Yes, it was August, I was sure of that,and yes these were turkeys ultimately on their way to Christmas dinner tables! Oh what conflicting thoughts started running through my head!
With a backdrop of Pendle Hill and all its connotations of with witchcraft and links to times gone, Emma and Ian O’Reilly are building a farming business at Gazegill Farm which they seek to make fair to the land and its history, sustainable and organic in its practices, respectful and caring to the animals they farm, an integral part of the local community, and, just as important as these, something sufficiently financially sound as to have a future.
Gazegill Farm lies down a couple of miles of winding single track road just off the A682 between Gisburn and Colne. Its been farmed by Emma’ s family for at least six generations – i.e. as far as records go back. During that time it has always been farmed organically. The rewards for such an approach can be seen across the farm. The remains of a Roman road, for example, run across the farm – an ancient droving track where a plethora of Roman and later coins and other artefacts have been found. There is also clear evidence of a medieval ridge and furrow system and what looks very much like the remains of a pre-historic village with several small stone circles surrounded by a larger seemingly protective circle.
Emma and Ian are building on this inheritance. Their sixty strong herd of dairy short horns forms the centre piece of their operation. I was lucky enough to be there when Emma called them in for evening milking. Just so laid back!! They supplemented by rare breed pigs, sheep and hens – plus a horse saved from the knackers yard after years of pulling landau along Blackpool prom! And……I had to think twice when seeing some little feathery brown-mottled things running around in pens in the barn with heating lamps above them. Yes it was August and yes these were turkey chicks on their way to Christmas. They had arrived just a week or so earlier and provide Ian and Emma with another income stream. Organic and free range – once they have grown a bit. Have to admit, does make you stop and think about meat eating though!!
For more on Gazegill Farm follow the link which will to go my previous post on the farm and where you will find links to get you back to even earlier one. Or…just use the search facilty! For more thoughts on meat eating click here. There are also a coupl eof Guest Blogs on the subject – In Defence of Meat Eating and The Break in the Chain
You will also find Gazegill Farm featured in Unlikley Heroes, my book which documents my visits to alternative farmers and growers. To buy, see the book page
[Double clicking on any of the images below will open up that image up in a slideshow format. You can then run the slide show using ‘left’ and ‘right’ buttons. Personally I prefer to go also to full screen having opened the slide show – F11 on my PC, don’t forget to get out of full screen is the same button , not ESC!]