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Jez's Notebook | News from the Farm Archive

New video series! Organic Eats & Garden Treats

Kathy Slack and Jez Rose in their new online video series Organic Eats & Garden Treats

I don’t mind admitting that there’s been a bit of a crisis here at the farm and I found myself right at the centre of it.

There’s been a conundrum with my carrots; a shake-up with my shallots and if I’m honest I’ve been perturbed with my parsnips.

Despite my best organic growing efforts, almost

Exciting new workshops at the farm!

A new range of exciting workshops on the farm start in November with Christmas Wreath Making!

Since I moved to the farm I’ve run a few workshops for companies and obviously we’ve become well known in that time for running the beekeeping workshops and experience days, which have been hugely popular, but quite a large part of the work here has been in developing a bare one acre site into almost entirely pollinator-friendly planted gardens.

We’ve been busy installing new areas to the gardens, planting flower beds and developing plant schemes for all year round colour and interest, and because of that focus on the outside space, we’ve created a new and exciting range of workshops for all throughout the year.

Back in 2016 I began a research project to investigate the impact of nature on health, wellbeing and behaviour and our work here on the farm has only brought me closer to the incredible power that nature has, entirely naturally and scientifically evidenced, on human health and wellbeing.

The new workshops start next month in November with Christmas Wreath Making Workshops and Christmas Natural Present Topper Workshops – and then through 2020 include Designing Your Own Organic Edible Garden; Fire Pit Feast Cooking; Wild Flower Posey Arranging and Make Your Own Charcoal and Draw workshops, many with new guest tutors.

I hope to see you here at the farm soon; if you’ve been before, you won’t recognise it now – we’ve been so busy! You can meet the dogs and also Cat, our lovely new farm manager who is doing a fantastic job of keeping me in check and laughing at the correct moments at my terrible jokes. She’s great.

Don’t forget to sign up to the newsletter if you haven’t already so you’re the first to hear when the new dates are released.

 

Behind the Scenes of My 2 New Books – Becoming a “Children’s Author”

It feels quite strange writing this because I never set out to be a children’s author and neither do I consider myself one, however, as a result of writing two books for children, I’ve recently been referred to as just that. And it leaves me with a sense of the imposter syndrome!

To celebrate their launch I thought I’d offer an insight behind the scenes into the development of both books.

The Story Behind the Stories

Both Zooster McFlooster & the Very Big Sneeze and The Sock Thief were scribbled in the back of my notebook and written entirely for

We’ll Pay You Later

Imagine that today your computer broke. They sometimes – thankfully rarely, although usually when you really need them or are in the middle of something important – transition rapidly from absolutely fine to complete meltdown.

Well, imagine that happened at work. You’ve no backup computers and the long term solution is, of course, to replace the computer. You’re going to need to buy one but when you call the computer supplier, you tell them that you want the computer now but won’t pay them until three months time.

Or imagine that you decide you’re going to all get together and have a nice coffee from the independent coffee shop near your office, sending out someone to get takeaway coffees every lunchtime. When you order them you tell the coffee shop owner that you’ll pay them in three months time.

There is an increasing trend by organisations – large organisations with tens of millions of pounds of profit – to tell suppliers their

It’s Okay for It To Not Be Okay

When the sparrow was deftly plucked from the bird feeder at great speed and then eaten by the sparrow hawk, I was stunned. I stood and watched the whole thing unfold and as I looked on, filled with an equal sense of awe and fascination and sadness and disgust, contemplating whether I was in the right place at the right time or the wrong place at the wrong time.

Can you spot the pesky woodpecker eating nuts, not bees.

When we first moved to the farm we didn’t really see many birds, nor hear them either. There was the punctual barn owl that takes its hunting flight at seven o’clock each evening and the occasional blackbird, robin or sparrow flitting about in the hedges. After we installed

The Culture Claptrap – why is culture not more important?

Ask any CEO, anyone with the title “Head of”, a Brand Manager or anyone in human resources and they’ll all tell you – no matter what industry or organisations type they’re from – that culture is key.

And why wouldn’t they? They’re hardly going to say: “we don’t really care what working environments are like; we’re far too busy for that investing in product and margins – people should put up, shut up and bloody well get on with it”, are they? Yet organisations don’t need to verbalise that as actions speak louder than words: what we do – or don’t do – often has a greater impact that words.

The dreary impact of a lack of focus on environment.

I’m still hearing

Listen to the Bees – Work In Silos!

Honeybee hives can teach organisations a lot about efficient and efficacious models of teamwork.

You may – or may not – know that Mrs Jez and I are beekeepers

As we launch the nationwide expansion of Bees for Business, I’ve written this short article on what observing the honeybee teaches about working more effectively, communicating better and more efficient teamwork in your organisation.

During the peak, summer season the average honeybee hive can

Tales from the Farm – Bees…in the roof

I love bees even more when they are in the right place

I love bees. That’s why we keep them here at the farm. Well,  I say “keep”, but in reality we’re simply guardians of the bees – they are wild animals and we simply provide housing benefit. However, I don’t love the fact that bees (not ours, I might add), have decided to take up residence in our roof.

Some weeks it does seem like this farm is testing the very limits of human capabilities. This week has been one of those.

After we discovered that our bore hole head was leaking (which is in itself an understatement – thousands of gallons of water are pouring out of a crack in it, which we now are in the midst of arranging to

Tales from the Farm – Lessons Learned

“TV’s favourite gardener”, Monty Don, inspires Jez Rose, a frustrated behaviourist and amateur gardener, to grow a new life, as detailed in Tales from the Farm. Monty Don’s book inspired Jez to buy a farm in the countryside, create his own garden and write about the joy, obsession and mud.

The brand new training barn is finished! My favourite parts are the whiteboard wall and the wild flower roof.

It’s been 6 months since Mrs Jez and I moved into the farm and its also been a while since I last blogged with tales from the farm. That’s partly because every time it looks like we’re about to turn a corner and things are sorted and calming down, we face another major obstacle, or we discover yet another major thing that is broken.

The latest challenge, which is, frankly, putting it lightly, was to discover that our bore hole is leaking. A lot. The inspection chamber was

How to Train a Chicken (the real secrets of leadership, management and team building)

You learn so much about people, teams and leadership by training chickens.

Our new chickens, which we’ve named Chasseur, Casserole, Cajun and Stuart are bright, friendly and highly trainable. I’m talking distinguishing between different shapes, coming to you when called, playing the xylophone and even riding a skateboard – and perhaps more useful in your role at work, they can help you to create super switched on management teams, too.

Are they souper chickens? We like to think so!

I have repeated the phrase: “people shouldn’t be allowed children until they have first learned to train a chicken” many times. The reason is that chickens are pretty unforgiving; if they’re bored or you fail to clearly guide them, they’ll just walk off. There are plenty of better things for chickens to do than wait around for you to get your act together and work out what you’re trying to get them to do: pecking the ground, eating grain, preening, taking a dust bath, scratching my rose beds, chasing the dog, having a little bask in the sun – they don’t need you. If you’re in a leadership or management role, that might sound like a familiar situation.

If you want to train them to do the simplest of tasks, like