Archie / Blueberries / SilageRSS feed

Posted: Monday 5 August, 2019

by Rosemary at 8:08am in Smallholding Comments closed

Monday 29th July

Warm and overcast; really humid. Woke up to the calves bawling; there had been a fence breakthrough between Near Top and Home. It was always a weak bit of fence – in fact, we’ve never replaced it.  Persuading them to go back was fun – Ace met the pigs and that made him very excited. We had arranged for the vet to come out to jag the cows with Prosolvin, castrate Archie and BVD test the calves. He came early, just after 10am, which was good as it gave me less time to worry about it. I’m really enjoying watching “This Farming Life” – and realising it’s not just us.

Anyway, it all went pretty well. Archie wasn’t awfully happy, not surprisingly, but Alistair always makes sure there’s very little blood. Plenty blue spray and we’ll have to keep an eye on him for flies for the next few days, but he should be fine. Since they were all in, I did all seven with Spotinor, for flies. I was going to tag Zenith, but decided to wait until she has her blood test in a month or so. The folk who want to buy her want her dehorned – and disbudding at that age is less stressful but I don’t really want to dehorn her – horns are part of a Shetland and they look plain without them.

Dan laid more mats. Nearly done and it’s looking great. The hardest bit is cutting round the telegraph poles that support the roof.

I pulled rhubarb from one of the five plants  – this will be the last round of cropping for this year – and cooked it for freezing. Dan picked peas, which his mum podded for the freezer. And we have our first dahlia. I think I could get to like them.

dahliaFirst Dahlia.

Tuesday 30th July

Glorious day – much nicer than forecast. Archie seems to be just fine. Just need to watch Annie and Rosie for signs of them coming into season.

Cut more rhubarb and weeded round them. And picked flowers – lots of flowers. I haven’t sold any this year yet, but even if I don’t sell any at all, I’ve enjoyed growing them and having flowers in the house. The calendula are flowering madly – all self sown from last year and the Rudbekia is coming into flower too, so lots of orange / yellow posies today. Our first dahlia flowered too – beautiful! I won’t grow gypsophila next year – I grew Ammi majus last year and I think it’s a nicer flower.  The Shasta daisies are mad and will have to come out this year.

Lots of courgettes coming – green ones at least. The yellow ones don’t look anything startling. Planted out the last of the leeks.

Dan laid a few more mats and put in some fixings.

Wednesday 31st July

Can’t believe it’s the end of July already. Lovely and sunny here but we drove to Kinross for afternoon tea, and hit torrential rain at Perth. Thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon out – it was research, as we’re thinking about doing “pop-up” afternoon teas at some point. I like baking and I like baking for folk, we have the space, so seems worth a go.

Spent most of the morning on Festival stuff; we’ve had to change date and venue, so information to go out. I’m taking over the speaker programme from Martin, as he seems to have loads this year, as well as an overall co-ordination role. I really need to get the Smallholding Scotland survey report finished by Friday too.

Ace and Rosie seem loved up.

Thursday 1st August

We’re doing the 5:2 diet and today is a 2 day, and I have to bake for a tour this afternoon. Iron will – although I’m a bit “caked out” after yesterday. I made a list when we were on holiday last year of “things I would make for afternoon teas”. Now I have to find it and do some trial runs.

Ace and Rosie even more loved up today. The vet said that after the jag, they would either come into season 2 days or 11 days later, depending on where they are in their cycle; looks like Annie is going to be later.

Finished the electric fence round the apiary and checked it was working. Cleaned out the hens – so much better when it’s been dry. We have several broodies – at least they think they are; two in the 2018 hatch and four in the 2019 hatch. It’s a pain, but hoping I’ll get those eggs that they’re withholding now, at the end and it makes it easy to catch a “participant” for the tours.

Put Spotinor on the ponies. Ave looks like she’s had an accident, where it’s run through the dust on her shoulder. And today’s worming and spot-on day for cats and dogs too. What fun! Did dogs and 50% of the cats. Thomas and Diesel still to be done. Will get down to East Pitkerro to do the steers tomorrow.

I weeded (quelle surprise) and built a cage over the blueberries. We’d really like to get some for ourselves this year.

cage1Blueberry cage.

Dan topped the two Top paddocks, did some strimming and started some barrel silage.

silageBarrel silage.

Friday 2nd August

Sunny and warm, after the early morning cloud cleared. Ace now seems to have turned his attention to Annie. Fingers crossed that he’s done his job.

Popped down to Eat Pitkerro to put Spotinor on the steers. They’re looking well. We’ll need to see about getting the shed mucked out for winter. We decided we’re only going to do the 1/3 where the hay ring is and just overbed the rest.

Brought the ewes, gimmers and ewe lambs in to separate off the two cull ewes and two ewe lambs that have been sold to a pet home. Found an error in the registration papers, but not affecting the two going away. Phew! Ewes, gimmers and ewe lambs now out in Laing’s Field. The two lambs headed off to their new home this evening.

Contacted the abattoir to see how early I could book stock in – just trying to get organised with the butcher and customers. This is far more stressful than raising the livestock.

Picked more blackcurrants. Jam tomorrow.

Saturday 3rd August

Cooler and cloudier this morning. Better for jam making. Dan started his day picking produce for the greengrocer – gooseberries, cucumber and courgettes. I made jam.

Then Dan got the strimmer and the lawnmower out. With the weather being sunny and showery, it doesn’t take long for the grass to get away.

Andy came over and finished fixing the mats in the barn. Job done and looking good. Next is the fencing outside; the worst bit will be digging out the wet bit at the gate and filling it with hard stuff.

barnFloor finished.

Started thinking about afternoon teas.

Sunday 4th August

Woke up thinking about afternoon teas. We had a smallholders’ lie in today – got up fed and watered the animals, then went back to bed with tea and the dogs, and three cats.

Made strawberry jam. I’m using the River Cottage “Preserves” book recipe. It seems to have set but is too "scummy"to sell.

Dan cut the back lawn before the rain came on at 10am. It’s been overcast and humid most of the day, with some heavy showers, so cutting back the fruited strawberries got a bye.

Sold the five gimmers, so they’ve gone off to Letham. They’re lovely big girls and I’m sure they’ll do a good job.

Spent a happy hour pulling ragwort in Laing’s Field, but got rained off, so did tomorrow’s paperwork, so I can get back to the ragwort tomorrow.

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