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Posted: Saturday 12 November, 2011

by Rosemary at 8:58pm in Smallholding Comments closed

It's been an unseasonably warm week - but I'm not complaining. The grass is still growing and it hasn't been too wet, and that suits me just fine.

Leo has now served his nine ewes. We changed the raddle from yellow to green today and we'll be looking for green bums for the next couple of weeks - hopefully, there won't be any and he can go back into the orchard with Dickie at the end of the month. Leo's such a docile big boy - I just slapped the raddle on in the field, while Dan held his head (I'm not sure that was really needed though).

We'll be selling Leo next autumn. His daughters will be coming into the breeding flock and I'd rather not go down that route blush. I'm planning to take him to Carlisle rare breed sale in September, if I don't find a private buyer before then. Because he comes from a fairly prolific flock in the North of Scotland, I'm hoping that his breeding will be more in demand "down south". Although we've never shown him, he was 3rd in the Ryeland shearling ram class at the Royal Highland Show in 2010, and Champion at the breed show and sale that autumn. His breeder also had the ram that was first in Leo's class at the Highland, so naturally, that one was kept and Leo sold on.

Of course, I'll also have to buy a new tup for here. Smallholder retail therapy smiley.

The ponies are grazing the Near Ditch paddock. A combination of strip grazing using an electric fence and lifting droppings means that they are making it nice and tidy.

Strip grazing poniesThe benefits of strip grazing ponies

So tidy, in fact, that Dan has suggested putting them on the front lawn for an hour a day. If I can sort out an electic fence tomorrow, I'll do just that.

Dan and John are still working on the orchard / poultry fencing. The perimeter fences of both flock pens are up and the two houses sited. They are now working on the internal dividing fences, so that each flock will have three paddocks that they will use on a 20 week rotation. We've decided to put slabs round the houses, so I had some 3'x2' slabs delivered this week.

Orchard fencing in progressA less than chuffed Black Rock being fenced in the orchard

The asparagus was delivered today - I wasn't expecting it until spring. I had to spend an hour preparing the bed - didn't expect to be doing THAT today. I think I bought too much so will try and sell half of the crowns. The good thing was that it got me into the vegetable garden - I've said before that I'm a gardener by necessity not for love, and I've been putting off getting in there and starting to tidy up. But it wasn't as bad as I expected, so I am resolved to put in an hour a day, every day next week, weeding, manuring (not me personally) and covering the beds with black plastic. This worked well on the sandy soil in the fruit garden, so I hope it will work equally well for the veggies.

Next week's a busy one in the diary - the lambs go away on Monday, and I'm collecting our Shetland beef (including a three rib roast for Christmas yes). I want to go and see the lamb carcases later in the week plus it's Agriscot and a CSSA meeting with the RBST Field Officer on Wednesday. Then on Saturday, it's the Calf Show at Forfar Market in the morning and the local RBST Support Group's Harvest Supper on Saturday evening. All this AND weeding smiley

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