West Moss-side Organic Farm and Centre nr Stirling Scotland

Christmas News

Camels, reindeer and all things Christmassy are being created... 

Its the time of year for harvesting willow from the farm. I've just started the long job - viminalis for willow structures and Flanders Red for basketry and then there is my special collection in the garden of different willow varieties.  I brought back some new varieties from Shetland including Faroese willow - I'm curious to see how this one grows here!

Its also the time of year to maintain the numerous wonderful willow dens, domes and tunnels which have been planted in the local primary schools and villages nearby...

I had a great day with Port of Menteith primary school.  Their dome and tunnel needed a bit of tlc and with the help of the children it is now looking good for the new season. We also made woven willow stars and wee Christmas trees for their school Christmas tree.

Camels and reindeer are a bit more tricky!!  These are made from soft field rush from West Moss-side - and there is no shortage of rush in the wet fields on the edge of Flanders Moss. There are still a few places on the workshop - come and join me. Festive Decorations (Dec 13)

For more information on any of the courses or workshops and to book online see our Schedule. For any other questions please contact me directly by phone, letter or email.

The annual meeting of the Scottish Basket Makers Circle was held late November. It was held at the Loch Lomond Youth Hostel and we celebrated our 20th birthday in style. There were taster sessions and workshops.  

The Regional Group for Stirling and Central Scotland is based here at West Moss-side and we shall be revigorating activities for 2009. So if you are interested in joining informal sessions to meet other basket makers, share ideas and skills and perhaps create pieces to display/sell at local craft events then please be in touch.

Other news:  The weather has been very wet over the autumn and shows no signs of changing yet.  All the Shetland cows and calves are fit and well, though I shall soon say farewell to Struihill Zizou - the bull who has been on loan for a couple of months now.  They are tucking into the haylage that I made in the summer and its lovely to catch the gentle sweet smell of the summer grasses coming through.  The Shetland cattle are incredibly well adapted to being out in the winter - they are light, very hardy and do well on the home grown organic hay and haylage.  All the discussion about cattle farming and CO2 production is interesting but the extensive grazing system I have here is possibly as C-neutral as it can be - I use almost no bought in feed - so no C-cost of growing, harvesting, processing and transporting cereal. The only C-cost is in the growing (sea weed fertiliser has to be processed, transported and applied); the making of the hay (tractor diesel) or the making of the haylage (less tractor diesel but black plastic for wrapping).  For the beef production the slaughterhouse and the butcher are local - so minimum transportation and minimum stress for the animals too.

With cost of haulage it makes sense to eat local! 

Enjoy your Christmas festivities!