Winter blog from The Countrymen’s club, Rylands Farm

What a year we have had. We have weathered changing restrictions and fluctuating numbers in our group, but we have kept going with lots of great projects and ventures.

We haven’t been able to do our usual fundraising around the big shows and events, but we have had a busy year on the farm.

In the spring we planted up the poly tunnel and we were able to supply Bishop’s Caundle community shop with a wealth of fresh vegetables. One of our new volunteers has been helping the group sort out the allotment and it is dug over and ready for planting next spring. (It already has broad beans coming up nicely!)

Our group also made bird boxes and planters for the local churchyard for their wildlife area.

In the summer we had a visit from Adam Henson, who stayed on to chat with the countrymen. Later, a team from “Escape to the Country”, filmed the countrymen in session. The donkeys thought the camera and sound crew were new scratching posts and enjoyed rubbing up against them whilst they valiantly worked on. It will be interesting to see the end result!

Autumn saw an outdoor harvest festival led by the Reverend Richard Kirlew. We sang all the traditional hymns and ended with a great sing song followed by tea and refreshments. It was fantastic to see friends of the countrymen old and new enjoying the afternoon.

We have made birdfeeders, hedgehog houses, owl boxes, planters in the barn and fed the animals on each session. We have played skittles, golf and football, had quizzes and singsongs and more recently made wreaths for Christmas. We have been exploring the wonderful life stories of our group and we have Captains, doctors, carpenters and musicians in our group as well as farmers. What they all share is a passion for the countryside and the chance to join a group who enjoy getting out in the fresh air in a farm environment.

We are looking forward to next year when we hope to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the club in the summer, watch this space!

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