The hens gone some land has come available for growing veg and having some very welcome helping hands with the growing now here we are trialing broccoli for our Wednesday round. A bit up and down this year but we are learning. The Dutch believe that babies come from the cabbage patch. Here it seems that three year olds do.

Sign of the times

Empty Chicken Shed

Freya has retired from the poultry part of the business. No more hens, sheds are empty. And when someone retires around here, there is no succession it seems. We have tried to find someone to take over this part of the business which has done well, is well suited to our conditions, complemented the veg growing to a tee, offered further expansion and would lend itself well for a social care project, but we have not found anyone. Too many local project have stopped and are gone. The organic movement keep growing apace but mostly elsewhere it seems. This seems to be a bit of a story in Scotland altogether. 

But let us raise our glasses to Freya, who started with a handful of chickens next to our house in Maryculter in the 1980's and build up one of the best little commercial units in Scotland, got many remarks on the quality of the eggs and got a pat on the back from our chicken breeder for the way our hens looked and were cared for. 

Corona Virus Update

Dear Customers

For the time being we will remain open and do our best to provide you with produce

The food supply chain is very uncertain now all over the food sector. With staff going into isolation with any sign of cold there is a shortage of people harvesting produce ,lorry drivers ,warehouse people Europe wide. On top of it come the supermarkets needing many more deliveries as before ,which may have a detrimental effect on our own lorry slot and days when and what produce comes. We hope however that things will fall back into a normalish routine once everybody, shops included, find their way in this new situation.

Therefore availability is becoming scarcer. On top of it more demand has been made on the remaining Scottish organic crops of this season and they are coming to an end faster than usual. It will be a few months before Scottish new season crops are ready. Meanwhile we do with whatever is still available.

Our suppliers need our orders earlier now .We can't make changes later to it and have to estimate what we need and are counting on you, our existing customers in this regard.

So please keep ordering. The earlier the better.

Please note

Delivery /pick up times may have to vary .this may be at short notice. We will notify you as soon as we know of such.

We may not get as much produce as ordered or produce may be missing. If we have enough of any other produce we will try to substitute what we can so that you will get at least something. We won’t have the time to consult you about any substitutes.

Supply Prices may jump up without warning .Sadly we will have to pass those on. Fingers crossed not too much, we hope.

This also means that the standard blue boxes for home delivery and pick up might go up in price and we may have to put different produce into the boxes than what is specified or a bit less to keep the current price. We will monitor this carefully.

For the Wednesday round/pick up: We will use as many carton boxes during this time as we have instead of the small blue crates. Your various boxes for example vegbox 1 vegbox 2 etc might be combined in one bigger box instead of 2 small ones etc.....We won’t accept return carton boxes during this time and you have to dispose of them yourself. If you get blue crates please return them the next week as usual.

Eggs: my hens are getting older and laying less ,yet eating the same amount of food of course. Home delivery prices will be £2.20 for now per box of eggs. This might change.

Order honouring: Once you placed an order with us and it has been ordered by our suppliers ,we can't change that anymore and you will need to pay for that which comes. Even if it means you are shutting down or going into isolation. Our business can't cope to cover financially for late cancelled orders.

New customers:

Because of these uncertainties and not knowing if our own staff might become affected for example by nursery closures or isolating we are at this moment in time reluctant to take on new customers, but feel free to contact us anyway in case things change once we find our way with these new situations and we can then get back to you.

We hope for your understanding in all this and would like to thank you for your custom.

Team Lembas

21 March 2020 

Ready to Skep Swarms

organic beekeeperI do not practise any swarm prevention or split colonies artificially but let the bees swarm naturally. The beekeepers nightmare ! But it is a most wonderful experiences to stand in a cloud of bees and handling them once skepped, I believe there must be some benefit in letting the bees behave like they want, they are having a though time and can do with a bit of t l c. Know of anyone wanting bees ? I charge £20.00 for a swarm so this is an affordable way to get bees. 

To Your Good Health

I am not a great believer in organic magic in a bottle. I am a great believer in the basics of organic, good soil cultivation, good manure and compost, a good rotation and that should do it. But I do use seaweed, it goes on the plants through the overhead irrigation. I does not make a poor job good, but it seems to make a good job better. Plants do look darker leaved and shelf life is improved. Signs of better health which should be passed on to you. Maybe in the form of a fuller palate of minerals and stuff or the ever so hard to quantify forces of life but I do hope with all my heart that it does do good to you too. Here is to your good health.

Hot Dog and Mustard

With one of our hen houses unoccupied, I have been able to treat the soil around it properly for once. And what joy. This yellow flower is a type of mustard that naturally fumigate a soil and leaves it whole and healthy for the next lot of hens. Bees love it, I love it. It is like a soil singing for joy.

And it has done well, maybe because of the heat, certainly enough manure and just sown in time before everything dried up. It is good for the soul to be good to a soil.

Hope Springs Eternal

This year all my overwintered lettuce and spinach succumbed to the, compared to the last few years, late frosts and wet weather. And here a greenhouse full of young lettuce and spinach plants.

Propagating new crops is a delight. There is the little miracle of seeds germinating and the hope of a spectacular crop. It does not always make it till the end or to your plate but here is hoping............

This year we will have to cut back on some of our polytunnel crops and we will mainly do spinach, lettuce and outside kale and a few little trials to keep me amused. 

Have I invented tub-composting?

Tub Composting

This is where we compost packhouse and kitchen waste and horse droppings from our stables. In the tubs, fungi, bacteria, plenty compost worms and millions and millions of FRUITFLIES !!!, do their little alchemy and leave us with nice quality worm worked compost. And no it does not need Desperate Dan to lift the tubs, when overflowing we transfer the top half to the next (empty) bin and take the rest by wheelbarrow to our tunnels. These tubs provide compost for a third of our tunnels. Waste not want not.

Buckwheat for the Bees

BuckwheatThis is buckwheat. We grow throughout the season flowers on which our bees can forage, like buckwheat. And phacelia. Both plants also very good for building up soil fertility. I believe that our area can no longer sustain honeybees naturally. The summers are too cold and there is lack of fowers for the bees. But we keep bees, we breed them. And we help them a bit, we let them express all their natural behaviour and overwinter them on honey, never feed sugar. And so we hope to make a little contribution to their survival. See if we manage, bee it as it may.

A Moving Week

LorieneenThis was a moving week, forgive me the pun. We said farewell to Adrien, our stalwart worker for many years, who moved out. We could no longer offer full time employment to Adrien due to us reducing the size of our business once more. And we said hello to Jennifer who moved in next doors and will work part time for us.

Our customers in Camphill have again taken over some of the work we did for them for many years which is good. But we are also reducing our poultry and veg growing work which is bad. Once upon a time we had a nice group of Demeter certified organic growers here with 40 acres of veg growing between us, of that group we are the only ones left in business now and on a much reduced acreage, hmm. There are good opportunities for our commercial work to expand but this will need successors to come on the scene. And there seems to be no sign of these at all in this part of the world. Do I hear soft violin music in minor key in the background?

Picture : art work by Adrien.

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