Diary

September 2011RSS feed

Our first honey

Wednesday 7 September, 2011

by Rosemary at 9:50am in Bees 2 comments Comments closed

We are beginner beekeepers - John, my father-in-law, is the main man. We bought one complete hive a few months ago and they seem to be doing well. There seems to be lots of forage around - our ivy is just coming into flower - and John's had to add a couple of supers (they are the bits of the hive where the honey is made and stored).

Collafirth Viking

Wednesday 7 September, 2011

by Rosemary at 9:54am in Cattle Comments closed

Monday 5th September was 21days from Breeze's last AI. Her last cycle was 23 days, so my fingers are still crossed, but she is quiet so far.

Through the SCBA, I have the opportunity to take them both to another member to run with a young bull called Collafirth Viking. Our girls will be going up at the end of the week to run with him for 4 weeks or so. Blizzard, if she hasn't held to 2nd AI, will come back into heat around the 15th / 16th / 17th September.

He's such a handsome fellow, I almost hope she gets in calf to him - but simply a calf would be good.

The Bothy 4

Wednesday 7 September, 2011

by Rosemary at 9:58am in Renovation Comments closed

The brickie is now finished. The plasterer has started and will take about ten days - then the sparks, plumber, chippies, tiler will be back en masse to get the inside finished.

John's preparing to stain the external roof timbers and get the rainwater system up. The chap doing the septic tank has promised "not to let us down", which is good, since he's also pouring the concrete floor in the barn and laying hardstanding at the gate to the Triangle.

The kitchen's being delivered on 1st October so, all things being equal, John and Linda should be moved in early in October.

Sex tourism

Saturday 10 September, 2011

by Rosemary at 7:20pm in Cattle Comments closed

Ha, made you look:-)

Our two heifers are "on holiday" for the next few weeks at CorrieDhu's place, where they will be snuggled up to Collafirth Viking. Actually, I'm pretty sure Breeze is in calf, so she's only gone for the run out. Blizzard will be 21 days past her last AI on Saturday 17th, so if she's not held, hopefully Viking will do his stuff.

Collafirth VikingCollarfirth Viking

The Bothy 5

Tuesday 13 September, 2011

by Rosemary at 3:27pm in Renovation Comments closed

Looks like the Somme here today. The chaps doing the drains and putting in the septic tank are here - the tank itself goes in tomorrow. We're connecting our house to the new tank as well; only the outside WC will go into th old tank.

The plasterers are almost finished and Tony is coming to put in the shower tray tonight; the tiler's coming in the morning for a look and the sparks are back tomorrow or Thursday. If the plasterers finish tomorrow, as expected, the joiners will be back at the weekend to put on internal doors, skirtings, architraves.

Rooster

Tuesday 13 September, 2011

by Rosemary at 3:27pm in Growing Comments closed

We lifted our Rooster potatoes yesterday. On the positive side, they are clean and blight free, but we're not going to get a contact with Albert Bartlett based on these yields.

The bed they were in was pretty poor - the soil is, well, sand and we didn't really weed it so it's full of couch grass. There's also a bit of a pan under the soil / sand we added to fill the raised bed. Other than that, it's great :-0

We've still got Druid and Desiree to lift, but I'm not holding out a great deal of hope for a potato-buying free winter.

Hurricane Katia

Tuesday 13 September, 2011

by Rosemary at 3:56pm in Anything goes Comments closed

Well, the forecasters were right - it's been pretty windy. I think we've had it OK, in comparison to many. We've not had much rain and the winds haven't been damaging, so far.

I was surprised and pleased, though, when I was in the vegetable garden last night and noticed that the beech hedge was doing a great job filtering the wind - the runner beans and the sunflowers, at over 8ft tall, were barely moving.

Bodes well for our plum, pear and gage trees, I think.

The Bothy 6

Friday 16 September, 2011

by Rosemary at 2:25pm in Renovation 2 comments Comments closed

The drains, the electricity supply and the septic tank have been going in this week, so the place looks a bit like the Somme with all the heavy machinery that's been in and out. Fortunately, the weather's been dry.

Bothy, 16-09-2011Bothy, 16th September 2011

The septic tank gave a bit of concern. John thought it was the wrong one after checking the label; Scott, the contractor, said it measured the same as the one on the drawings. Turned out that the manufacturer only has one label so they put it on all the models - work that one out :-)

Calves?

Saturday 17 September, 2011

by Rosemary at 2:45pm in Cattle 2 comments Comments closed

Well, it looks like (touch wood) our two heifers are in calf. Breeze was AI'd on 15th August with Stanemore Odin; 21 days was 5th September and she's showed no sign of bulling again. Blizzard was AI'd on 28th August with Hengae Fearsome; 21 days was yesterday and, as far as I know (they're running with the bull now), she's not come back into season either.

IF they are in calf, Breeze is due 25th May and Blizzard on 7th June.

Now I have to decide when to bring them home. Do I leave them with the bull for another full cycle for Blizzard, which takes us to 9th October, bring them home after Breeze has the opportunity to come into season with the bull, which takes us to about 1st October or do I trust that I haven't missed Breeze on 5th September and Viking hasn't missed Blizzard this weekend and bring them home at the end of the week. Answers on a postcard wink

Druid

Saturday 17 September, 2011

by Rosemary at 3:00pm in Growing Comments closed

Dan lifted our crop of Druid potatoes today. Although the yield isn't high, the quality is very good with no blight damage and only one potato with scab. This puts it on the list for next year.

Worming sheep

Saturday 17 September, 2011

by Rosemary at 3:01pm in Sheep Comments closed

We weaned the ewe lambs on 4th September, amid a bit of baaing. Kept in the paddock next to their mums, they all settled down. Because we have small numbers, running lots of little groups of sheep is difficult to manage, so on the 15th, we put the ewe lambs back in with their mothers. I was a wee bit anxious and hoped that a) the lambs had "grown up" and b) the ewes' milk would have dried up. Anyway, they're fine - the lambs didn't try to suckle at all.

All thirteen of these females will now run as a group "forever", apart from the six weeks or so when Leo is in with the ewes and gimmers. Over this period, the four ewe lambs will be elsewhere with Uncle Dickie.

Patience is a virtue

Monday 19 September, 2011

by Rosemary at 6:54pm in Cattle Comments closed

Just when I thought they were in calf.... Blizzard has come into season and has had a high old time with Viking. So back to the calendar.

Viking doing his stuffViking on Blizzard

I'm going to bring them home on the 14th October. By that time, both will have had another cycle while running with the bull. If they aren't in calf by then, I'll leave it until next year. I don't really want autumn born calves.

Fat cow

Thursday 22 September, 2011

by Rosemary at 7:31pm in Cattle 1 comment Comments closed

OK, OK - I admit it - my cows are fat. On Dalmore's good grass, Breeze and Blizzard have become a little beefy. They are square built but they are also carrying a bit too much condition. However, Viking seems to like a big girl, so hopefully, he's done his job.

I am writing no more about the cows now until they are confirmed in calf - the "is she, isn't she" saga is wearing me out and probably boring you to death, so no more until we have something positive to tell you.

Market gardening

Thursday 22 September, 2011

by Rosemary at 7:41pm in Growing Comments closed

We've got quite a big area for growing fruit and vegetables - it's not commercial sized, but quite big. Our primary objective is to grow fruit and vegetables for ourselves but somewhere along the line the idea of selling surplus at the road end crept in and seemed to be taking on a life of its own. Farm shops were mentioned!

Over the last few days, we've had a review and decided to stick to our original plan of growing for ourselves. To be honest, I'm not a great gardener - I prefer the livestock - but I'm quite happy pottering and planning in the garden for us but I'm certainly not a market gardener and have no wish to be.

More fencing

Sunday 25 September, 2011

by Rosemary at 3:06pm in Fencing Comments closed

Since we moved here, we've had to do quite a lot of fencing - some new, to make small paddocks and some to replace existing fence that's past it's best before date.

This weekend, Dan and John started on a 50m or so stretch in the Near Ditch paddock. This is where the old muck heaps were and where the caravan and the new septic tank are. The muck heaps were removed when the tank was put in, so the new fence will form part of the boundary of John and Linda's garden. We're also fencing round the septic tank to keep livestock off it.

Orchard and hens

Sunday 25 September, 2011

by Rosemary at 3:19pm in Poultry 2 comments Comments closed

I read somewhere in a breed description of the Black Rock hen that she's "a great forager". If that means it's hard to keep her behind a fence, then it's very true. Our's are all over the place - a nice couple on bikes came in today to tell me one was over the other side of the road - actually, that was either Ada or Olive, one of the White Leghorns, but there was  Black Rock walking along the pavement as well. Worse still, they are laying all over the place.

The Bothy 7

Monday 26 September, 2011

by Rosemary at 8:52pm in Renovation Comments closed

The Bothy now has a proper electricity supply and a working septic tank. Oh, and wall lights. The stone mason has started in the stone front - it's looking good. Only problem is the absence of the tiler - and that's holding things up. Until he tiles the bathroom and the wc floor, the plumber can't put in the sanitary ware and the joiner can't finish the skirtings until the floor is down in the wc and utility.

Oh, and Steve the brickie has been here today building the walls in the barn.

Beef

Thursday 29 September, 2011

by Rosemary at 7:32pm in Cattle Comments closed

We've been given the opportunity to buy a castrated Shetland bull calf so we've decided to take it. This means we get prime beef for the freezer a year earlier than we had planned. Actually, two years earlier, because the breeder has a steer going for slaughter this month and we're buying some of that.

We asked for a rib roast for our Solstice dinner but because the beast is over thirty months, she thinks that all bones will have to be removed, despite the fact that he came from Shetland and has only been on her farm. Hey ho, rules is rules, I suppose, but Tess, Meg and Fillan will be disappointed.

The Bothy 8

Thursday 29 September, 2011

by Rosemary at 7:37pm in Renovation 1 comment Comments closed

The stonemason is working away on the front face of the Bothy, despite the soaring heat. Can you believe it's the end of September?

Bothy stoneworkBothy stonework in progress

The kitchen was delivered this evening - it comes ready built, so we could see it in situ right away. It's from Pineland, where we bought ours. It looks great and John and Linda are really pleased with it.

Barn enclosure

Thursday 29 September, 2011

by Rosemary at 7:42pm in Smallholding 1 comment Comments closed

The walls of the 1/4 of the barn we're enclosing are complete. We're very pleased with the result.

Barn enclosureBarn enclosure

Before the first course of the wall was built, we sized it to take 2x4ft hurdles and one 6ft hurdle neatly. Before the concrete floor was poured, we put in blocks of Kingspan about the size of the feet of the hurdles; now that the floor is set and the walls up, we've dug out the Kingspan and the hurdles now fit quite securely in the holes.

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