Kids area, flaming chicken mites and burning torches

A really great workday where we got a lot done, no-one got hurt and we had fun with fire. Plus we had double James!

Veg area

We’ve got much better this year at ensuring that we blitz some of the dull jobs together at the start of the workday. This approach is working really really well and getting as many people as possible (without getting in each other’s way) means we can acheive a lot in a fairly short amount of time.

Today we weeded the lower corner of the veg area and planted brassicas. We then used netting to cover over the area to stop birds getting at them. Spare bits of plastic water pipe work quite well for making additional arches to support our net.

We cleared the lower corner of the veg area, planted up and covered with netting.


We have an area in the lower corner of the farm where we had placed old baths to use as raised beds. That area is currently a fairly long way from the water supply and it was felt that watering down there would be a chore during the summer. However we’ve been using baths at the top end of the veg area to grow herbs and that looks quite neat, so we moved another couple of baths up to the side of the veg area and planted them with squashes. At some point in the future we’ll lay a water pipe over to the other side of the veg area making the lower area a more viable planting spot in future. Who knows maybe all the baths will end up back there again, few other things on the farm end up in the right place the first time (or even the second time)!

Planting up the baths with squashes.
Baths finished!


Mites are a recurring problem, they are very resilient and multiply extremely fast. One way to control the mite numbers is to burn them. They hide in cracks and crevices and are extremely small, blow torching is a good way to get into those gaps, cracks and corners. You can hear the eggs popping as they heat up.

James is burning off the chicken mites and their eggs (the mites’ eggs not the hens’ eggs)!


Our scarecrow, named Kamara by an Open Farm Sunday 2019 visitor Max B, has been installed at the top of the veg area. Hope she scares away the birds because she certainly gives us the heebie jeebies!

Kamara our scarecrow is finally in position.

Fun with fire

We did a tidy up of all the beehive equipment, scraped off all the bits of old honeycomb and decided which frames to keep and which to dispose of. I forget the exact reason but it’s not good to keep old bee frames lying around so we burnt them. A LOT of wax started coming out the bottom of the brasier as we burnt them, so we used an old frying pan to catch the wax. Someone had a bright idea to make torches with the wax. So we found some bits of old rag tied them around the ends of some sticks and the boys soaked them in the molten wax before setting them on fire. They burnt for ages!

Burning some old frames from the bee hives.
James and James with their homemade torches – double James – double trouble?


There has been a plan to get the kids area woodchipped for ages, unfortunately to buy play grade woodchip is not cheap, but we were fortunate to receive a donation of a huge mound of woodchip so that has been spread out and it looks great.

Kids area finally has woodchip and looks more ready for use than it has in a long time.