Posted in Diary on 05/07/2013 10:48 am by Andrew
Many of you have followed with interest the story of Coldharbour Farm over the last 8 years. Those who have stayed in the cottage will remember the old tin barn sitting very forlorn on the landscape.
Over the past 12 months we have had a team of very special carpenters working very hard to bring the Barn back to life – now as a nice new home to live in. We employed a local company called Cox Restorations which have great expertise in Barn conversions – indeed they have restored some 80 Barns in Kent & Sussex over the last 20 years. So they know what they are doing.
The Barn was originally built about 250 years ago and would have been used for wheat storage and latterly for winter housing of various farm animals. We have evidence that Cattle, pigs as well as sheep used to occupy the Barn. When the wheat was stored in the Barn the large heavy laden wagons would have been driven into the main entrance (hence the high roof) and then unloaded into the Barn for threshing and then driven out the other end which has a lower roof line. Its all very interesting. In addition over 80% of the original wood has been retained and strengthened and there are many carpenters marks, fascinating joinery details and high vaulted ceilings which can be enjoyed for years to come.
Coldharbour Farm now has a Farmhouse Cottage, a wagon lodge and a Kent Barn – all restored for future generations, just how it used to be many years ago.
Posted in Diary on 03/29/2013 09:26 am by Andrew
Homemade cakes, homemade muffins and tarts would have been a special treat for the old farmer and his family who lived in Coldharbour Cottage many years ago. Not only would they have made jams, chutnies and preserves but with fresh eggs (from the chickens in the yard) and fresh milk (from the cows) there would be lots of homemade cakes and buns. This time of year in England we have Hot X Buns and chocolate Easter Eggs but the guests staying in the cottage this week made us some lovely muffins. We could sell them (!) but we ate them instead and they were delicious – thank you to Axel and family from Essen!
Wishing you all a very Happy Easter.
Posted in Diary on 02/13/2013 12:47 pm by Andrew
We have seen some snowfalls on the farm in the last 2 or 3 weeks which make for some good photographs.
Its a difficult time for the farmers who have to tend to the sheep in the morning and evening. As it gets nearer to lambing time the sheep have to be feed with supplements to keep them in good condition. Now a days this is in the form of mixed pellets and of course hay which has been stored over winter. In the old times the farmer and his wife would have fed them hay by hand. This would mean getting up 3 or 4am every day and taking it out into the fields in all weathers. Looking back into the history of the farm at Coldharbour this work was all done by one family (who lived in the cottage). Not only did they have 100s of sheep but they had cows, a few chickens and some goats. How did they have the time to look after all these animals ?
Its hard, its bleak and its very cold when the snow comes and those of you in stay in the cottage in the warm can only think of those days on the farm in days gone by. Maybe on your next visit you can help us with some of the work and enjoy some practical farming experience – many do and they enjoy it.
Posted in Diary on 01/21/2013 09:40 pm by Andrew
Seeing a robin in the snow is very special. This photo I took over the weekend. For robins food in winter is just as important as shelter and that’s why we find them near our chicken run. They stop by to pick up a few seeds or some layers mash lying around the chicken feeders. We now have a family of robins staying on the Farm. Water is very important too, robins like to wash in water as a clean bird is a warm bird. We put out clean water for the chickens every morning but since the snow has arrived here we have to ensure that it doesn’t freeze so all drinkers are bought into storage overnight. Its an exciting time when the snow arrives as we go tracking in the snow and see badger, stoat, rabbit and lots of different bird footprints. Very often we draw them and refer to them in our handbooks found in the cottage. Guests are encouraged to join in and spot unusual prints – so far we have managed to identify all of them. Happy tracking !
Posted in Diary on 11/16/2012 06:54 pm by Andrew
Its the time of year and all of a sudden there are lots of mushrooms in the fields. These familiar shaped field mushrooms are delicious cooked in butter and ideal for a cooked breakfast. The Field Mushroom, Agaricus campestris, is the most commonly eaten wild mushroom in the British Isles. Meadows grazed by sheep, cattle or horses sometimes produce vast quantities of these fungi in summer and early autumn… but not every year, unfortunately. Always be sure to identify mushrooms before you attempt to eat them as some are poisonous.
In days passed the occupants of Coldharbour Cottage would have sought food and herbs from the surrounding fields. Berries, wild plants and mushrooms would have been part of a staple diet and any spare would have been pickled or preserved – none would be wasted. There is much to be said of the taste quality of wild food v supermarket food and much healthier too.
Its great fun when we have the time to wander the fields on the farm taking photos of anything wild or natural – whenever you go there is always something different to catch your imagination – if you take time out to look.
Posted in Diary on 10/24/2012 12:47 pm by Andrew
We thought our fans (!) would like this picture. As we are in the season of sweets, treats, toffee apples and recipes of anything made with pumpkins we thought this would be fun. Some guests who recently stayed in the cottage created this work of art and we think it is really good.
Pumpkins are easy to grow and very often we have grown them on the Farm. They make delicious pies and are very tasty when they are roasted. We often refer back to the family who used to live in the Cottage many years ago with their young children. We are sure they had a small vegetable patch on the Farm and pumpkins may well have been grown then. I wonder whether they thought of them as a fruit or a vegetable ?
Anyway thank you to Kira and Tom (who did most of the work !) with the help of their parents Ulrike and Marko
Well done !
Posted in Diary on 09/25/2012 02:59 pm by Andrew
We have been busy in the Kitchens this month and have added to our range of homemade Jams and Jellies
These are not ordinary – they are made only from fruit grown on the Farm.
So we have a limited amount of the following.
Blackcurrant Jam (Andrew’s favourite!)
Jumbleberry (our most popular)
Strawberry Jam (new for 2012)
Whitecurrant Jelly (new for 2012)
All these are nicely packed in 8oz jars with Coldharbour labels – they make an ideal Christmas gift or simple enjoy them yourself.
They are priced at £3.50 or 2 for £6 and we can post them anywhere. (p&p extra – depends where we have to send them)
If you would like to buy some of these please fill in the contact form below and we will contact you regarding payment. (Credit cards accepted)
Note: The photo shown of the Jar without a label is the Whitecurrant Jelly. Labels have just arrived from the Printers!
Posted in Diary on 06/23/2012 11:44 am by Andrew
We are delighted to say work has begun on the Barn conversion. Many of you will remember this used to be a redundant agricultural barn (slowly falling down!) which housed sheep over the winter months and was used for the lambing in spring.
We have a specialist contractor who started earlier this year and who is managing the project. Great care is being taken to retain as many of the original timbers and features as possible. Some areas in particular the sole plates, have been replaced with green oak as they had signs of severe rotting. It is all fitted together with wooden pegs – no modern nails or screws here! We found some interesting old farm implements, a chalk floor base and we know the main aisle was definitely used as a threshing floor. We will be trying to retain and bring to life again these interesting barn features so they are preserved for years to come.
We will keep you updated on progress.
Posted in Diary on 05/01/2012 10:41 am by Andrew
Last week saw the arrival of a dozen laying chicken to Coldharbour. A new chicken house has been made using recycled timber left from the Wagon Lodge Project. There are many different types ranging from Bluebells, Golden Lines, White Star and Silver Sussex.
In days past on the Farm, keeping poultry was a necessity not a hobby. Generally speaking it was the housewife who looked after and cared for the chickens (!) Old books that we have found that detail the livestock at Coldharbour many years ago include flocks of chicken which used to roam the farmyard feeding off scraps in the garden and throw outs from the kitchens.
You can learn more about the history of Coldharbour Farm and perhaps help out collecting the eggs, feeding the chicken and locking them up for the night when you next visit. Guests enjoy the fresh eggs for breakfast – with a few more chickens now on the Farm, there is plenty to go round.