June 2011RSS feed

Shearing, almost

Tuesday 7 June, 2011

by Rosemary at 12:53pm in Sheep Comments closed

Our Ryelands have very heavy fleeces so I like to get them off as soon as I can. We have a new shearer this year, as our previous man is a bit far away. Sunday 5th June was the arranged day - cool, dry weather forecast. Perfect!

I had the tup and wether in and pens built when Garry arrived. Once he got his equipment sorted out, Dickie was first. Lovely tidy job done. Then Leo - have to say he was smaller than I expected once his fleece was off. It weighed 4kg, though.

Then it was on to the ewes. Now, I brought the ewes in as Garry was shearing Leo. Mistake- I should have brought them in first thing in the morning to let them empty their stomachs. First up was Luna, who is probably, with Lucy, our least friendly sheep. She was a kicker, which was a pain but probably saved her life. As Garry was shearing, she stopped kicking- she was unconscious!

Tidy greenhouse

Tuesday 7 June, 2011

by Rosemary at 1:02pm in Growing Comments closed

John had a good old tidy of the greenhouse last weekend. It's now full of tomatoes and cucumber and herbs. All the potting tables and stuff are out, and the brocolli and calabrese plants are hardening off, ready for planting once they get a wee bit bigger.

Tidy Greenhouse

I managed to get swede and parsnips sown yesterday. Some plants in the vegetable garden look really good; others are a bit pathetic. I've thrown some "Growmore" and John had some rock dust that he's put on. But we've plenty manure to go on in the autumn, so hopefully next year will be better.

Big tractor at Dalmore

Tuesday 7 June, 2011

by Rosemary at 1:48pm in Land Comments closed

Ken came yesterday to spread lime and potash fertiliser for us. It was dry and still, so perfect for it - and even better, it rained overnight and looks like we might get more today.

Tractor spreading lime

We had the soil tested several months ago - only Sheepfold needed lime, but potash was low in all the fields. There was a bit of moving stock around, but it only took about three hours, and that was with Ken having to go back to his farm to refill the spreader with fertiliser. We'll test again in two years and see how it's all going.

Cinnabar Moth

Tuesday 7 June, 2011

by Rosemary at 1:55pm in Wildlife Comments closed

We caught this Cinnabar moth on camera last week.

Cinnabar Moth

Never seen one like it before, but it was beautiful.

Working Smokey

Friday 10 June, 2011

by Rosemary at 9:17pm in Equines 2 comments Comments closed

Well, almost. Smokey and I had a session with Steve yesterday. We longreined him a bit, then put him to our homemade swingle tree and let him drag that around for a bit - over the paths as well so it was nice and noisy and bouncy. That went fine, so Steve attached a rope to the swingle tree and put a bit of drag on it so Smokey had to work a bit harder. At that point, the steering got a bit hit or miss, but Smokey was great.

Smokey in harness

Heifers in!

Friday 10 June, 2011

by Rosemary at 9:29pm in Cattle Comments closed

The vet will be coming next Friday to start the AI process by putting in the PRIDs. This evening, Dan and I brought the heifers in to the byre for the first time since they were turned out in February. Rebecca was doing the ponies, so she got roped in to help too.

I haltered them both; Dan took a bucket of feed, I led Breeze, who is the leader and a madam, while Rebecca took Blizzard, who's one of life's followers and a wee sweetie. And off we went to the byre! They were as good as gold.


Friday 10 June, 2011

by Rosemary at 10:01pm in Anything goes Comments closed

No, not me! Dan and John's home brew. It's from a kit - Woodforde's Wherry, I think, and it's ready - 40 pints of it. And it's lovely.

The method of dispensing is a bit odd, for reasons not known to me. It gets decanted into a saucepan then served up in ladlefuls. It's a bit medieval, with John playing the part of serving wench at dinner tonight, but it's very nice indeed.

The stout is brewing away and I think another couple of kits are lurking somewhere. John was muttering tonight about planting hops, but we sent him back to the kitchen.

Shearing finished

Sunday 12 June, 2011

by Rosemary at 2:01pm in Sheep Comments closed

And all's well!

The ewes will be glad it's done as it's warm here today. As ususal, they look a bit odd but we kept the lambs around during shearing, so there wasn't the usual confusion when they were reunited.

Garry's done a good job - just a few wee nicks that have been sprayed with iodine and are dried up this morning. They all look nice and tidy.

The gimmers have the biggest change - having lost their lamb fleece, they all of a sudden look just like the older ewes.


Saturday 18 June, 2011

by Rosemary at 11:15am in Anything goes Comments closed

Dan and John bottled the stout this morning. I was given a sherry glass full to taste. It's quite nice, not as nice as the bitter, but it matures in the bottle apparently. The two of them are getting right into the homebrew.

Bottling stout

I like beer - in fact, much of the time, I'd choose it over wine (except champagne :-)).

We've found a good stand of elder on the golf course, so well away from traffic fumes. The flowers are almost ready to pick but we'll need a dry, sunny day so that they are fully open and dry. It's raining here just now so it won't be today.

Orchard planning

Saturday 18 June, 2011

by Rosemary at 11:20am in Orchard Comments closed

Since it was raining today and Dan's tweaked his back, it seemed a good use of time to sit down and look again at the plans for the orchard. We do try to spend time on planning, so that we make best use of the resources that we have available. We also like to do our research and take expert advice. All this does not, of course, guarantee that everything goes without a hitch but we do try to make our mistakes on paper.

Orchard planning

Our garden

Saturday 18 June, 2011

by Rosemary at 11:48am in Growing Comments closed

The garden here is lovely, although not if you like tidy, or municipal planting. We can take no credit, since all we've done so far is pull stuff out to let builders in. It's a garden full of surprises - almost every day, one of us finds a plant that we've not seen before bursting into bloom, then we all gather to wonder at it.

In spring, there was a cluster of plants in the wood - a purple hellebore, bright yellow daffodils, white bleeding heart and purple snake's head fritillaries - that was just stunning. I can only assume that it was planted like this by our predecessors, but it looks entirely spontaneous.

Smokey swivels and Bug goes to the beach

Saturday 18 June, 2011

by Rosemary at 12:07pm in Equines Comments closed

As part of Smokey's education as a working pony, he has to learn to turn without bending his body ie by crossing his front feet, one over the other, while keeping his hind feet swivelling on the spot.

Moving sideways is a manoever that we learned in the Parelli programme, so he knows how to do that - in fact, it's often what he does if he's not sure what you're asking him to do - "if in doubt, try sideways".

Last time we were out with Steve and we tried it, he was either moving forward or backwards. On Thursday, we went out on to the road to have a practice and he was foot perfect to both right and left, although he finds going right easier. I found that opening up the right rein, for example, and asking him to "over" was enough to get what I wanted. The going backwards previously was my fault - I was putting too much weight on the left rein, in this case, to stop him going forwards, thus causing him to back up. We've spent a lot of time on "back" :-) I was very pleased with his progress - now we have to try it in traces.

Dog kennel?

Sunday 19 June, 2011

by Rosemary at 12:48pm in Cats Comments closed

We bought this kennel for Tess. She doesn't like it - but Bertie does.

Bertie in cat's kennel


Sunday 19 June, 2011

by Rosemary at 12:52pm in Cattle Comments closed

Or Progesterone Releasing Intra-vaginal Devices, to you.

The vet came and inserted them yesterday. The heifers were a bit discombobulated but recovered to eat their feed before going back to the field. We hope that they don't "discover" each others' strings and remove the devices prematurely - that's MY job a week Monday. The vet's advice was to "pull gently but stand to the side as, in heifers particularly, they can suddenly ping out, and you don't want to be hit in the face." Good advice, I think.

Sowing grass

Tuesday 21 June, 2011

by Rosemary at 9:05am in Land Comments closed

The last few days have been warm and wet and rain was forecast for today (correctly), so I set off yesterday to sow grass seed on the areas where the new field drain was laid.

I bought two seed mixes from The Grass Seed Store - one mixed for repairing gateways and one a grazing mix with herbs. I decided to use both and see what the difference is.

Doing Ditch Field was interesting because Breeze and Blizzard wanted to "help" - that involved headbutting the bucket that I had the seed in. Top Field was easier - although I still had "helpers" - Meg, one of our collies and Bertie Kitten - they were much smaller. Bertie was particularly helpful - his technique was to run under the seed as I was throwing it, collect it on his fur, then shake it off somewhere else. Meg was bored and went rabbiting.

Builders here

Tuesday 21 June, 2011

by Rosemary at 9:15am in Renovation Comments closed

The builders started on John and Linda's house yesterday. The strip found was dug out and today they are pouring the concrete. They also dug the strip found for the new wall in the barn and are pouring that today as well.

The bricklayer should be here tomorrow to lay a few courses of blockwork to allow the concrete slab to be poured later in the week. Dan and John are going to do the same job in the barn, but it will be after the Highland Show.

Breeze and Blizzard go to Carnoustie

Friday 24 June, 2011

by Rosemary at 1:51pm in Cattle Comments closed

Well, not quite but they were certainly heading that way.

Last night, I went to pick Dan up from the train station in Arbroath. When we arrived home, I set off to shut the hens in, but saw a man come up the drive with a dog. To be honest, I though the dog had run away. But no, the man had come to tell us that our cows were on the track, heading to the town. He know they were ours, because he walks his dog in the field next to us and they always go over to the fence for a "chat".

Almost synchronised

Friday 24 June, 2011

by Rosemary at 1:59pm in Cattle Comments closed

The vet was out today to give the heifers an injection of prostraglandin, as part of the preparation for AI. The progesterone which is being released into their systems now shuts down the oestrus cycle. The prostraglandin causes an egg to ripen and when the PRIDs are removed on Monday, the egg will start to progress and be released ready for fertilisation (hopefully) on Wednesday and Thursday.

To be honest, I haven't really considered what I'll do if they don't hold to this service. As I see it, I've got three options; Genus don't keep Shetland semen in stock, so I suppose I can use a bull that they keep in stock, if they come bulling in four weeks. Secondly, I can order Shetland semen in now, just in case, which will be fine if I can send it back if I don't need it. Or thirdly, if they do come back in season, let that cycle pass and catch them the next time with Shetland semen. All the options have pros and cons.


Friday 24 June, 2011

by Rosemary at 2:11pm in Land Comments closed

When we moved here, the previous owner pointed out what she called "land reeds" and said that we should spray them with something. In all the newness, that didn't happen last year and we have a good crop this year, which is not good news.

Some internet research has told us that they are, in fact Soft Rush (Juncus effusus). As expected, it favours wet ground, so hopefully the new drains will help control it. This year, we will spray it but in future we'll try to control by mechanical means ie regular close cutting. It's not palatable, so the stock won't do it for us, which is a pity.

The bull in the bowler hat

Thursday 30 June, 2011

by Rosemary at 9:30am in Cattle Comments closed

Well, he didn't have a bowler hat, but the AI man was here yesterday to do the first insemination of our heifers. They were clearly bulling - Blizzard was mounting Breeze, who was standing for her - and they were quite frisky.

However, they did behave very well. The home-made crush worked fine and the AI man, Dave, said they were fully in season (but I'd worked that out). He'll be back today for a second insemination, then we'll watch for them coming in season in three weeks. If they don't, we'll have the vet to check them and confirm pregnancy in five weeks or so.

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