Remember last year, when I said I will be more organised when the next Christmas comes around… well… okay, I hold my hands up, I confess – I am no where near! Who’s here with me on this? (Please tell me I’m not alone on this one). Oh christ only knows I am far from that – that’s why he magically sent us to get our Christmas Tree at Church Farm, Ardeley, the same place as we got ours from last year! Hallelujah! He has truly listened and answered my pray.
On Saturday, we were invited not just to pick our own Christmas Tree, but also to replant another. In addition to this, we went eggs collecting; and had a trailer ride with Santa’s brother, Farmer Christmas too!
Unfortunately, Ethan has a big fat cold. I told him if he doesn’t feel up to it at any given time he can always stay and rest in the car with my O.H., but he was determined to stay with me and Evelyn for the full day. Bless him.
I remembered last year, it was Evelyn’s first time seeing Farmer Christmas and she was so scared, (bearing my mind she was only 2 yo), until F.C. gave her a present then she was finally warmed up to him. I told Evelyn the story and she immediately said: “I’m not going to cry anymore, ‘coz I’m brave!” lol!
It was a cold breezy morning, we arrived promptly at 11:30am. Tom Large, the Manger, was there to greet us all with a big warm smile, who introduced to us a lovely lady (LL) and lead us to do some eggs collecting. LL introduced us to the Chick Shed where 300 Chicks were only 2 days old! They were so cute! E&E got to held them in their hands. They were unsure at first but then plucked up the courage and held one on their hands. E&E said it was tickly.
LL then lead us through the farm to meet a few animals on the way to the Big Hens Field. We saw a very friendly goat, who likes human touch with petting all the time. One of the farmers, said if we open the gate. She would follow us everywhere just like dog! It was pretty adorable.
We also saw some rabbits, ducks, more goats, and a very pregnant pig! She was huge and is about to pop. LL hopes that she can hold it out until Christmas Day! That would a very special occasion to cerebrate.
We soon found ourselves walking along side an open two and half ace field where the Big Hens were allow to roam free. LL got a bucket full of bird feeds and got the kids feeding the birds as we walked in. The chicken knew we were coming and so they ran wild (no pun intended) for their lunch. Ethan was so into this. He could have easily stayed there and do this all day long! lol!
Entering their shed was interesting. There were four cubicle shelves where the hens make themselves at home with the available straws. They look really comfy as it was much warmer than the outdoor. At night all the hens are sheltered here under harsh weather. LL showed E&E how to collect the eggs and that you should always talk to the hens and ask for their permission first before taking her eggs where she is lying on. LL demonstrated this to E&E, and I’ve got it on tape too! Ha! Evidence of the magic under the hens hut! 😉 You’ll see that in the video soon!
E&E have the responsibility to carry their own collected eggs back to the farm where they will be clean and sorted for the shop. We decided it was safer for Evelyn to carry three – as she is three years old, and Ethan can carry a little bit more as he is a much bigger boy.
The Egg Shed was really fascinating. I had no idea there were so many process in sorting out eggs. First, they have to be hand clean – each and individually clean with a damp cloth. LL said this takes hours! I can imagine! I’m glad we skipped this part for the kids otherwise we could be there all day! lol!
LL picked up a clean tray and showed us the sorting machine. E&E got to work. Evelyn was the expert of feeding the eggs into the sorting machine. The machine picks up the eggs and slot the eggs into the correct size trough. Ethan then picks those up from the sizing trough and place them in the correct paper tray. Once finished, E&E got to stamp trademarks onto the eggs.
Once finished, LL placed that aside and shown us how big the extra big egg ones were. They were huge! Like you can actually feels the pain! lol! She also shown us the “rejected” ones too. These are actually nothing wrong with these eggs, they are just not aesthetically presentable for the market standard. They are “rejects” because they are not smooth and have bumps around the shells. It becomes this way as the hens gets older, they find it harder to push and the soft shell gets squashed.
We also learnt that there were so many types of chicken that can lay eggs and that they don’t need a male chicken to do any work at all. It’s a miracle! Who needs men! (Joke aside) 😉
E&E were so chuffed that they were allow to take home with them half a dozen eggs each. They did the packing and the labels all but themselves. I must say I’m especially proud of Evelyn, even though, she has eggs intolerance, she has never once moan she didn’t want to do this because of her allergy. That’s my girl!
Note from the farm: Egg collecting is at 11:30 am daily and lasts approximately 1 hour. Each session is £9.95 per child, free for 2 supervising adults. Charge is for 1/2 dozen eggs to take home with you and a bag of chicken feed, you will accompany one of our farmers and experience the free range hens close up. Please ensure to wear suitable outdoor attire. Little Farmers love it!
We had a bite at the farm cafe. The cafe was quiet. There was only one other table there. Mind you, it has started raining at that point. Good timing, as we were so in desire for some warmth. The cafe was so lovely decorated with soft colours and lovely pictures of the farm animals, plus a dash of Christmas decorative fusion into play.
Their menu were accompanied with traditional dishes, such as Full English Breakfast. They uses their own farm meat, eggs and vegetables from their garden. Teas and coffee are also Fair Trade. My O.H and I ordered Pull Pork Hot Dogs. Ethan had a sausage roll, fried egg and chips. Evelyn had some a sausage, chips and some fried mushrooms. I must admit the food wasn’t the wow factor for us for the price on the menu, but I guess if you come in the summer you can bring your own packed lunch perhaps.
Pick our own Christmas Tree & replanting
Now then, this is what we’ve been waiting for. Tom introduced us to two young lads who will be helping us out with this journey. On we went, passed the sweet goat and had a little pat again. We just couldn’t resist it.
On the way to pick our tree, one of the lads told us a very interesting story about the history of the farm. After the Second World War, the farm was actually a working prison camp for where they would work as farmers, so some of the equipment that they are still use today is actually from WWII period! Wow! How about that a piece a history!
We searched around over two areas of tree patches to find our perfect tree. The young lads were very kind and did all the tying up of the tree to make cutting easier while we watched and they get working with sawing it down. At the very last minute, Ethan wanted to have a go too and so they have made special accommodation for him to do so. I could say: Ethan has cut his own Christmas Tree! Yeay!
With the help of the two lads, I don’t think we could have fitted the tree into the car. Pheww!
The two lads then got us a small Christmas tree to replant. We walked back to the tree patch and found a hole that had already been dug up ready for replanting anew. The lads said that this little tree is about only 5 years old, but thereafter they will shoot up a foot or higher within a year span. I had no idea. It was so interesting.
Ethan and my O.H. grabbed the antique shovels and started filling up the hole with the new soil, beginning the replanting process. Ethan was so into this. He’ll make a good gardener any day! Once that’s done, we all said “Goodbye” to our little tree and hopefully we’ll see it next year again.
Note from the farm: Last Pick Your Christmas Tree will be on Saturday 23rd December 2017. Meet at the farm shop at 10.00am, 11.00am, 1.00pm or 2.00pm. Join the woodsman to cut your tree to take home for this year and help us plant another one to replace. Fun and educational for children. 5-6ft Traditional Spruce Tree £60 per tree. Bring the family. Limited 20!
Trailer Ride with Farmer Christmas
Meeting Farmer Christmas was the highlight for the kids. They were really excited and really wanted to sit and huddled up-close inside Farmer Christmas’ small hut. Farmer Christmas was ever so friendly and Evelyn did not cry this time too! Hooray! I love the decoration of the hut. I love the reindeers hurdles and Farmer Christmas’ sticky socks hanging above. (They are not really stinky by the way.) It was so lovely when all other children were there and they trying to name all of Santa’s reindeers. You can imagine how that went down. lol!
Each kids were given a present each. I told E&E they can open it on Christmas Day. They now couldn’t wait until Christmas Day comes. It just couldn’t come sooner! lol! But what quality Farmer Christmas has that Santa don’t. He gave us a box of half dozen eggs to each adults too! Oh Wow! Now we have 2 dozen eggs to bring back home! Yay! Guess what we had the next morning?! That’s right eggs! & It was Yumm!
Back to the trailer ride then, (sorry, got caught off guard talking about food. lol!) Anyhow, we all went on the back of the tractor trailer and the trailer strolled through some lovely scenery of the field and around their farm lands. Seeing the animals had the little ones all excited and kept pointing and shouting out what they saw. We passed the Big Hen’s hut, and passed by some cows, sheep, pigs and ducks.
The trail stopped next to a piglets home. Farmer Christmas then offered the kids a basket full of vegetables. The kids enjoyed throwing the vegetables over the fence and the piglets seem to love the kids for doing so. We then took this opportunity to take a photo of Farmer Christmas with the kids.
At the end of the trailer, you’ll get a chance to go onto the tractor for some photo fun. Ethan on the other hand was feeling extremely cold by then as he refused to wear gloves! He just wanted to get into the warm. So we decided to called it a day for us. Ethan and my O.H. went ahead into the car. Evelyn and I had a quick browse inside the farm shop and bought some fresh vegetables before we went set off home.
Note from the farm: Available every Saturday and Sunday in December inclusive at 10.00am and 3.00pm. Take a trailer ride around the farm to with “Farmer Christmas”. (child present included) £4.50 adult and £5.50 per child.
To sum up:
It was very educational both for the kids and us adults too. I’ve learnt so many things from the Eggs Collecting session and the Pick Your Own Christmas Tree session too. The kids most definitely loves Farmer Christmas too! Talking to the farmers there has been most wonderful and a pleasant experience. You feel like you really know the place a little bit more. The farmers are so passionate about their work and that really show how well they have kept the farm running day after day.
The question is – would I go back again? Yes! We had an amazing day out. The kids just won’t stop talking about it in the car on our way back! Nope, apparently we haven’t worn them off enough yet! lol! I’m so proud to have such a wonderful local farm so near to us like this.
Here is our little video to sum up our day…
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Thank you Tom and all members of Staffs at Church Farm who took care of us on the day. It has been a pleasure.
Do you have local farm that offers Christmas activities like this one?
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*We were given press passes to the Egg Collecting Experience, Pick your own Christmas Tree and replanting, and Trailer Ride with Farmer Christmas. All photos, words are honest of of my own.
Opening times: Monday – Sunday from 9am – 5pm
Contact: +44 (0) 1438 861 447
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