar! I saw Jeremy planting all his veg, and it brought back vivid memories of our own time last year when Chris came into the house and proudly exclaimed that he had bought an inordinate amount of pumpkin seeds – brimming...

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Pondlife update

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Some of you will remember my last blog post about digging our latest Pond, well I promised an update as soon as I could and here it is. You will see by the photo that it is filling nicely with water from the field drains, it's by no means full yet but the dogs both managed a lovely swim in it on Bank Holiday Saturday.  The ditch that was dug is steadily trickling into the pond and its at least stopping the adjoining field from flooding!! Often that field causes flood risks to our newly planted seeds, and the loss of a great deal of nutrient rich topsoil too. This has happened for several years and was what prompted Chris to dig the pond and ditch too.   I am amazed at how quickly the wildlife has adapted to using the pond, when we arrived there were two ducks swimming across...

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Ditches and Ponds

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  We’re back making ponds again! This will be our fourth man made pond that Chris has excavated on the farm recently, we're all really benefitting the insect life, birdlife, and wildlife too. They're also nice and near each other, so the animals can hop between each pond area (around 300m between each pond, give or take). Our latest pond is to be dug hopefully this week, we’re digging a ditch too - ditches are much more environmentally friendly than piped water courses as the wildlife they can sustain is amazing. We have a piped water course in this field at the moment but the clay drains are not able to take the water that comes down them, so they flood and the crops seem to be getting washed away most years, as you can see by the picture from this week. Check out where the crops begin and the margin...

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Robyn’s favourite mix: Robin and Songbird

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We all love robins in the UK, don’t we? Some of us love them so much we have a family member named after them, don’t we (Robyn, our daughter!)?  Robins were voted our national bird in 1960 and people seem to really love having them in their gardens, even though they’re feisty and bossy little birds. They’re related to the blackbird and the nightingale too, as were classed are members of the thrush family, but now have been reclassified as members of the  Old World Flycatcher family – they usually can raise three broods of chicks a year, but some have been known to raise as many as five broods! Robins are territorial and will fight to the death, apparently, they will not enter standard nest boxes, as they like to nest in open-fronted boxes, and mealworms are their favourite food. (Available separately in our shop or on our website too)...

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We're so hedgy

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February is almost done and let’s hope that March sees improvements in the weather plus looking forward to the lifting of restrictions throughout the country. We’ve had a busy month here on our farm, making bird foods, making sure the birds and animals were ok during the drop in temperatures and snow, then ending with George spreading fertilizer on the  crops that were sown in the Autumn, just before it started to rain and forgot to stop. This week we have had Tommy the tree planter and his assistant here planting over 5km of new hedges, mainly in two places on the farm. We seem to be bucking the trend as everyone seems to be pulling trees out or grubbing hedges out. Chris took me to see the newest hedge, it doesn’t look like much at the moment but it will make a massive difference to the wildlife, birdlife and the...

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Wheat Free Wild Bird Food

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Wheat Free/No Wheat Wild Bird Food This is one of our most popular wild bird foods, mainly because all the seeds contained in this food are suitable for most of smaller birds that you will see in your garden, and hopefully attract to your feeder. Its loved by blue tits, robins, goldfinches, thrushes, blackbirds and many more (well those are the birds we see eating it in our garden on a regular basis!) Wheat is in lots of cheaper wild bird foods you will see in Budget supermarkets or the Cheaper stores, its primarily used as a filler as it is the cheapest ingredient in most wild bird foods ,although some of the ones I investigated (yes we do look at what competitors are up to!) contain 95% wheat.  Some birds will eat wheat and love to do so, including pheasants and pigeons, but they leave a mess and then the...

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Do your garden birds have a deluxe lifestyle?

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Once upon a Time there was a farmer who made and sold pigeon corns and decided to try his hand at making wild bird foods, yes that’s us and if you’ve read the ‘About Us’ section on our website then you will know all about how it started and that we began our mixing using a cement mixer ( a clean new one), and  how we’ve moved on from there  and what we do here on our farm and in the shop and wholesale section too. Deluxe Wild Bird food was the first mix we made, we have refined and tweaked it over the years but its still a great food and fabulous value for money. As people’s interest has increased and more and more seeds are introduced into bird foods to attract different birds to your garden or feeder this entry level bird food is still as popular as it...

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2020 it wasn't all doom & gloom

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It’s been said again and again “What a Year 2020 has been”, well, 2020 is now consigned to the History Books, thankfully, and here’s hoping that 2021 will be the year for recovery both for the economy and our freedom thanks to the vaccine that is being rolled out throughout the UK. Its been an unusual year here on the farm and a year of some firsts too.  The weather has not been kind to us or the crops sadly, the drought that arrived with the first lockdown lasted for over  three months, during the vital growing season so that our crops didn’t receive the best start which was sadly reflected in our harvest. Then when the rain arrived it was so untimely, right during the harvest and planting time for our Winter crops. It feels like it has rained every day since September, the fields are sodden and will take...

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Christmas Opening and Thank you

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Its December already and the days are quickly ticking away to 2021. We’re working hard in the shop and beavering away making bird foods and packing and dispatching web orders too. We have been advised by the courier that the sheer volume of orders since Black Friday throughout the country has meant that there could be delays in customers receiving parcels.  With that in mind we are asking website customers to please place their orders as early as possible to ensure delivery before Christmas. We have a cut off which is Wednesday 16th December and would ask that orders are placed before then if possible. After that date we have been advised that deliveries might not be received until after Christmas. Our shop will be open right up to and including the 24th December but then we will be closed for a well earned rest until Tuesday the 5th January 2021...

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Pheasants galore

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It’s been a while since I posted a blog, life just seems to get in the way doesn’t it? We had our Pumpkin picking last month which was really successful and people really enjoyed visiting our farm to Pick their own pumpkins, as it was our first year and a trial really, we had underestimated just how popular the event would be and amazingly, we sold out on our first weekend. We had so much positive feedback from the event that we have decided to do it all again next year, only this time we will be planting more pumpkins to hopefully keep up with demand, and Covid permitting, we will be able to offer more than just pumpkin picking. Many of you will also know that I have acquired two donkeys, Tom and Jerry, who are settling into farm life really well and are enjoying their new life immensely. They’re...

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