Sunday 2 May, 2010
We've got a petrol mower. I rarely cut the grass because a) I find it hard to start, b) it runs away with me and c) I hate the noise. But all has changed!
Dan's mum bought a Qualcast Panther 30 - fancy name for a hand cylinder mower. Since they are caravanning and have no lawn to cut, it's residing in our garage. The grass needed cut and Dan's very busy, so I decided to get the hand mower out. And it's great! I'm chuffed to bits with it.
It takes me about 40 minutes to cut the lawn. On a sunny morning like today, that was very pleasurable. It's funny how certain things take you back, but my Gran had a similar lawnmower and she used to let me cut the grass when I was a child. Using this one takes me right back to those days. It was lovely.
Sunday 2 May, 2010
The son of our livery yard owner has just bought two Saddleback weaners. Where has he put them? In a pen next to Smokey's field. This is good in the long term, as we'll have pigs and Smokey at Dalmore, so he can get desensitised now. But in the meantime, it's a bit hairy.
There are four horses in the field; Smokey, Wallace (Welsh Section D), Jack (Welsh Section A type) and Jeffrey (large coloured cob). Jack is the least bothered; Jeffrey was dripping with sweat the first evening. I've never seem a horse sweat like that - it was dripping off him.
Monday 3 May, 2010
Damn, we've got red mite in our big hen house. I was cleaning it out this morning when I spotted the wee b*ggers. Squished a few as revenge, but decided that wasn't a great solution.
In some ways, if it was going to happen, this was as good a time as any. My hen numbers are quite low - about 25 or so, and although I was planning to restock, I haven't done anything about it yet, in anticipation of the "flitting". We also have three other houses that have been sitting empty since last autumn - these should be able to accommodate all the hens at a squash. Finally, we were going to dismantle the house anyway for moving. The plan was to dismantle, move and reassemble in one day, but now there's a new plan, which is probably better.
Tuesday 4 May, 2010
Jura lambed last night, well, early hours of this morning. When I went out at 6.30am, she was all done and dusted - tup lamb, on his feet, but looking a bit bedraggled. They're in a mothering pen now. I haven't seen him suck, but she's plenty of milk and his belly feels full. I'll check him in an hour. Jura's the spookiest of our ewes and doesn't really welcome human intervention so I don't want to stress her.
So, same as last year - two tups, one ewe, except Juno and Jura have swapped boy for girl and vice versa. I'd have liked more ewe lambs, as I'm trying to increase the flock size. However, Dan will be pleased as I don't now have an excuse for keeping the tup lambs and he'll get his freezer lambs.
Sunday 9 May, 2010
We took some time out yesterday to call on our chums, Andrew and Janis. It was great to see them and their replacement telly - an incubator! Andrew is the keeper of the CSSA incubator and is just hatching turkey poults. They are cross bred white, bronze and blacks - the breeder runs all his stags and hens together over winter before seperating them in the spring, so the first eggs are of indeterminate breeding.
I thought they would be really ugly - I think turkeys are pretty ugly, to be honest - but they are lovely. Some are brindle and some are black with yellow undersides. They are much calmer than poultry chicks - and very curious. While we had our tea, little heads were poking out of the brooder to see what was going on. One stands on the feeder so he can see better.
Sunday 9 May, 2010
Well, five and a half days to be accurate. And the tension is rising! And Sunday is project planning day, so we'll be reviewing our to do lists tonight. It all seemed ages away and now it seems to be rushing towards us, headlong.
I'v been sorting out dull but essential things like insurance and electricity, while Dan's been working on the PV and heat pump contractors.
The RHET stuff is pretty busy just now, too - not surprisingly, schools want to visit farms in the better weather, but farmers are busy at silage and a lot of the stock is turned away to far fields, so there's not so much to see in bye.
Friday 14 May, 2010
Well, we're finally here. We got the keys today - there was a minor glitch when our mortgage money disappeared into the financial ether rather than into our solicitor's bank account - but we're in! And it's wonderful!
The house isn't as bad as we thought and it's bigger than we thought, now that it's empty. The previous owner had lots of stuff. I mean lots.
Saturday 15 May, 2010
Well, at least we'd no cats wakening us with squeakies. Our inflatable mattress had a slow puncture, so about 3am, we wakened lying, effectively, on the floor, but wrapped in rubber and unable to turn over. Still, we were so tired, it didn't really matter. And I have built in padding anyway.
Just as I fell asleep last night, there was a burst of gunfire from the range. It took me a minute to realise that we weren't in Alloa and that there was no need to panic.
Dan and I are going back to Alloa today, so John and Linda will be left to get on with it. Until we get the sheep and hens up, we're really commuters. I'll be up on Tuesday and John and Linda are gettng their furniture out of storage on Thursday, so Dan's coming up then to help. And we'll be back next weekend.
Monday 17 May, 2010
I've been up to Dalmore today, with Lorna, our daughter. She has special needs and will be going to a lovely day centre in Arbroath after she leaves school in June. She got to see her new bedroom - and stairs are a bit of a novelty.
John and Linda have been working away, sorting stuff out - I think they're on first name terms with the guys at the skip site. Until we get the trailer, we're packing the car for every trip, so this morning I brought up the petrol lawnmower and some other bits and pieces.
Thursday 20 May, 2010
Dan and Mark, and Ben, who's 15, were at Dalmore today helping John get the furniture out of storage. They fancy themselves as "workies" in the white van but they're more Crane brothers than Mitchell brothers. When they should have been eating rolls on square sausage, Mark was sharing some dried prunes. With a little fork. So Niles!
They did get loads done though. The workshop is now empty, cleaned and secure, so all the furniture is in there. John and Linda have cleaned out the greenhouse and started digging the walled garden, which will be our temporary vegetable garden. John says it's a pleasure to weed - the soil is very light, so I suspect a good dose of organic matter will be required in the autumn. He's got the maincrop potatoes in already.
Saturday 22 May, 2010
Well, Dan and I are up at Dalmore again, boots loaded up with pots and plants.
And dogs. Happily, our two and John and Linda's two are getting on rather well. Tess is the grumpiest - no surprise there then - but even she's coming round. She's a bit scared of Kimi, but Kimi is so easygoing, she just ignores Tess's shenanigans. Fillan's just bonkers and as long as he can run, he's happy.
We've now got tomatoes and cucumber in the greenhouse and peas, beans and courgettes ready to plant out in the vegetable garden.
Sunday 23 May, 2010
There are three small paddocks at Dalmore. The hen house is going in one of them. After much deliberation, we've decided to upgrade the fencing on one, for now, to poultry proof stock netting, so that the chooks are a bit restricted in where they go. The vegetable garden is quite far away, in poultry terms and will be rabbit netted around the perimeter, but we think this is the best idea for now.
To do this, we're dividing the largest of the three paddocks into two, which makes them all roughly the same size, maybe 1/2 acre each (that's a guess, for now). We'll put water in the four and gates between and rotate the sheep round them too.
Sunday 23 May, 2010
Dan's taken over my role as chief list maker! I came home to Alloa yesterday to see to hens, sheep, horse and cats - Dan is still at Dalmore as we have a heating engineer coming today. Before I left, I was given a "To Do" list - to add to my own list and the RHET list.
The cats must have missed me - Bertie brought me a dead bunny at 11.30pm, just as I fell asleep. I insisted that he wasn't eating it under the bed and a tug of war ensued with me holding the rabbit's back feet and Bertie gripping the head for dear life and growling at me. In the end, I picked Bertie up by the scruff and put both of them out the back door. However, this morning, he'd left me the skin in the living room. Yeuch.
Sunday 23 May, 2010
Well, the hens have been moved to Dalmore this weekend (21st May). The house has been rebuild, painted, sprayed and puffed and been given a new Onduline roof - hopefully this will fox the red mite, as well as improving the ventilation. John built a temporary run for them until we get the fencing in the paddock done.
Dan brought the hens up on Friday night. He had to wait until they went to bed about 10pm before he could box them for travelling. The last one went in the new house about 1.30am! Naturally, I slept through all this.
Sunday 23 May, 2010
Dan walked the perimeter of the 5 acre field today with the GPS - it's 600 metres long. So roughly three circuits will be a mile - sorry to mix metric and imperial - a few of those a day should do Smokey no harm at all! Or Bugsy.
I have to get down to some serious planning now. We cleaned out the field shelter on Saturday and the fencing is in reasonable order. The biggest problem is the grass, of which there is too much, and the location of the water.
Tuesday 25 May, 2010
I had a brief visit to Dalmore today. My contribution was painting the garden gate - not much but it was rather tatty. Really NOT in keeping. It's a nice gate, actually, in cast iron. It was a bit rusty and pale blue - an hour, a wire brush and some Hammerite and it's a lovely dark green. Actually, I've still got a wee bit to do next time I go up, so that's on "the list".
I met another of our neighbours, which was nice - and she was lovely. And we were treated to a close-up view of a Chinook helicopter as it came in to land at Barry Buddon, perhaps from RM Condor. I don't know what our horses and other livestock are going to make of this!
Saturday 29 May, 2010
Our sheep were shorn last night. We have a lovely bloke called Duncan who shears them - pity he doesn't go as far as Angus. Last year we had three to do, this year there were twelve, although four were Carol's Ryeland x Shetlands. However, Carol's seem to have inherited the Ryeland fleece!
I could hear Duncan muttering under his breath things like "Never seen as much bloody wool on a sheep", but he soldiered on. There were a couple of nicks but nothing serious and within ten minutes, they were all grazing. The lambs are the funniest because they don't recognize their mothers. Actually, I find it quite difficult to tell them apart, although I don't resort to sniffing their bums.
Saturday 29 May, 2010
When we bought Dalmore, we decided it would be interesting to do some research into the hisory of the house. Given our current circumstances, we asked Angus Council's Archives Service to do a search of the Valuation Rolls and we got the report back last week. We also bought some old OS maps of the area.
The first mention of Dalmore Farm and House is in the 1889/90 Valuation Roll, when it was owned by The Right Honourable Earl of Dalhousie of the Panmure Estate, per John Sheill, Brechin and the the tenant is listed as Robert Findlay, farmer. By 1893/94, the farm was listed as part of the Pitskelly Estate, owned by the Earl of Dalhousie, and Robert Findlay was now listed a a market gardener.