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Wednesday 28 June, 2017

by Rosemary at 9:30am in Smallholding No comments Add your own

Monday 19th June

Hot again, and windy until teatime. Dan’s off to London until tomorrow night, doing proper grown-up work.

Good milking this morning; Blizzard much more settled but with Paul and Gemma on holiday, we have a milk lake.

Pigs are happy about that though.

Tuesday 20th June

Bit cooler this morning but hot again this afternoon. Rain forecast for tomorrow.

John topped another two paddocks this morning – only one to do once the cows come out of it.

I think we might have to move Ace to run with the steers. I don’t really want calves before 1st May next year so I need to make sure he doesn’t serve any of the cows before 22nd July – and there’s no definitive answer to when they’ll come in season post calving, so the safe bet is to remove temptation.

Taking him up there means we need to bring Winnie down here, so I fed her and the steers today.

WinnieWinnie (Rosedean Windward).

She was quite happy to let me give her a good scratch – so I’ll try a halter tomorrow.

Wednesday 21st June

So, it’s the Solstice. Heavy rain, warm and thundery – and now the nights have started drawing in.

I made strawberry jam – it’s tasty but not the best set ever – and Dan bottled the beer.

Had some of the Camembert for lunch – it’s not fully ripened yet but we couldn’t resist, and it’s got a lovely flavour.

Under-ripe camembertYoung Camembert, showing a bit of separation between the rind and the paste.

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Thursday 22nd June

Got a halter on Winnie today; she was a wee bit skittish but I think she’ll be okay on Saturday. She’s pretty greedy so willing to be bribed.

Friday 23rd June

Highland Show today, on the RBST stand. It was dry and warm but windy again.

Great RBST tent again – three breeds of pig (Tamworth, Saddleback and Oxford Sandy and Black), Castlemilk Moorit ewe and lambs, Bagot goats and an Irish Moiled heifer – plus a display of raw fleece.

Attended a ScotGov reception in the evening, representing Smallholding Scotland and made some good contacts.

We’ve got a bumper crop of outdoor strawberries in the veg garden this year, John’s picked pounds every day this week, and we’re making jam and having them poached for breakfast.

Strawberries from the veg gardenToday's strawberries.

Dan made elderflower cordial – he’s been waiting for a warm, sunny day to maximize the pollen and flavour, but it just hasn’t happened so today was the day despite it being a bit overcast and the flowers not being in full bloom.

Elderflower cordialElderflower cordial.

Saturday 24th June

Swapped Winnie and Ace – both were so good at being haltered and loaded.

Put spot-on on the three cows, Ace and the calves. Will do Winnie and the steers next week.

Ace’s turnout with the steers was a bit exciting; Winnie’s with the cows involved some gentle sniffing then grazing.

No sign of Rosie calving yet.

Moved Urquhart and Teddy away from the ewes to Astwood – that’ll be them now until November. Hopefully absence will make the heart grow fonder.

Sunday 25th June

The milking machine wouldn’t work this morning. The pressure hasn’t been just right but this morning there was no suction and no pulsator. Thank goodness for calves. Winnie came in nicely though, although I didn’t put  halter on her.

Dan working on a repair, with help from Tim Gibson, the machine’s supplier.

The calves enjoyed the sunny weather today.

Flat out calvesSunbathing calves.

I cleaned out the three hen houses – they were really dry, so it was dusty but not unpleasant.

Dan strimmed another hen paddock, ready for the end of the month and the hens moving to fresh grass.

In the veg garden, he tied in the espalier pears – so far there looks like a good crop. The four plums / gage trees also look well. We think they are really benefitting from the additional light that they’re getting now that the trees in the hedge have been cut down.

Dan also spent some time cutting back the ivy in the sunken garden. Renovating this area has never made it on to the “To Do” list yet but maybe this year, we’ll be able to do something with it.

Sunken garden clearanceHalf the sunken garden. The ivy makes the walls.

With the ivy trimmed and the old water tank out, it looks much, much bigger. There are tentative plans for a clay oven, first we need to get it cleared completely and assess the space.

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