Diary

October 2011RSS feed

Wood storage

Saturday 1 October, 2011

by Rosemary at 6:43pm in Smallholding Comments closed

When we moved here, there were four tattie boxes in the barn. Stacked two on two, we've been storing cut firewood in them, but they are almost full and we haven't started on the piles on wood that have accumulated over the past year. Since the tattie boxes are great for this purpose, I phoned the local sawmill to see how much they were to buy - £58 each plus VAT. Time for a rethink.

Our neighbour has a roofing business and he gave us a few empty slate boxes for firewood - just the thing. They aren't quite as deep as tattie boxes but with a bit of work, they will do the job just fine. So Dan's been working on that today.

Boys home

Sunday 2 October, 2011

by Rosemary at 8:58am in Sheep 1 comment Comments closed

We brought the tup lambs, tup and wether home this morning from Barry Mill, where they've been grazing for a month. They're now in what will be the poultry runs and orchard, grazing it down.

The tup lambs will be going off to slaughter in a couple of weeks and, of course, Leo will be going in with the ewes at the end of the month. Dickie will go and "uncle" the ewe lambs then.

Leo is smelling quite "tuppy" now. I'm planning to put him in a small and, hopefully, secure area in sight and smell of the ewes from the middle of the month, to bring them into season. This year, we had a nice compact lambing over two weeks - if I can get that next spring too, it will be great.

The ponies' new howff

Sunday 9 October, 2011

by Rosemary at 1:21pm in Equines Comments closed

Smokey, Sheba and Bugsy got to try out the new barn enclosure for the first time today. Rebecca put up the tie rings (she's handy with a drill yes) - gate and hay racks still outstanding - then they all came in for a bite of hay and a brush.

Ponies settling inPonies settling in

The Bothy 9

Wednesday 12 October, 2011

by Rosemary at 7:42pm in Renovation Comments closed

The kitchen is now in and the worktops on - they're lovely, pitch pine and made by the joiner. The pine came out of an old BB hut that was being renovated. Tiles on walls and floor in the shower room and on the floor in the wc and utility; the tiler's back on Friday to do the wall at the back of the wc, the splashbacks in the kitchen and the grouting.

The stonemason is almost finished the front of the house and it looks fabulous - it should be completed tomorrow and pointed on Friday.

Wood storage 2

Wednesday 12 October, 2011

by Rosemary at 7:51pm in Sustainability Comments closed

Dan started boarding the end of the barn at the weekend. Looks pretty good and certainly breaks the wind.

Barn boardingBarn boarding

He and John have also been fencing (for a change wink), replacing the fence between Ditch Field and what will be John and Linda's garden. The trick will be to get it finished on Friday so that we can get the ewes and the tup in adjoining paddocks, so that they all get in the mood for love blush.

Breeze and Blizzard are home

Wednesday 12 October, 2011

by Rosemary at 7:55pm in Cattle 2 comments Comments closed

CorrieDhu brought Breeze and Blizzard home tonight, which was good of her. Both loaded like a dream - well, Breeze did. Blizzard was a little more difficult.surprise. Hopefully, both are in calf.

Breeze was AI'd on 15th August, using Stanemore Odin, and hasn't been seen to come back into season by either me or Viking, the bull they have been running with. If she held then, she will be due around the 25th May.

Strimming

Tuesday 18 October, 2011

by Rosemary at 6:51pm in Grassland management Comments closed

I've been strimming this afternoon. It's been lovely here - sunny and dry, but very windy. Dan and John were finishing the fence between Ditch Field and the Bothy's garden so I got the harness on, the yellow helmet with ear defenders and visor and fired up the strimmer.

I was aiming to cut down the soft rushes in Top Field. They are quite bad this year - we didn't spray last year but we did this summer and we've had a new field drain put in, so hopefully we'll get on top of them in the next couple of years. What really prompted me though was that I took the train to Perth last weekend to meet a chum and, as the railway runs along the bottom of our holding, I saw the field from the railway. It looked awful surprise. So today's task was mainly vanity, but I hope it will knock them back a bit for next year.

Lambs booked in

Wednesday 19 October, 2011

by Rosemary at 12:29pm in Sheep Comments closed

Well, that's our five tup lambs booked in to the abattoir and butcher for Monday 14th November. Despite my best intentions to get them away earlier this year, that's the same time as last year. Hey ho, must do better next year.

That was the earliest date the butcher and abattoir could take them and the abattoir don't like taking private kills in November, so I was quite lucky that the butcher's put them through as his lambs.

We're dagging the ewes and ewe lambs this afternoon, then putting Leo and Dickie into the field adjoining them, so that they can get a hint of what's to come, so to speak. Leo's so smelly now and he's getting warmed up on Dickie, much to HIS disgust. Hopefully, they'll all be ready to go on the 29th, when we open the gates smiley

More strimming

Thursday 20 October, 2011

by Rosemary at 11:13am in Grassland management Comments closed

The life of a smallholder is certainly varied. I was strimming on Tuesday (in addition to the routine jobs). Yesterday, we trimmed the tup's feet, dagged the ewes and move the tup (and wether) into the adjacent paddock, so that  they can indulge in a little foreplay prior to Leo going in with them at the end of the month. Then I made sloe gin and a pile of sponge cakes to use up the eggs we found in the hedgerow.

Today, it's back to strimming rushes. I've now finished Top Field and chopped the few in Far Ditch paddock, then I ran out of petrol. Looks much better though. If we can eliminate the rushes by draining,cutting and grazing, we'd rather do that than spray. The drain's mad a big difference and the new fencing will help us manage the grazing better.

Fencing the orchard

Saturday 22 October, 2011

by Rosemary at 8:23am in Orchard Comments closed

Finally, Dan and John are starting the fencing in the orchard. We've had a few false starts and lots of planning but I think we're really underway. After a minor "whoops" this morning when we thought the timber company had delivered the wrong posts, they're off.

We've set aside a one acre paddock and plan to plant 100 apple trees. The acre will be divided into thirds and each third will accommodate a flock of 40 hens. Each hen pen will be divided into three smaller pens and the hens will spend 20 weeks on each in rotation, thus each pen gets a 40 week break during which it will be limed and reseeded, and possibly grazed by sheep depending on the season and whether we can adequately protect the trees.

The Bothy 10

Monday 24 October, 2011

by Rosemary at 9:44am in Renovation Comments closed

We've had a lot of very nice tradesmen here over the last 18 months. I've become rather fond of some of them. But now I just want them to be finished and go away. John and Linda, and Dan, are blessed with more patience than me, I'm afraid.

At this stage of the work, all the trades have wee bits to do and they are all very dependent on each other. Still, the septic tank is now fully connected and the pump wired but it can't be commissioned until the plumber's finished and the water's on. The sparks were here yesterday, so the wiring is complete - water heaters, shower, cooker, fridge, cooker hood - and the outside lights are up - but again, it can't be commissioned and tested until the water's on for the shower and water heaters. The plumber has promised to be here on Thursday and finish his stuff.

Tidying up for winter

Monday 24 October, 2011

by Rosemary at 9:54am in Smallholding Comments closed

Do you get the urge, as the days shorten, to batten down the hatches? I do.

There are a few jobs still on this year's list wink but the orchard fencing is the last big one. There's a couple of wee bits of fencing left, a couple of gates to be hung and wood to cut but these are either inside jobs or ones that can be done on the good days we get in winter.

A trip to the vet's.

Monday 24 October, 2011

by Rosemary at 6:32pm in Dogs Comments closed

I took Tess and Felix to the vet today.

Felix has an ear infection and a secondary bacterial infection, so had a long acting antibiotic injection and has twice daily ear drops. His cleft palate and cat flu predispose him to these things, wee man. I clipped his claws on Saturday. He sat on my lap, good as gold, and had his pedicure. One claw was digging into the pad, and he didn't like that one being done. I've never had a cat that needed this done, so it was a first for both of us, I think.

The Bothy 11

Tuesday 25 October, 2011

by Rosemary at 6:50pm in Renovation Comments closed

The electricians are finished!

The Bothy 12

Thursday 27 October, 2011

by Rosemary at 8:12pm in Renovation Comments closed

The stonemason is finished too.

Quite a day

Friday 28 October, 2011

by Rosemary at 6:45pm in Cattle Comments closed

Well, it's been quite a day.

John and I were off to Aberdeen this morning at 7.30am to collect Henry, our Shetland steer. He's a six month old castrated bull calf. We were meeting his breeder at the NorthLink ferry port at 9am- she was coming down to pick up cattle arriving from Shetland so Henry came too and transferred with no fuss at all into our trailer.

Henry, Shetland bullockHenry, Shetland steer

It was raining this morning but

Saturday 29 October, 2011

by Rosemary at 8:22am in Growing Comments closed

my seed order arrived yesterday so I was all set to sort through our seed box and finalise the planting plan for next year.

First though, we had to introduce Leo, our Ryeland tup, to his ewes for this year. The whole flock was fluked a few weeks ago, the ewes were dagged last weekend and had their feet trimmed yesterday evening. We shed off the four ewe lambs and put them in Sheepfold yesterday too.

So all that remained this morning was to check Leo's feet ( they were trimmed a couple of weeks ago), slap on the yellow raddle and open the gate. Dickie has been put in with the ewe lambs.

The Bothy 13

Monday 31 October, 2011

by Rosemary at 10:52am in Renovation Comments closed

The plumber's finished so there is now water and flushing toilets.

We had dinner in the Bothy on Saturday and Sunday night because Dan was stripping and sealing our kitchen floor - tressle table and garden chairs but it was great.

John's laying the path; once that's done, Building Standards can inspect and, hopefully, give a temporary habitation certificate.

November grazing

Monday 31 October, 2011

by Rosemary at 10:55am in Grassland management Comments closed

Because I am a bit of a control freak (possibly with a hint of OCD), I like to rotate the grazing on the first of the month. I keep a spreadsheet by month and grazing group, and mark up who was grazing where and when - so moving stock monthly makes that easier. It's also my understanding that, to reduce the worm burden, grass needs to be rested for about three weeks.

So for November, the ewes and tup are in Far Ditch Field (field names are also a "thing" of mine laugh). Leo went out on Saturday 29th October - which is close enough to 1st November - and has served two ewes. Seven to go. They will stay in that field until Leo comes out.

Fencing the orchard 2

Monday 31 October, 2011

by Rosemary at 11:49am in Orchard Comments closed

Dan and John started the orchard fencing "proper" yesterday. They put in half the posts and put up a quarter of the deer netting. Dan will do an article on this, with photos, video and a detailed account of the work. It's a big project for us and a significant and long-term investment. Although lots of pre-planning had been done,  there was quite a lot of modifications being made yesterday. I just kept out of the way smiley.

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