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Posted: Monday 6 September, 2021

by Rosemary at 12:10pm in Smallholding Comments closed

Monday 30th August

It was a sad day today as we said goodbye to our bull, Ace. It’s never easy but there are animals I’ve been far happier to see go than this big boy. I guess that’s farming though. I hope he’s got Rosie in calf.

Pottered about in the garden and potted up the wallflowers that came at the weekend. The containers they’re going in are still full of dahlias and scabious.

Lit the stove for the first time this autumn - it's a kind of comfort thing.

stoveWinter is coming!

The King is dead; long live the King.

GreyOur new bull, Hartons Grey on the right; Hartons Bilbo on the left, who is going to Ruth Dalton, Whinpot herd.

Tuesday 31st August

Had a bit of a day off today. The vet’s coming back to Blizzard, who is slightly lame, and Rosie, who is hopping again, tomorrow. This is daein’ ma heid in. Baby (Rosedean Bora) and (Rosedean) Bronte areso firmly bonded.

calvesl to r Bronte and Baby.

Finally had a walk across Laing’s Field; I still don’t know what’s happening with this. We were told when we first started renting it that we’d have it as long as we wanted. Now, there’s a new housing development outside the town and there’s tonnes of top soil to lose, so we were told it was going to be spread on our field. Then the prospect of drainage was mooted but now it seems the spreading is going to start in 3-4 weeks. I don’t know how much will be covered – but obviously it’s not going to be any good for grazing any time soon. It needs topped and the ragwort should be pulled but it will be hours of work and I’m not minded to do it if we’re not going to have it next year. Our lease is up 31st October, so I’m minded to move cows and sheep on to it for the remaining two months and sod it.

We had our first Blaze squash today in a chilli. It was pretty good. I think I should probably lift and store the rest but I’m going to try selling some here and I’ve contacted a local deli / greengrocer to see if they want to buy some.

We got the weight for the bull back – 648kg deadweight – with a note saying they had trouble lifting the carcass because he was so big. I have reassured them that it was a one off. If we get 70% yield from the carcass, that’s 450kg of beef. Feeling a bit stressed – mainly because I don’t know what it will be like, quality wise.

Bloody fox has been trying to get at the hens again. We need to get Robbie back.

Wednesday 1st September

Spent the morning painting the brown hen house, which is now green. Still got the green one to do. The one I did today would benefit form a second coat, but I’ll get the two first coats on first.


henhouseAnd after. The top of the nest boxes will need replaced before winter.

The vet came out this afternoon to have another look at Blizzard and Rosie. He says both are healing but he’s nailed blocks on both cows to take the weight off the painful cleat. It’s killing me seeing Rosie so uncomfortable. More pragmatically, it means I can’t enter her for the online breed sale, firstly because she’s lame and secondly because I’m not sure she’s back in calf. Best laid plans and all that. On the plus side. Rora was very good on her halter.

RoraRora (Rosedean Aurora) is such a good girl.


Dead hen this morning, so Dan was out reinforcing the fence with chicken wire. Fox got in on the boundary with the pig pen, so we think we have to go back to a previous plan to reduce the size of the pig pen, putting a buffer area between the pigs and the hens and planting it with trees.

Thursday 2nd September

Rosie still lame but sheep and cattle are out in Laing’s Field. Apart from young Bean and his chum, who are still in beside the caravan. I’ll let them into Home tomorrow.

Friday 3rd September

Had a prospective new livery down to view today.

I gave the cows a bit of sugar beet today. Was very pleased to see Baby tucking into the leftovers (which are never much). This will make halter training much easier.

BabyBaby finds the bucket.

We have lots of lovely greengages. Yum.

greengagesDelicious greengages.

Saturday 4th September

Spent the morning preparing for my wee research trip to Lynbreck Croft. Left about 3pm and had a nice run up to Grantown-on-Spey. The satnav took me through Couper Angus and Dunkeld to join the A9, which was lovely but not the way I’d have gone, had I just looked at a road map. Dunkeld was heaving.

Grantown-on-Spey is smaller than I expected, but very attractive. It was founded in 1765 by Sir James Grant (obviously a modest man) as a planned settlement on a low plateau at Freuchie beside the river Spey at the northern edge of the Cairngorm mountains, about 20 miles south-east of Inverness. Sir James used the new town to rehouse the folk he cleared off his land as part of his agricultural improvements. Anyway, tourism is plainly the main industry now, with what looks like every third house a B&B. Nevertheless, I’d like to go back and explore the area further, with Dan.

My B&B was very good. Lovely comfy bed and I had a pleasant meal in “The Wee Puffin” in the town. Dan kept me up to date with the happenings in the Scotland v Moldova game.

Sunday 5th September

The Lynbreck Croft tour didn’t start until 1pm, so I had a few hours to kill. I was delighted, therefore, to find that the farmers’ market was on in Grantown. I purchased cheese, jam, some garden plants, some local hooch and some birthday cards. And a pie for my lunch. Braw.

Then it was off to Lynbreck Croft, which is about 10 minutes out of Grantown. If you’ve watched “This Farming Life” you’ll be familiar with Lynbreck and its owners, Lynn and Sandra. I thoroughly enjoyed the tour – their enthusiasm and passion and knowledge was uplifting. We need more of the same in Scottish farming and sooner rather than later.

I came away with three things on my list – one immediate, two a bit longer term. Tomorrow, I’m going to cut some willow for Rosie – it contains salicylic acid, which is precursor of aspirin and I hope it might make her more comfortable. Second thing is that I’m going to start seed saving. To do that, I’ll need to stop using F1 varieties, so I won’t be able to do it with all plants next season (but I will with some). And the third is that the buffer area of the pig pen (see Wednesday) will be planted with willow, for drying as tree hay.

I’m writing this at 3am on Monday morning. Diesel and Bertie had a very loud spat at midnight and I can’t get back to sleep because my head is full of Rosie and beef and the Festival and the long list of things I have to do. So, I’m hoping that I’ve now emptied my brain and I’ll get back to sleep for a few hours. Monday may be a long day.


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