Mantel Farm Shop, East Sussex - Beekeeping Courses, Animal Boarding, Chickens For Sale, Beekeeping Equipment

Mantel Farm Newsletter - September 2017

Electric Van - Wheels in Motion, School Holidays, Gardening

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Wheels in Motion...

electric van wheels in motion

Chris receiving the keys to our new electric van from Nissan

August is the month where all routine seems to fly out the window! With variable weather and the school holidays added to the usual mix of madness. This year is our youngest sons last school holiday - a real reminder that the years move so quickly, it still seems only the other day that we no longer had any family at Primary School, now it’s a year of GCSEs and decisions on where to go next!

Those who follow us on our Facebook page may have seen that at the beginning of August we collected our new electric van. A big step forward for us to have a dedicated business vehicle - hopefully putting an end to the last minute folding up the seats in our car and travelling squashed between bits of chicken run, beehives, feed and chickens! (Although for larger chicken run installations and shows I am sure this wont yet be a thing of the past!)

We have decided to for once to be a little modern! (Not something our friends usually associate with us, the chickens, vegetables, and chopping wood to heat the house!) And so have opted for an electric van. With our solar panels on the barn roof and our desire to be as self sufficient as possible, it seemed to be the best way forward. The van has a good enough range to easily manage most of the trips we do, and we have installed a dedicated charging point at the farm, so most of the power will come from our solar panels. If we do need to charge when out and about then there are a growing number of charge points around, it’s just be a matter of changing the way we plan journeys, making sure there are charge points on route and allowing 20 mins or so to 'fill-up' (time to stop for a tea and rest is cant be a bad thing!). So now comes the next fun part - designing the sign writing!

At the Sough of England show we were lucky enough to have Emma from Allen and Page join us, talking to visitors about animal health nutrition and handing out lovely little goody-bags. Her knowledge and enthusiasm was so obvious throughout the show and along with the visitors we all benefitted and enjoyed her company. Emma has now agreed to write each month for our newsletter, this month she has written a general introduction to the Smallholder Feed and next month she will start to feature a specific feed type. She also hopes to hold a nutrition talk at the farm in the near future. With regards talks, Ian who regularly tells his gardening tales below, is giving a talk in September about how to create a wild flower meadow in your garden, such an area is so important in any garden to encourage wildlife and especially the bees, but they are not the easiest thing to create - as we found out with stinging nettles and other weeds quickly smothering the flowers, so we are keen to hear how to do it better.

This Month's Pest Feature: Flies...

Graham Burgess provides a local pest control service, including Bees, Wasps, Mice, Rabbits, Mink, Moles, Rats, Earwigs and Birds. This month he has written a feature on Flies

Pests - Flies

A fly infestation in your home is a nuisance and a health risk. Flies can carry diseases such as Typhoid, E Coli, and Salmonella. Four things to do when you get flies are:

1. Exclusion - Prevent flies entering your house by proofing of doors, windows and vents.
2. Restriction - Good general housekeeping to remove possible breeding sites.
3. Destruction - Correct fly control for your needs.
4. Monitoring - Regular inspections to make sure they don't come back.

Read Graham's instructions on how to make a simple Fly trap.

Our Local Weather Forecast...

Tim Macpherson is a digital publisher and angling film maker as well as being an obsessed boat angler for over 25 years. So he keeps a close watch on the Sussex weather for both his fishing, work and of course his bees and hens in his garden -

Weather forecast for September

The pigs are feasting on apples now and soon there will be acorns too so they’re all fattening up nicely. Our bees are furiously filling up their hive with honey and certainly got quite nasty when I had a peek inside the other day. As for the fishing, well there are still plenty of fat plaice around, sole and night from the beach and big bream on some marks offshore but not a lot else. If there is any settled hot weather we might see shoals of mackerel coming in to the beaches. So, what will September’s weather bring? Read his full forecast for the month ahead.

Ian's Gardening Tales from the Weald...

Ian is a Gardens Manager living in Crowhurst, working as part of a team in three large country gardens in the Sussex and Kent Weald, where he is passionate about natural gardening.

Ians Gardening Tales From The Weald

Oh September the month of melancholy, mists and fruitfulness! Our first swallows have formed migratory flocks and are all away back down south. Our Martins will travel along too and we are left with a sense of loss but a sense of gain also with the beauty of Autumn's cool mists, fruitfulness and colour. Read the full story to find out more about September's wildlife, plants and gardening tips.

Ian Donovan:  Hips and Haws Gardening, Crowhurst

Jason's Home Farmer Magazine Article:

Poultry care at the end of summer
This month, Jason talks about the steps to take to care for your poultry with the summer coming to an end.

autumn poultry care article

You can read Jason's full artice here on our blog, and subscribe to Home Farmer Magazine for many more smallholding tips and articles. 

Gardening Talk With Ian Donovan:

Wild Flower Meadows

Join us on Friday 29th September for an evening talk discussing how to introduce wild flower meadows to those wishing to establish them as a feature.
Only £10 each, including refreshments

wild flower meadows talk

Topics covered will include Origins of Meadows, Your Site & Appropriate Plant Selection, Seed or Plugs?, Ground Preparation & Establishment, Meadow Management, Meadows into the Future

Offer: BioDri Super Absorbent Powder 5kg Tubs Now Only £9.95 - Save £5.00!
BioDri is extremely effective in absorbing liquids and ammonia gas, inhibiting the growth and spread of bacteria and other harmful organisms. Use it together with this month's pest control article to combat smells and flies.

biodri promotion for pest control

The fresh smelling powder is non hazardous and is suitable for use with animals and birds of all ages.

New: Super Layers Mash 20kg - £9.50
Duffields have improved the formula of their layers mash. With slighltly higher protein levels this feed continues to offer a fantastic feed for your laying hens.

super layers mash

Available in 20kg sacks for £9.50

Also available in 1.5kg and 5kg bags, ideal for  just a few hens or to introduce to a new flock to see how your hens love this feed.

Feature: Willow Screening

As featured in Jason's Home Farmer Article, this screening is perfect to give your birds shelter from both driving winter rain and hot sunny days.

Available in 2 heights:

1m: £7.45 per meter  ......   1.8m: £12.95 per meter

willow screening

Our Next Beekeeping Training Course:

The Basics of Beekeeping Evening with Amanda Millar - Fri 8th September 2017

Only a few places left on this course so book your place soon to avoid disappointment!

The Basics of Beekeeping Evening with Amanda Millar - Fri 8th September 2017

Introducing: Smallholder Range Of Feeds

Emma from Allen and Page gives us an introduction to the Smallholder range of Animal Feeds. From next month Emma will feature an individual feed each month.

The Basics of Beekeeping Evening with Amanda Millar - Fri 8th September 2017
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