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Chris at the last gate escape I could join in person, don't forgret to catch it on social media

At only just over a week into 2021, England is again in lockdown keeping our students away. As difficult as this is on our team, our students, the volunteers, plus Casey and I, we're certainly not going to let this get us down. We have a whole host of things in planning for this year at the farm, and things that Casey and I can get involved with while we are limited on being there and we can't wait to share them with you.

Before we get fully into planning mode we've had a few important things to focus on this week, with one being the lovely Caroline's Birthday. She celebrated turning another year older on Wednesday and Chris was lucky enough to celebrate with her, alongside all of the usual farm work of course. Casey and I were really sad we couldn't deliver some celebratory cheese in person, but with Chris and the amazing animals to celebrate with, we know she was in great company. Hopefully we'll get a post lockdown celebration too.

Another important event at the farm this week was welcoming a new team member. Yes, that's right, we have some extra help around the farm now that we've welcomed Claire. She's spent some time volunteering with Chris and Helie and thankfully hasn't been put off by all the hard work, or Chris' crazy ideas, so is taking on the role of supporting our students and placements. It might be a strange time to bring in someone to look after our students with none of them around, but with so much to do we don't want to put Claire on hold. Instead we'll be using the time to show her the ropes and really get used to the day to day workings of the project. I really can't wait to meet her and properly welcome her to the team.

Of course it wouldn't be right if Chris wasn't working on an idea amongst everything else, so the first update on the social media side for 2021 is our Valentine's shoutouts. After all the fun Chris and Caroline had filming special Christmas messages for some of you, they thought they'd bring them back to help share some love this Valentine's Day. It doesn't matter if you will be with your loved one or not, or whether you simply want to help a friend feel special, all of your messages of love are important and if you want us to help out with that, just head over to our shoutout form and select 'Valentines shoutout' from the drop down menu. All we ask in return is some form of donation to help keep the project going and in return we'll email your special video in time for Valentines Day. Please remember to add the email address for the recipient as we won't be posting personal Valentines shoutouts on social media.

Last farm dance, but Casey will be back with more moves soon.

While we work on even more ideas outside of your shoutouts, don't forget you can still request them for Birthdays and Anniversaries too, you might have noticed Chris hasn't been live as often. Don't worry if you still need your farm fix, he's still going live in the afternoons when work allows and you can catch up with any of our lives later, but we'll be having a slightly reduced schedule for now. This just gives us more time to work on special ideas we'll be sharing with you across this year. Plus it's been really dark in the mornings so it gives our animals longer to wake up, not that the human team has been able to get up any later.

As always, the animals have been keeping us extra busy as well and the main focus of this week has been giving our sheep a health check. Between the cold and wet weather we've been having and some of our sheep being pregnant, checking them is really important. At this time of year we're mainly checking their feet, trimming hooves and treating where needed, but we've also brought some of our ewes who are a little closer to lambing inside. A big thank you to new team member Claire for getting stuck in with this and to Caroline for helping out too.

With extra hands around now we have Claire, and again no students, we've been able to squeeze in some special rush hours between duties for our animals as well. Don't worry, you haven't missed anything, unfortunately our birds need to stay inside still. We've just had a donkey and sheep rush hour instead, but it's been great to see that door open again and have Coco and Eli enjoy a run around in the frost.

The pigs might not have liked the frost with all of the water being frozen around the farm, but Oreo the dog certainly hasn't been bothered by it this week. In fact Oreo has been a star. He's not only showing Chris how well he can behave around the main farm without a lead and loved playing in the frost, but he actually sat alongside some cats too. Of course Chris was the main attraction for all of the animals, but this is a huge development for Oreo who hasn't ever been much of a fan of cats.

I think that's all for now, but before I leave you I just wanted to say a big thank you to our pantomime cast. I know our panto was almost a couple of weeks ago now, but I didn't mention it in my yearly review, so thank you Caroline, Dave, Michelle, Helie, Claire, Amelia, oh, and Chris of course. It was a cold day but they layered up to bring Chris' story to life and it was certainly entertaining. Casey and I were really sad that restrictions meant we couldn't join the panto in person, but we were so happy to see such a fantastic team come together to bring Chris' idea to our social media feeds. Chris and the team put so much work into the whole pantomime, they really are incredible.

Until next time keep safe.

Kara, Casey and Teddy 

Chinese Geese

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