Tuesday, 28 August 2012

The Garden of England

Ellie's Dairy is fortunate to be located in one of the most beautiful areas of the North Kent Downs and slap bang in the middle of the 'Garden of England'.  At this time of year, with the sun shining and the sky blue, there is nothing more glorious than the sight of acres of hops ripe and ready for picking.  Traditionally, the picking season starts on the first Monday in September and the Faversham Hop Festival is all set to celebrate the start of the season this weekend.

One of our most favourite shops, Macknade Fine Foods in Faversham, needed to have some fresh hops for their festival display and so I called in to our friends at Syndale Farm to collect some especially for them.  We had special permission from the Hop Daemon to cut a bine early!!

The hop gardens looked glorious in the sunshine:

I had to select which one I wanted:

And down it came.  Must admit that my little van smelt absolutely wonderful for the short journey to Macknade!

As a couple of our boys may be going off on a 'working' holiday soon, I needed to get some pictures of them to send to their prospective foster parents.  I managed to get David out of a tractor long enough to snap a few photos for me .. Not my best side, but I am only in the picture so you can see the size of the chaps.  Big aren't they?!

Here's Navajo looking magnificent:

And Daramac:
 Hard to believe that Daramac is the baby of the male herd - he's only just over 2 years old!  Still got some growing to do!

Meanwhile, back in the barn, the milkers were hard at work:

No, not dead goats.  Just exceedingly lazy goats.  Having emptied the hay rack, Coral and Dumdum decided that it would make a very comfy bed. 

This is what we have to contend with at milking time - try getting these two to come in for milking!  Note the slightly open eyes and disdainful stare - 'do I really have to get up??'

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