Zippy enjoying the heat with daughter Caitlin
Holiday At Paddocks
Zippy enjoying the heat with daughter Caitlin
At last got round to some pictures. Three huts currently in the autumn and winter position on the farm. Sleeping in one at the moment so closer to the Reindeer for frequent checks through calving season. Fire lit, kettle on, dabs radio on radio 4 extra listening to a play and in heaven.
Power at Paddocks
Power corrupts totally is a saying I frequently hear and is confirmed every time I hear the news, whether it is stars, politician, business leaders, all using their status to ensure their needs are met irrespective of the impact on others and others needs.
Then I wander amongst my livestock and see no difference, for example
Reindeer – males totally dominant females in breeding season. Rutting season sees one male come out on top and the subservient ones are lucky to get food and a look in. When an entire male loses his antlers he goes to the bottom of the pecking order and is dominated by the females. However there is a benefit for the species of this ebb and flow of power. The strongest male gets to reproduce and the females when dominant can access the food and resources for their growing young.
Pigs – the biggest ones use their size to access all the food supplied quite happy to deprive their social companions.
If you want to have relaxed interaction with animals – avoid choosing meal times for this. Mistake to combine feeding time with befriending time. Presence of resources kicks in competition and dominance, no different than us then.
Not all about size though as a minute foal has completely twisted the shonkey around her hoof. The shonky can have a carrot in her mouth and she will permit the foal, not hers, to walk under her body come up under her face and nick it! I must video this.
Shame that our communities are not more explicit about the power effect and put in visible measures to track and expose it and take no bullshit. People at the top can only have and keep power because they have tried to take it and others have permitted them to do so.
Back to my pigs………………………..
Wholesome nature retreat
A new sleeper vegetable bed is being created –measuring about 12 metres squared with the inside area being made into another outdoor cooking room, so literally straight from nature to pot. So alongside herbs the plan is a comprehensive range of salads and vegetables to go with the meats and eggs. My dad always kept a veg patch and every time we ate them the same conversation, how the potatoes tasted so much better than bought, was retold. As a kid I couldn’t taste any difference and never understood this but I know bet I will be saying the exact same. After all that effort and care I am sure they will taste so much better, they have too.
Up at 5am to check the reindeers as they calve in mornings. They all came running up and one girl always nuzzles me, so no calves. So thought would have a cup of tea and blog.
The male emu is the one to sit on eggs and he sat and sat and sat but after 90 days decided he could sit no longer and rejoined the girls.
Tomorrow another occupant arrives and has black and white stripes. Curious to know how the other horses will react.
Pygmy goats giving me the run around – having happily existed in their field for months have decided to check out the rest of paddocks and now driving me nuts. One got caught in the fence trying to get back into her run.
Parents arrive today so better get the Cockrell cottage ready.
We have been repeatedly asked if Paddocks is open to holiday guests. So we have decided for a few weeks across the year to make the cottages and apartments available for adult only holidays with the focus being upon offering a genuine away from it all peaceful retreat. From self catering to Bed and breakfast and room only options for those who adore eating out
The Goats, Sheep, Cows, Pigs, Emus, Geese, Chickens, Ducks, Cats, Dogs, Horses, Donkey, Reindeer, Alpacas are delighted as they adore visitors – they actually compete for attention!
If you are interested please email us or phone.
PS Expect Reindeer to be calving any day now.
We are enjoying corporate clients using paddocks as a base for retreats, excursions and annual outings. We have links with canoeing on Symonds Yat, great white water, so clients can be collected from paddocks and returned.
There is also the cider trail on the doorstep and much more.
However the last four groups have remained on site. Some ate, drank and enjoyed the stars and fires and others threw themselves into helping with the animals, enjoying the games room (not pool quite yet) hot tub, walks in the woods. Thanks to Steve and Paul who assisted in a calving last week – huge calf and the poor first time mum just needed a bit of help at the end.
We are now researching further on site activities for groups choosing to use paddocks as a unique pleasure base. On the list is a zip wire across the valley – this would be a fantastic fly so looking at strap in jackets and best position. We have huge rocky outcrops across the valley. I have bungee jumped off the Victoria Falls in Africa but that will have nothing on the paddocks fly!
The list also includes knife throwing and archery (Frank out there practising now). Frank is also juggling with fire balls and about to try fire blowing – but not sure this will ever get on the client menu.
Project started on lots of raised sleep beds for vegetables. We are self sufficient in meat, cider, herbs and eggs but not salad and veg. Once underway we will offer groups, looking for a team activity, the option of foraging the site for their food and cooking for themselves. Either inside or on the barbecue and open fires.
Lambing went 100% fine – total relief after all the issues with lambing this year. So rather than positive anticipation per birth it was relief when a healthy lamb emerged.
Yesterday went to see a new planned occupant at paddocks – a Zebra, one to come May time and others to follow. Fencing is being erected to meet regulations. Shonky, the Shetland/donkey cross will companion the Zebra until his Zebra fillies arrive.
Reindeer calving about to start, husbandry cupboard stocked and ready for some sleepless nights.
March, fantastic. Lambs, calves, foals, chicks, kids – life! With life comes death. Lost an older cow and her orphaned but cheeky calf (n0 37) soon found contentment poaching milk off another cow. Cows will not let another calf near them for the first month of having given birth to ensure their calf gets the best start and the colostrum. After that they are known to allow poaching. Was relieved to see him nick the milk with no resistance from the cow.
Lost our bull to cancer. The day after his death a heifer calf was born and suddenly I found myself sobbing like a baby. I really respected that old bull .
Getting up at 5am is now a pleasure, even though thermals still required.
Frank is looking on google for some throwing axes to add to his bow and arrow, cross bow, juggling knives and juggling fire toys…….
Bookings at paddocks doing really well with some months across the year already fully taken.
We are expanding the evening food choices with a steak on the stone cooking experience or tuna steaks for non meat eaters, a paddocks Indian feast as well as the traditional home made farm food straight from the farm. With Spring and Summer on the way barbecues in the reindeer field can go back on the agenda. An outdoor clay pizza oven is also on the project list.
Our home made sausages have gone so well that we are increasing the pigs this year going to try and mix them in the fields with the cows as this will give them acres of grass land to munch in.
So looking forward to doing the best we can to make the conference experience at paddocks the best it can be.
If any of you watched BBC2 “How safe are Britain’s Roads” 9pm 31st October you would have got a glimpse of Paddocks as Frank was being interviewed re road safety – his profession and obsession. Yup Professor Frank McKenna is a globally recognized expert on road safety as well as hosting paddocks.
This BBC series runs next week Wednesday 7th November 9pm, where more footage of Frank and Paddocks may run. So if you want a preview of Paddocks (glimpse maybe) and of your venue host then tune in.
Yes the hand reared reindeer are alive, strong and gorgeous. They now take on the role of looking after other young on site. Nuzzling up to the pygmy goats and calming the newly weaned incredibly small Falabella foal.
Despite the pretty poor weather guests continue to enjoy the site – chatting in the hot tub after long days in the workshop, walking the woods or snuggled by the many wood burning stoves with wine in hand. The animals have certainly contributed to events – permitting guests to move them, count them, separate them and photograph them.
Facilitation is a skill that goes undetected when done well and is in your face when not.
If I had to choose one business skill above all others it would be facilitation
The definition of facilitation beings a process of enabling things to happen with and through others” – it is firmly outcome focussed
When teams and groups develop the ability to have the right rich productive conversations they can really fly and the energy and focus can be remarkable. Instead many conversations leave people frustrated, passive observers or competing for air space. No one listens, ideas and suggestions are no sooner aired then lost as the next one is aired and lost. People get bruised, back out or shout louder. Side conversations develop as people cannot get heard so find another outlet to express their thoughts.
We can place ourselves on the moon but rarely can we develop the right pattern of conversation to get us to collectively solve issues and develop opportunities.
I still get a deep sense of satisfaction when a group of people start to tune into how to have the right conversations, when the rhythm and pace allows reflection as well as high energy engagement and everyone having a voice.
What does a person need to have a chance of becoming a great facilitator: a few of these would be handy!
It is about seeing yourself as a vehicle to assist others to get from point 1 to 2. Constant attention to the needs and dynamics of the people in front of you. Putting yourself aside, total selflessness and never entering into the “my opinion game” where you put yourself at the same level and compete with them for air space. Neutral, calm, full of alternative ideas and means for the people with you to process the task and themselves to conclusion.
The four core capabilities are:
You can choose to be a passive facilitator, intervening to help steer and keep on track when needed. This often happens when a member of the team working on the task gets stuck and someone temporarily steps outside the role to help them get back
Or you can be an active facilitator
More blogs to follow hope this was of interest….