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Posted: Monday 6 January, 2020

by Rosemary at 1:59pm in Smallholding No comments Add your own

Monday 30th December

Dark and overcast, some light rain but very mild. Andy came over to do “man stuff” so he and Dan finished trimming, sorting and moving the brash – it’s going to be some bonfire when we get round to holding it.

I picked up a load of hay and checked the steers and Zeph at East Pitkerro. All well.

We have a robin residing, at least part-time, in the feed store. He now has his own feed bowl. And the goldfinches are back - the niger seed feeder had been untouched for weeks, but there were two goldfinches on it yesterday and they seem to be making up for lost time!

robinFeed store robin.

Farrier came to do Smokey’s feet; all good and he says he only needs to see him every three months, especially now he’s doing a lot of roadwork.

Emptied, defrosted, cleaned and refilled another freezer – that’s three done, two to go. I’m looking at the pig freezer and wondering if we need a whole pig next year. We don’t eat a lot of pork and we have so many beef sausages, we don’t eat that many pork ones. Maybe half a pig would do us.

Tuesday 31st December

Crystal clear and frosty for most of the day. Put a new bale of hay in for the ewes – the last one lasted 11 days. They aren’t wasting much either. There’s no grass in their field – they’re out for fresh air and exercise.

Took Smokey out for a wee daunder with Dan and the dogs. He prefers to go out with his herd.

Moved the hens to fresh paddocks - they look a bit dismal (the paddocks not the hens) but they have two months to recover a bit before the hens go back in on 1st March.

hensHen paddock.

It’s time to do the cattle with Closamectin – the weight tape says Blizz is 694kg. We checked online for more information and that looks about right. Based on that, I worked on the basis (from deadweights) that the steers are 700kg at 900days, so assuming a birth weight of 40kg, that’s an average daily liveweight gain of 0.73kg/day. Therefore, at 20 months, they’re 478kg and at 8 months 215kg. Tortuous, eh? For dosing purposes, I’ve worked on 750kg, 500kg and 250kg, which is exactly 500ml, given our numbers – the size of the bottle. Result. A 500ml bottle is over £90 – bigger bottles are cheaper, but inevitably I have loads of waste because we only use it once a year at this time and it’s nasty stuff to dispose of. Hey ho – that’s the five here done.

Wednesday 1st January

New year, new diary. Braw.

diaryNew year, new diary.

Frosty last night but milder by morning, with broken cloud and some sun. Windy in the evening. Cleaned out the hens first thing then popped down to East Pitkerro to put a bale of hay in for the steers. Charlie, Archie and Zeph are fine but Charlie’s wee compared to our two. He seems happy enough. Didn’t try to put pour-on on because they get a bit stirred up at a new bale. There was a bit of hay left, which we brought out in dumpy bags, so a bale is lasting "7 and a wee bit" days. Once Zeph goes, it should last eight days.

steersZeph and Charlie, Archie eating, R&R at the back..

Ponies were spooky this morning. They came in like it was the Grand National and huffed and puffed around the Triangle. The sheep were a bit skittish too. Fireworks or spring?

I managed to get half the inside of the polytunnel cleaned – the North side – the outside wasn’t as clean as I thought, so I had to give that a bit more attention. It’s still not as clean as I would like, but it will have to do.

Dan was renovating a knife – it’s one that I had at catering college, in the Dark Ages, and it’s a good knife, just a perfect size for general use. The handle started to disintegrate a while ago then broke again this week but Dan decided to make a new handle from wood. Good man! He’s also made a start on sorting out the workshop – that’s not going to be a quick job but I am determined not to offer any unwanted advice. But if he asks…

Just as it was getting to dusk, I whizzed round Sheepfold and took down the bottom strand of electric polywire. With three big horses, we don’t need it and the sheep damage it and the posts by going under it. It’s hellish stuff to roll up but I’m planning to put it straight out in the paddocks to keep the cattle off the fences when they go out (in May). There are three posts broken and some of the insulators are a bit hard up – hoping that Dan will bang the posts in for me and I’ll do the rest. I did bang all the original posts in, ten years ago, but not sure I could do it now.

Thursday 2nd January

Very windy. Kit Katmoget, one of the Shetland ewes, was lame this morning but it was just a stone – popped it out and she was right as rain. Since I had Dan in tow and the foot shears and blue spray to hand, we gave Teddy a long overdue pedicure. Actually, his feet were pretty good.

Dan was sorting through bee stuff and cleaning it up, so that he’s well prepared for spring, then he chopped kindling so there should be enough for a few weeks.

beeBeekeeping spring preparation.

I finished cleaning the polytunnel – what a difference. Just need to finish the weeding now.

polytunnelShiny polytunnel.

Friday 3rd January

Day off today and off to Glasgow to meet friends for lunch and to see the Linda McCartney Photography Retrospective at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and museum. If it had been more than £7 to get in to the exhibition, I’d have felt ripped off. I’ll leave it at that.

Tara offered to do the cattle in the afternoon, which meant we didn’t have to rush back and get changed into old clothes. Very nice.

Saturday 4th January

Nice day so Dan started to refelt the roof of the bike shed. It’s been leaking, so it had to be done. The shed itself is getting a bit hard up; it was an old shed when we moved here ten years ago and we don’t use it that much, because it’s not in the most convenient location.

Picked up two bales of hay then Tara, Rebecca and I went riding on the Buddon. We were out for an hour and a half – our longest yet – and we almost got to the beach. We’re planning at least one picnic in the summer.

Afternoon, Tara, Rebecca, Linda and I took ourselves off to see “Little Women”. Excellent, loved it.

Sunday 5th January

Dan finished the shed roof – he’s powering through his To Do list. I made a start on the potting shed, in a desultory sort of way.

Andy and Dan repaired a couple of “broken” bits in the polytunnel and we have progress on the septic tank; we rent a field from a local house builder, who’s an awfy nice man, and he’s on the case. Yay!

Met my good chum, Carol, for lunch; she’s going halves on the 2020 pig. Yay, again.

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