January 2010RSS feed

Happy New Year!

Friday 1 January, 2010

by Rosemary at 9:03pm in Anything goes 2 comments Comments closed

Happy New Year!

Before the festive season, May 1st seemed forever away; now that it's past, our entry date seems to so far away at all. I have a list of phonecalls to make on Tuesday (Scotland will still be closed on Monday) but I have been distracted by things like bathroom suites and tiles, so I'm getting a bit ahead of myself.

We've made contact with a likely architect and hope to meet up with him in the next week or two, preferably at the new place so we can start more serious planning. I've been through the Home Report and started to draft a specification for the builder and my bedtime reading is "The Housebuilder's Bible". I'm reading selectively rather than cover to cover, but it's quite useful, especially for a non-techy like me.

The freeze continues

Tuesday 5 January, 2010

by Rosemary at 7:48pm in Anything goes 1 comment Comments closed

It's still frozen here; we had a dusting of snow last night and it was -5 this morning, but with no wind, it didn't seem too cold. By the time I had finished at the stables, it was a positively balmy 0C. This afternoon, the wind has risen and it was bitterly cold. Some of the hens are developing quite a nice skating technique - too late for the Winter Olympics, regretably.

Although it desn't feel at all spring-like, our young cockerel's sap is rising. I heard him crow yesterday and try to "catch" one of the Back Rocks. I think Hector is turning a blind eye to it all; with 20 odd hens, there is more than enough for two.


Friday 8 January, 2010

by Rosemary at 3:12pm in Anything goes 2 comments Comments closed

This is a poem by my sister, Janice


Of course it isn't "Just a cold"

I'll have to call the Doc,

I looked up "Swine Flu" symptoms

It gave me quite a shock.

I'll have to go to bed now,

While you get "Tamiflu"

But just before you leave the house

I have a list for you.

I'll need some magazines to read,

And maybe you could try,

To find me some on fishing,

First loaf

Sunday 10 January, 2010

by Rosemary at 12:30pm in Recipes 1 comment Comments closed

Now, bearing in mind that we've been at this smallholding lark for some years, it may come as some surprise that I made by first "proper" bread yesterday. I've made oatmeal bread before but this was "proper" bread with yeast and stuff!

It was a really easy recipe from Delia's big " learn to cook everything" book and it didn't need to be kneaded. I used half white and half wholemeal flour and it turned out rather nice with a lovely crust. I don't think it will keep (fat chance), though.

Bees and beekeeping

Sunday 10 January, 2010

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

I start my beekeeping course on 26th January. I'm quite excited about it and a wee bit apprehensive. The best thing would be for me to be stung early on, so that I know how bad (or otherwise) it is - I've only been stung by a wasp once, when I was about six maybe, so Im pretty sure it's not as bad as I remember.

Is the freeze over?

Sunday 10 January, 2010

by Rosemary at 3:37pm in Anything goes Comments closed

It's +3 today, sunny and windy - things are definitely thawing. Hopefully the wind will keep it dry as it thaws and we won't be left with too much mud. The five day forecast is for more of the same so maybe the worst is past.

The sheep are off grazing instead of hanging round the hayrack and the birds are chirping like mad. The horses were all excited this morning too, so maybe they know a change is in the air.

It had to happen...

Friday 15 January, 2010

by Rosemary at 9:00pm in Anything goes Comments closed

We've had snow and ice for about 4 weeks now and I've been so careful not to fall. Tonight, with it almost back to normal, I took a clattering fall in the field. I went full length on an icy patch and smacked the back of my head on the ground (no chance of damage there, then). I was SO cross with myself.

My neck'sa bit sore but other than that, I'm OK, although I might be stiff in the morning. I checked the weather forecast and I was happy to see rain forecast - can you believe that?

Paddock Paradise

Friday 15 January, 2010

by Rosemary at 9:06pm in Equines 2 comments Comments closed

When we move to our new place in the summer, I plan to establish a "paddock paradise" for Smokey and his as-yet-to-be-identified companion.

Paddock Paradise is a system of natural horse boarding developed by American hoofcare expert, Jaime Jackson. Basically, it's trying to replicate the conditions in which wild horses live. Now, horses evolved in dry tundra - so that's not wet Scotland, but I'm going to give it a go.

The start point is that, in the wild, horses walk a lot of the time in search of food, water, minerals and this keeps them fit and their unshod feet in good condition. To recreate this, we create a track by putting an electric fence 10-15 feet inside the perimeter fence. On the track, we have shelter (trees or a field shelter), waterhole (or trough), feeding stations for hay, mineral licks, dust bath - and the horse walk from one to the other.

Dramatic rescue at Longcarse!

Tuesday 19 January, 2010

by Rosemary at 6:56pm in Wildlife Comments closed

Actually, it wasn't that dramatic. I was walking the dogs this afternoon and saw them nosing around something on the ground. When I got closer, I found that it was a bird, some kind of waterfowl, that couldn't fly.

Hmm, just as well I used to watch "Animal Hospital" (thanks, Rolf). I threw my jacket over it and caught it up under one arm. It's not very big - I've tried to identify it using my trusty "Reader's Digest Book of British Birds" without success - and I think it's a goose, rather than a duck because it hisses rather than quacks.

The girls are back!

Sunday 24 January, 2010

by Rosemary at 8:38pm in Sheep Comments closed

Well, it's been a sheep day today. Our ewes were scanned and came home, and Carol's ewe lambs left by return. Our ewes and ewe lambs are now in the top of the orchard and will be there until lambing; the tups are now in the big field with the horse. The horse chases the sheep and I couldn't have him chasing the ewes.

Before moving, the tups got the once over - feet trimmed, wormed / fluked and bums tidied up. Dickie also got the wool trimmed round his eyes - I'm sure he couldn't see properly. They look a bit lost in a 6 acre field.

Bee keeping and other things

Sunday 31 January, 2010

by Rosemary at 9:43pm in Bees Comments closed

Dan's dad and I started our beekeeping course on Tuesday. Run by Dunblane and Stirling Beekeepers' Association over about eight weeks, it was very enjoyable and very interesting. Thirty three people had signed up for the course and we all turned up, which is pretty good, I think.

First week was and introduction and a bit about bee biology, covering taxonomy and physiology. Much of it was introductory and future sessions will look at things like equipment and swarming in more detail. Swarming seems to be a major issue.

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