Monday 8 February, 2016
Well, I don’t seem to have got any of the things on “The List”, or at least from last week’s diary entry, done but I’ve been busy.
We planned to vaccinate, dose and split the sheep yesterday but I wrenched my shoulder, so we’re doing them tomorrow.
Dan was at the Scotland v England rugby match on Saturday, which he really enjoyed even if Scotland didn’t win. I produced 32 rolls on Lorne sausage for the “Big Dig” at Carnoustie’s Community Garden. Dan took round a trailer load of manure before he got ready for the match. It’s a big plot and there’s a lot of work to do but there were 40 volunteers there on Saturday, making a start.
Monday 1 February, 2016
So today, 1st February, is the pagan festival of Imbolc, give or take twenty four hours. According to Wikipedia, Imbolc falls equidistant between the winter solstice and the vernal equinox and is traditionally hailed as the beginning of Spring; it is associated with St Bride or St Brigid in her role as fertility goddess. The holiday was a festival of the hearth and home, and a celebration of the lengthening days and the early signs of spring. The lighting of candles and fires represented the return of warmth and the increasing power of the Sun over the coming months. A spring cleaning was also customary. Well, all that’s as maybe, but Storm Henry is blowing a hoolie and we have intermittent sunshine and seriously heavy showers, so spring cleaning might have to wait but lighting the fire might be on the agenda.
Saturday 23 January, 2016
The recent dry, cold weather froze everything solid. We could have held a bonspiel on the front paddock. In some places the water was too deep for really thick ice to form but I had to leave the gates on the hen paddocks open at night so that I could be sure of getting in, in the morning. However, it rained on Friday and all the ice has gone – and now we can see that the levels really are dropping. The ditches are down and flowing so if we get a few dry days, things should look a bit better.
Monday 18 January, 2016
We’ve had some nice days over the last week – dry and cold and water levels have dropped. And with them, my panic levels. I’m such a control freak that extremes (for us) of weather really get me going. Sometimes I think I don't have the right temperament to be a smallholder :-)
Anyway, we have the start of a plan to winterize one paddock for each hen house, so that’s made me feel better.
We haven’t got a date from the scanner yet, but it should be soon. If I sell all the ewe hoggs, I can keep my tup for another year, but it will really depend on how the ewes and gimmers scan.
Sunday 10 January, 2016
IT’S SO WET! And dismal. However, I was looking back some old diary entries – last winter 14/15 was dry. I had written that we had one wet week in November but had been mainly dry. In December 2012, I wrote that I hadn’t seen it wetter but that there may have been more precipitation in the winter of 2010/11, but mostly it had been snow. I said almost those exact same words to Dan yesterday, in relation to this winter.
I know we’re much luckier than many. Our house and buildings, the vegetable garden and the courtyard are all fine but the Home Paddock and the Orchard are underwater. The hens in the brown house have formally requested scuba gear L
Sunday 3 January, 2016
I wrote this for the Shetland Cattle Breeders' Association newsletter but I thought I'd share it here too.
I thought it might be helpful to flag up the issue of flukicides and cows producing milk for human consumption. We started milking last summer (2015) – one cow was a fourth calver and the other a second. The issue of flukicide selection and milk production hadn’t crossed my radar before then. You may, at this point, be shaking your head and thinking “how could she not have thought of this before?” but although we’d had the idea to milk from Day 1, I’d dithered about it so long, i.e. four gestation periods, I suppose I’d kind of decided it was one of those good ideas that I’d never get round to J
Sunday 3 January, 2016
Hope you all had a good New Year! Still wet and windy but it’s getting lighter in the evenings. Don’t notice any difference in the mornings though.
We’ve finally managed to contain Rosie – after two further modifications. The new barrier had to be heightened at the bottom and that seems to have done the trick.
The vet has approved our new health and welfare plan for the cattle so we’ll be continuing to use Closamectin pour-on for the bull, steers and heifer calves and using Albex 10% oral drench at the higher fluke dose for the cows and in calf heifers. The choice of drugs licensed for milking cows is pretty limited. Closamectin isn’t licensed for cows producing milk for human consumption but Dan and I will live with that – just watch out for us starting to glow in the dark J
Tuesday 22 December, 2015
So the year turns; we’re past the shortest day and looking forward to the return of the sun. All of us here at Dalmore wish you a peaceful, healthy and happy year ahead.
Our weather hasn’t been too bad – very mixed but not much rain and the ditches are well down. The ewes and hoggs are getting hay every morning now and are getting keener. We’ve got three wheeled and covered hay racks out so there’s plenty room for all of them to feed at the same time. The field they’re in is the driest and there’s plenty natural shelter for them. Our scanner’s got us “in the book” so I can cross that off the list and just wait for her to contact me.
Monday 14 December, 2015
Only ten days to the Winter Solstice, then the days will start to lengthen. I know not by much, but in the words of a well-known retailer, every little helps J. Our weather continues changeable – temperatures from -1C to +11C; still pretty windy some days and some heavy rain but I guess it’s December in Scotland. Yesterday (Sunday) was the coldest day we’ve had this winter, with a heavy frost that didn’t lift all day, but the morning was sunny and with no wind, it was lovely to be working about outside.
Monday 7 December, 2015
The weather and Storm Desmond have dominated the last week. To be honest, we’ve missed the worst of it here – yes, it’s been wet and windy but nothing compared to Cumbria and other areas of Scotland. There’s quite a lot is standing water in the fields and there’s an ominous bulge in the roof of one of the henhouses – and the roof of the outside WC is leaking – but by and large, it’s not been too bad.
After picking up Fraser, our new steer, last Saturday, I had to do the movement on to our holding. I find CTS On-line pretty easy to use so long as you do the movements within the three day time limit. If you do it later, you get a telling off from the system. Maybe you get a black mark on your records as well L