April 2007RSS feed

Rare Breeds Sale 5th May 2007

Sunday 1 April, 2007

by Rosemary at 11:47am in Agriculture Comments closed

For interest, Aberdeen and Northern Marts have a Sale of Rare and Minority Breeds at their Thainstone Centre in Inverurie on Saturday 5th May. Their website is www.goanm.co.uk.

Cassius and the mini egg

Sunday 1 April, 2007

by Rosemary at 7:22pm in Cats 2 comments Comments closed

You may recall that Cassius, our big black cat, was diagnosed with a nasal tumour a few weeks ago. He had an incisor removed February 2006 and we couldn't get the infection cleared - he had it cleaned twice last year and had long courses of antibiotics. About six weeks ago, he was real poorly - the infection was back, he dropped to 4kg (from 5.2kg) and was quite ill. After treatment, a biopsy showed that he had a nasal tumour. As the condemned man ate a hearty breakfast, Cass has been dining on freshly cooked chicken, salmon steaks, a bit of medium rare sirloin and double cream. He's on antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs.

Where's Hobbes?

Tuesday 3 April, 2007

by Rosemary at 6:31pm in Poultry 5 comments Comments closed

For a short time today, we thought our plans to raise our own chickens had been thwarted yet again. You will recall our trials with the incubator than let us down everytime we used it; you will recall the demise of Henry, our first cockerel.

Now, we have Hobbes and a new Brinsea incubator on order. I was in the garden this afternoon and I didn't see Hobbes. I was moving some manure so all the hens were "helping" by moving it back on to the path. No Hobbes.

Dan was duly despatched to find him - he wasn't with the hens, he wasn't in the ark and there was quite a lot of white feathers around. Oh, dear - had Mr Fox been to call?

Hobbes goes missing again

Thursday 5 April, 2007

by Rosemary at 5:50pm in Poultry 2 comments Comments closed

This boy is doing my head in! I went to throw some corn to the chooks this afternoon - all the hens were there but no Hobbes. Now, I could HEAR him, but he was nowhere to be seen and he doesn't miss a meal. I checked the nest box, just in case he hadn't learned his lesson, the compost bins (!) and finally found him stuck under the comfrey barrel.

The barrel is aginst the wall and propped up on two brise blocks - Hobbes was underneath. I couldn't move the barrel so he had to come out backwards with a lot of ruffled feathers and dignity. I hope he's OK. I don't know how long he'd been there - he was bit lame but headed off to the corn, so I'll keep an eye on him (I hope).

Brinsea Octagon 10

Thursday 5 April, 2007

by Rosemary at 5:56pm in Poultry Comments closed

Now, I'm definitely NOT counting my chicks but I have, at least, finally got some in an incubator. We took delivery of our new Brinsea Octagon 10 incubator yesterday, so I've set it up with eight eggs. They weighted 550g in total. I'm trying not to mess with the set-up but it's so tempting to fiddle.

Naturally, I'll keep you posted.

Easter break

Thursday 5 April, 2007

by Rosemary at 5:58pm in Growing 5 comments Comments closed

I'm on holiday for two weeks - I only work when the schools are in session. In addition to my springcleaning, I'm getting on in the garden. The weather has been brilliant - warm, sunny, bit of a breeze (just right for drying the washing!).

I've sowed cucumber, marrow and courgette in the greenhouse. I'm hoping to do a "three sisters" bed a la Carol Klein - using sweetcorn, beans and squashes together in one bed.

I also sowed some lupins, marigolds and alyssum - I never grow flowers and always regret it. Actually, I think I'll go and do some more now!

Love, hate and Tesco

Friday 6 April, 2007

by Rosemary at 6:01pm in Anything goes 2 comments Comments closed

I have a love / hate relationship with Tesco. I spent two very happy years working for the company about 20 years ago. I've always shopped there. I have very strong loyalty genes. And I really like my Clubcard points. Now, I know this is all very non-pc and it bothers me. I am very uncomfortable about the rising power of the supermarkets and I hate myself for all the reasons that I love Tesco.

So today, I'm feeling good because I have struck two very small blows against the power of teh supermarket. The Tesco board will have a sleepless night, I'm sure.

The scourge of monoblock

Friday 6 April, 2007

by Rosemary at 6:10pm in Anything goes 2 comments Comments closed

Apologies for this having nothing to do with smallholding and just being a rant!

Alloa is a nice Victorian town, which is fortunately having a bit of a renaissance. There's been quite a lot of resurfacing done in the town centre - in the ubiquitous monoblock. And it's all in different colours! There's grey, a sort of red, a hideous yellow - don't these people ever watch an interior design show? Don't they know to pick a couple of finishes and STICK TO THEM. Variety is NOT the spice of monoblocking.

The incubator suffers a power cut

Tuesday 10 April, 2007

by Rosemary at 8:41pm in Poultry 6 comments Comments closed

I feel like Private Fraser - "we're doomed" never to raise any chicks. This morning we had a power cut - we don't know how long the power was off - not long, we think, but of course the incubator lost power. We sorted the problem (tripped fuse) and the incubator was up to temperature in literally minutes. We've left the eggs in mainly because we can't decide what to do for the best. My heart says give it a go, my head says cut the losses and start again. I thought we could leave it for a few days, then candle the eggs and see if there is any development. Advice welcome.

Luxury nests in Alloa

Friday 13 April, 2007

by Rosemary at 10:07pm in Equines Comments closed

Since Smokey lives out all year without a rug, he develops a pretty heavy coat. So when it gets to thsi time of year, he has a lot of hair to shed. There are white patches all ovet the filed, where he's rolled and huge clumps, where I've brushed him or simply pulled out handfuls of hair.

Today, I noticed a flock of starlings collecting huge beakfuls if this hair - presumably to line their nests. Combined with their diet of fat cakes and "gourmet robin food", I expect a bumper crop of young starlings later in the year.

Tess's new home

Friday 13 April, 2007

by Rosemary at 10:12pm in Dogs 2 comments Comments closed

If Dan or I are at home, Tess lives outside. She's always been an "independent" dog - we have a photo of her as a tiny pup NOT coming for a walk with us. We have considered getting her a kennel and letting her live outside. Actually, she's a really good watch dog - she's not aggressive but she's very good at letting you know if anyone's around.

Tess waiting for bunnies

Planting plan progresses

Friday 13 April, 2007

by Rosemary at 10:25pm in Growing 3 comments Comments closed

Well, the implementation of the planting plan has progresed this week. The weather has been dry, sunny for the most part and warm during the day. It's been windy here, but it's always windy here.

It's amazing how much you can get done with a couple of hours concentrated effort. Dan and I spent Tuesday morning in the gardena nd got loads done. I get less done on my own because I get distracted - I take Smokey a carrot; decide to tidy the garage a bit; sweep up and so on. It's mostly productive in a way (or so I tell myself).

Come on, Silver Birch!!

Saturday 14 April, 2007

by Rosemary at 5:37pm in Equines 4 comments Comments closed

I picked the winner of the Grand National today. I studied the form, the weights, the jockeys and picked Silver Birch because I like grey horses and a horse called SILVER Birch had to be grey. Of course, Silver Birch wasn't grey but he still won!

What will I spend my winnings on...

Garden progress

Monday 16 April, 2007

by Rosemary at 8:22pm in Recipes Comments closed

A wee bit more progress has been made over the weekend in the garden. I sowed six rows of swede (Marian) and Dan sowed 32 sweetcorn seeds (Sweet Nugget). I didn't make a very good job of netting the swede so will redo it tomorrow night. I was back to work today after a fortnight off and I'm absolutely dead beat, so am having a night off.

A cauliflower seedling is showing and I only sowed them last week - that's my kind of plant! The tomatoes, cucumber and courgette need to be potted on but Dan's going to do that in his "Gardening Hour" before work. He's only got three more days of gainful employment with the Council - then at least he'll only be doing one job.

Cats and carts

Monday 16 April, 2007

by Rosemary at 8:38pm in Cats 3 comments Comments closed

As Claire and i were getting ready to take Smokey for a drive yesterday, both our cats came to investigate, each with his own inmitable style.

Felix snuffled his way round the cart - Claire took this photograph as he reached the highest point and just before he slid rather inelegantly down the armrest and onto the floor. We don't have many photos of him so it was nice to get this one.

Felix on the cart

The first swallow

Saturday 21 April, 2007

by Rosemary at 7:14pm in Anything goes Comments closed

I saw a swallow on Wednesday. There was only one and it was sitting on the telephone wires above our house.

However, one swallow does not a summer make, 'cos it's been pretty chilly since then. It's overcast here today, has looked like it's going to rain but apart from a few spots, it hasn't (so far), and has been chilly when the wind has been blowing. Maybe it just feels colder because it's been so warm for the last few week; but Dan's in 14 sweatshirts and has put the central heating back on.

Smokey, the rodeo horse!

Saturday 21 April, 2007

by Rosemary at 7:18pm in Equines 5 comments Comments closed

Last weekend, Chris smoothed a track round the field for training his trotting horses on. On Monday, he took Coalford Legend round the track in the exercise cart. Smokey (and Johnny) went wild! Obviously, PULLING a cart is not the same as seeing a cart BEING PULLED by another horse! This was quite interesting, since I plan to use the circuit as well for driving. Smokey's reaction indicated to me that harnessing him to the buggy and taking him out with Coaly was NOT a good idea.

By Wednesday night, Smokey and Johnny were grazing quietly while Coaly did his laps.

Don't count your chickens...

Sunday 22 April, 2007

by Rosemary at 5:10pm in Poultry 2 comments Comments closed

You'll remember a couple of weeks ago we put eight eggs in our new Brinsea incubator; shortly after that we had a fuse trip, turning the incubator off for a short while. We decided to leave the eggs and see what happened.

Last night, we decided we should really candle them - I suppose I was working on ignorance being bliss, but if any were likely to hatch on Wednesday, I really had to think about building some sort of brooder. So we found the candling lamp, and five out of the eight seem to be full of feathery chicks.

Guess what?

Wednesday 25 April, 2007

by Rosemary at 8:32pm in Poultry 1 comment Comments closed

We've got two chicks. They hatched this morning. A third one is working on it but doesn't look to chipper at the moment; eggs four and five aren't doing anything yet.

The two that have hatched are lovely - cream with pale brown stripes on their heads. They are in their new brooder.

I know we've a long way to go yet but this is further than we've ever got before, so fingers crossed.

I can't tell you how excited I am. Pics to follow.

Chick No3

Wednesday 25 April, 2007

by Rosemary at 10:47pm in Poultry 6 comments Comments closed

Sorry, but you might get bored with the minute by minute updates but bear with me until the novelty wears off. Once you see the pics, you'll be as hooked as me.

Chick 3 is now completely detached from the egg, has perked up and is now in the brooder with his /her two half-siblings. Unlike humans, I know who the father is but not the mothers! All three look exactly the same. I hope they're girls, so they can join the flock

Nothing from 4 and 5 yet, but my book says to give them three days past the 21st day, so there's time yet.

Hot cute young chicks

Thursday 26 April, 2007

by Dan at 6:57pm in Poultry 4 comments Comments closed

They're hot (well, they've got a heat lamp), cute, young chicks. Here they are, our first successful hatchlings, just over a day old:

Hot cute young chicks on Vimeo

They are great entertainment, and seem to be doing swimmingly. Rosemary's praying that they are all girls so we can keep them, while I'm hoping one's a boy so we can finally try a home-grown table bird. It's a little early to tell what the breeding is - there's a good chance they will be pure light sussex, but we'll need to see.

Book review - Incubation: A Guide to Hatching and Rearing

Saturday 28 April, 2007

by Dan at 9:46am in Poultry Comments closed

Quick note: now we've finally managed to hatch some chicks I've posted a short review of Katie Thear's Incubation: A Guide to Hatching and Rearing over at Revish.

(Those of you who enjoy reading and who haven't heard of Revish before might like to take a look - it lets you keep lists of books you're reading, are going to read and have read, and write reviews of books.)

If you're already bored hearing about the chicks our apologies - it will wear off soon (we get new weaners today) and we'll get back to boring you about everything else!

Rare Breed Sale, Inverurie

Saturday 28 April, 2007

by Rosemary at 9:04pm in Anything goes Comments closed

Just a reminder that there is a sale of rare and minority breeds at Aberdeen and Northern Marts Thainstone Centre at Inverurie on Saturday 5th May. The catalogue is available to download from the ANM website.

If I'm not too tired after the election count on Thursday night, I might have a run up. Only looking, you understand.


Saturday 28 April, 2007

by Rosemary at 9:09pm in Poultry 3 comments Comments closed

The three cheeps seem to be doing fine - eating loads and scurrying around.

Tomorrow, we're going to isolate the three Light Sussex hens for a couple of days and collect the eggs from them for incubation. At least then we'll know that it's pure Light Sussex we're hatching this time. The three cheeps look identical but I don't know if that's because they are all the same cross or if all chicks look much the same at hatching.

Hobbes seems to like the Light Sussex hens best anyway, so hopefully the fertility rate will be high and the hens are only about 18 months old, so should be in good nick. The RIR are probably a bit past it.

New Tamworth weaners

Saturday 28 April, 2007

by Dan at 9:13pm in Pigs 6 comments Comments closed

Rosemary headed off to Crieff this morning to collect our new Tamworth weaners. While she was away I secured their pen, fixing the chicken wire that last year's pigs lifted. We had an escapee last year, and wanted to prevent a repeat performance.

Curious Tamworth weaner

They arrived safely, and were soon rooting around their new home. We have two pens - the eastern pen, where they are now, has pretty good ground cover and excellent fencing with chicken wire; the western pen has good fencing, but with sheep netting, which pigs of this age can get through. Once they are too big to squeeze through the sheep netting they will be moved west, onto ground which was sown with grazing rye in the autumn: it's already thigh-high, so they will have great fun when they get in.

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