Tom with one of his Light Sussex Hens.
Last week I was really excited to welcome local photographer, Tom on to the farm. Tom takes the most amazing photographs, documenting country life, wildlife, his chickens and his garden. Tom publishes his work on his beautifully curated Instagram 'Gnowangerup Cottage'. I am so in awe of Tom's photographs that I got in touch with him to see if he would like to take pictures of Highland Cattle! Amazingly he said yes and I can't believe how perfectly he captured the cattle and the chickens here on my family farm! I also took the opportunity to have a quick chat with Tom and find out more about the inspiration behind his work.
Where did your idea for starting your blog and instagram‘Gnowangerup Cottage’ first come from?
I was encouraged to start an Instagram account by a friend who thought I should document the 'good life' that I was living with the vegetable garden, foraging and living in a cottage with only wood burners for heat! It has slowly turned into more of a wildlife account, but still has links to gardening and country life every now and again.
How long have you been interested in photography?
Not that long really! It kind of developed alongside my Instagram account. Once my account focused more on wildlife I was inspired by other great accounts to get better equipment. I still have a wish list as long as my arm of equipment so hopefully my photography will keep on improving.
What is your main source of inspiration?
This is a difficult question, I guess I am inspired by the great nature accounts on Instagram who have raised the bar high in tea of nature photography. Also I really feel inspired by the great BBC nature documentaries like Planet Earth and Blue Planet whose filming is absolutely stunning.
You have to be one of the most patient people EVER to have captured some of your wildlife photographs! How do you do it?
Some of my photographs have been luck, and I’ve come across them when walking along or almost straight away so no patience has been needed! When I have had to wait, I often use my phone to pass the time or I visualise where a bird might land so I am ready to take the picture quickly. I also find it a good time to zone out and reflect or to work out my problems.
You are used to being surrounded by chickens as you have your own… but how was working with and photographing Highland cattle?
What can I say?! Highlands and their calves are particularly photogenic, so in that sense they are a breeze to photograph! I have had exposure to Highlands before through the farm attached to my work and always found them good natured, but even still there was a moment when they started running I felt very small, and another where I found myself face to face with a bull!
Do you have a favourite image that you have taken since starting Gnowangerup Cottage?
Following advice from big Instagram accounts, I have been trying to post only my best pictures and not clutter up my grid with ‘fillers’. This means that I really like all the pictures I post, but saying this my current favourite is of the three fox cubs I stumbled across on the old railway line, more of which is on my blog.
One of Tom's favourite photographs he has captured.
Is there somewhere in the world you would most like to visit to capture a specific image?
I have a wish list of places to visit with my camera, for both scenery and wildlife. In terms of scenery I really want to visit Iceland for the Northern Lights and the Faroe Islands to photograph the Drangarnir sea stacks. I would also love to visit the Norwegian Lofoten Islands.
In terms of wildlife I really want to visit the Farne Islands to get an image of a Puffin with sand eels in its beak, and to head to Finland to get a Great Grey Owl in the snow.
I would like to say a BIG thank you to Tom for visiting my farm and capturing and depicting rural life and the inspirations behind my designs. If you would like to see more of Tom's work follow him on Instagram and take a look at his blog!
Instagram - @gnowangerup_cottage
Blog - https://gnowangerupcottage.wordpress.com
After my visit to Spilsby to meet Edward and his Holegate Lincoln Reds, I came back to the studio with all the photographs that I had taken. The Lincoln Reds looked so striking with the green of the fields and the blue skies. They have very soft, kind temperaments which I think you can see by just looking at them, so I was really hoping I could portray these characteristics through my prints.
Edward with his Lincoln Red and Limousin show heifers.
Pencil sketches of a Lincoln Red heifer and bull.
Yearling heifers grazing in the meadows.
Hand stamped prints created from my pencil sketches.
It was quite difficult to create prints of the Lincoln Reds purely because of their colour, the deep red, it is difficult to show detail in darker colours. I found it difficult to distinguish their features within the print, however I do feel they have turned out better than I expected!
Another BIG thank you to Edward for showing me around his family farm and giving me the chance to meet his herd of cattle. If you would like the chance to find out more about Edward's herd 'Holegate Lincoln Reds and Limousins' you can follow updates on Facebook.
Last Friday I took a trip to Spilsby to visit young cattle farmer, Edward Middleton. Edward, 25, runs his Lincoln Red and Limousin cattle on his family farm in the heart of Lincolnshire. It was great to be able to visit Edward's farm and see his cattle grazing in the meadows. Especially as Edward is very busy on the show circuit this year at which he has had great success, including Female Champion at Woodall Spa County Show and Lincoln Red Champion at Rutland Show. As well as success in the show ring, Edward and his cattle have had a lot of media attention this year including being featured in Hello! magazine and have featured on 'Look North'.
How long have you been interested in cattle and how did you become so involved with them?
I've been interested in farming and livestock from an early age, my passion for cattle has grown the last 10 years, we had fattening cattle on the farm previously but I started out on my own with pedigree Lincoln Reds in 2013 and more recently pedigree Limousin. I got the cattle showing bug after taking part in the young farmers heifer handling competition at Lincolnshire Show and a year later I bought my first Lincoln red heifers.
Edward, 25, established his Lincoln Red herd in 2013 and recently introduced a Limousin Herd.
What made you choose the Lincoln Red breed?
I guess it’s the local breed, I've always liked them and they look great to look at in a field with the sun shining on their dark, red coats! There great mothers, docile, and finish easy off grass without the need to use a lot of expensive concentrate feed.
Can you tell me little more about the history of the breed?
The Lincoln Red is a breed with ancient origins, it is one of the oldest of the UK's native breeds. The Lincoln Red is a polled animal, well fleshed with a deep cherry-red coat, a wide muzzle and well placed legs, ideally suited to a range of conditions. They were originally a dual-purpose breed, making them an excellent easy calving suckler cow.
How many cattle do you now have in your herd?
At present I've around 80 head of cattle in the herd which includes calves, stock bulls etc.
What numbers do you plan to get up to in your herd?
I have 20 in calf heifers to calve this year which will bring the herd to calving just under 50, but the plan is to push this to 100 calving within 2 – 3 years.
What do you plan to do with this year's calves?
90% of the heifer calves will be kept for future breeding then I'll only keep 1 or 2 bull calves to keep and sell for breeding.
You show your Lincoln Reds, what do you look for in a show animal?
Personally, I look for shape! The breed has come on so much in the past 20 years and at the end of the day it's what the butcher wants! I like a dark red colour to them especially in the bulls and I like there tail to be set properly, a nice straight back from the tail to the shoulders. But most importantly shows itself off well!
Edward winning Overall Champion Lincoln Red with his 2yr old heifer at Rutland Show 2018.
What is involved in your show preparation?
Show prep starts in January with cattle being halter trained and slowly start to increase feed. My first show is the beginning of May at Newark so throughout march and April cattle are clipped and washed to get the coat looking its best. Once at the show we use numerous things to make the cattle stand out... I'll have to leave that bit a secret!!
Why do you feel showing is important for you and your herd?
I feel showing is very important for my herd. It shows off what you've got at home and hopefully generates sales, a red rosette always stands out in a sale catalogue! It's also important to educate the public on farming and agricultural shows are a fantastic way of doing that.
Edward meeting Prince Charles at Louth Livestock Market, which was featured in Hello! magazine.
What is your favourite thing about Lincoln Reds?
I'd say their quietness, you can walk upto them in a field and they won't run off!
What are the toughest challenges you have faced so far being a young farmer?
The toughest thing I'd say is the cost of everything I.e. land, machinery, feed etc, if you weren’t brought up into farming it's very difficult to get going, I've been lucky that there's a lot of grazing land available to rent locally but with cattle it’s a long wait before you see any real income … I'm waiting for that £100,000 bull to come along!
What advice would you give someone looking to get involved with Lincoln Red cattle?
Start with something good! Even if you can only afford one, buy quality not quantity. If you buy rubbish you'll always have rubbish so start as you mean to go on. Personally, they are a very affordable breed to get involved with, you don’t have to spend thousands to buy something good. The society's members are a great bunch and will make you feel very welcome.
A BIG thank you to Edward for showing me around his family farm and giving me the chance to meet his herd of cattle. If you would like the chance to find out more about Edward's herd 'Holegate Lincoln Reds and Limousins' you can follow updates on Facebook.
I am Izzi, farmer’s daughter and textile designer at IzziRainey. If I am not designing or sewing you will find me out in the farmyard with my cattle. I am constantly seeking inspiration for my prints, not that I have to look very far. Growing up on the farm, I have always been influenced by my surroundings and this combined with my passion for farming is what inspires my designs. I love spending time on the farm but I also enjoy learning about other people’s animals, passions and stories, which are also influential to my design process. I hope you enjoy reading ‘Over the Farm Gate’