Riverford’s Big Worm Dig at Upper Norton Farm October 2014








We were over joyed to discover that Riverford had an area for the big worm dig at the Upper Norton Farm Pumpkin Day.
As part of a science project to learn more about our soil and the worms among it Riverford set up the ‘big worm dig’ with the intention of getting everyone digging! We intended to help and get stuck in and that’s just what we did! After our efforts at home did not go exactly to plan, being totally mind blown by the variation of Worms that were possible to find and the minor differences between them we were relieved to discover we could still get involved with the help of an expert at our local Riverford farm! Yay!




I just adore the vision of children getting close to nature and covered in earth whilst discovering what our planet really is. Mud washes off! The amount of fun that can be had from just playing in the dirt is amazing. Mud can become anything to a child, stack it up to be a castle or a tower, dig a hole to fill, make people figures or even bury treasure under it! Quite simply mud is life, we eat what grows from the mud of earth then we reproduce and grow using nutrients from the earth, the earth is where our bodies rest and breakdown into when we pass, our body becomes the mud which feeds another, the cycle is continuous making mud life and a huge part of it!
Earth worms breathe through their skin whilst they protect our soil preventing soil erosion. They intake organic matter from all around them, they consume it and excrete it incorporating it into the soil allowing the plants roots to better absorb nutrients and grow more successfully.
There are 4 ecological groups of earth worms and they are: the composters, the litter dwellers, the soil eaters and the deep burrowers. To find out more and to get involved visit Riverford online or visit your local farm.

Once we had decided a time to take part in the big dig, we made our way over to the designated digging area. It was welcoming to see so many families taking part and was a true joy to watch all the little children getting covered in mud looking for earthworms.
There was a slight shortage of shovels as there was so much interest although it wasn’t long before we were handed some to use. The boys had a shovel each and both also had a pot to place the discovered worms into.

It was lovely seeing the boys dig and although they found it quite tough they still enjoyed tossing mud everywhere and greeting the Worms we did find.
The children were very sharing in this task and both Aunty Nat and I actually got a go at digging! Mummy’s knees were nice and muddy by the time we were done, it was totally worth it, I think Easton and I found 7 worms and luckily the ‘Worm Man’ was on hand to help us identify them. Unfortunately the majority of the worms were too small even for him to identify. Alas we had one chunky one that was identified most confidently as a black-headed worm! Woo hoo we had found and named one worm even if it were only that one!
It was a beautiful day and it hadn’t rained much the night before so the ground was slightly dry to have an abundance of wriggling worms. We gave it a good go and when the kids had enough we gave back the shovels, thanked the man for his help, washed up and set off for the ferret racing!

I know the worm dig is in the name of science but I would love to thank the promoters at Riverford for bringing such a new fun activity into my family as this can be enjoyed throughout the whole year after a good dose of rain! The kids can get physical digging and can understand the importance of taking care of the earth and being kind the the creatures in it.

Mud, mud, mud, I love mud, I always say, the more mud a child has on him the more fun he has had!

Bring on the mud bombs?

Pumpkin Day at Riverford Organic Farm – Sutton Scotney

Amazing! I just loved to see the amount of people interested in organic produce last month. Its awesome! Whether they are regular buyers or just curious to the farm day out at Riverford, seeing that many people that care about what they consume was truly comforting.
It was eye opening for me to see where most of our weekly budget goes and the kids just adored the animals and variety if squash all around. After admiring the first glimpses of the farm site and browsing the stalls we walked outside where they were doing carpenrary, it was inspiring to see that it was a hit with the older children and I hope one year upon returning my boys will be at the level they can fully appreciate it and have a go for themselves. Passing many adorable and magical looking squash we stopped and the boys got to see an Owl up close that opened his beautiful wings and really showed off his cheeky personality. Next to him were some sleepy ferrets looking so snug and cozy and alongside them were more ferrets awake and ready to race! We took a stroll down to check out the worm dig with intentions to later return and along the path were the most delicious silky lettuces I have ever tasted…so good to see where they grow!
After checking out the whole place and working out what was where we showed the boys the beautiful Horses that help humans by pulling a wagon cart. I had promised the children animals and taking a trip in the cart seemed a perfect way to show them how humans and animals work together as well as enjoying a bumpy ride. They really enjoyed being on the wagon and adored the little dog that was on board with the driver. The horses were so graceful and did indeed look grand standing next to the boys.
It was lovely for the boys to stand next to and observe the size of a real tractor and amazing for us all to see the sheer size of the enormous combine harvesters.
We admired the face painting and did plan to get some done but it was so busy and we could think of much more things to do than que up for over 30 minutes so we opted out and indulged in some amazing chocolate and courgette (dairy and gluten free) brownies, wow, they were good! We really wanted to try the worm dig so we headed back outside to spend some time helping discover different breeds of worms! The kids loved having a dig with the shovels and even let Mummy have a go and in total we found about 7 worms and one was large enough to identify as a dark tipped worm.
We stayed for a while, got covered in mud, cleaned up and just as we reached the top of the field thee ferrets were getting ready to rave. Awaken from there sleepiness four ferrets, Taz, Tiz, Ivy and Fern were lined up waiting to go out. A couple were showed around nd the boys got to stroke them and say hello. We placed a bet on the green caged ferret called Fern and although she didn’t win it was a cute experience for the kids and roaring fun for the lively parents.

 After the race we considered the pumpkin carving and it was rather busy and the boys were slightly restless so we purchased a large pumpkin and headed back inside. We had another wander around and it was packed full of people in the warehouse, happy vibes! My friend really enjoyed the cheese stall and purchased some goat’s cheese and I admired the ‘give a pet a holiday’ team and found out how I can get involved. There were so many beautiful veggies everywhere and some absolutely stunningly crafted items for sale.

We decided we would go over to the lady carving wooden pencils and my friend said she would love to buy some for the boys so her and my eldest joined the que there. It was my turn to buy the next refreshments, my youngest boy and I headed off to get some cake and upon reaching my friend I remembered the stall selling hot Apple juice which we had earlier tried and I had previously thought if the mulled wine is anything like the Apple then it is a must. Upon reaching the stall it dawned on me how much of a good idea it would be to actually get some so we did and it was amazing, so delicious, mouthwatering and tasting, so comforting and warm. Just what a busy woman needs after a mission with 2 young boys! For the pencils the lady scorched the names required into hand carved pencils, they were very beautiful and a great idea! We gave thanks, admired the beautiful abundance of produce and organic people and made our way back outside.

 

It was indeed a packed event with thousands of people who attended and the queues reflected this.

 

I buy weekly from Riverford and will continue to do so until I have my own patch.

Thanks to everyone for a wonderful day out. We will definitely be back next year!