Diary

November 2011RSS feed

First frost

Saturday 5 November, 2011

by Rosemary at 8:51am in Smallholding 1 comment Comments closed

We've had our first frost this morning. It's a beautiful day - clear blue sky and bright sunshine, but cold, so I had to root out the wooly hats and gloves.

I've given the ewe lambs some hay this morning. The paddock they are on resembles a bowling green, since the ponies have been on it all summer. The hay rack has a lid so the hay won't spoil and they can pick away at it if they want to. They also have a molassed lick and they're getting a handful of sheep nuts late afternoon. The feed is really to get them used to coming to a bucket.

All done

Saturday 12 November, 2011

by Rosemary at 8:58pm in Smallholding Comments closed

It's been an unseasonably warm week - but I'm not complaining. The grass is still growing and it hasn't been too wet, and that suits me just fine.

Leo has now served his nine ewes. We changed the raddle from yellow to green today and we'll be looking for green bums for the next couple of weeks - hopefully, there won't be any and he can go back into the orchard with Dickie at the end of the month. Leo's such a docile big boy - I just slapped the raddle on in the field, while Dan held his head (I'm not sure that was really needed though).

Lambs away

Monday 14 November, 2011

by Rosemary at 7:30am in Sheep 2 comments Comments closed

Well, that's Dan off to the abattoir with the five tup lambs. Will I ever stop getting a twinge the morning they go? I've been awake since 5am.

This was the best loading we've done - because they loaded themselves. Yesterday at 4pm, Dan reversed the trailer close to the field gate; after dropping the ramp and opening the trailer gates, we built a little pen from the back of the trailer to the field gate itself and called the lambs in. When we cosed the field gate behind them, they were enclosed in a small pen comprising the open trailer and  maybe a couple of square metres of grass. The trailer was straw bedded and they had a bucket of water. We left them there overnight.

November bird ringing

Monday 14 November, 2011

by Rosemary at 8:46am in Wildlife 2 comments Comments closed

Peter, from the British Trust for Ornithology (and Barry Mill), was here yesterday doing the last bird ringing of the year. Our sparrow breeding programme has obviously been successful laugh as he had to release some birds without recording, because he ran out of bags.

Yesterday's tally was 59 new birds and 7 retrapped ones. Of the 59 new birds, 40 were house sparrows, 7 Great Tits, 3 Blackbirds, 3 Blue Tits, 3 Coal Tits, 1 Wren, 1 Dunnock and, the highlight, a juvenile male Great Spotted Woodpecker. What a handsome chap he was.

Cattle drive

Sunday 20 November, 2011

by Rosemary at 10:04am in Cattle 2 comments Comments closed

We moved Breeze, Blizzard and Henry into a fresh field on Friday. This was the first time we'd moved Henry anywhere.

What a laugh - the girls went on their halters and Henry followed - at a gallop. There was straw lying in the gateway of the field he was leaving and he "couldn't" get over it - except with a huge jump. That made him tear excitedly round the next paddock. Then he lost sight of Breeze and Blizzard, which set him off bawling, so Bliz and I had to go back and pick him up.

Green bums

Sunday 20 November, 2011

by Rosemary at 10:07am in Sheep Comments closed

Nellie and Jura have green bums. We changed Leo's raddle last weekend to green, hoping we wouldn't see it used. TBH, there was a question mark against Nellie - although she was very faintly yellow, I wasn't sure she'd been tupped. She's now very, very green, so I've no doubt he's well and truly caught her this time.

Jura is always last; she did have a yellow bum, but in the three years she's lambed previously, she's always been last, sometimes by 10 days or so.

Apple trees

Tuesday 22 November, 2011

by Rosemary at 5:21pm in Orchard 3 comments Comments closed

Dan's finally ordered the first batch of apple trees for the orchard - 69 of them. They are a mixture of dessert and cookers, about 12 varieties, I think. They are all early fruiters, since they will be at the far end of the orchard. The next block will be mid season and the third block, late fruiters.

Rabbit guards and tree ties also ordered - stakes will come from Coventry Fencing, since they are the best price we've found.

All we need to know now is when they are coming so that we can set aside time to plant them.

Storing carrots

Monday 28 November, 2011

by Rosemary at 7:43pm in Growing Comments closed

It's been a lovely day here today - I even managed to get two loads of washing dried outside - so I spent some time in the vegetable garden. My job for today was to lift the remaining carrots.

Even though we hadn't thinned them much, we still had a really good crop. Dan has stored them in sand in trugs, in the workshop where it's cool, dry and dark.

Storing carrotsStoring carrots in sand

Lamb carcases

Monday 28 November, 2011

by Rosemary at 7:52pm in Sheep 5 comments Comments closed

I drove down to St Andrew's last week to have a look at our lamb carcases before they were butchered. I thought they looked pretty good compared to the others in the chill.

Ryeland lamb carcasesRyeland lamb carcases

There was the most enormous cattle beast - it looked like a whale. A half weighed 208kg, so the live animal was probably in the region of 700kg. There were some huge turkeys too - 17 and 19kg. I don't think they would fit in our oven surprise

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