The New Normal
Well, what a strange time it as been. Lockdown is easing (for good or bad?), Lyonsleaf is operating with a skeleton staff at the farm, Cat's working at home doing all the boxing and labelling of products and me (Vicky) and Ben are trying to manage the farm, make the products in between schooling 7 year old Evie.
We are definitely thanking our lucky stars. It might be busy here but we are so lucky to have so much space, to be out of town and to have a business that is still operating during the Covid19 Crisis. Out heart goes out to those less fortunate, those who have suffered great loss, those who live alone and those, especially the young who are just missing out on the fun of mass gatherings and social interaction.
We are now facing up to the idea that restrictions are going to continue for sometime, and to the grim possibility that we may never go back to what we know as normal. At Lyonsleaf we are now preparing for a new normal and we are definitely of a mind that we will just have to make the very best of what ever the new normal transpires to be.
So, there's been a big focus on health and safety at Lyonsleaf this past months. We do have folk working at the farm so firstly it's all about making things safe for them now, with hand sanitiser, tools allocated to individuals, information and reminders.
We are also planning for the day the schools do re-open. We have been re-organising so we can convert out buildings to spaces where people can work alone (sadly), and erecting sheds like nobody's business to hold the contents of those outbuildings.
We are hoping we can build a bigger space where some rickety old stables now stand, next year. We need to do this anyway, we had planned to start building a new building this year, but had to put everything on hold because of the crisis, now we are grateful we didn't build a building before now, that could easily be not fit for purpose if new regulations are permanently imposed as part of a new normal in the UK. We are again thanking our lucky stars that we can now build this building with the new situation in mind. Hopefully then we can safely work again as a community and find a way we can get back to eating lunch together while socially distancing (if it's still a necessity). The stables can't come down until the swallows leave in the autumn because they are nesting in there. So it's sheds and outbuildings for this winter but we are looking forward to a much brighter future for us and all our staff.
Out in the Field
The weather has been glorious on and off, and we have enjoyed it, it has meant lots of late evenings watering at times and although we are sad that summer seems to be on hold again for the moment we are very glad it's been interspersed with rain.
While the sun was shining the Calendula was sowed and Evie had a great day helping make Sally The Scarecrow to watch over them. The seedlings survived an unexpected frost on May the 14th followed by scorching heat and drought conditions and as I write at the beginning of June they are doing very well and sally has not yet lost her hat in the wind.
We are very excited to be harvesting comfrey at the moment. Thanks to Helena who spent some very hot days in the field harvesting by hand. It's not nice stuff to handle as it has little prickly hairs on it that irritate your skin when handling it. Luckily she is stocked up with Zinc and Calendula Cream so she should be fine. We will be making some comfrey oil this year (filtered to remove prickles) and hopefully formulating some new products with it - watch this space for news!
It's also exciting to see the Marshmallow growing really well in the field (download pics to see). This gets harvested in the autumn. It's an even tougher job because we have to dig it up and use the root. Nobody said it was going to be easy! We are certainly not complaining though. We will post pics of it in flower later in the summer - it is beautiful as well as being so hydrating, softening and rejuvenating for your skin.
In many ways lock down hasn't impacted us too dramatically (we don't get out much anyway) and we are thanking our very lucky stars to have so much space outside our back door. In fact where we would normally jump in the van and head for the beach / park/ woods at the first sign of sunshine, we've learned to appreciate staying at home. Maybe it will help us live a more sustainable slower life in the future.
We send out love to everyone who has been badly affected by Corona Virus whether it has been due to financial difficulties, bereavement or plain old cabin fever. We hope your new normal is good and if it's not we hope it gets better soon.