mudchute-shearing15-3543

With temperatures rising, this Thursday was the day to fire up the clippers and give our flock their annual trim! Derek the shearer had quite a long list of customers, with our flock of sheep as our two alpacas and three lovely llamas. However, everyone is looking neat and tidy following shearing and they will certainly be feeling much cooler. Shearing has also produced lots of lovely wool and fibre. If you might be interested in any of our fleeces or fibre, please get in touch by email to farm_office@mudchute.org, come along to our monthly wool crafting group this Saturday (June 27th) and see our website.

The girls wait their turn.

The girls wait their turn.

Little lambs aren't the best at waiting for mum's turn!

Little lambs aren’t the best at waiting for mum’s turn!

First up were our sheep, like this Whitefaced Woodland ewe.

First up were our sheep, like this Whitefaced Woodland ewe.

Trim all done, it's out to graze!

Trim all done, it’s out to graze!

Our Jacob sheep who have lovely marking even under their fleeces.

Our Jacob sheep who have lovely marking even under their fleeces.

Jacob ewe looking very smart and tidy!

Jacob ewe looking very smart and tidy!

Bertie the Oxford Down ram, one of our largest sheep!

Bertie the Oxford Down ram, one of our largest sheep!

Despite this being his first shear, he was quite relaxed on the shearing boards.

Despite this being his first shear, he was quite relaxed on the shearing boards.

Bertie, half shorn.

Bertie, half shorn.

Our alpacas, Claude and Columbus looking fluffy before shearing.

Our alpacas, Claude and Columbus looking fluffy before shearing.

Shearing alpacas is a bit trickier than sheep, but they didn't phase shearer Derek. Lookin elegant post-trim.

Shearing alpacas is a bit trickier than sheep, but they didn’t phase shearer Derek. Looking elegant post-trim.

The indignity!

The indignity!

We also sheared our three llamas this year.

We also sheared our three llamas this year.

Halfway there.

Halfway there.

Don't forget the tail!

Don’t forget the tail!

Much tidier and ready for the predicted hot weather!

Much tidier and ready for the predicted hot weather!

They must be feeling much cooler!

They must be feeling much cooler!

Llamas heading back out to their field, summer ready.

Llamas heading back out to their field, summer ready.

Happy shorn sheep, definitely feels like summer now!

A field full of happily grazing freshly shorn sheep, definitely feels like summer now!


IMG_1712

IMG_1756

Back in May, you may have noticed a few small signs up around the farm and vehicles up on our big field. We couldn’t say much then, but we can now reveal that the production team and visiting dogs were here to film Dogs: Their Secret Lives. Episodes began airing last week and continue this evening and next Thursday on Channel 4.

Here at Mudchute, we welcome dogs on site and in our cafe and are always happy to promote responsible dog ownership. The filming brought canine behaviour specialist Tamsin Durston on site to help a few dogs and their owners with some training issues such as jumping up, recall and giving up toys.

IMG_1775

During the filming, we had some rather stormy weather, but the dramatic skies made for some lovely shots. Here are some photos from behind the scenes at the shoot. Thanks to the Arrow Media team for letting us tag along and choosing the farm as a filming location! For more information about filming at Mudchute, visit The Film Office.


Leaves of all shapes and textures.

Leaves of all shapes and textures, including Mallow, Burdock and Mayweed.

As a part of our ongoing muck heap works, a new bank was created from well rotted manure behind the pens of our Saddleback and Potbellied pigs. This loose, nutrient-rich area was left unplanted to allow local flora to colonise and in just a few short months, it has quickly turned a lush green, filled with new foliage. This morning, I visited the site with local botanist and Mudchute trustee, John Swindells, to find out more about some of the plants which have found their way to the new bank.

The area which was bare ground only months ago is now lush and green.

The area which was once bare ground is now lush and green.

Botanist John Swindells examines the colonising flora.

Botanist John Swindells examines the colonising flora.

Henbane and Sowthistle are among the many plants establishing themselves.

Henbane and Sowthistle are among the many plants establishing themselves.

Common Mallow is among several of the plants currently in flower.

Common Mallow is among several of the plants currently in flower.

Field and Opium poppies are also in flower, alongside the yellow flowers of Nipplewort.

Field and Opium poppies are also in flower, alongside the yellow flowers of Nipplewort.

The distinctive shape of Shepherd's Purse.

The distinctive shape of Shepherd’s Purse.

Italian Rye Grass also appears to be thriving.

Italian Rye Grass also appears to be thriving.

It's no too hard to imagine how the Spiny Sowthistle got its name!

It’s not too difficult to imagine how the Spiny Sowthistle got its name!

Mayweed flowers. The delicate feathery foliage of this plant makes up much of the growth on the mound.

Mayweed flowers. The delicate feathery foliage of this plant makes up much of the growth on the mound.

Disturbed land and a lack of taller plants provides opportunities for low-lying plants like this Lesser Swinecress.

Disturbed land and a lack of taller plants provides opportunities for low-lying plants like this Lesser Swinecress.

Fat Hen and other Chenopodium are also thriving.

Fat Hen and other Chenopodium are also thriving.

Black Horehound with its distinctive odour when disturbed.

Black Horehound with its distinctive odour when disturbed.

Invertebrates such as this ladybird larva have also moved onto the mound.

Invertebrates such as this ladybird larva have also moved onto the mound and we found evidence of fox activity as well.

Flowering Fat Hen, Poppy and Potato (perhaps an allotment escapee!).

Flowering Fat Hen, Poppy and Potato (perhaps an allotment escapee!).

It was great to see so many wild species moving into the area so quickly and we look forward to watching the area develop and mature. The plants found growing on the mound are also found throughout Mudchute, so be sure to keep an eye out for these species on your next visit!