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Posted: Monday 24 December, 2018

by Rosemary at 2:48pm in Smallholding Comments closed

Monday 17th December

Cleaned out the green henhouse – managed not to bash my head. It’s a good house but the roof is a really awkward height. The brown house is an adapted shed, so is high enough to stand upright in.

Sorted out the invoices for the beef – we’ve sold seventeen boxes and we’re determined to be well organized this year. Finished sorting out the freezers, ready for tomorrow.

Ross came down with Jenny and Nicki – Jenny goes away to start her formal training on 8th January.

Tuesday 18th December.

Mild and drizzly. Annie was knocking off her calf this morning – which is good, because he’s going to pastures new on Friday. The calves are almost a big as their mammies.

rockyRocky and Rosie

Dan went for the beef; once home, we had it pretty quickly into boxes and the surplus into the freezer. Most folk came to pick up today – we only had two to freezer and two to chill until tomorrow. It was as we ordered except for a 3kg sirloin joint, which we hadn’t but while we were contemplating cutting it up for us, a our next door neighbors arrived with a friend, who bought it for her large family for New Year, so that was a result.

boxesSorting out the beef boxes.

We reckon eighteen boxes would be the most we could do from two beasts. We had one box didn’t get fillet steak, so had extra sirloin but that was because one customer had requested a 1kg piece of fillet.

filletjointFillet for Beef Wellington.

But we only had about six joints left; lots of sausages, mince, stew and steaks though.

Wednesday 19th December

A few folk came for beef today and a few bought lamb, honey and juice as well. It’s lovely to get positive feedback from folk.

filletLook at that marbling.

Dressed Ace, Rocky and Ruaridh with Closamectin, which treats internal and external parasites. It treats late immature fluke – so leaving doing it for seven weeks after housing means that any fluke the cattle were carrying at housing are now old enough to be zapped, and of course, they don’t pick up new fluke when inside. We used to do it twice – once at housing then seven weeks later, but have now dropped it to once. We can’t use Closamectin on the cows because we milk them, so they’ll be dosed with Albex in five weeks time. That’s fun. Not.

I used to do the cows with Pfizer Spot-on for external parasites when I housed them but decided to stop doing it routinely and just do it if there was any sign of a problem. Which there hasn’t been.

My chum, Carol, came for lunch. Good to catch up.

Thursday 20th December

Collected six bales of hay for over the festive period. Took two to East Pitkerro, dressed Whyte and Mackay with Closamectin, gave them a new straw bed – much excitement – and a fresh bale of hay. Tomorrow, they get two new chums.

Dan bought a whole salmon at the supermarket to sure and smoke.


cureCured salmon.

Friday 21st December

And so the year turns on the Solstice. It’s been a mixed bag. Not our best sheep year – only sixteen lambs weaned from fifteen to the tup and only two calves from our three cows. But I did get to milk Blizz for months and found out what she could yield – and we had fantastic pork and cheese from the milk. We lost Lucy and Bug – but gained Leo. We had three smashing pigs. The garden output was mixed – but we’re excited about selling some flowers and vegetables next year; and it’s been great getting Dalmore Croft off the ground. So onwards and upwards to the new year.

Took Ruaridh and Rocky to East Pitkerro – they followed a bucket on to the trailer.

trailerStressfree trailer loading.

I was worried about them being bullied but in fact Ruaridh is the boss. Must be all the playing with Ace that’s given him a superiority complex.

steersNew chums.

Picked up Leo’s passport – he’s Glenacarrig Galiao. With the wonders of t’internet, I found that his full brother was 3rd out of 23 at the Horse of the Year Show. Ah well, different life for our boy. Mind you, just shows what a nonsense horse passport are – all his shows is the first sale from breeder to a woman in Shetland – then nothing, although he’s been to at least three other owners since then. What a nonsense it is.

Saturday 22nd December

Milked Annie and Rosie, just to make them comfortable and to see if they would let me. Both were just fine. Planning to move to “every other day” over Christmas.


Spent some time in the veg garden; Dan was spreading manure on the beds. I planted out some wallflower – don’t know how it will do as they've been heeled in for ages – and some bulbs, on the patio. Just the side bed at the house to do now. The sweetpeas are just showing through.


Dan made a lovely cob loaf - his decoration is improving,

cobYummy sourdough bread.

Sunday 23rd December

Cleaned out both henhouses – so I don’t feel bad on Christmas Day. This is our first Christmas EVER just the two of us (plus animals, of course) and we’re going to John and Linda’s for dinner, so no cooking either.

Checked the steers – they were fine; bawling a bit. Wish they would stop pooping in their water though.

Today's loaf is a baguette.

baguetteSourdough baguettes.

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