Diary

August 2009RSS feed

Update w/e 2nd August

Saturday 8 August, 2009

by Rosemary at 6:44pm in Anything goes 1 comment Add your own

I have to confess that it hasn't been the most productive week here. It's all the kittens' fault - they are just so cute and such terrible timewasters. We can now tell the difference between them with reasonable certainty. Bertie is blacker and has a shorter, thicker coat than Harry, and is much bolder than his brother. Bertie blanks the dogs but Harry goes past them like a hairpin, tail like a lavvy brush and spitting. The dogs simply look bemused. They have been outside for the first time this weekend and are exhausted. Our garden is like a jungle (see below) so they have been very busy exploring.

Update w/e 9th August

Sunday 9 August, 2009

by Rosemary at 9:55pm in Anything goes 0 comments Add your own

Well, it's been a week with a couple of new sheep experiences here - castration and ear tagging.

After some deliberation, Dickie, one of our Ryeland tup lambs, was castrated by the vet on Thursday. He's not good enough for breeding (Dickie, not the vet) and I just couldn't eat him, so we're keeping him as a companion for Li'l' Bud, who won't be able to run with the ewes for much longer. This will be the only year such sentimentality is allowed.

On Friday, we had a foot trimming session, for both ewes and lambs. We don't turn them over now; Dan holds their heads and they stand quietly while I trim their feet as you would a horse. Although none of them were lame, some of their feet were quite long and they will be more comfortable now. We also took the opportunity to put in the lambs' ear tags. I did try this on a lambing course, but the lambs there were a few days old, not like our bruisers. Anyway, it went pretty smoothly and, to be honest, it didn't seem to bother the lambs at all. We did Bud first, and his first tag is the poorest but I got better with the rest. Next week, we're going to wean the lambs and move the ewes to a different field. I never see the lambs suckle now and the ewes' udders were soft when I checked them yesterday. The ewes are in pretty good condition, so I don't want them getting over fat this year.

Update w/e 16th August

Sunday 16 August, 2009

by Rosemary at 4:23pm in Anything goes 1 comment Add your own

Well, we've seen the end of an era here this week. Our old Rhode Island Red hen finally fell off the perch, literally. We bought her as part of a batch of eight point of lay pullets in 2003 and she was the only one left. She did look old, but she was fine right up until the end, except she couldn't manage to get up on the roosting perches the night she died. Dan found her in the morning, stiff as a board. We'll miss her - although she wasn't really tame, she knew that hanging round the kitchen door was good way to get any treats going. She was also Hector's "enforcer" and could put all the younger hens in their place.

Harvesting

Saturday 22 August, 2009

by Rosemary at 8:30am in Growing 0 comments Add your own

Shallots and garlic drying

We lifted the garlic, onions and shallots today. The garlic was planted late but has done well; the onions are poor - "something" got under the netting and took off all the foliage quite early on; the shallots are pretty good.

We lifted the remains of the broad beans and gave them to the pigs, who loved them. We're not growing them next year - we don't like them much. We've grown French beans this year and we do like them a lot, so we'l grow more next year. We'll need to pick the last of them and freeze them in the next few days before they get too coarse. The peas are finished and need to come out. The runner beans are still in full production! I'd like to get a green manure in, if possible.

Autumn

Saturday 22 August, 2009

by Rosemary at 10:38pm in Anything goes 0 comments Add your own

It feels distinctly autumnal. The light has changed and it's cooler; the leaves on the trees have barely started to change, but it feels different.

I love autumn - it's my favourite time of year. I hope we get some good weather, since our barbeque summer didn't quite happen. It's been lovely today, especially when the breeze dropped. It was the kind of day when you just HAD to be outside, putting things in order.

Dan cut the grass in the garden, the vegetable garden and the orchard - hopefully that will do it this year, since we bring the sheep on to it in the winter. I've been weeding and brushing up - our garden looks almost respectable, for once. I might buy some bedding plants tomorrow and really go for it and fill some pots and tubs for early colour. That's the easy bit - keeping the hens off it is the challenge!

Lilac

Saturday 22 August, 2009

by Rosemary at 10:49pm in Gardening 0 comments Add your own

Dan planted my Lilac today; it was a leaving gift from a friend, when I left work. I have been dithering about where to put it, but decided that if it was beside the gate to the vegetable garden, we'd pass it a lot in Spring and get the benefit of the lovely scent.

The variety is Syringa x Josiflexa "Bellicent", which has fragrant, clear rose-pink flowers in May and June.

New lambs

Monday 24 August, 2009

by Rosemary at 12:00pm in Sheep 1 comment Add your own

We brought our new Ryeland lambs home today. They are half sisters to our own three and are called Lucy and Luna. They seem to have settled in OK.

Lucy and Luna, new Ryeland sheep

Lucy is a triplet, but she's huge, with a great back end. If I ever get round to getting them halter trained, I might show her next year.

Kittens

Monday 24 August, 2009

by Rosemary at 12:00pm in Cats 2 comments Add your own

Any excuse to post some new photos.

Kittens in mischief

The boys are growing and getting very adventurous. Harry is quieter and more reserved, unless he's having a mad turn; Bertie is hyper all the time he is awake. Bertie sleeps curled in a tight ball; Harry sleeps very extravagently, stretched to full length on the bed.

Their new favourite resting spot is on top of the hay bales; favourite play area is in the vegetable netting; favourite toy is a scrunched up bit of paper - they get one each and play for ages, batting it round the house.

Cheeps

Tuesday 25 August, 2009

by Rosemary at 12:00pm in Poultry 0 comments Add your own

I think our two cheeps might be hens. That would be good. I'm pretty sure they are both the same sex and they look too fine to be cockerels. Fingers crossed.

Light sussex chicks

They also look like Light Sussex; the cockerel was Light Sussex and the hen either Light Sussex or ex battery, but I suspect the former.

They're only six weeks, so will be in their run for a while yet.

Cass's marker

Wednesday 26 August, 2009

by Rosemary at 12:00pm in Cats 0 comments Add your own

We finally got round to getting Cass's headstone in place today. It is a piece of sandstone from the garden. I think it looks rather good.

Cass's headstone.jpg

Comfort food

Wednesday 26 August, 2009

by Rosemary at 1:29pm in Recipes 2 comments Add your own

It's really miserable here - raining steadily, windy, cold. I just can't seem to get going - nor can the fire. I decided to light it to dispel the gloom, but it's gone out with a whimper. I'll go and try it again, I think.

I have prepared some rhubarb for the freezer and I've started to make some Old Dowerhouse Chutney. It has preserved ginger in it, so I had a wee nibble to get me warmed up!

To comfort myself, I've put a rice pudding in the oven. We've loads of milk and, well, it's comfort food. It's so easy to make, too.

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