From almost the beginning of this journey we decided that we wanted to bring members of the public onto Long Meadow Farm to share what we had with them even when early on we really didn’t know what we would be offering here at all. Although we had ideas and far too many of them too, it was only over time that we would whittle our suggestions list down to a more manageable and workable size. So it wasn’t long before we set about creating what we have around us today. With the fantastic surroundings we live amongst, with the landscape set out as it is with lots of mature trees, it was important that we made the best of such features in whatever we did. It was certainly scary setting out on the adventure not really having a clue what we were doing, but with heaps of enthusiasm and determination, it’s amazing what can be achieved. With the help of so many, so many who knew their jobs and had the skills we required, we bit by bit worked our way through our plan, until we got to where we wanted to be.
The experiences we have been through and continue to, whilst working with livestock have been life changing. We are so lucky to have the opportunity to watch young animals develop and grow, to be able to build relationships of trust with our animals and to learn so much about animal husbandry and how best to care for them all. As we have only so much space here on the farm, it continues to be so important that we don’t overstock the farm with animals, which ultimately only causes problems over time. With this in mind, one of the most difficult things we have to do is to make the decisions as to who stays and who goes, when the time comes to manage the numbers. In some cases it isn’t difficult at all, but in others, where relationships have been built, it’s clearly much more difficult to see them leave for pastures new, in whatever form those pastures may take. It’s always been the case that we keep firmly in our mind that these decisions we make are in the best interests of our wider farm family, which always helps us along the way.
Never in our wildest dreams did we ever expect to be where we are today when we opened up Wendy’s teashop, as things have just spiralled to where we are now with things being beyond busy. Prior to opening the teashop, Wendy hadn’t even worked in one, never mind run one. From the start it was her time to take the reigns, to be thrown in at the deep end and to take control of things, which she has done and done exceptionally well. It’s great to have been on the outside, as it were and watch how things have developed over time and see Wendy grow in so many areas of her life, developing skills she never knew she had. From designing and shopfitting the building, to advertising for and bringing in staff, to sourcing local producers and deciding on the right menu. She has learned to use the technology of a computerised till and card machine, to deal with her customers, to manage all the necessary paperwork and administration, to paying the bills and ensuring all the staff are paid on time every time, to keep everyone happy. The funniest thing is though that she still continues with her opinion that she’s just, as she puts it, ‘A Mum cook”