Farm and craft studio share daily scenes in bid to lift spirits

The Cavan-based woman behind Crafts of Ireland who has been sharing daily scenes from the farm she owns with her husband, as well as their kitchen and craft studio during Coved-19, has received an enthusiastic response from people throughout this country and abroad.

Sandra Coote, who lives on a beef farm that sits under the ancient Loughcrew hills on the border of Cavan and Meath, has been getting an enthusiastic response to her daily crafting and farming Facebook Live sessions.

The farm is run by Alan and comprises a suckler-to-beef system, combined with breeding pedigree Aberdeen Angus and Hereford cattle and rare-breed Roscommon sheep.

‘Tough but sensible decision’

“My normal day-to-day has changed, just like the lives of so many people at the moment. I was self-employed running a business that provided workshops in many craft disciplines from a purpose-built studio and baking afternoon tea and other treats for the people who visited,” said Sandra.

“When the announcement to close schools was made, I made the tough but sensible decision to cancel all workshops. I couldn’t teach someone a craft skill and maintain social distancing. This decision was made in the interest of my family and customers,” she said.

My business is located on our family farm and with calving season commencing, the only upside was having more time to assist with the calving of our suckler herd and the yeaning of our rare-breed Roscommon sheep.

“After the first few days, I began thinking about how I could use my skills to give something positive to people and to share our farming adventures with both the young and old. My solution was to provide Facebook Live videos from our farm, kitchen and craft studio.

“Each morning at 10:00am, I go live with an update on what is happening on the farm. People get to meet our baby calves and lambs, watch us feeding cattle and other normal farm tasks.

“At 12:00 noon I do a baking tutorial. It’s kept simple with easy recipes that people can follow and recreate for their family. The evening is taken over with crafting.

“At 8:00pm it’s time for some crochet; pebble art; felting; embroidery; wool spinning; or some of the many more crafts that I am lucky to have the skills to teach. To say I am blown away by the reaction to what we are doing is an understatement,” said Sandra.

Phenomenal response

“The response from the public is phenomenal and it is not just Irish people that watch. We have people from all around the globe joining us daily and enjoying what we are doing.

“It certainly makes the time spent doing the videos very worthwhile when I read the positive feedback that people give. It might not be a lot in the face of a pandemic but it is our way of keeping spirits up.”