Diary

August 2011RSS feed

Disappointment :-(

Wednesday 3 August, 2011

by Rosemary at 2:08pm in Cattle 2 comments Comments closed

The vet's just been to scan our two Shetland heifers and neither is in calf. We're so disappointed. We were pretty sure Blizzard wasn't but thought Breeze was - but no.

Just off to order more semen - they should come back into season next week, so we'll try again. I think I'm going to use Hengae Fearsome for one and select a different bull for the other - so as not to put all our eggs in one basket.

The vet says both heifers are fine as far as an internal exam can tell - all the bits in the right place and so on, and they are in good condition, so hopefully all will be well this time.

Poultry update

Wednesday 3 August, 2011

by Rosemary at 2:12pm in Poultry 3 comments Comments closed

Just a quick update on our poultry - there have been a few things happen over the last few weeks that I just haven't had time to share.

We've lost about five of the old laying flock that we brought from Alloa last summer. None have shown any sign of disease so I'm putting it down to old age. We have had one live to eight years and one to six years, but I think these are exceptions. There are basically three groups - aged 3 years, 2 years and last year's lot. The deaths have been mainly in the three year old Black Rocks and the two year old Warrens. Touch wood, we've never gone this long without a fox or dog attack, so I'm not sure what the "norm" is.

Kit

Thursday 4 August, 2011

by Rosemary at 8:31am in Renovation 2 comments Comments closed

The kit frame for John and Linda's house is delivered today and the joiner starts this evening. Weather permitting, he's hoping to have it up by Monday. Exciting!

Free range Hubbards

Tuesday 9 August, 2011

by Rosemary at 12:21pm in Poultry Comments closed

Our Hubbards are now six weeks old and changing on to grower pellets. They are now also in the big run. We moved them yesterday and this morning, they made themselves a little dust bath. They are really funny - the extra space seems to freak them a bit and there's lots of stand-offs and chasing around. When they run, the Earth trembles - it's like Jurassic Park :-)

They were cleaned out this morning and got a new, huge drinker - they do drink a lot.

It may be counter-intuitive, but the better I look after them, the happier I am eating them.

Blizzard's done

Thursday 11 August, 2011

by Rosemary at 4:44pm in Cattle Comments closed

Blizzard was in season today (9th August), so she's been AI'd with Hengae Fearsome again. The AI technician suggested that one would be enough, as she's well in season and this time it's a natural one. That leaves me a straw in store in case she doesn't hold this time.

I'm expecting Breeze to come into season next week - fingers crossed.

Barn wall

Thursday 11 August, 2011

by Rosemary at 4:47pm in Renovation Comments closed

Steve, the brickie, has been here today. The ground was too wet for him to work on the house, so he's doing the bottom two courses in the barn. This will set the levels, then Dan and John will do the rest to about 1.2 metres. Having the first two courses in also means that we can get the drain in and the concrete poured, so we'll have an area under cover for winter.

Because it will be used for lambing, we put the hurdles into place the lambing pens - Steve can now put the wall in exactly the right place to accommodate three pens across. Before the floor is poured, we'll set some metal tubing where the legs of the hurdles will go, so that they are secure. Trying to push them into concrete ain't going to work :-). A bit more progress today.

Peas and pickling

Thursday 11 August, 2011

by Rosemary at 4:56pm in Anything goes 1 comment Comments closed

I thinned the beetroot yesterday, roasted it in its skin and peeled it today for pickling in red wine vinegar and spices. I also picked some peas for freezing, so I'm getting through the list Dan made for me.

Off to walk the dogs now - it's not on the list but needs doing anyway and I'd rather go while the sun is out.

Kinross Show

Saturday 13 August, 2011

by Rosemary at 5:12pm in Anything goes 2 comments Comments closed

I've just returned from a nice afternoon at Kinross Show with Central Scotland Smallholders' Association. We try and attend a couple of shows a year to recruit new members. The weather was kind - apart from a couple of showers, it stayed fine. We had some silkies and a couple of ferrets (in separate cages) that drew folk in. I think a few folk signed up, which is good.

On my return, I found that Dan and John had hung the new gate at the north entrance - it's a nice wooden one to replace the metal barrier. Now we need a pedestrian gate to complete it. And the joiners have been busy - the roof is felted and two walls are clad with insulation. More progress :-)

Breeze is done too.

Monday 15 August, 2011

by Rosemary at 1:04pm in Cattle 4 comments Comments closed

Breeze was AI'd for the second time today. She was bawling and restless yesterday, and the technician confirmed that she was well in season. This time we've used Stanemore Odin.

So we'll be watching Blizzard and Breeze carefully on the 30th August and 5th September, respectively, to see if they come back in season. If they hold to these services, they will calve on 19th and 26th May next year (or thereabouts).

I'm trying to be cool this time but I'm really excited.

A Little Piece of England: A Tale of Self Sufficiency

Wednesday 17 August, 2011

by John Jackson at 5:00pm in Anything goes 0 comments Add your own

Rearing sheep

A Little Piece of England was first published under the title A Bucket of Nuts and a Herring Net. The nuts were pony nuts and the herring net was what we trapped our small flock of sheep in. We did not have a sheep dog and when we wanted to catch the flock up for inspection, foot trimming or spraying against 'strike' (blow flies laying their eggs in the fleece), Sue, my elder daughter, and I would enter the field together suitably armed.

Sue rattled a plastic bucket half filled with pony nuts and when the sheep, some twenty of them, were gathered round her I would cast a length of herring net I had concealed behind my back over the lot of them. All that was then left to do was to extricate Sue from the flock and deal with the surprisingly docile animals one by one.

The Bothy

Sunday 21 August, 2011

by Rosemary at 10:02am in Renovation Comments closed

The new Dalmore Bothy (so called 'cos it's on the site of the old one) is coming on a treat. Starting at the top, the back face of the roof is slated; the front side will be done this week. The plumber and the sparks have completed their first fixes. The back wall is completely blocked; the two side walls and the front wall are blocked to head height; the brickie's not here this coming week.

The windows are in - they are lovely - white, four panes to match the ones in the original house. The chippie was putting the floor down this morning, but he was only here for a wee while as he's going off to watch his wee lad playing rugby.

Checking chickens

Sunday 21 August, 2011

by Rosemary at 10:07am in Poultry Comments closed

It's been a chicken checking morning. We've been checking each chicken for lice, dusting them with louse powder and painting their legs with surgical spirit, for scaly leg mite. It's funny how some have no lice at all and a few carry a heavy burden - don't know if some are better at grooming themselves than others or if their feathers are different. There was no real difference between the BR and the Warrens, but we found our RIR, when we had them, were really bad.

They're starting to moult now - some look a bit dismal, poor things.

Taking time out

Monday 22 August, 2011

by Rosemary at 11:56am in Anything goes 1 comment Comments closed

Since moving here in May 2010, we've been kept pretty busy. As well as the routine jobs in the garden, the house and with the livestock, we've been doing a lot of development - renovated one house, building another, constructing a vegetable garden and a fruit garden, fancing and draining plus a myriad of other small but important jobs. The planning also takes a lot of time - and even though it's not physically demanding, it can be hardwork. Sometimes, we can all get a bit frazzled. I'm probably worst of all at taking time out - eventually, I run into a metaphorical wall, have a hissy fit and sleep for twelve hours :-)

The Bothy 2

Thursday 25 August, 2011

by Rosemary at 11:12am in Renovation Comments closed

The roofers are here today finishing the slating on the roof. The floor is down, too. We got a huge delivery of insulation and plasterboard this morning. The chippies will be here tomorrow and over the weekend - if they are both here and crack on, we should see a big difference by Sunday evening.

Vegetable garden

Thursday 25 August, 2011

by Rosemary at 11:17am in Growing Comments closed

This time last year, the 3/4 acre paddock that is now the vegetable garden was grass. Since then, we've put on new gates, tidied up the fence, built five 1.2m x 18m raised beds, four compost bays and two bays for leaf mould. It's also become the site for the temporary pen for the meat chickens.

Vegetable garden Spetember 2011Vegetable garden September 2011

Planting plan 2012

Thursday 25 August, 2011

by Rosemary at 11:30am in Growing Comments closed

Even though this season's not yet over, I've started drafting our planting plan for the vegetable garden for 2012, based on what we've learned this year.

We won't be growing onions. We'll do garlic and shallots, but onions take up so much room for a crop that we could buy, organic, for a few pounds. Next year, we'll do more peas and carrots. We'll also drop sweetcorn from the outdoor beds; we'll have a better chance of a good crop in the polytunnel.

New TAS website

Saturday 27 August, 2011

by Rosemary at 9:51am in TAS Website Comments closed

Well, after two years, the new TAS website is almost ready to launch. Dan's set aside this week to work on it and I'll be helping (so that should delay things a bit :-)). Fingers crossed for next weekend - 4th / 5th September.

He's out fencing this morning - just off to take him a flask of tea and some biccies.

Third time lucky?

Sunday 28 August, 2011

by Rosemary at 2:11pm in Cattle 1 comment Comments closed

Just had Blizzard AI'd for the third time. I can now sympathise with women who are trying for a baby - the hope of thinking "this time" and the despondency when it turns out "not this time".

I am now confident that Breeze will come back into season next week. She'll get a third AI, because I've got semen left, but I'm trying through SCBA to hire a bull.

They can have two more goes, then we'll leave it until next year - another two cycles will take us to July calving and I don't want to have calves too late in the year, especially since they have been up to their knees in grass all spring.

The Bothy 3

Sunday 28 August, 2011

by Rosemary at 2:16pm in Renovation Comments closed

The tension is rising! Chippies have the internal room partitions up and will finish the windows tomorrow. Sparks back on Wednesday then the chippies will finish the internal walls. The brickie shoudl be here tomorrow - a couple of days will see him finished.

Bothy in progressBothy in progress

Then it's the plasterer - so getting close to being finished. Oh, except the drains - they're not quite done yet:-) so it's a new house with a PortaPotty.

Fruit garden - more progress

Wednesday 31 August, 2011

by Rosemary at 9:36am in Growing 2 comments Comments closed

I've been working in the fruit garden this week. I'm not very quick but I get there eventually. It's hard being the weaker sex.

We've already got some raspberries planted - Joan J (a late), Glen Moy (extra early) and Glen Ample (a mid season). Some of the Glen Ample didn't take, so I'll be topping that row up with some additional canes. Clearing up empty plant pots and moving the rhubarb to the vegetable garden has given me room for two more rows so I've ordered Malling Jewel and Autumn Bliss.

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