Sunday 19 January, 2014
I've always intended that the smallholding be at least self-financing in revenue terms. We've been happy to invest in capital items such as fencing and equipment durng the establishment of the smallholding but we're now hoping that it can support itself and even return a small profit.
Although I keep records of income and expenditure for the business overall, I've never looked at each enterprise to see how it performs. But 2014 is going to be the year of the "improved management information". I've ordered a proper calculator - not on my phone or computer, but a "proper" desk one - and I've got all the invoices out for 2012/13 and since it's a miserable day, I'me going to spend the afternoon working through them.
Tuesday 24 December, 2013
We've had some strong and gusty winds and some rain here, but thankfully, we've escaped the worst of the weather so far.
The cows and calves are now housed here at Dalmore and the bull and bullock are at Astwood in the wood and the paddock beside it. There's still a bit of grass but we'll start feeding them a bit of hay after Christmas. They have a molassed lick too.
The cows are on a mix of hay and straw with a a molassed lick and have settled in fine. Blizzard (boss cow), her 2012 heifer, Annie, and her bullock from this year, Charlie, feed together - as do Breeze and Bonny. The straw is ad-lib, so they just pick away at it and I top it up with some hay twice a day. Blizzard and her two are first at the barrier and Breeze and Bonny aren't allowed in until they are finished, so I give Breeze and Bonny their own hay. Seems to work fine.
Tuesday 26 June, 2012
Since it was a lovely day here (until 7pm when it started to rain heavily), I planned to get a few jobs done outside.
First was mucking out the field shelter. Now, I've been putting this off 'cos it's not a nice job. The cattle were fed in there over winter, so there is a thick layer of wet, shitty hay lying. It will make great manure in due course but at the moment it's no nice . I took the box trailer round two weeks ago too, but I could put it off no longer. I went to get my nice blue graip... but it was nowhere to be found. I looked in all the usual places and some not so usual, but no sign. So off I went with an old graip, with a rough wooden handle and bent tines. An hour and a blister later, I was fed-up.
Friday 9 April, 2010
It was heartbreaking to read in today's "Scottish Farmer" about the losses suffered by some Scottish sheep farmers due to the terrible weather. One farmer had lost between 150 and 200 lambs, all his Bluefaced Leicester tups and ten feeding sheep. Another experienced a snowfall of 21 inches in 24 hours, followed by flooding and three days without power. Many expressed concern about the condition of hill ewes, which will lamb in a couple of weeks.
It's sometimes easy, in the warmth of the supermarket, to forget how hard our farmers work, especially when the weather is so difficult and unpredictable. I, for one, take my hat off to them.
Sunday 22 June, 2008
If you register as an agricultural holding, which you must do if you are going to keep livestock (pigs, sheep, cattle) or claim rural payments, you will get a CPH number (County Parish Holding). As well as allowing you to keep the aforementioned livestock and claim the dosh, it also presents you with the opportunity to contribute to the annual Agricultural and Horticultural Census.
Actually, under the 1947 Agriculture Act, you must complete and return the census form. Failure to do so may result in a fine of up to £1,000. Penalties are also prescribed for "knowingly or recklessly furnishing false information". You can bet ours was completed in time, with no false information, furnished knowingly or recklessly!
Sunday 16 March, 2008
Forth Valley and West Fife Smallholders' Association had its first farm visit today. I think it would be judged a success!
We visited Mid Torrie Farm, near Callander, which is home to Bernard and Hilary Barker and their fold of Highland cattle. Eight of us went along; the weather was lovely and the hosts generous with their time, expertise and excellent meat pies!
A full report, with photos, will appear on the Association's website www.smallholders.info shortly.
Tuesday 9 October, 2007
Dan and I were up in Aberdeenshire this weekend, tentatively looking at property. We'd like some more land and there's not much around here, so we thought we'd look North East. It was very nice and there were lots of suitable properties but it's not home. I'm not sure I'll ever leave Clackmannanshire.
Anyway, while we were there, we visited Huntly, which is a nice town with a lovely square (and a nice tea shop called "The Merry Kettle", if you ever visit). The local Farmers' Market was on and, although small, it had some good stuff including two stall selling local, farm produced butter, cheese and yogurt. We bought some butter (unpasteurised and unsalted), soft cheese and drinking yogurt. It's all lovely!
Monday 25 June, 2007
Dan and I had a day at the Royal Highland Show on Saturday. It was wet, but OK if you were prepared, as we were. Sun hats weren't selling well, but waterproofs were. I predicted at 9am, as the rain teemed down, that the sun would be out by lunchtime. It came out at 2pm - so I wasn't far wrong. As we left at back of 5, the heavens opened again though.
The poultry marquee was abit disappointing. There was no poultry equipment for sale and nothing really to promote smallscale poultry keeping. Although tere were some interesting birds, there was almost no information about them, not even the breed. So for the inetersted lay person, it was a bit of a letdown (IMHO).
Sunday 10 June, 2007
Lorna and I paid a visit to Stirling Show on Saturday. The weather was pleasant, so we had icecream and looked at all the exhibits, including the vintage tractors, Clydesdale horses, beef cattle and sheep. There were lots of horse classes, and a few competitors that I knew from my previous livery yard, so it was nice to catch up with them.
I almost bought two rain hats and a deerskin, but the stallholder didn't take either credit or debit cards, which I found a bit bizarre in this day and age.
Friday 8 June, 2007
Stirling Show's on tomorrow. It's not very well publicesed - I didn't see it in the Scottish Farmer today and there's nothing on the web that I can see either.
Anyway, I THINK it's beside the A907 between Tullibody and Manor Powis - it's had so many sites in the last few years, I can't keep up. There will be all the usual livestock classes, horses, ponies, dog show etc etc.
I think the weather forecast is good, so if you're at a loose end, go along. Just don't say I sent you!
It's also Stirling Farmers' Market in town, so two outings for the price of one.