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Posted: Monday 18 September, 2023

by Rosemary at 9:38am in Smallholding Comments closed

Monday 11th September

Quite a lot of rain overnight and a couple of showers this morning, then sunny and warm But not as warm as it has been. Car said 18C, which is quite nice. Not that I got out in it much today. The next five weeks will be full on with Festival stuff, so I’m trying to get my feet cleared.

Popped out to visit Lorna, though, and have a delicious hot chocolate. A few messages to run then into the pharmacy for painkillers. Last Thursday, or thereabouts, I developed a pain in the neck. Since I’ve spent so / too much time at my desk, I assumed it was bad posture, but it hasn’t lifted even with three days away from my desk. Pharmacist thinks it’s probably a muscle spasm tweaking the nerve – I’ve got codeine (scared to death I’ll get addicted) and rub-on ibuprofen.

On a whim, decided to update the 2024 planting plan and have a clear out of seeds; prompted, no doubt, but the arrival of the first seed catalogues.

There’s a lot to do this month, so I’m planning to have four focussed days on the Festival and three focussed days outside. Apart from tomorrow, when we’re away to the football – Scotland v England!

Tuesday 12th September

Well, that didn’t go as hoped but we were beaten by a better team on the night. Spain next, then a friendly against France. Our next trip to Hampden will be the last Euro24 qualifier against Norway. I hope we’ve qualified by then.

DanDan at Hampden.

Wednesday 13th September

All Festival stuff today, including an evening meeting. Just over four weeks to go, so on the final run in now.

Cold so Dan lit the fire. First time for ages all five pets – and us – have been in the same room.

fireFire on.

Thursday 14th September

I made a point of getting outside for an couple of hours today. I wanted to move the ponies out of Sheepfold and give the cattle access to the barn again, so that meant taking down one electric fence and putting up another, giving the cowshed a good clean out  then actually doing the moving. Ponies are in Near Top, with access to the field shelter. Cattle have access to the other three paddocks out there and the cowshed.

Did a bit of tidying up in the veg garden, mostly pulling out spent annual flowers. Summer is definitely past.

And made a start on the freezers, which is a September job. Defrosted the wee one in the kitchen and the upright. Tidied up the tubs of fruit, peas, soup and frozen meal. Still got the big freezer to do.

freezerTidy freezer. For now.

Friday 15th September

Woke this morning with a sore throat. Thankfully, we had some lemons in the fruit basket and hot lemon and honey eased it a bit. Did a bit of shopping; finished the plan for Lorna’s ensuite, more or less. Then Festival stuff.

Our Victoria plum tree looks like I feel.

plumDead Victoria plum tree.

Definitely outside all day tomorrow and Sunday. Long list.

Two dogs on one chair. My chair. She scooched him up and they were sound asleep befroe I disturbed them with the camera.

dogsGwenna and Bryn.

dogsThen she scooched him up.


Saturday 16th September

Cool and overcast this morning, but no wind. Sun started to come through at lunchtime. There must have been quite a lot of rain overnight, but it’s been dry, so it drains quickly.

Porridge for breakfast – overnight oats are fine in the summer, but autumn calls for a hot breakfast.

Dan was up in the orchard first thing; all the Grenadier are harvested – most for cooking and freezing, some for juicing and blending and some for giving away. That’s all the Katy harvested too; we’ll eat some and juice the rest.

applesApple harvest in full swing.

apple pressingAnd apple pressing.

I started cutting waste wood – old fencing posts and rails mainly – with the chop saw. It’s a fine job apart from the mask and ear defenders. This used to be one of mine and John’s jobs when we moved here – one cutting, one stacking. The wood builds up over the year and it gets stacked in front of the light switches for the barn – which is summer is no problem, but I do need to get into them now. We took a pile of bee stuff to Andrew last weekend – he gave us equipment when we were starting, and now he’s restarting and we’re winding up, we can return the favour. So that’s cleared a space in the barn and I think Dan will have a general red-up over the next month or so. “Once the Festival is past” is the current mantra.

woodScrap wood to firewood.

Since the sun was out, I put a first coat of wood preservative on most of the little ark that will be the hens’ winter quarters.

arkTreating the hen ark.

The cattle are coming in and out of the barn at will; the calves like a bit of hay and love the salt lick.

calf saltThe calves do like the salt lick.

This time next week, our wee herd will be halved in number. Happy sad.

Found a mouse in the kitchen at bedtime; one of the cats must have brought it in. Poor wee mite. Caught it in a tub and released it under the ivy. It sat for a minute or two, washing its face, then ran off.

Sunday 17th September

When I went out to do the early morning round, I turned on Merlin. Haven’t recorded for ages. We had Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Wood Pigeon, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Robin, Wren, Chaffinch, Goldfinch and the inevitable House Sparrow. Nice. And I like spuggies.

Dan’s first job this morning was to top Sheepfold hard.

sheepfoldSheepfold topped.

Then after topping Home, he harrowed Sheepfold.

sheepfoldAnd harrowed.

It’s now ready to have grass seed applied. I’m just hoping that the weather holds. Bit mizzley this morning and it’s not forecast to get better during the rest of the week.

I was going to cut up the broken posts from Sheepfold, since I’ve found my way to the chop saw again, but I’m keeping them to edge paths in the woodland garden.

postsRotted poles or rustic path edging?


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