I think I speak on behalf of us all when I say that the last six months have been a rollercoaster and emotionally difficult for everyone and still we are not yet out of the woods. At the start of the year I promised that I would keep this space updated, bringing you an insight into life at Kilduff Farm, our very own slice of heaven in the heart of East Lothian, Edinburgh’s extended back garden.
That plan well and truly went ‘to pot’! Suffice to say, life, children, the farm and Covid all got in the way. While it hasn’t all been plain sailing since life was turned upside down by Covid (believe me lockdown life was not always Instagram worthy) I really don’t want to dwell on the lows. Before pumpkin season descends upon us I wanted to give you a quick look back at the last six months here on the farm.
Farmers have to keep feeding people, so the cogs of farmlife kept turning. I have to give thanks to to our brilliant team here at Kilduff who have kept things moving throughout this unsettling time. I am also heartened to see there is a new found respect amongst the public for Scottish farming and local homegrown produce. Something we can never take for granted.
So as lockdown restricted us all, as well as keeping the farm going, we had our three children at home from school and nursery all day, every day. I know I am not alone in saying that ‘home school’ was difficult. There was much hair pulling and many screaming matches over times tables and spelling lessons but the times I know I will remember the most are the days we spent together on the farm. The picnic lunches we had watching the tractors in the fields and the evening walks with the pup when usually we would have been at swimming lessons or dance classes. The children proved themselves to be great little grafters. They were extremely useful when it came to planting out our pumpkin plants. Two additional pairs of helpful hands (Charlie created work) and they provided us all with a little much needed distraction from adulting. We could engage in our own little world or bubble, forgetting what was unravelling around us. Nothing quite beats watching a small pumpkin plant grow into a monstrous yet beautiful bright beacon out on the patch and the joy it brings those who planted the seed.
We were delighted to welcome our bees back to The Patch in the spring thanks to The Scottish Bee Company. While they struggled a little in the heat wave when they first arrived, they soon settled and benefitted from the wild flowers and sunflowers Russ planted, which in turn benefitted our pumpkins. Pollination is key for pumpkins to grow so without bees, there would be none. We have just taken delivery of our honey which will be available to buy on The Patch or direct from us when pumpkin picking kicks off. It is delicious!
Living so close to the sea also allowed us to appreciate the small things. Much time was spent on the beach, listening to the sound of the waves, rock pooling and building dozens of sandcastles. Russ even dived straight into the wild swimming craze during lockdown. I, on the other hand, did not! We did however explore everything on our doorstep and became grateful very quickly for the surrounding countryside and space.
Like much of the country we went a bit overboard on the grow your own phenomena and planted hundreds of vegetable seeds, leaving with us an embarrassing number of cucumbers, onions and beetroot! Chutney anyone?!
With Harvest complete and the schools returning to some sort of normal (for which we were incredibly thankful) fast forward six months and planning for the reopening of the pumpkin patch has kept us busy. The uncertainties we faced in trying to work out the lay of the land and what restrictions we would face while tending to the pumpkins and engaging in photo shoots on the farm, recipe development and trying to encourage more of us to cook and eat pumpkins has certainly been a challenge.
It has been a nerve-wracking time for us all at Kilduff as we waited each day to see what unfolded in the news in the hope that we would be able to welcome pumpkin pickers old and new to choose the perfect pumpkin on The Patch this October. We are delighted to be able to go ahead with the pumpkin patch, albeit with lots of restrictions and safety measures in place. We are however committed to making The Patch a safe and happy place to be. We all need a little respite from the mental load Covid has brought.
To those who have tickets to visit The Patch this year, we can’t wait to see you all for lots of pumpkin fun. To those who missed out, we are sorry and hope to welcome you back when we are back to full capacity next year.
Thanks to all our family and friends for their continued love and support. We would be lost without you.