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In Touch With Life Skills

In Touch With Life Skills

Michelle - Art at the Farm

Here at Art at the Farm we have been very busy putting together our two upcoming events.

Our ‘Weather’ exhibition at the Beaney in Canterbury started with an opening event on the 19th May and will run until the 15th July.

We also attended Wealden Midsummer Fair, Rolvenden from 7th - 9th June. Our staff worked incredibly hard to support artists to make some amazing ‘farming life’ themed art and craft pieces alongside other unique hand crafted products. We were very excited to showcase what the Art at the Farm artists have achieved.

We were very proud to have artists receiving their certificates for achieving their City and Guilds qualifications on 6th June.  Yvette, one of our accredited tutors, has dedicated a lot of her own time to supporting our artists for which we thank her and we are grateful to Charles for being there when we needed him.

We are looking forward to what we hope will be a very sunny summer and getting inspired for our upcoming projects - watch this space!


By Paul Sanderson

An exhibition by Art at The Farm (until Sunday 15 July) entitled 'Weather' is being held at The Beany House in the centre of Canterbury.  The colourful exhibition comprises mixed media and ceramic pieces showing how weather affects our lives. The Beany House is well worth a visit, and is easily found at 18 High Street, Canterbury (not open Mondays).

The various exhibitions are free and there is a cafeteria and bookshop.


Jill - The Granary Restaurant

We were all prepared for a busy Easter (especially Good Friday), only to be let down by the weather. But the latter part of the 2 week Easter brightened up and visitors started increasing.

Here Emma’s showing off her driving skills—but where did she hide the Easter Bunny?

During these 2 busy weeks our Lifeskills students prepared - under the watchful eyes of Nikki and Lucie - a fantastic spread for ‘The Martha Trust’, who visited us for the day. As always, we were proud of the hard work they put in.


Our Friday Lifeskills students made 500 scones for the Poulton Wood Cream Tea and did a brilliant job.

Adam had a trial Cream Tea in the Restaurant as someone needed to check the quality and he gave his approval.

We have been blessed again by a Bluetit nesting in our cigarette box outside the kitchen door. Last year 13 eggs were laid. This year we have the addition of a Pied wagtail nesting with now 6 eggs rather than the 5 pictured.  We are pleased to say, all 6 eggs have hatched and the chicks are doing well.


We had a small leaving do at the end of May to say farewell to Sarah, who was our Rare Breeds Shop Manager for many years and worked in the front office previous to that. Sarah was always one for dressing up for Rare Breed events.

She also raised money walking the great China Wall and entering The Dirty Dozen. She will be greatly missed by us all.

Jax - Poulton Wood

We’ve had a cracking time here at the wood – it has felt like we have been starring in our own SpringWatch series! Earlier in the year we were lucky enough to be given a generous donation from the Police Lost Property fund, which we used to buy two nest box cameras. We installed them in our yard, kept our fingers crossed and were delighted when both boxes became occupied within a couple of weeks!

From the day the birds started to build the nest we were totally transfixed with their activities. Though one pair selfishly built their nest just out of sight, the other was displayed for us to watch in full voyeuristic glory. Nine eggs were laid, fussed over, turned frequently and eventually hatched (bar one). We instantly fell in love with the primeval looking chicks and followed their development daily (Russell was particularly captivated as he is a huge fan of birds). They fledged just before our Open Day and we marvelled over their transformation from naked gawping things to beautiful replicas of their parents.

Meanwhile we were also given a mass of tadpoles and have watched them change into little froglets which we have released into our recently renovated garden pond. The pond itself has benefitted from a generous donation of plants and invertebrates, courtesy of our pond wardens, Chris and Sue Gove.

Our Bluebell Cream Tea was a great success; the wood looked glorious carpeted in swathes of scented bluebells and we are indebted to our fabulous volunteers who gave up their valuable time to help out with baking, car parking and serving delicious scones and tea.

Particular thanks go to Nikki and her Granary crew, Elaine and the Woodcraft Folk, the Rangers and various staff members, friends and families – we really couldn’t do it without you.


We also have to thank everyone who enabled our Open Day to run so smoothly – the final figures have yet to be calculated but it looks like it will be our most successful ever. Again, the event is only possible with the help of our brilliant volunteers – thank you all, you know who you are!


This year’s event was blessed with perfect weather and was so successful that we ran out of hot potatoes and burgers, which was a first. There were all the usual attractions, including archery with Robin Hood and Friar Tuck, home-made cakes, a BBQ fired by our own charcoal, storytelling and marshmallow toasting, pond dipping, field games, musicians, craft stalls, the Moth Man, a working horse, Wishing Tree ribbon trail, pole lathing demonstrations, plants for sale, cider van, the Woodchurch Morris side, face painting and Mystic Marie reading the Tarot cards in the vardo. The feedback from visitors was that a fun and varied day was had by all. We have also decided that next year we will be using only recyclable products and trying as hard as we can to go plastic free at our events.


We also enjoyed the recent Pop Quiz, though that elusive first place just slipped from our fingers yet again; however we were quite happy with joint second place this year. The quiz has become so popular that we may need a second table next year!

So now our two annual events have passed it’s back to the usual routine of bramble control and path clearing, City and Guilds studies, maintaining the woodland and garden, working in the polytunnel, producing signs, benches, bird feeders and bug boxes and commissions and working in harmony with the seasonal changes of the woodland and its wildlife.

Don’t forget you can buy your lovingly produced, hand crafted, artisan, organic free range charcoal from us – much more environmentally friendly than the imported stuff from your local DIY store and makes your BBQ food taste that much more delicious!