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Posted: Monday 29 November, 2021

by Rosemary at 8:48am in Smallholding No comments Add your own

Monday 22nd November

At 7am, it was clear and sunny; by 9amit was cold and overcast. Still, it’s dry.

Had a bit of a tidy up in the byre; advertised the broken freezer on social media and a chap came to pick it up tonight. Yay! Dan and I are going to try and get half an hour this week just moving things around; there’s stuff to come in from the barn, where I want to clear more space so we can store more hay in winter, just in case the roads are bad.

I made Delia’s classic Christmas cake mixture and got 24 mini cakes out of it. And I’ve started a batch of mince pie truffles – these are new and out of a Christmas magazine. I’ll chocolate coat them in the morning.

I had the vet booked for Wednesday for Smokey’s second Dectomax injection; I’ve added Niamh, Rora and Buster to the list. Niamh’s awful lame – I think she has arthritis, so I’m hoping for a painkiller. I’m wondering if she could have bute, since she won’t be going into the food chain. I need to know if Rora’s in calf and we need a blood sample from Buster for his BVD test.

I got an email on Friday saying Grey had to have a BVD test within 40 days, but it turns out I just had to get the pre-movement test result uploaded. He will need a TB test though, so we started on his halter training this morning. He was very good.

Tuesday 23rd November

Lovely bright, sunny day. Chocolate coated half the truffles – they’re rather nice.

Tara and I took Euro and Smokey for a walk then I picked up my daughter, went for a coffee (and wee something). Called in to the butcher’s to drop off the crates and poly boxes that the beef was delivered in so that emptied the car.

Attended a Zoom seminar for the Farm Advisory Service about carcass and cuts; it was good in parts.

Wednesday 24th November

Another nice day. I finally got around to planting the garlic and shallots – Jermor and Griselle. I even netted them.

Got a halter on Baby for the first time. She was unexpectedly annoyed by this, but she’ll be better tomorrow. The vet phoned to say he was coming at 1.30pm, so at 1pm, I went out to bring the cattle in. Oh boy, they weren’t happy – not their time to come in. But the sight of a bucket changed their minds.

I had a wee list of things. First, Smokey got his second Dectomax injection for mites. This has worked spectacularly well. He stopped itching immediately after the first one, but the second catches any that have hatched in the interim. Then, Alistair had a look at Niamh, our 11-year-old Coloured Ryeland ewe, who is lame in her near fore. The pain seems to be in the knee / shoulder (Alistair was admiring the great job I’d done on her feet and I had to confess that I’d never had to trim her feet!!); so she’s to get some Danilon (bute) as she’s not ever destined for the food chain.

Then it was a blood sample from Buster for his BVD test; we tried to put his tags in too, since we had him cornered. Button tag went in fine, but he moved just as the flag tag went in, or not, in this case but the tag closed, so I’ll need to get a replacement. And finally, Alistair confirmed that Rora IS NOT in calf. I hoped I’d got her away from Ace in time and I’d had her jagged but I hadn’t seen her bulling again.

And, not surprisingly, we’re required to house all poultry from the 29th November. Super. Not. Just surprised it’s taken this long. The hens in the green house will go in the polytunnel again – they were in there last year – and the ones in the brown house will go in the caravan with a gazebo covered run.

Thursday 25th November

Shut Pen in the classroom overnight to get a urine sample for the vet tomorrow.

Spent a bit of time wrestling with what parasite treatments to use on the cattle this year. I was conscious that the plan is to bring the heifers on as house cows, so they could have nothing that would compromise that. We’ve used Closamectin pour-on in the past and Albex oral drench, the pour-on being far easier to administer than the drench. There’s also the issue of bottle quantities, use-by dates and wastage. So, after a bit of reading, we’ll use Closamectin this year – one dose eight weeks after housing. We need 320ml and we can get a 500ml bottle, meaning not too much wastage. Next year, with the heifers (hopefully) in calf and due May, we’ll have to use something else.

And Buster now knows about beet pulp.

busterBuster's bucket.

Friday 26th November

Took Penfold to the vet – sadly the litter tray wasn’t clean enough and his urine sample had floaters, so we have to do it again. Thomas is at the vet for HIS annual check-up next week, so will drop it in then.

Storm Arwen is scheduled to hit us today and the winds have been ramping up, along with heavy sleet showers. Fingers crossed that we aren’t hit too badly. I tried to bring the cows in early but they were having none of it. Buddy and Bronte were sheltering under a holly overhang and were bone dry, despite the heavy showers.

calvesBuster and Bronte, hiding from Storm Arwen.

Power went off at about 6pm. Candles lit, stove lit. Animals as comfortable as we can make them. Just have to sit it out now.

Saturday 27th November

No power today – various deadlines given for restoration and then missed. By teatime, our next-door neighbours were connected but not us???!!! Thank goodness for the wood burners – I had porridge for supper. It cooked remarkably quickly. House is cold though and we had to charge phones via a laptop and in the car. Not missing the TV or social media though.

One slate off the West Range; the roof on the green hen house a bit twisted, some big branches off a conifer down and in the ditch (thankfully missed the tractor) and a tree out the ground but held up by ivy. Grateful that it’s not much, much worse.

Dan emptied the muck trailer at the community garden, then picked up two wee tiny bales of hay. After a cuppa, he and Andy went off to collect two trailer loads of wood from the golf course. They met the head greenkeeper and he said there were twenty trees down overnight, so we’re good for wood for a bit. It looks like we have enough to fill the three bays – and it’s seasoned. The plan is to process this lot, then collect the same again for processing in the spring.

Sunday 28th November

Cold, dry and sunny. No power first thing but it came on about noon, while I was off getting my flu vaccine and Covid booster. The house is still cold but the water is hot; the freezers barely changed temperature.

Dan and Andy got on with wood processing this morning. That Sunday morning chain saw sound!

We raddled the tups with red – that’s two weeks they’ve been in and a couple of the ewes were served right away, so if they are going to come back it will be in the next three or four days. Another two weeks, and Murray will be off home, Bean will be back with his wether chums and all the ewes can be reunited.

The polytunnel is ready to accept hens but the caravan won’t be ready until Wednesday, after the deer netting is delivered. Dan’s done all the bits he can and we’ll get them moved Wednesday night.

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