October 2007RSS feed

Winter is coming!

Tuesday 9 October, 2007

by Rosemary at 12:19pm in Anything goes 5 comments Comments closed

Winter is coming - I've put the curtains up! I'm on holiday this week (half term) and it's pouring rain today so I won't be in the garden and the empty chicken arks are too wet to paint, so I'm busying myself indoors.

I always take the living room and hall curtains down at Easter - since we have no neighbours, it's nice to have the windows bare and let the light in. But at the October holiday, they go back up. In fat, Dan's Mum and Dad had put up the living room ones at the weekend, so I only had the hall ones to do today. So tonight, it will be all snug, especially if I light the fire. I lit it last night for the first time this autumn and had to fight my way past Cassius and the dogs to get anywhere close. In fact, Cass is curled up on the footstool in front of the hearth NOW (noon) just in case he misses it.

Huntly Farmers' Market

Tuesday 9 October, 2007

by Rosemary at 12:25pm in Agriculture 1 comment Comments closed

Dan and I were up in Aberdeenshire this weekend, tentatively looking at property. We'd like some more land and there's not much around here, so we thought we'd look North East. It was very nice and there were lots of suitable properties but it's not home. I'm not sure I'll ever leave Clackmannanshire.

Anyway, while we were there, we visited Huntly, which is a nice town with a lovely square (and a nice tea shop called "The Merry Kettle", if you ever visit). The local Farmers' Market was on and, although small, it had some good stuff including two stall selling local, farm produced butter, cheese and yogurt. We bought some butter (unpasteurised and unsalted), soft cheese and drinking yogurt. It's all lovely!

Free range cockerels

Thursday 11 October, 2007

by Rosemary at 7:34pm in Poultry Comments closed

We're learning all the time here - sometimes by accident rather than design.

When I fed the animals this morning, I failed to secure the door on the pen holding the three young cockerels properly. As luck (good as it turned out, but bad at first discovery) would have it, the pen is on a slope so that the door swung open. When I went out about 10am, I thought Hobbes had shrunk then realised that Hobbes' "boys" were out.

Now, I was concerned about this on two counts (well, three if being considered a dope was a concern for me); firstly, I was worried that Hobbes would harm them - he intimidates them dreadfully by strutting round the pen and crowing at them and secondly, I was worried that they wouldn't find their way back at night. I shouldn't have.

Wanted - restauranteurs

Thursday 11 October, 2007

by Rosemary at 7:47pm in Anything goes 4 comments Comments closed

Come on you down-shifters! Fancy a wee restaurant in an up and coming location? Alloa needs you - and we'll try and supply all your runner bean needs!

Alloa, the county town of Clackmannanshire, is a town on the up. To be fair, it was starting from a fairly low base, but it's going in the right direction. So if you want to get your foot in the door, there is a restaurant premises for lease in the town.

Alloa is basically a fine Victorian town that had fallen on hard times due to the demise of its traditional industries - coal, textiles, brewing, distilling, shipbuilding - you name it. But it, and all Clackmannanshire, is experiencing something of a resurgence. The railway is due to open early 2008, so Glasgow will be 50 minutes away by train. The new Upper Forth Crossing (called the Clackmannanshire Bridge, we hope) opens next year too, improving connections to the motorway netweok - yet here we are, with the Ochil Hills to the north and the River Forth to the south, a patchwork of small towns in the countryside, relatively unknown.

Oxford Sandy and Black weaners for sale

Thursday 18 October, 2007

by Rosemary at 9:15pm in Pigs 2 comments Comments closed

Ready three weeks or so; £40 each. Contact Peter on 01360 440480 (Ballat Crossroads, by Balfron)

TAS forums now open

Sunday 21 October, 2007

by Dan at 10:52am in TAS Website Comments closed

After a long time prevaricating we've finally got around to launching the TAS forums. The kick up the backside I needed to get it done came in the shape of the imminent first meeting of the smallholders' association Rosemary is trying to get up and running locally (date confirmation coming soon) - we wanted somewhere to meet virtually to make communications easy.

There's not much to see there right now, but we're hoping that lots of you will register and participate, and turn it into a valuable resource for smallholders everywhere - although it will have a Scottish flavour they are most definitely open to all.

I wish I'd had my camera...

Sunday 21 October, 2007

by Rosemary at 4:13pm in Sheep 1 comment Comments closed

because yesterday, I saw something I'd never seen before and wished I could have recorded it. I popped out to collect eggs. As I went into the field, I looked left under the willow and saw the three sheep lying down. Nothing unsual in that, but one of the young cockerels was lying on Juno's back. Now, I've seen lambs lying on their mother's back, but a cockerel? By the time I got back with the camera, everyone was up and looking for food, but I definitely saw it...

Managing grass

Sunday 21 October, 2007

by Rosemary at 4:17pm in Anything goes Comments closed

This is such a vexed issue - managing grass is rather difficult, I think. If you have the right amount in the summer, you don't have enough in the winter; if you have enough in winter, you've far too much in summer ( especially if you have no easy way on conserving it).

Yesterday, we split the horses' field in two. They are all being wormed this weekend and I'm clearing the half they aren't on - picking poo and cutting thistles (well, Dan's cutting thistles). Once the wormer has worked (48 hours or so), they're going on to the clean field and I'll try and keep it clean. Chris is then going to harrow the top half - not ideal at this time of year, I know - cut the thistles and we'll rest it for as long as we can.

Now the pigs are gone...

Monday 22 October, 2007

by Rosemary at 7:40pm in Pigs Comments closed

we've started clearing down the pens and the hut. And washing the "snak-a-ball", which always makes me a bit sad.

Anyway, it was a nice day yesterday, so Dan and I spent a few hours clearing down the pig pens. I cleaned out the hut - a dusty but not unpleasant job. Although the pigs don't dirty in the hut, they do trail in a lot of mud, so I like to get this cleaned off now, rather than having damp mud lie on the wood all winter. All the straw was swept out into one of the pens - a combination of weather, hens and other wildlife will soon see it gone into the soil.

What some folk eat...

Monday 22 October, 2007

by Rosemary at 8:48pm in Recipes Comments closed

I was browsing the Ascott Smallholders' Supplies website tonight - retail therapy, I'm afraid.

The website's been upgraded since the last time I looked and it now has one of these facilities that shows you what the last person who bought that item also bought.

There was a book listed called "Home smoking and curing". The person who bought this also bought a multi-mouse repeating mouse trap and a live catch rat trap.

Hmm, smoked rat

Forth Valley and West Fife Smallholders Association - Inaugural Meeting

Friday 26 October, 2007

by Rosemary at 3:04pm in Anything goes Comments closed

The inaugural meeting of the Forth Valley and West Fife Smallholders Association will take place on Thursday 29th November in the Theatre Bar, Alloa Town Hall at 7pm.

Diane Alderdice from Forth Valley Food Links will be the guest speaker.

Light refreshments will be available.

It would be helpful for catering purposes if you would let me know if you are attending and the names of those attedning in your party, so that I can do name badges.

Look forward to meeting you all on the 29th!

Lazy (?) Sunday afternoon

Sunday 28 October, 2007

by Rosemary at 7:31pm in Anything goes 3 comments Comments closed

The weather this weekend has been sonewhat variable. Last night we had a lot of rain and it was very windy. During the morning, it brightened up and the sun got out for a while but by 4pm, it was dark, raining and windy. So time to light the fire and get out the seed catalogues.

I now have my orders prepared and tomorrow, in the cold light of Monday, I'll go through them and delete half the potato and tomato varieties and some of the more fanciful species. I'm going to have 5 tubers of Mayan Gold and I'm going to grow them in pots, so I know they're safe. At £2.49 for 5 tubers, I might put them by my bed!

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