Saturday 31 December, 2016
Monday 19th December
I’ve started feeding a bit of sugar beet to the four steers at Astwood; they need to get a pour-on internal / external parasite treatment applied, so I need them to stand still for a few minutes while is do it – and sugar beet is the bribe.
Robbie and Fraser haven’t been fed since Mak and Hamish went, so it must have been a real treat for them to be “top dogs” for a change.
Paulo and Pedro were a wee bit interested in the buckets but they’ll some be chomping away too.
Tuesday 20th December
Horrid weather today – grey, colder than it’s been at 3ºC, windy and now wet.
Went out this morning to find Rosie loose in the barn and Annie in Rosie’s pen. This is when you’re glad you spent time halter training them. Tied Rosie up to one of the horse rings, walked Annie back to the barn, where she should be. John came out and did some repairs.
I’ve decided I want to make some improvements for next winter and I’m hoping to get some financial support from the Small Farm Grant Scheme – although with an application failure rate of over 50%, I’m not feeling too optimistic about my chances.
Dan’s curling tonight so I’ve been wrapping presents. All done now. Bring it on.
Wednesday 21st December
Happy Solstice! Cold, blustery, showery – not nice.
Gave the three cows their fluke and worm drench – in their feed. So much easier than drenching and MUCH less messy!
We use Albex 10% at the fluke rate; it’s one of the few flukicides that can be used on milking cows. Winnie and Ace got their Closamectin pour-on applied.
Dan went for four bales of hay this morning and fed the steers at Astwood. He thinks Paulo looks thin – I’ll have a better look tomorrow. TBH Ace is a bit bony – I think he’s having a growth spurt.
My new copy of the Farm Management Handbook arrived today.
Thursday 22nd December
Dan and I were at the special Christmas Farmers’ Market in Forfar today. It was 2pm until 8pm and was probably 2 hours too long. It was busy from 2pm until 4pm then died away – after 6pm it was dead. Still we had a reasonable day – sold two sheepskins and some yarn, but the best thing was that four knitting groups approached us to ask if we hosted tours. So we’re now determined to get the workshop fitted out in the New Year.
Gave Urquhart his wormer and flukicide today – this is the end of his three-week quarantine and he seems just fine, so he’ll get out in the next couple of days.
Finally got round to culling the old flock of hens; it should have been done a couple of months ago but the bird flu issue made it essential. There were only 15 hens left, plus he culled Jimmy the cockerel, since he was surplus and was the least nice of our three.
Dan took the breasts and legs off and put the through the meat grinder.
We got 17 400g meals for the dogs.
Friday 23rd December
Horrible day today – mild, overcast, wet and windy. Thankfully, we seem to be missing the worst of Storm Barbara – long may that continue.
The hens in the byre seem to be quite settled – they’re certainly laying well.
I’m a bit more concerned about the ones in the caravan – there are 23 from the 2015 pullets plus Nugget. The ventilation isn’t great so Dan’s made a mesh door to go inside the proper door and a small run to go on the pophole; this gives them access to underneath the caravan, where they like to dust bathe. It also improves the light and the ventilation tremendously.
Saturday 24th December
Wet and windy overnight but woke to blue skies, cold and breezy.
Sunday 25th December
Well, it’s far from being a white Christmas; the weather is pretty dismal but all the animals have had a treat – carrots for the cows, sunflower seeds for the hens and beer for the ponies.