Following on from the story by Charles Le Maistre, Alan and I went for a short holiday on Jersey where we were invited to Charles’ farm, where my 2 Ouessants were exported to.
We saw all the sheep, including 3 other Ouessant ewe and another ram from one of our members in Devon.
My ram New Forest Hawthorn looked very impressive, certainly an excellent foundation sire for Charles’ breeding project (see pic at bottom of email newsletter). Ash, the ewe I sold to Charles is his favourite girl and the lamb she had was the first Ouessant to be born on the island.
In Charles’ previous article he mentions all the quarantine regulations, well the sheep are still in quarantine on the farm for 6 months, so we had to have our shoes disinfected before we could go in with the sheep.
Charles and his twin brother run their Vintage farm, growing apples and wheat from the old varieties of seeds which are far from the hybrid strains there are today with many health and digestion benefits.
The wheat is processed by having the fields ploughed and harrowed by his 2 Shire horses Ben, who is a massive 19hh ….in the picture you will see me standing at 5’ 7” and work out just how tall this gentle giant is!
Then there is Ringo the one eyed stallion (he had a very bad eye infection and had to have it removed) but he’s fine and he is also used to pull the great granite wheel around the circular granite Apple crusher (for the want of a proper name for it). So the apples are crushed, then scooped out of the circular channel, then layered between linen cloths, then pressed to get the juice.
Going back to the wheat production, when harvested, using the old haywain, the wheat is threshed using steam power, and finally milled using a water mill which has been faithfully restored and only runs twice a year and we were privileged to see it working. (See pic of mill inside and outside).
The flour is excellent for making whole meal bread, flapjacks, etc.
So this is a truly traditional farm run by two very enthusiastic brothers who actually hold full time jobs as well.
Charles also breeds some very rare goats of which there only approx 200 left in the world called Bagot goats, the ewes are very small with pot bellies and the rams have spectacular horns which sweep backwards over their shoulders. (See pics).
Charles was married about a month ago and came back from the church with his lovely wife in this omnibus drawn by Ben and Ringo, it was all done out with ribbons and other decorations. What a sight that must have been.
Author: Marie Clarke