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November has been a drier month with 54mm of rain this has allowed the land to dry up a little.

After last month my report seemed gloomy and this month’s starts the same with the loss of Polo the pony aged 37 years which is old in pony terms.

Quite a character Polo who had been seeing his retirement out on the orchard and attracting attention as he looked his age and well meaning people kept reporting him to organizations such as the RSPCA as he was in the habit of standing down by the road watching the traffic over the gate and being taken pity on.

Crafty old devil was only hoping for someone to stop and offer him sweets apples etc it had become quite a joke in the end with ourselves, the vets and the local RSPCA inspector.

In the Autumn with the Milestone field gate open he was known to wander as far as the furthest side of Peacocks field (nearly a mile) returning just before dark for his hay and pony nuts put in the box by Sarah.

He is now still on the orchard along with his friend the old girl.

On a very wet 18th we have had our first visitors two coaches from Manchester University with students studying how farming and wildlife interact we studied the cattle and looked at the habitat available for wildlife in the fields.

By the time the field walk was over all were wet and cold but Dorothy and Graham were available with tea and coffee support to warm them up (I notice I got the wet walk twice!!) thanks to all and I’m told see you next year I hope on a better day.

We now have a dedicated phone number for enquiries which is 01606 835591 (24 hour answer phone) should you wish to visit us.

Finally on the 24th Chris and his team were able to harvest the maize part of the trouble was the full to overflowing slurry store which Chris and Graham emptied the day before they harvested the maize.

This picture shows Graham in action with his spreader this is much larger capacity than ours and they cleared the store in a day.

The maize had gone much browner to look at than in previous years but the cows seem happy enough eating it.

Next month should see us starting our stewardship visitor paths and the final demolishing of the old portacabin.

Our nature report this month looks at some of the fungi found on the farm.

Finally the Ariel picture we use on the site background is now being used in print in a school textbook called New Highlight 1. The book is published in Bavaria and is an English teaching book for children, we are on page 90 for anyone interested.

See you next month PHIL

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Milking Parlour Dairy Cubical Shed Grainstore and Barn Vetenary Stalls Silage Clamp Farm House Collecting Yard The Piggery The Heifer Cubicals The Stockyard Slurry store The Lean-to The New Shed Impliment Shed

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