This Saturday I am going Wassailing, for any of you that don’t know Wassailing is an ancient custom that takes place on Old Twelfth Night (17 January) or thereabouts, when in the West Country people drink and sing to the health of trees to ensure lots of lovely apples grow in the summer – meaning lots of cider!
We’ll be doing it on Saturday which is the 20th, but hopefully it should still work! It’s all taking place at my friend Georgie’s orchard and not only will we be singing Wassailing songs and enjoying lots of warm cider (as is tradition!) we’ll also be going for dinner followed by a Godminster cheese board – so it should be a great evening.
Back at Godminster farm, the recent cold snap has been very welcome as it has finally killed off the aphids and nasty bugs that have been lingering due to the mild winter. Aphids are among the most destructive insect ‘pests’ and the damage they do to plants has made them enemies of farmers and gardeners the world over. As we farm organically it is really important for us to get that first frost so that the aphids don’t destroy future crops.
The frost has also helped us in other, more practical, ways as it has meant our muck-spreaders can finally get out onto the fields. It’s been so wet recently that the spreaders would have been slipping and sliding all over the place but the frost has meant they have been able to go about their business and spread some fantastic organic material on the land – it’s like a great big feast for the soil. So the frost might be a real nuisance on your car windscreen in the morning but it’s been great news for the farm!