March 2008RSS feed

Catch up

Thursday 6 March, 2008

by Rosemary at 8:30am in Anything goes 3 comments Comments closed

We were shocked last night when an email reminded us that it was almost a month since we'd last posted! We couldn't believe that it was that long but it was!

So this is a short post, prior to better ones, just to reassure anyone who migt be concerned that we're all fine. Now.

Since 8th February, Dan and I have been away for a week's welcome break in Madeira (third time, same hotel - we're getting old!). When we got back, my horse, Smokey, had developed laminitis - fortunately mild - but it meant he was on box rest and I was going to the stables three times a day. Dan's also been away on business; we've got landscapers in doing some work on the garden; Meg stuck her stick in the mud last night and punctured the inside of her mouth so emergency trip to the vet (she's fine this morning).

Dogs and cats

Sunday 9 March, 2008

by Rosemary at 12:05pm in Cats Comments closed

One of the symptoms of an underactive thyroid in dogs is that they don't shed their skin in the normal way - so when the medication kicks in, all that retained skin comes off. So Meg now has SERIOUSLY bad dandruff. Today, we bathed her with a special shampoo. We don't bath the dogs often - well, actually, never. If they are really minging, they get hosed down outside and dried with a towel. Both have quite short coats and are pretty clean - I'm sure sure they're not "doggy" although it woudl probably take a "non-doggy" person to judge that.

"Home Farmer"

Sunday 9 March, 2008

by Rosemary at 12:19pm in Anything goes 2 comments Comments closed

I have recently subscribed to a magazine called "Home Farmer". I got a sample copy somewhere, but I can't remember where - and really enjoyed it. The first "proper" edition came yesterday. It's not in anyway "technical" but the articles are simple and accessible. In the sample copy, there was a recipe for soda bread and instructions on how to make cheese - I've tried the former (very good, too) and hope to get to the latter shortly.

Smokey's sair feet!

Sunday 9 March, 2008

by Rosemary at 12:28pm in Equines 3 comments Comments closed

When we came back from holiday, Smokey had developed a mild case of laminitis. While we were away, the weather had been mild and sunny resulting in a flush of grass - so sair feet for the boy. Laminitis isn't uncommon in slightly overweight ponies who aren't doing much work but it can be very serious if the inflammation is bad.

Lucky for us, it wasn't but it's put an end to Smokey's outdoor 24/7 lifestyle. He's now boxed at night and out for part of the day in a field with his chums but with very little grass. To be honest, he's quite content being in - I thought he might fret, but no. A fellow owner feeds him in the morning, gives him a fresh haynet and tops up his water. I go up at lunchtime and longrein him in the arena before turning him out; I do his box and fill his haynets for night then go back to work (I have my office window open now!); I then go back up about 6pm and bring him in for the night. It's much more intensive management BUT the increased contact has improved our relationship, I think, and hopefully, I'll be able to get some weight off him.

Poultry update

Sunday 9 March, 2008

by Rosemary at 12:56pm in Poultry 2 comments Comments closed

Our Hubbard meat chicks are now 7 weeks old and will be changing from chick crumbs to grower / finisher pellets over the next week or so. They are all growing well and have (finally) got the hang of the ladder up to the roosting area. This saves us the job at night of putting them to bed! Of course, now they've got the hang of it, they disappear at the first hint of inclement weather - which deprives Tess of her hen TV. They don't seem as active as the chicks we bred and raised ourselves last year, but maybe they're bred not to burn off energy tearing around. They are certainly very docile.

Another March, another season starts

Sunday 9 March, 2008

by Dan at 8:02pm in Growing 3 comments Comments closed

It must be a sign of old age. March seems to have come around quicker than ever, and the garden's already coming to life and reminding us that there's lots to be done. We got into the garden for a couple of hours this morning, before the torrential rain came on on, and it was lovely to be out and doing productive stuff again. Although we have pottered over the winter, it's never the same as doing something that has an end product.

I got our tomatoes sown today - Sungold, Gardener's Delight, Sungella and Tamina - and our leeks - Hannibal and Bandit. I added a few articles about growing tomatoes to the site, and plan to do the same with a few of the more popular veg we grow. As the season progresses we'll aim to add more.

Farm visit

Sunday 16 March, 2008

by Rosemary at 8:18pm in Agriculture Comments closed

Forth Valley and West Fife Smallholders' Association had its first farm visit today. I think it would be judged a success!

We visited Mid Torrie Farm, near Callander, which is home to Bernard and Hilary Barker and their fold of Highland cattle. Eight of us went along; the weather was lovely and the hosts generous with their time, expertise and excellent meat pies!

A full report, with photos, will appear on the Association's website www.smallholders.info shortly.

March at TAS video

Saturday 22 March, 2008

by Dan at 2:50pm in Growing 11 comments Comments closed

Messing around with my camera today I did a quick tour of what we're growing at the moment. It was very windy, so sorry for the rubbish sound at the start!

More of these to come, we'll work on the quality...

March at TAS from The Accidental Smallholder on Vimeo.

Easter weekend

Monday 24 March, 2008

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

Despite, or maybe because of, the variable weather, we've had quite a busy few days.

Dan spent a morning in the orchard, weeding, fertilising and mulching the fruit trees. This had been on the list for a couple of weeks but for some reason, it's not our favourite job. He also headed out to plant a horse chestnut and a holly in the beech hedge. The holly will fill a gap at this end and the horse chestnut, which was a gift from Claire, is at the far end. When it grows, it will shade our little pet cemetery.

Pig preparation. Now with added video.

Monday 24 March, 2008

by Dan at 6:55pm in Pigs 4 comments Comments closed

I can't believe it's over four years since my last post titled 'Pig Preparation'. A lot has changed since then, as the photo on that entry shows compared to this video.

Anyway, we've got 3 Tamworth boars coming at the weekend, 8 weeks old and depending on us to provide them with a nice home. As you can see we've been busy getting the pens ready, painting the ark and making sure they're secure.

New arrivals

Sunday 30 March, 2008

by Dan at 12:14pm in Pigs Comments closed

Yesterday we popped up to Crieff to pick up this year's weaners - 3 8-week old Tamworth boars. Everything went very smoothly, they have settled in very quickly and found their ark within an hour of arrival. (They like the ark so much they stayed in it until nearly midday today!)

We introduced the dogs to them and then left them to their own devices. Tess will be obsessed with them for a month or two, Meg is indifferent.

We made a little video of the day for your enjoyment.

New arrivals

Sunday 30 March, 2008

by Rosemary at 12:14pm in Anything goes 5 comments Comments closed

Yesterday was a day of planned and unplanned arrivals.

I ordered some new POL hens at the weekend, expecting to wait a couple of weeks for delivery. This was fine as the spare ark was in Alloa and Dan was going to bring it up at the weekend. I got a call night before last to say hens would be delivered the following day - yesterday. Our car was in for a service and MOT, so wasn't available to bring the ark up.

So, John went down to Alloa early yesterday morning to get the ark, which didn't fit in the trailer without the handles being sawn off. Anyway, we got it set up - cleaned, dusted, feeders in and waited for the hens to arrive. I'd just started cooking dinner when the van pulled up. The hens look great - 10 Warrens, 2 Bluebelles and 2 Speckledy.

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