Follow the fortunes of Muddyboots & Family on their East Yorkshire farm which has changed from dairy farm to luxury ice cream manufacture

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Update - Press Awards

So we went along, no l tell a lie, we sent Harry along [Farmer doesn't really like wearing black tie gear] with the promises of good food & a free night out.  As he left, he asked would he need to make a speech if we won? I casually assured him that he wouldn't, just shake hands, smile for the photographer then go and sit down.

I didn't hear Harry come in, but over a late breakfast shared with the previous evening's loot scattered across the kitchen table l was informed that a] the food was blurdey brilliant b] the tables were growning with bottles of plonk and c] he had to make a speech and no he couldn't remember what he said.  The award evening, Harry proceeded to inform us, were more MTV than School Prize giving.

So we are now proud holders of the York Press Family Business Award 2010.

PS: in the photo Harry is right in the middle of the shot stopping down behind a brunette [girlfriend] & blond who are in the front row.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Freezers, Awards & Gales

It's quiet nice really, the end of the season, a little more opportunity to have 'me' time, relax and generally catch up on things that get side lined during the Summer.  The ice cream parlour is now closed on Mondays & Tuesdays, whilst we operate reduced hours during the week, 11 - 4, but remain open as normal during the week end.  Don't get me wrong, we are still busy, wholesale orders still come in, farm shops & restaurants busy ordering seasonal & Christmas flavours, best of these seems to be the new winter flavour, damson & plum crumble with Christmas pudding coming in a very close second.

We have some new customers this autumn, with  Drewtons Farm Shop holding a very successful opening last weekend with Jenny providing samples of Mr Moo's Real Dairy Ice Cream to the shop's visitors.  It's really great to get direct customer feedback and with the new flavours going down an absolute treat!  Other major projects this year have seen the building of a new purpose built freezer room, this has made storage a much easier task with easy access to stock & reduced electricity bills!  We have also improved the visitor facilities for viewing the livestock.  Not content with the freezer room & barns we have also set up an anemometer care of Fastmast, to record wind speeds on the Hill Top field with a view to installing some sort of wind turbine.  So you see, nothing just stands still we are always busy with something!

On the farm, the sheep have arrived for winter grazing whilst the red polls heifers & Malcolm the Hereford are now inside for the winter.  The sheep today do look pretty miserable as the wind is at storm force and the sharp squally showers seem to resemble water coming out of a pressure washer.  The heavy seas at high tide have resulted in large chunks of the SSSI being washed away, ice age peat deposits stand no chance against the pounding waves of high tide.  The whole beach area looks as though a tsunami had struck, bolder clay, concrete WW2 defenses being strewn like balsa wood across the sand & clay.

Our seasonal staff have now finished with us until next year whilst Harry & Jenny are starting their Advanced Apprenticeships in food manufacture whilst the rest of us have updated our CIEH stage 3 food hygiene certificates.  Some of the photos on food hygiene were pretty gross, the worst being the man from japan who, after eating sushi for many years, had parasitic worms lodged in his brain...............

Well, there go, busy season, sales have gone well with our wholesale customers, we have had some good press coverage in several national publications, and on a whole the summer months have not been too bad.  Bookings are starting to come in for next year on the CL site, though we are now an adults only site, with Bank Holidays about fully booked.  Wish us luck for next Thursday as we are short listed for in the Family Business category in the York Press Business Awards.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Autumn vacation

Autumn came with a suddenness that we haven't seen for a while.  Past Septembers have been more Indian than an early launch into late wet autumnal weather.  Certainly up & down the east coast, the seasonal weather has been, well unseasonal to put it mildly, oh sorry about that!  I do really hope that winter in not going to be a repeat of last year's.  Snow & cold are fine if you are in the Alps & skiing but when you are having to work and rely on the public it is not so good.

 So then, lets get on with the blog.  As you may know, we have bought ourselves a motor home, couldn't afford the holiday cottage purchase on the North York Moors so plumped for a movable alternative. In previous Septembers we have flown south heading to the greenness of Corfu, this year we headed north, north to Scotland.  

I haven't really been to Scotland before despite having an ancestor marrying a Scottish lady, Miss C MacDonald, in the 1820s. Yer, wasn't too bad you know.  Yes it was very wet, the wind howled, the scenery when emerging from the mists was spectacular, the oysters from Kishorn were to die for, the tourist honey pots of tartan & shortcake were, well, not really my cup of tea.

I enjoyed the historic aspects, the harsh northern coast line, the painfully narrow roads that were blissfully empty, was that due to the weather?  Then there were the coach loads of Grannies............. Best bits? Thanks to rain, couldn't explore the Culloden battle field site, but l think the vast emptiness of the Western Highlands was pure tranquility. I really can do isolation, just me & the landscape.

We have been away since coming back, nipping down to Devon to have a look at some wind turbines cited on a dairy farm somewhere at the back end of beyond down a myriad of country lanes.  We have also, no Farmer, has some good ideas how to improve the CL site for motorhomes next year.  Amazing as to how many motorhomes we have had stop here during the summer, Haz thinks it is something to do with being over a certain age, elderly nomads?  

Half term is now almost upon us, Christmas seems to be coming at all local garden centers and  l have surcombed to the fist of the sniffles and sneezes, great.  We are already starting to think about next year, e have erected an anemometer to record wind speed, its standing in the Hill  Top field & already accepted by te local birds population who seem to see it as a rather good 'tree' on which to roost.  

The CL site is more or less closed for the winter, Caravans & motor homes can park at the end of the car park.  Next year we have made the decision to become an Adults Only site, a move widely supported by our regular visitors.  I guess it's just how things are moving forward now.  Footballs and sat dishes don't really go very well.

The dogs are scratching & howling at the back door, they aren't supposed to come into the house you see .  Gordon & Lucy-Piglet need to go and  chase more wildlife; they have been ratting this afternoon with Haz; L-P proved to be pretty good despite being a labrador, Gordon, well, not so good a bit like Anne Widdicombe on Strictly, tried hard but showed no real ability! 

Friday, 20 August 2010

Ladybirds& Filming

Now that the summer season is in full swing bringing with it busy roads and grid locked coastal towns, it is sometimes easy to forget that the farming calender continues to creep along in between rain showers.  Yesterday saw the last field of winter wheat being combined and field headlands baled before the evening's drizzle called a halt to the contractor's square bale machine.  

It always amazes me just how quickly the flocks of geese home in on the newly combined fields, a few small family groups soon become large, sociable  flocks honking loudly to one another as they come into land, an amazing sight as the evenings start to draw in, these large birds just skimming over the barn roofs, altering their pitch and air speed as they glide down onto the stubble.

Harvest also brings with it insects.  Some are OK others are not so.  Thunder bugs, great clouds of them swirl about your head, crawling everywhere on your person when you venture outside, wasps - certainly this is their month - don't they just seen to be all over this summer, haven't found any nests apart from the one that was smashed when the muck spreaders were here, but they just seem to love mr moo's, must be the ice cream?  Have you noticed the ladybirds yet? These little red & black bugs seem to be enjoying the coast, just keep munching away on green fly and other pests please, l noticed this morning that they were all over one of the rubbish bins, a black bin covered in moving red dots!

No, don't believe it, have a few moments of doing nothing time & the dogs start woofing, someone at the door, who needs a door bell when Gordon & Lucypiglet let rip with volleys of deep barks every time a stranger approaches their door.   I was going to write how busy Haz and Jen have been, well you know that, the car park that's been full most days as well, then there was an article in The Guardian newspaper plus the added excitement of the approaching Bank Holiday closely followed by the BBC filming scenes for a new adaptation of Winifred Holby's South Riding.   So not a lot happening really.

The above photo is of Haz and Jen plus calf.  They are posing, holding tubs of ice cream for a publicity shot, if you live in Yorkshire you may well see this pinned at point of sale in the ice cream display freezers belonging to Tesco.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010


Today has been mad, no l correct that, ridiculous. OK, so it is august, yes the schools are on holiday. yes the roads are rammed pack full of holiday traffic all looking to go somewhere for the day, no, no l am not moaning about the stay-cationers, l am not actually moaning at all, merely stating that today has just been one of those days when things go wrong, pear-shaped, shit hitting the fan type..

It all began to hiccup last friday in fact, one of freezer vans was following a tractor and trailer on the road than runs across the Beverley Westwood, an open common found on the York side of the town and home to the racecourse, golf club and several small herds of beef cattle.  A popular place to stroll, indulge in strenuous exercise or walk the dog, not really the place to partake in agressive football target practice using bullocks as The Target or so you would think?  Well think again, herd of about 15 beasts average weight about 900kg, bored lads with football looking for something to do.  Imagine then, if you will, the cars slowing down, speed limit 40mph, as the small herd slowly walk across the road, a group of French visitors admiring the quaint English countryside when, WHAM WHAM, footballs whiz through the air, THWACK THWACK footballs hits the head of one of the animals as it slowly meanders along.  In a matter of seconds, the creature had spun around on sixpence, leapt about, well 3 or 4 feet into the air, coming to land, crump onto the bonnet of the Mr Moo van.  Moo crashes into Moo.  Moo van = right off Moo Animal galloped off, boys raced away hotly pursued by one very angry farmer.

So there we have it, one van down and that was last week.  This morning, no today at lunch time the replacement, C/O NFU Mutual Insurance, freezer van arrived.  It was late.  We needed it yesterday.  All today's orders were ready to go, ASDA stores in Hull together with Hull Truck Theatre then the original van to ASDA York, stress levels rising, do you get the picture? We asked that the freezer be turned on so that we could do a quick turnaround, no luck temperature was at +2, today was feeling more akin to the film Ground Hog Day?  Eventually, at last, finally, thankfully the van's temperature had dropped to be usuable, the ice cream loaded on board and within the last few minutes was able to head of with its cargo!

Well, l suppose no real damage has been done, except to our van, life continues, the ice cream has gone out on delivery and l have added three photos from yesterday, one of the Beach Huts from Shanty Town on the cliff top here at Withow, round bales in Colley's Field and one of our Red Polls.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Mid Summer on the Coast

Today the weather forecast is dry with the odd shower if we are unlucky, this past week, on one hand we have been lucky, the weather has been unsettled, which in lay man's terms means wet & windy.  Don't get me wrong, we desperately need the rain, the grass fields are looking to be droughting out badly but then on the other hand the hot, & l mean hot, dry weather of the past month have been wonderful ice cream weather bringing in the punters.  Don't we just love the English weather?

As it is a while since my last blog, can l say, what is it with not being able to upload photos from my pc, this business of web albums is a real pain in the butt, talk about time consuming and low broadband speed.......  So, l am writing before the pics up load & having a brain with the capacity of diving of on any tangent at any moment what l am typing will probably have very little to do with the photos.  At least the spell checker works.

Firstly, Harry &the Brandesburton YFC Team completed this years 50 mile Mega Hike in 23 hours, on what turned out to be a very hot Saturday in late June, 59 teams started whilst only 36 finished. A slight problem for them was that the course took place along parts of the Pennine Way, steep ascents and the like, the bulk of their training had taken place in the flat lands which are Holderness, but they did it with only one member have truly nasty blisters.  They raised over £1500.00 which is pretty good going l think well done you lot for doing the walk and the back up team with Hermie the Hymer getting a special mention for being such a uselful back up bus!

This summer we have had about 40 heifers roaming the stewardship grasses, free range so to speak, all well behaved bar 3.  These are new comers, from a farm near Bedale, and were completely wild.  I say were as they have now gone back to Harpham in disgrace as they did nothing but break every electric fence, knock over as many wooden fence posts as possible on the farm then proceeded to wrap themselves up in the wire or race up to the [fenced] footpath at full speed snorting, bouncing and behaving in a general ASBO style fashion.   The fields seem a much more relaxed place to be now, the dogs especially can root around without having to feel that they need to keep their tails clamped firmly between their legs.

So, news from the walk & the farm is suitably updated, so, how's the ice cream & Mr Moo's doing?  In the ice cream parlour, our new crop of Moo Team Members are settling in nicely, having quickly picked up the art of the perfect Cowpat or making that superbly frothy cappuccino or quickly clearing & cleaning tables before the next batch of customers arrive looking for a seat.  As Captain Cook says 'we have a real good team on for this year!'.  We mustn't forget either the hard work put in by Mr Moo and his wholesale & delivery team, speeding up & down the coast delivering ice cream and meeting with new customers, Mr Moo A boards are appearing all over & l have heard a rumor that there is a facebook exercise to attempt photograph Mr Moo's ice cream  in as many places as possible.

So finally, l come to the last paragraph, the summing up is it or something like that.  It is wonderful or even F.A.B. to have a Proper Summer, sunshine, temperatures in the 80s, blue skies, sun burn which in turn it is  great for business that so many people are not traveling into the Euro zone for their holidays; we are almost fully booked for all of July on the Caravan Club CL site, many visitors being first time caravaners.  Lets hope that this week's blip in the weather is just that, a blip and in a few days time the weather is back to  'temperatures above average for this time of year'.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Here come the day trippers

April:  At last the sun has come out, the grass is growing & the sky is blue whilst  Easter has come & gone like a politician chasing a floating voter. I think therefore, it is fairly safe to say, the 'Season' is upon us.  The season that sees empty country roads reduced to a snaking crawl of nose to tail traffic, the season that finds all roads lead to the coast, the season that sees our ice cream vans trundling up and down the Yorkshire Coast restocking beach side kiosks, farm shops, gardens & tourist attractions. 

Yes, we have survived Easter, the Caravan Club 5 pitch certified site was, well to be blunt about it, more akin to a swamp than beautifully manicured lawns.  Thanks to the pretty aweful winter weather consisting of snow & rain, the ground was, & up until just now, been well & truly water-logged. The forecast for the Bank Holiday was, as is so often the case, broadcasting heavy rain.  Did we get this? No.  I do get so very angry when l hear the BBC weatherman telling us that 'this weekend the weather is not going to be good........' and then we get sunshine.  We got sunshine for the Easter break.  Caravans who had parked on the winter hard standing pitches fearing the worse,were able to move onto the gravel trackway in the rally field. 

So what about the ice cream parlour? Well, it was MANIC, so very, very busy.  All the staff managed really well.  Coffees, ice cream sundaes, cakes & lunches being served with not to long a wait for the customers.  We have remained busy all through last week, customer numbers being similar to those of August.  We were not alone in being hyper-busy, our customers based along the coast have had a similar experience, Hippy Shake at Whitby sold out of ice cream as did the Beach Hut in Sandsend. This is unheard of at this time of year.  Sunday we had the car park filled with the rumble of 32 Mazda MX5, c/o the Yorkshire Ridings MX5 Club. 

So as l come to my closing paragraph, what happens next & where are  we heading to? Well for a start,Tesco [Yorkshire] have had their first delivery of our more unusual flavours which, according to the data, are flying out as fast as the stuff goes into the freezer, so that's pretty encouraging news, must be doing something right, whilst on the farm we are trying to fit in fencing so that the heifers, which are coming over from the farm at Harpham, wont go for a leaisurely stroll along the cliff top! So have l forgotten anything? Hmn, the new investment is a very large white board sat beside me, on which all this week's deliveries are written up on in bright red plus things that are happening or need chasing up or what time is tea.And so on that note, l can hear the kettle boiling away on the aga so had better go and pour some hot water into the tea pot and pass around some cups of Yorkshire Tea.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Nest boxes and lawn mowers

I am still coughing away here, brain still feels as though it is stuffed to the gunnels with dense cotton wool, not that l am totally spaced out mind you, just a tadge 'woolly'.

The weather is still improving, such a relief after the coldest winter for 30 years, the daffodils are a last emerging into flower, we might even have to get the lawn mower out to give the Caravan Club site a quick whiz over carefully avoiding the wet bits & boggy bottoms! The hard winter has taken its toil on many of the pot plants on the terrace, the standard lavenders and date palms seem to be well and truly dead, they are no more with no sign of greenness anywhere, shame about that but l will have to look out for some more 'exotic' plants once the fear of late frosts have gone, we are pretty fortunate as we have a garden center outlet, who are also one of our customers, that have a large selection of tropical looking but totally hardy plants. Strange but the olive tree has taken no harm at all.

The woodland planting has in its turn suffered too from the low temperatures & winter blizzards together with those prolonged rabbit attacks resulting in replacing the dead saplings with slightly large plants. Last year, we had to put extra long rabbit guards on all the trees as the rabbits were stripping the bark above the plastic. This year, we have rather a lot of bird boxes to put up around the farm, plus a couple of owl boxes, though the barn owl in the back cow shed seems to be managing OK in the eaves!

The ice cream parlour is now open 7 days a week; orders for ice cream are starting to come in rather nicely from our wholesale customers as the tourists start to emerge after the long winter; the caravan parks are once again open and the coastal resorts are becoming busier with day trippers, or as they say in Yorkshire they have 'comfur-day', together with the early holiday makers taking advantage of the spring weather with its blue skies and sunshine.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Mid March

Thank goodness for St David say l, December, January & February were just full of snow, frost and a decide lack of sunshine, then, pow, St David's Day - the sun comes out, ok it's not warm but the daylight hours are lengthening and the sun has emerged after being submerged in a smog of dismal greyness. What l suppose is even more remarkable is that the sun has continued to shine for most of this month. The birds are singing away, the thrush perched on the highest branch of a tree just outside our bedroom window, sparrows moving into nest boxes designed for blue tits and the ducks - The ducks come every spring, taking up residency in the CL field. Every morning they waddle across the car park to the bird feeders which hang from the sycamores next to mr moo's, they check the ground looking for any scraps missed by the chaffinches or blackbirds then after a quick snooze toddle back again to their own special corner which gives them a good vantage point to wag their tail feathers or quack for the attention of passing walkers.

The farm is slowly coming to life, with this winter's wet holes frequented by wildfowl, beginning to recede as the water table lowers. The winter wheat on the cliff top looks a little sick brown and stunted, thanks to those continual easterlies that blew in from the Arctic laced with salt Talking about easterlies, the cliff too has suffered from the harsh on-shore wave action, the pounding of the clay or Skipsea Till to give it its correct name, has turned it into a brown sludgy slurry before being washed away by the action of the sea. This year, as a rough guess, about 2 metres have gone whilst over the past years, since l have lived here we must have lost about half the Cliff Top field to coastal erosion?

So now it is a case of releasing the handbrake as we move forward towards Easter, the ice cream team are already filling the freezers with stock, the car park has been fitted with a new drain to prevent the large puddle that settles in for winter, the grass on the CL site is drying nicely so could be a goer for Easter, and the rabbits are already breeding, well like rabbits what more could you ask for?

Monday, 15 February 2010

Harry Foreman is fundraising for MedEquip4Kids - JustGiving

Brandesburton Young Farmers Club are taking part in the 2010 Mega Hike. This is a 50 mile hike which has to be completed in a time scale of 24 hours. Team Brandesburton consisits of 4 walkers and 2 support crew. The walk will be taking place inthe Penines on the weekend of 26th & 27th June 2010. The charity is Med Equip 4 Kids. You can follow the team's progress & training on Facebook.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Please accept my apolgies Mrs S

Oh l am sorry Mrs S, your email was sat in my 'inbox' waiting for me when l got home. No. no, no l haven't stopped in my attempts to fill the Internet with bad spelling, punctuation & grammar, it's just that we have been busy at this end.

Thanks to the panto season, ice cream orders for the little pots were amazing, Hull Truck Theatre doing particularly well, closely followed by both Bridlington & Scarborough Spas. Farm shops too were pretty busy with our total stock of Christmas pudding flavoured ice cream being sold out by mid-December with the Cointreau & orange coming in a close second! So you see, no time to hit the keyboard and then in January, time just flew, Harry was skiing with Young Farmers in Val Thorens and we were thinking, 'need a holiday' & 'must get away'.............

Get away we most certainly did. After a lot of trawling the Internet for 'late holiday deals' then reading reports on Trip Advisor we found ourselves sat in the GP's surgery at Leven waiting to have our bodies stuffed full of injections. Well, you don't need jabs to go to Bridlington but you do if you are heading down Africa way, south of the Equator, across Sudan & Ethiopia to Kenya.

After a 24hour delay, thanks to our flight being canceled due to a 'medivac' and spending the first night of our holiday in a Manchester Hotel, we finally hit Mombasa in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

The streets of Mombasa were strangely deserted as we speed through, heading for the 'notorious' Likoni ferry and the road south that would take us to Galu Beach, just south of Diani & our Hotel.
Arriving in the dark at about 4.30am local time, we were greeted by ice cold towels and a fresh fruit punch by happy smiling staff who seemed to think nothing of us arriving so late or early depending on which way you look at it.

So this, l suppose, set the scene. The hotel, backing onto Galu beach, was amazing, the staff happy & chatty, the weather hot & sunny, the sea warm and azure blue, who could ask for more!

Before we left, l had done some research on the National Parks and safaris. Being keen followers of anything coming out of the BBC's Natural History unit and as we were actually in East Africa, a safari should feature somewhere on our itinerary. Before leaving home l had contacted several local safari companies, the choice being once again being based on reviews on Trip Advisor. No easy choice l can tell you as none have prices posted on their web sites, and you need to pick any over night accommodation that you require, OK, you have a list so a case of deciding tent or walls.

At the end of the day, we plumped for a two day safari encompassing Tsavo East & West, staying overnight at the Severin Safari Camp in Tsavo West. We booked the trip with our new best friend, Julius C.K. Nzumbi & his company, Julius Safaris. All l can say is AMAZING! The drive to the park was a safari in itself; so much to see along the way, houses, villages, the local inhabitants, then the parks.

The scenery in Tsavo East is flat, a bit like Holderness with out the drainage dykes, and animals, elephants and more elephants, giraffe, gazelle, zebra, our driver/guide making sure our cameras missed nothing that moved! Lunch was spent at Voi safari lodge, sited high up on a bluff overlooking the Savannah below, peppered with water holes around which families of elephants relaxed.

It is a long way, believe me, a lot of driving and if you are a poor traveler take a large packet of travel sickness pills with you for you haven't finished the day's game drives yet! From Tsavo East we drove across to Tsavo West via the Man-eaters bridge. A railway bridge built by the British in the late 19thC, plagued by 2 man eating lions who devoured a great many Indian workers before being shot by Col. Paterson who lay in wait with his guns. Sorry, Mrs S, l seem to absorb trivia.

The landscape, here in Tsavo West, is truly awesome. Loved it. Volcanic hills, rugged rocks, black lava flows, dramatic landscapes, few tourists. Loved it, loved it, loved it. We decided to give the Rhino sanctuary a miss as it was now 4pm & poor old Mr Moo was having a seriously bad reaction to Malerone [the anti malaria tablets] plus l had forgotten the Qwells, was in need of a cup of tea and a cold towel. As we drove to Severin, the landscape continued to enthrall, totally mind blowing! The camp, my god, we were met by a real Masai complete with pointy stick! Never had an iced Tusker tasted so good as we sat in comfy sofas watching the giraffe grazing the acacia trees just metres from the lodge! And it got better. As the sun set the frogs began singing in stereo, hippos emerged from their water holes with an amazing grace for such a bulky creature. Once the light had failed we had to press the 'escort button' to bring an armed guard to take us to super; no fences between us and the wildlife you see, the animals, in this case the hippos with wind were only yards away & very dangerous! Amazing, truly amazing. The food in the middle of the bush was mouthwatering delicious, the tent was, and l do NOT camp, was unlike any tent l have seen, fabulous. So there we were, in the bush sleeping in tents serenaded by hippos and frogs whilst in the morning we were woken by the songs from the finches and weaver birds. We staid till 8.30, leaving reluctantly to head back down the Mombasa highway, an exciting drive through Mombasa itself to the Likoni ferry, then back to base where once again we were welcomed by those oh so cool towels & fruit punch. I could see myself getting used to this life l can tell you!

So, we are back now, the flight was almost on time, the UK weather cold & snowy. I have replied to my emails, caught up with the accounts and Harry & Jenny, who incidentally are adorning the freezer cabinets in Tesco, attended the Meet the Buyer session at the Yorkshire Showground. So what are my thought of the holiday now? Amazing, the locals are happy, polite and friendly, the country is full of so much to see, will we go back? Yes, not the same hotel as all inclusives are not, if l am really honest, our cup of tea, but l have spotted on the Internet several small hotels in the Diani region that have now been 'bookmarked' for future reference and no l am not putting up a link for those!

So, l hope, Mrs S, you will forgive me for not having written for such a while and look forward to seeing you soon!
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