Friday 18th May 2018
Beds stripped, suitcases packed, bellies full of breakfast, goodbyes said, coach arrived and journey back has started. They will be back with you at approximately 11.30am (traffic permitting)...
Hope you are ready for lots of washing!
12.05pm update - All safely back at Ashmead. Enjoy your catch ups over the weekend. They truly were a superb set of farmers
PS - Queenies were the winning dormitory, collecting the most dorm points across the week. Well done Queenies
Thursday 17th May 2018
Well, only a few short hours before we bid farewell to Wick Court and are on our way back to you guys in Buckinghamshire. It's been an extremely busy last day which started in the best way possible with a bacon and scrambled egg breakfast. The children then spent the morning completing their final jobs - this included farmyard feeding and sheep training for group 1, stable work for group 2 and watching the milking at Oldbury for group 3.
Following a lovely cold salad lunch, the children prepared the house for some visitors who were arriving from the local history society. 12 children were chosen to show these visitors around Wick Court in small groups. They made excellent tour guides and each visitor commented on how confident, well behaved and interesting the children were - you would've been very proud!
Following woodland activities this afternoon (den building, weaving, clay and stories around the fire pit with Bill), the children spent time packing their suitcases (thank you for labelling all of their clothes so well!) There are very mixed feelings about going home - on the one hand they are excited to see you but, on the other hand, they are sad to leave the farm staff and all of their newly found animal friends. However, they have made the most incredible everlasting memories which they are sure to cherish for a lifetime. It has been the most wonderful experience and one which will be a part of them forever. Enjoy getting your children back tomorrow and we do hope you enjoy listening to all of their stories and highlights. They are sure to sleep extremely well in their own beds! For now, it's time for their last night's sleep in their dormitory bunk beds. We find out tomorrow who has earned the most dorm points too - will it be Tom Putt, Queenies, Solar or Severn Bank? All will be revealed in good time!!
As our time comes to a close at Wick Court, we shall leave you with some reflections, from the children. of their week at the farm. See you all tomorrow - check out the website for our departure time and expected arrival back at Ashmead.
Quotes from your children
I am proud that I managed to train sheep that were very feisty!
The thing I'm most proud of is getting over all of my fears.
I actually brushed a horse and made it look really clean!
At home, I'm mostly looking at screens, whereas here, I'm being active all of the time.
Before this, I was all day and every day on my I-pad. I can actually survive without having a screen in front of me.
At the farm I have had to do lots of jobs but at home I do nothing at all. I should start doing jobs at home.
It had encouraged me to believe that you can do more than just look at a TV screen.
One day, I want to be a farmer.
I never clean my rabbits out but now I'm going to look after them more.
I want to help my Mum out more at home by getting up earlier, making my bed and doing my jobs.
I've really enjoyed the home cooked meals - they have been a real treat.
Hot chocolate before bedtime is an excellent idea.
The view of the countryside from my bedroom window is amazing.
I conquered my fear of bees.
I need to believe in myself more.
It has all been simply amazing - from the food to the farming.
I've used my manners more here.
I've learnt where all my food comes from. It's fascinating to know.
We've been up and about and not had any time to laze around.
I never used to read many books but I've read so many this week! I want to continue making time for this.
It is awesome here. That is all I have to say!
I've never ever forget this week.
Wednesday 16th May 2018
Well, we can't quite believe it is already Wednesday evening. In one sense, the week has gone incredibly fast! The children actually finish farming tomorrow lunchtime as there is a change in schedule on Thursday afternoons with lots of exciting activities planned in the woodland area (more about that tomorrow evening).
The weather has certainly been much cooler today and the sun has not made an appearance but that hasn't bothered any of our young farmers; they have still been having lots of fun and socialising well as a group. They are fast becoming independent farmers, carrying out each task now with little or no prompting from the staff. In fact, the staff are taking a step back and enjoying seeing the farmers develop and grow in confidence, skill and farming ability. The children will have so much to tell you on Friday morning, you probably won't be able to get a word in edgeways!
Before breakfast, Group 1 fed all the animals around the stables - this included the turkeys, horses, geese, ducks, chickens and sheep. It also involved egg collecting which is a very exciting job that all the children love to be responsible for. We haven't had any broken eggs brought back to the farmhouse yet! Group 2 were on housework duty (they are now all ready for you to utilise their skills back at home!) and Group 3 fed the animals around the outside of Wick Court farm house - lots of pigs and lots of piglets. The children have learnt that pigs are actually one of the cleanest farm animals despite their bad reputation of being extremely muddy! For breakfast this morning, the children sampled Greek yoghurt, granola and honey and the majority hadn't tried this before but really enjoyed it. There was also toast and Wick Court honey to follow - thanks to the Wick Court bees for providing the honey!
After breakfast, group 1 got to groom the 4 horses and this is a particular highlight of the week which all groups thoroughly enjoy. Group 2 took their final walk over to Oldbury but this time to watch the cows being milked. This is all cleverly carried out by robots now. The cows choose when to go and be milked by the robot and the children were able to watch this fascinating process and ask lots of questions too. When the cows aren't being milked, they stay in what's known as the 'cow hotel' It's basically an area where the cows sleep, eat, rest and go to the toilet!! Group 1 watched the milking process at Oldbury yesterday and Group 3 will see this tomorrow morning. It's a really lovely walk to Oldbury and back. The children have to go through the kissing gate, are able to run through the 'long grass' field, use team work to open the very stiff gate and can often run through the second field too. Walking back to the farm at sunset, with views of the River Severn and surrounding fields is a particularly special highlight and a wonderful experience. Group 3 were training sheep (yes, that's right, training sheep!!) However, the sheep kept sitting down or getting a drink when they didn't want to do any work. It reminded Mrs Rogers of some of the children at school when it comes to completing their work! - of course, this is certainly not the case here this week.
Before lunch, each group spent time in the onsite gift shop and made several purchases using their spending money. Some of you may be in for some real treats on Friday!! Food was for sale too so you could even have eggs, sausages and/or bacon!! For lunch, we were treated to home made flan (one of our favourite meals of the whole week!) and this was accompanied by buttered new potatoes and vegetables fresh from the Wick Court gardens. Where possible, all ingredients for mealtimes are used from the farm or the gardens - this really is home grown and cooked food at its best.
Jobs continued around the farm for the remainder of the afternoon and finished this evening at about 7.30pm. It's been great to see lots of the children reading a wide range of books, finding a quiet space and having that chance to relax as well. The parlour houses a whole host of books, as does the library on the top floor of the house, so the children are really spoilt for choice when making their selections. All letters have now been posted so we hope they arrive before we return. Thanks for all the letters that have been sent for the children because they have loved reading them.
Having had showers and a hot drink, the troops are now safely tucked up in bed and we are crossing our fingers for another good night's sleep from everyone. Tomorrow looks set to be sunny and exciting...
Tuesday 15th May 2018
Good evening from Wick Court Farm - it's been another gloriously sunny day with our farmers continuing to impress both teachers and staff, and increasing their farming independence, especially with early morning feeding. They now require less support when preparing food for each of the animals or when weighing the correct amounts of feed. We think we have some budding future farmers on our hands!
For breakfast this morning, the children were treated to sausages and baked beans - which filled them up with the perfect amount of energy for the mid morning jobs and for free time enjoyment - it has been a pleasure watching the children happily playing together in the courtyard, the wrap around garden and the orchard area, as they make the most of this superb summery weather. There is the choice of football, tree climbing, reading, basketball, table football, table tennis, jenga and badminton. Miss Venn has even brought her speakers along so there are some tunes to entertain the troops too!
Lunch was a yummy curry followed by scones, jam and cream. Delicious as always and everyone is still eating very well! The chefs for supper time were the children today! During the afternoon, they completed a carousel of activities which included beekeeping, bird watching and cooking. For beekeeping, the children wore special protective suits and headed up to the top garden where the bee hives are kept. They met the bees and learnt many facts about these fascinating insects. No one got stung and everyone thoroughly enjoyed this unusual and unique activity. During bird watching, the children used binoculars and managed to spot a variety of birds including buzzards, herons, woodpeckers and shelducks to name but a few! They have a special bird watching book each so they can detect which birds they have found and it is always a little competition, between each of the three groups, to see who can spot the most! The final trio of activities which the children took part in this afternoon was cooking - they cooked their very own pizza from scratch, chose personalised toppings and prepared a side salad. The recipe is available should you wish to repeat this activity at home.
The children are currently showered, hot chocolated and brushing their teeth ready for bed - they are generally sleeping well and are progressively sleeping later in the morning time! We are even having to wake a few up now so they aren't late for their first job of the day at 7.30am! Tomorrow, the weather forecast is not predicted to be as nice as today but life on the farm must go on, whatever the weather - We will bring you an update of tomorrow's highlights as soon as we can.
Love from the Wick Court Farmers xxx
Monday 14th May 2018
Good evening from Wick Court Farm - it's been a beautifully sunny day in Gloucestershire and everyone has been in a great mood because a great night's sleep was had by one and all! All our 'trainee' farmers have been super busy all day in the lovely sunshine. It's so nice to see how they are becoming more and more independent with each farming job and require less and less support from the hard working Wick Court staff - this is one of the reasons why the residential is 7 days long, so they can gain this all important independence.
Following another superb breakfast (freshly baked croissants and melon) from the excellent kitchen staff, the children split into their working groups to carry out their daily farming jobs. Group 1 fed the dragon (we'll let the children tell you about that one!), planted tomatoes, moved LOTS and LOTS of stones, using the farm wheelbarrows, to maintain the grounds of the house and fed the pigs (only letting 3 piglets escape today) Both group 1 and 2 have had 'piglet' mishaps whereby several or all of the naughty, little piglets have escaped!! For group 2, their first full day with Mr Pickover consisted of weighing the pigs, cleaning out the horses and learning all about how to look after them. Group 3 walked over to Oldbury dairy farm for the first time and then did a spot of gardening in the shade of the woodland area.
For tea, the mini farmers were excited to sample home made soup - they've certainly been keen to sample a wealth of new and exciting foods. Mealtimes are a real delight. As you will have seen in the photos, the children sit around 1 of 4 long, rectangular tables and take it in turns to be the server - a job that they take with great pride and responsibility. It's lovely to sit as a 'family' and chat about the meal, the highlights of the day, precious memories made or what excitement is to follow. Mealtimes is also an occasion when the children can earn themselves some extra dorm points. It is a fierce battle at the moment for first place - Queenies took an early lead but the other three dorms are striving to catch up.
The jobs are currently completed for the day and all groups have now showered and are awaiting their yummy hot chocolate and biscuit. Let's hope another great night sleep is on the cards. Tomorrow is forecast to be sunny and hot again - the children are looking forward to beekeeping, cooking and bird watching tomorrow. This all sounds very intriguing.
Signing off for tonight - love from Mrs Thompson and all the Wick Court farmers xx
PS - look out for some letters arriving in the next couple of days. About half of the group finished their letter during 'classroom time' on Sunday and had their letters posted by Mrs Thompson on Sunday afternoon. We do hope they make you smile.
Sunday 13th May 2018
We all had a much better nights sleep last night - everyone fell asleep much, much earlier (adults included) and everyone slept till at least 6.45am (a huge improvement on yesterday!) At 7.30am, groups 1 and 3 went out to complete their early morning feeding tasks on the farm whilst group 2 completed the housework (dusting, tidying and hoovering the parlour, sweeping the courtyard and setting the tables for breakfast) All 36 of the children have now done housework tasks, and therefore are well trained should you wish to use their newly found talents at home upon their return!! We should point out this includes tasks such as daily bed making, towel hanging and dirty clothes sorting!!!
After another delicious breakfast of boiled eggs and toast, the children split into their working groups once again. Jobs included gardening, stable work and feeding the calves at Oldbury farm. Group 2 were lucky to see a calf that was an hour old. It wasn't yet able to stand so they helped Farmer Tim to check it was ok. The farm staff continue to complement the behaviour of our Ashmead farmers which is lovely to keep hearing.
Lunchtime was a real treat with a full Sunday roast - the children filled their bellies in preparation for the famous Sunday walk by the River Severn, over the hills, through the mud and across the fields. A record amount of mud came back to Wick Court with the young farmers, especially on some of the boys. They had an absolutely fantastic time though. The bonus at the end is that the children get to roll down the hill and generally enjoy doing what kids do best - having fun. It is always an incredibly delightful sight to watch (as adults) and a wonderful experience for one and all. The sun was shining throughout the walk and it has actually been glorious throughout the whole day - we can't quite believe we're nearly half way through the visit though.
For supper this evening, the children made their own sandwiches. The children are currently having their nightly showers and settling down for the evening after another busy day. Let's hope everyone has another great sleep this evening and we'll see what adventures behold us tomorrow. Mrs Thompson has now left the farm, ready for her return to school in the morning, Miss Govier, Mrs Bounds and Miss Redrup (our day visitors) have also departed and Mr Pickover has arrived to supervise group 2 for the rest of the week. Please enjoy these few sneaky photos but do remember that plenty more will be uploaded at the end of the week.
Saturday 12th May 2018
Well, we've had a long day today thanks to our 'Severn Bank dormitory' alarm clock going off at 5am!
However, despite this early awakening, everyone is in high spirits and has had a very enjoyable day. We had plenty of time to get ready for our first jobs of the morning - group 1 were on housework duty and groups 2 and 3 gave the Wick Court farm animals their breakfast. Of course, it is a priority that we feed all of the animals before feeding ourselves. Our breakfast was well worth the wait though, with a selection of cereals and the famous 'Wick Court' porridge followed by scrambled egg, bacon and toast. We all ate extremely well and had lots of energy built up for the rest of the day.
After breakfast, group 1 went back to Oldbury, group 2 planted beans in the garden and group 3 were fortunate to visit the stables to meet the horses Jack, Mulan, Hugo and Cuckoo.
Before lunch, the children spent time in the library (in the top part of the house) where they began to write letters home. Lunch comprised of spagetti bolognese, garlic bread, salad and a delicious chocolate crunch pudding with chocolate custard. In the afternoon, group 1 spent time in the gardens planting beans and also fed the animals in the stableyard. Group 2 cleaned out the ducks and geese - a very, very smelly job and group 3 weighed the pigs to see if they were ready for market. They impressed Farmer John with their mathematical calculations during this important real-life maths activity.
After supper (the children made their own wraps), group 2 ran over the fields and experienced their first visit to Oldbury whilst group 3 put the animals to bed. Group 1 were on early showers and the all important hot chocolate preparation. All the children have now showered and are currently enjoying their hot chocolate as I type this.
They have been extremely well behaved so far and are such an incredibly nice group of children to be in the company of. The weather has been very kind to us so far and the sun has shone today. We are excited to be going on our Sunday walk tomorrow with Heather, and the teachers are hoping for a slightly later start to the day!!! Until tomorrow...
Friday 11th May 2018
We have all had a superb start to our week at Wick Court. Following our safe arrival, we met Heather, Farmer John and all the other staff who work here and were treated to a delicious home baked cake and drink. Group 3 went out pretty much straight away and did jobs around Wick Court which included egg collecting, feeding the turkeys and chickens and stroking baby lambs. All of the group were very keen and excited and enthusiastically asked Farmer Dave lots and lots of questions.
Group 1 and 2 unpacked and so far all of the dorms are tidy, with clothes folded in drawers and towels and dressing gowns all hung up neatly. The children are working towards earning dorm points with the winning dorm receiving a prize next Friday! Everyone is out to impress (even the messiest of boys at home!).
We had a delicious tea of jacket potatoes with beans, cheese, homemade coleslaw and salad, followed by scrumptious peaches and ice-cream for desert. The children ate well and groups 1 and 2 were then ready to go out for their first farm job. Group 1 walked to Oldbury (the neighbouring dairy farm) and made sure the cows were all ready for the night. Group 2 fed the pigs and chickens and bottle fed some of the cutest lambs ever. Whilst feeding the piglets, they accidently escaped so they had to work as a team to put them back in their home ready for the evening.
Some excellent quotes from the children tonight include;
"This place is awesome"
It has made me want to be more active, rather than just playing on my PlayStation all the time",
"I tried peach for the first time and really liked it!"
All of the children have now showered, had their hot chocolate and biscuit and are in bed!!! Dorm points are on offer for the quickest dorm to go to sleep and the quietest dorm in the morning! The children have been reminded that they should not get up when it first gets light in the morning! Wish us luck...
We will post more tomorrow and a selection of photos will follow on Sunday evening. Mrs Thompson, Mrs Rogers, Miss Venn, Miss Fraser and all the Wick Court Farmers.