March 2010RSS feed

Finally, missives concluded

Thursday 4 March, 2010

by Rosemary at 5:44pm in Anything goes 5 comments Comments closed

Well, the missives on our new smallholding have finally been concluded, with an entry date of 14th May. We're relieved and excited but we now have a lot to do.

We hope to get in to inspect the property with our architect in the next week or two. We won't need planning permission as all the alterations are internal but we will need a building warrant. We also need to firm up on the list of other work to be done so that our builder can start costing it.

We're asking the Energy Saving Trust for advice on insulation and heating. The windows need replaced, the loft insulation upgraded and, since the solum needs sealed and new heating pipes put in, we'll insulate under the floor too. On heating, we're quite keen on using a wood pellet boiler for heating and hot water. There's no mains gas so we need an alternative and LPG or oil won't do. That will leave us with electricity, so we're thinking about installing PV cells, but perhaps not immediately.


Sunday 14 March, 2010

by Rosemary at 7:26pm in Anything goes Comments closed

Well, it's eight weeks and five days until we get the keys of our new place. It's exciting AND frustrating. Dan's folks are now living in their caravan in Dunning, which is lovely. We called yesterday and were so surprised to see a foot of snow in the fields. There's still snow on the Ochils, but it's taking a shift in the lovely Spring weather we've been having so far this month. I hope March isn't going to live up to the old saying and go out like a lion.

Ochil Hills and Tess

Planting potatoes

Sunday 14 March, 2010

by Rosemary at 7:45pm in Growing Comments closed

We cleaned the greenhouse on Saturday; we didn't do it last year and it was pretty mucky. It took about 3 hours to do; Dan took out the panes and I washed them, while he cleaned the frame and floor. By then the panes were ready to go back in. We managed not to break any this year and it looks great.

Now the greenhouse is clean, I can put some stuff in it! We're not going to plant the vegetable garden this year. We will sow green manure, probably red clover and we can graze lambs on it if we want to. We're going to plant stuff in pots and take it with us, and hopefully sow and plant when we get there in mid-May.

Beekeeping 2

Monday 15 March, 2010

by Rosemary at 7:34pm in Bees Comments closed

I saw my first bee of the year today. We have some heather flowering, so I hope it got a feed. We're on the second last week of our beekeeping course this week. I'll miss it because I'm working, but John will keep me up to speed.

Last week's lecture covered diseases, pests and illnesses. It's the part that makes you think "Why am I doing this?". We covered varroa and the foul broods plus other less common problems. One of the experienced beekeepers told me he's never seen either foul brood infection in 20 years. I hope we don't either :-(


Monday 15 March, 2010

by Rosemary at 7:36pm in Equines Comments closed

Today I went to meet Bugsy, who is a potential companion for my Highland pony, Smokey. Bugsy is a 9 year old, chestnut Shetland gelding who belongs to a friend of mine. Judy and I met through our involvement some years ago with Parelli Natural Horsemanship.

Bugsy was rescued when he was about two; he was kept with two other horses and was badly neglected and abused. The other two horses had to be euthanased after the court case. But Bugsy landed very lucky and ended up with Judy, who, with her chum Carrie, has spent a lot of time rehabilitating him.

Moving pets

Tuesday 16 March, 2010

by Rosemary at 7:44pm in Cats 2 comments Comments closed

I'm not too worried about moving sheep and poultry, or even the horses, so long as Smokey has a companion. But I am a little anxious about the dogs and cats.

Felix will be fine; he only goes out with us anyway. The kittens are a different kettle of fish, but I'm hoping that they are young and adaptable enough to relocate without any major issues. We'll keep them in one room for a week or so, then in the house until hopefully they know it's home. We'll probably use Feliway to help relieve any stress. It was hugely successful when we had Homer and we used it when we first brought the kittens home, mainly for Felix.

Buddy's a dad!

Saturday 27 March, 2010

by Rosemary at 9:45am in Sheep 1 comment Comments closed

We ran our tup lamb, Rosedean Li'l Bud with my chum's Shetland ewes in the back end but he seemed a little overawed and we brought him home.

He obviously wasn't THAT overawed because one of the ewes had a pair of Ryeland cross lambs on Thursday - a ewe and a tup.

Well done, Buddy!

Lambing time

Saturday 27 March, 2010

by Rosemary at 1:29pm in Sheep Comments closed

Well, it's almost lambing time again. First lambs are due on Friday 2nd April, but the girls don't have a calender, so it will be around then. Jura and Jinx are due first, around the same time an are both carrying singles. Both look pretty fit but haven't bagged up yet. Juno is due about a week to ten days later, and is expecting twins. As last year, she's the size of an elephant.

I've checked the lambing box; last year's colostrum is still in date and unopened and everything else is there. The small pens are cleaned out and full of fresh straw and I've bought two new water buckets; I might splash out on a couple of feed trugs too. I've built a pen round the shed, so that I can keep them in at night - much easier to check them than wandering round a field in the dark.

Seven weeks to go

Sunday 28 March, 2010

by Rosemary at 12:59pm in Anything goes Comments closed

until we get entry to our new smallholding. We went for a visit on Wednesday, with the architect, Doug, the builder, Graham and Louise, from the Energy Saving Trust.

The garden is so lovely and has been so loved. We'll give most of it twelve months until we see what's there. The lady we've bought it from will give me a plan of the trees in particular, since some of them are quite rare specimens. She and her late husband were obviously keen and knowledgeable gardeners - I felt a little intimidated!

Last of our potatoes

Sunday 28 March, 2010

by Rosemary at 5:16pm in Growing 1 comment Comments closed

I used the last of our potatoes today. The earlies in pots are peeking through but a crop is some way off, so I suppose I'll have to buy some.

I also took the last of the eating apples to the stables for Smokey. I kept a few to make apple sauce for today's roast pork, but they were a bit soft and Smokey will appreciate them.

We've still got a few cooking apples and these are in good condition, so apple crumble for pudding!

Beekeeping 3

Monday 29 March, 2010

by Rosemary at 1:15pm in Bees Comments closed

Well, that's the theory part of the beekeeping course done. I'm planning to read over my notes again this week and order my bee suit. Our first apiary visit is on 18th April and the second on 2nd May - I'm going to feel like a right pretender in the bee suit! I think I'll scrunch it up beforehand so it doesn't look TOO new.

We get our equipment on 6th April at the next Association meeting, which is a talk from the Bee Inspectorate.

I drew a circle on the map of the area around our new house with a mile radius, to get some idea of the area our bees will cover. It includes a fair part of Buddon Ness but not as much as I expected. Once we move up, we'll do a little survey to see what trees and plants are around that might suit our bees.

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