January 2011RSS feed

Wholewheat fruit scones

Saturday 1 January, 2011

by Rosemary at 9:05pm in Recipes 1 comment Comments closed

I made these today - my first adventure with the new oven. Actually, it was pretty good. As you may know, I'm a huge Delia Smith fan, so I'm going back to her Complete Cookery Course. It's still my favourite out of all the ones we have.

Heat your oven to 230 C / 450 F / Gas mark 8.

In a mixing bowl, combine 3oz wholewheat flour, sifted but add the bran, 3 oz SR flour, sifted, 1 tsp baking powder (I didn't have any so used the same quantity of Bicarbonate of Soda), 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1oz soft brown sugar (I used dark, 'cos it finished the bag). Rub in 1 oz butter at room temperature. Mix in 1 1/2oz ixed dried fruit. Beat 1 large egg and 2 tablespoons of milk and mix into the dry ingredients to form a soft dough.

New taps

Tuesday 4 January, 2011

by Rosemary at 2:11pm in Renovation Comments closed

Our friend, Tony, is a plumber. It's our good luck that he gets bored on holiday, so this week he's putting in a new water supply to the West Range. Currently, the supply comes in to the workshop, but he's going to drop supplies into the looseboxes, the byre and the feedstore.

I've just called my cousin, who's an electrician, to find a source of heating wire that can be wrapped around the pipes to stop them freezing.

Meantime, I'm going to move some stuff around in the feed store. It's really dismal here today, so I'd better do something constructive.

Well done, Leo

Wednesday 5 January, 2011

by Rosemary at 9:30pm in Sheep Comments closed

Well, Leo seems to have done his stuff. All six ewes have scanned in lamb, although the vet couldn't see if they were singles or multiples. He did say that a "proper" scanner would be able to, which made me smile.

He advised me to give them a salt lick as well as the molassed vitamin / mineral lick that they are currently getting. They'll also get a bit of hard feed in the run up to lambing, although he suggested keeping it low and increasing it after they lamb, to bring milk on.

Calves wormed

Wednesday 5 January, 2011

by Rosemary at 9:44pm in Cattle Comments closed

We were going to have our calves dehorned but changed our minds. The vet was coming to scan the sheep as well, so he dosed the calves for worms and fluke. Since our grazing hasn't had cattle on it for years, we should only need to treat for fluke in future.

The vet also took blood samples to test for Bovine Viral Diahorrea (BVD). Scotland is now ina voluntary programme to eradicate BVD, although it may become compulsory. We should get the test results in 10 days or so; hopefully, they will be OK as the Shetland Isles are BVD free and the calves haven't been in contact with any other cattle.

Water on tap

Wednesday 5 January, 2011

by Rosemary at 9:55pm in Renovation Comments closed

Tony, ably assisted by his apprentice (and wife) Rebecca, got all the new pipe and taps into the West Range today. It's great!

No more hauling water to the calves or to the feed store. We've got an old kitchen sink, salvaged from the house, that we might put into the feed store for added luxury.

Tony's lagged all the pipes so hopefully they will continue running unless the weather is very severe, in whih case it's back to the blowtorch. We decided against the electric tape on grounds of cost really - and Tony says his lagging is first class. I just hope we don't have it tested too often.

Hengae Fearsome

Sunday 9 January, 2011

by Rosemary at 11:02am in Cattle 2 comments Comments closed

We have identified Hengae Fearsome (by name, but I hope not by nature) as the bull we're most likely to use on our heifers in the summer.

Hengae FearsomeHengae Fearsome

He was born in 2005 and has no common ancestors with our girls in three generations, and no Boris, Rasmie or Freddie in six generations. He has five registered progeny - four female, one male - so I've contacted their breeder for further information.

Last of the Hubbards

Sunday 9 January, 2011

by Rosemary at 11:16am in Poultry Comments closed

We killed the last of the Hubbards on Thursday - 5 hens and one cockerel. They were about 14 weeks old. Dressed, the weights were 2.5kg, 2.8kg, 2.9kg, 3.0kg, 3.2kg and a whopping 3.9kg, total 18.3kg. I did discard quite a lot of internal fat during dressing.

We bought 12 day olds for £18; one broke a leg and had to be culled. We killed the other five, all cockerels, before Christmas. At 11 weeks old, they ranged from 2.62kg to 3.14kg and totalled 14.3kg. Grand total 32.6kg of prime chicken carcase.

Sweetie - do I never learn?

Sunday 9 January, 2011

by Rosemary at 11:27am in Poultry 2 comments Comments closed

I bought a batch of POL pullets in the summer. One of the Warrens never looked "right" and as winter progressed, she clearly wasn't coping with the bad weather. I called her Sweetie (I used to shout "Come on, sweetie" and she'd come for a treat). For the last month, I've had her in the loosebox, in the broody coop with the heat lamp on. She's been fed on layer pellets, poultry spice, sunflower seeds, mealworms (which she loved), porridge, sardines. She's been wormed twice.

Animal Health

Friday 14 January, 2011

by Rosemary at 12:34pm in Smallholding Comments closed

After ten years of smallholding and seven of keeping livestock, we had our first visit from Animal Health today. Actually, that's not true, when I think about it - they tested my sheep flock for toxoplasmosis and brucellosis a few years ago. But this was our first "real" visit.

The officer who came was very helpful, very knowledgeable and even gave us some suggestions for the website. I took him round all our stock, the feedstore and we discussed paperwork and current issues. To be honest, it was a pleasure, once I got over the initial "jellylegs".

Best laid plans etc etc

Friday 14 January, 2011

by Rosemary at 12:40pm in Smallholding Comments closed

Before the arrival of the Animal Health officer this morning, I had planned to go and pick up straw from a neighbouring farm. I need it for bedding the calves and for the lambing pens. I've managed to get 25 small bales at £2 each, which I'm happy with. I've been paying £3 a bale from elsewhere. So that's Monday now, along with a visit to the accountant to sign off last year's accounts.

I've also managed to secure a further 12 large round bales of decent hay from a second farm. I'm paying £25 per bale, delivered, which again, I'm happy with. This should see us through until the grass comes in, although our ponies get hay all year to try to prevent grass sickness and because they are on such restricted grazing. I bought seven bales, then a further two bales earlier in the year so I'll have a better idea soon of how much I need to get through a winter.

Officially BVD free

Tuesday 18 January, 2011

by Rosemary at 4:57pm in Cattle Comments closed

Our vet phoned today to confirm that our calves are completely free of BVD (Bovine Viral Diarrhoea) following their blood test a couple of weeks ago. They will need another test next year, but we will make strenuous efforts to maintain tthis status.

BVD is spread bovine to bovine mainly. The virus doesn't survive well outside the cattle's bodies. Our calves won't be going off the property and no other cattle will be coming on; we're not planning to show them. There are no other cattle around here in touching distance. We will have to ensure that folk coming on to the farm observe bootwashing and hand washing, especially if they have been on other premises with cattle, but that's not a bad thing anyway.

Lonely Leo

Tuesday 18 January, 2011

by Rosemary at 5:02pm in Sheep Comments closed

Although he has Dickie, our wether, for company, Leo, our tup, looks a bit lonesome. Our six in-lamb ewes and three ewe lambs are running together, so I wondered if I culd put Leo and Dickie in with them without a) the ewes being upset and b) the lambs being tupped.

Having asked the vet, the TAS forum and the RFBS, the consensus is "No". So Leo will just have to make do with Dickie until any tup lambs are weaned in the summer.

I did move the two of them to a nicer, drier paddock today so hopefully, he'll cheer up a bit.

Sorting out Sheepfold

Tuesday 18 January, 2011

by Rosemary at 5:05pm in Renovation Comments closed

It's been a lovely day here - colder than yesterday - but sunny so I've been poo-picking in Sheepfold.

Sheepfold is our two acre field; it's essentially triangular, with a wall on the short, West side and fence and ditch on the north and south sides, coming to a point at the east end. The ponies are in there most of the time, in their Paddock Paradise. We tidied up the south side fence in the autumn and had some hard standing put in at the gate.

The ponies went into the five acre field at the start of January and I'm planning to move them back to Sheepfold at the start of April. I'm also planning to put my newly lambed ewes in there because it has good shelter and a nice mixed sward that should have come on by then, weather permitting.

Take care with leg rings

Tuesday 18 January, 2011

by Rosemary at 5:16pm in Poultry Comments closed

I leg rings my hens - I used to do individual hens, but now I do it by batch. I prefer the spiral type rings as I feel they have a bit of give in them. However, I have used the clip-in ones, although I find they don't persist as long as the spiral ones.

A few days ago, I noticed that one of the Black Rocks was lame. When I caught her (which wasn't difficult), I was appalled to see that the clip-in leg ring was cutting badly into her leg. While I held her, John snipped it off and I gave it a good douse in antibiotic spray. the following morning, she didn't come out of the henhouse and when I investigated, the wound had dried to her breast feathers as she roosted and she couldn't move. Once I'd sorted that, it was another douse with spray and into the broody coop - or Emergency Ward 10.

In season?

Thursday 20 January, 2011

by Rosemary at 10:24am in Cattle Comments closed

Breeze is making a h*ll of a noise this morning and is even more pauky than usual. I wonder if she is in season. Let's see if it happens again in three weeks.

In season? Yes.

Thursday 20 January, 2011

by Rosemary at 8:44pm in Cattle 1 comment Comments closed

Good. That accounts for the bellowing. I was brushing them this afternoon and Breeze tried to mount Blizzard, so she is in season. Thankfully, it shouldn't last long.

Seed potatoes

Sunday 23 January, 2011

by Rosemary at 5:29pm in Growing Comments closed

Our seed potatoes have arrived - I didn't realise I had bought so many.

We have Vivaldi, Anya, International Kidney (the variety that is Jersey Royals), Red Duke of York, Druid and Rooster. Looking foward to getting planting but the ground will have to soften a bit first.

It's still very hard and the frost seems to be coming out slowly. The drainage ditches are well down but in parts of the fields, there is ice under the grass which makes for a strange walking experience.

Bird populations

Sunday 23 January, 2011

by Rosemary at 5:35pm in Wildlife 2 comments Comments closed

We have had a local volunteer here today from the British Orthnothology Trust (BTO) netting and ringing wild birds. The gentleman has been coming to Dalmore for a number of years and lives locally; he runs a number of similar projects in the area.

I fely a wee bit sorry for the birds caught in the nets, but they weren't there long and none seemed to come to any harm. Peter brought us a juvenile female Brambling to see; it's the first time he's caught a Brambling here although he has caught them at Barry Mill before. It was a lovely wee thing - hope it survives.

Hector says it's spring

Monday 24 January, 2011

by Rosemary at 10:44am in Poultry Comments closed

Hector's sap is rising - he's chasing hens and treading like mad if he can catch one. He obviously thinks it's spring.

Good to see though, since I thought I'd lost him last year.

No Focus

Tuesday 25 January, 2011

by Rosemary at 8:18pm in Anything goes 4 comments Comments closed

I've sold my car. For the first time in 22years, I don't have my own car. Since we moved here, we use the car less so we decided that we could manage with one (it's kind of two, since John and Linda have a car, but I like having the backup).

I had a Ford Focus - bought it in 2003 and I loved it. It was a real wee workhorse and never let me down. It was a bit dirty (understatement of the year) so I employed a local car valet company to clean it. Wow! It took him all yesterday morning but it looked like new. Although it was dirty (and strawy), it wasn't worn at all. Even better, he knew someone who was looking for a runabout.

A stroke of luck

Sunday 30 January, 2011

by Rosemary at 8:19pm in Gardening Comments closed

One (!) of the major projects we have going on at the moment is setting up the vegetable garden. We are using a 3/4 acre paddock where the coil for the heat pump was installed. After planning on paper (the easy bit), we bought the timber for the raised beds and Dan and John built the first one. Then we had all the snow and ice, so work halted.

Last weekend, Dan and I moved the timber into the vegetable garden and work was set to resume. The soil dug out for the coil was to be barrowed into the raised beds. THis turned out to be a huge job but this weekend, we had a stroke of luck.

"Planning and planting an orchard" course.

Sunday 30 January, 2011

by Rosemary at 8:28pm in Orchard Comments closed

Dan was booked to go on a "planning and planting an orchard" course on Saturday, but due to the minidigger opportunity, I went instead.

It was organised by Forth Valley Orchard Project and delivered by Andrew Lear www.appletreeman.co.uk. I've met Andrew before and he's not only very knowledgeable and a good presenter, but a very nice man. The planning and planting didn't worry me too much, but the pruning did. But no longer - I now feel quite confident to prune newly planted trees.

Old birds

Monday 31 January, 2011

by Rosemary at 9:48am in Wildlife 1 comment Comments closed

When Peter was down ringing birds last week, one of the things I was curious about was how long garden birds lived. He told us that many won't survice their first year, but some do live a surprisingly long time. I received this email from him a couple of days ago. Like me, you might find it surprising:

"You did ask how long some of the birds could live for so I have checked the BTO website and these are the longevity records from BTO ringing for the species that I caught yesterday:

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