April 2010RSS feed

Weightwatcher of the year?

Saturday 3 April, 2010

by Rosemary at 9:30pm in Equines Comments closed

My Highland pony, Smokey, has a tendency to put weight on - he's cheap to run and lives on fresh air. Two or three years ago, he had a (thankfully) mild bout of laminitis in February. At the ime he was out 24/7, but some of the other owners wanted hay in the field, so Smokey was spending a good part of the day feeding his face. After this, he was put on restricted grazing and brought in at night, so that I could control his feed intake a bit better.

It's been quite difficult - for both of us but in different ways, obviously. At his heaviest, he weighed almost 600kg on the weight tape. He's 15.1hh. Today, I put his harness on and the saddle kept slipping round, even though it was in the tightest holes. I got out the weight tape - 498kg! Now, I know the tape isn't 100% accurate but it does give a comparison. I couldn't believe it - I knew he was thinner as he now has "pointy bits" - but I was staggered at ho much he has lost. He was 470kg when I bought him as a 5 year old. I think he looks loads better and once his winter coat has fallen out, he should be quite sleek!

Groundhog day in the lambing shed

Monday 5 April, 2010

by Rosemary at 3:58pm in Sheep Comments closed

Juno and Jinx lambed last night. Jinx has been bagged up for days and, just yesterday, I noticed Jinx was too. Nothing doing at bedtime, I set the alarm for 3am.

Jinx had a single tup lamb, same as last year, but much smaller than Buddy was. Juno had twins - a tup and ewe - but the tup lamb died, despite my best efforts at ovine CPR. Last year, Juno had two tup lambs, but one was born dead. The other is Dickie, our companion wether.

Jinx's lamb seems bright, has a pretty full belly and is almost silent. Juno's lamb, Milly, doesn't seem to have got the hang of latching on and Juno isn't being awfully co-operative, although she has plenty milk. At least she's not knocking the lamb away.

Project planning

Monday 5 April, 2010

by Rosemary at 4:12pm in Anything goes Comments closed

With less than six weeks to go, Dan and I decided we needed something resembling a plan, so last night we sat down with a glass of wine each, a pad, a pen and a laptop to put together our project plan.

I think it has worked quite well although the proof of the pudding etc etc. We now each have a list of things to be done this week. Mine does seem longer than Dan's, but hey ho!

I was getting a tad stressed about "all the things to be done" but when we wrote it down, there were things that can't be done yet anyway. Now they are on the list, I can stop worrying about forgetting them and just do them at the appropriate time.

Silly Milly

Tuesday 6 April, 2010

by Rosemary at 11:31am in Sheep Comments closed

Juno's lamb, named Milly, is possibly the dimmest animal I have encountered. She's quite small and yesterdy, she was a bit bleaty. It seems she's perfectly good at sucking but not very good at latching on. Her mother is not terribly helpful - Jinx, by comparison, organises her legs to make it easy for het lamb to suckle - whereas Juno's static.

Anyway, both ewes are in small pens - the weather's not very nice and they are quite content - I think, for Ryelands, having your food put under your nose is some kind of heaven. I've been helping the lamb to suckle every couple of hours yesterday and overnight, so she's quite chipper and less bleaty. Hopefully, as she gets bigger and stronger, she'll manage by herself.

Silly Milly again

Thursday 8 April, 2010

by Rosemary at 8:29pm in Sheep Comments closed

Well, Milly's now got the hang of this suckling lark and she is now out in the field, in the sun, with the rest of the flock. However, Dan found her in the water bucket yesterday, bleating her head off, totally stuck. She's a canny wee thing, though, and is perfectly confident with people.

The tup lamb is pretty sturdy and Jinx is doing him well. I wish Jura would get on with the job though.

I'm planning to sell Buddy at the rare breed sale at Thainstone on the 1st May. This is a bit of a learning curve for me, as I've never sold anything through a market before. I can't decide whether I should put a reserve on him or not, and if so, how much. I don't really want to go all that way and NOT sell him, but on the other hand, I don't want him to go for a fiver. I'll hate to see him go, but I can't realistically keep him.

Hobbling Hector

Thursday 8 April, 2010

by Rosemary at 8:54pm in Poultry Comments closed

Hector, our Copper Black Maran cockerel, has a limp. Actually, it's a real hobble. He was limping yesterday, so I caught him and bathed his foot in hot water and Milton fluid. I am guessing that it's his foot that's the problem although I can't see anything in it or any significant swelling.

Dan says he was fine this morning but he was pretty lame this afternoon, so I caught him again and did his foot in the same way. I'll keep up the bathing for a few days and see how he goes. I did shut him in the broody coop, but he looked so miserable and Dan said he wouldn't fit through the entrance to the nest area, that I let him out.

"A salvage job"

Friday 9 April, 2010

by Rosemary at 1:22pm in Agriculture 1 comment Comments closed

It was heartbreaking to read in today's "Scottish Farmer" about the losses suffered by some Scottish sheep farmers due to the terrible weather. One farmer had lost between 150 and 200 lambs, all his Bluefaced Leicester tups and ten feeding sheep. Another experienced a snowfall of 21 inches in 24 hours, followed by flooding and three days without power. Many expressed concern about the condition of hill ewes, which will lamb in a couple of weeks.

It's sometimes easy, in the warmth of the supermarket, to forget how hard our farmers work, especially when the weather is so difficult and unpredictable. I, for one, take my hat off to them.

Five weeks to go

Friday 9 April, 2010

by Rosemary at 1:35pm in Anything goes Comments closed

Things are moving along here. We should have the first draft drawings of the house alterations this weekend, then we can sort out the insulation and get the SAP rating. Dan's been researching potential installers for the heat pump and the PV system.

I don't think the estate agent's particulars had very accurate room dimensions, from the mutterings of the architect. I know they always put a disclaimer on, and now I know why. We planned to move the bathroom into the smallest bedroom, but it looks like we might have to include part of the original bathroom as well, to give us enough room for a bath and large shower. For cost reasons, we had hoped to avoid this and just keep the former bathroom as a store cupboard but we need a decent sized bathroom.

Beekeeping - like Christmas in April!

Saturday 10 April, 2010

by Rosemary at 1:46pm in Bees Comments closed

Our beekeepers' association has a talk from an officer in the Bee Inspectorate on Tuesday. It was really interesting and he seemed very nice and helpful. The role of the Bee Inspectorate, which is part of SGRPID (Scottish Government Rural Payments and Inspection Division), is to deal with notifiable diseases of bees - mainly American and European Foul Brood. All Association members are being asked to provide details of where they keep their bees so that if there is an outbreak of either disease, the Inspectors can notify local beekeepers to be on the lookout for infection. Both diseases can devastate colonies, so close inspection, good biosecurity, hive hygiene and varroa control are really important. I'm so glad we'll have an experienced mentor to help us.

Maybe really Spring this time

Saturday 10 April, 2010

by Rosemary at 9:34pm in Anything goes 1 comment Comments closed

It has been the most glorious day here today. I don't know what the temperature was but we were working outside in T shirts quite comfortably. The sheep were looking a little hot and the hens were dust and sun bathing.

Because we're not planting up the vegetable garden here this year, we have more time for the flower garden. Normally at this time of year, we're so busy sowing veggies, the weeds take over the flower beds and the paths and we never get caught up. Today we spent a couple of hours weeding and what a difference! It's kind of ironic that for the first time, the flower garden might be as I would want it and we won't be here to see it.

My bee suit

Friday 16 April, 2010

by Rosemary at 9:27am in Bees Comments closed

It's our first apiary visit on Sunday and, fortunately, our bee suits have arrived. I think I look rather fetching in mine, even if the dogs were a bit freaked and Dan could barely suppress a grin.

We've bought khaki rather than white, so it looks a bit less like a police forensic team. The suits were also available in latte, aqua and day-glo orange!!

I hope the weather is good on Sunday - wet mesh doesn't appeal.

Cock fight

Friday 16 April, 2010

by Rosemary at 6:30pm in Poultry Comments closed

Hector's lame; Harvey has obviously seen his opportunity to usurp him and there has been the most awful fight. I came back on Wednesday from the stables to find both of them covered in blood - mostly Hector's, I think.

He's now in isolation, with a hen companion, and I've bathed his wounds in Dettol. His right eye keeps closing and has to be bathed so he can open it, poor boy. Fortunately, he's a canny big soul and, apart from pecking at Felix when he got too close, he's been very easy to handle.

The Fabulous Bunny Boys

Saturday 17 April, 2010

by Rosemary at 9:35am in Cats Comments closed

A week short of their first birthday, Harry and Bertie have discovered bunnies. They must be catching at least one, maybe two, baby bunnies daily. We found (well, Meg found) the rear third of one under the bed and there was another in the field; I've rescued two. I do praise the cats when I take their bunny away, but advise them to kill it away from the house.

I know it's soft and we got the cats to reduce bunny numbers, but when I see the wee bunnies cowering in terror, I have to intervene. If the deed's already been done, then hey, ho. I'm now shutting off as many rooms as possible so I don't have to check under all the furniture every day.

Bye, Harvey

Friday 30 April, 2010

by Rosemary at 2:15pm in Poultry Comments closed

After the recent cockfight, Harvey was clearly top cockerel and Hector was confined with a couple of hens, for his own safety.

Fortunately, a friend of ours agreed to rehome Harvey along with my two remaining Light Sussex hens. I took them down last weekend to join the new "scabbies", as Bob calls the ex-batts he's just got. Hopefully, they'll all settle in - Harvey certainly seemed very happy with his new flock.

I was shocked at the appearance of the ex battery hens. I've only seem photos before but some were almost featherless. They seemed very bright and active though, so once their feathers grow in, I'm sure they will be fine. Maybe there should be photos of them on the "value" egg boxes.

Two weeks to go!

Friday 30 April, 2010

by Rosemary at 2:23pm in Anything goes Comments closed

Two weeks today until we get the keys for our new place - it's getting exciting!

We've bought a bath, to go with the wasbasin and toilet we bought in the January sales. We've ordered the new house sign but it won't be here for the 14th, unfortunately. I've also bought a bell for the yard, so we can be "called" from the fields - I think it's rather smart. And it's very loud!

The application for the building warrant is in and we have the SAP report for the potential suppliers of ground source heat pumps, and updated drawings for the builder and the kitchen supplier. We've decided on quarry tiles for the boot room, kitchen and dining room floors; the three rooms lead from each other, so it should look quite good, as well as being hardwearing and easy to clean.

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