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Posted: Monday 17 December, 2018

by Rosemary at 9:14pm in Smallholding Comments closed

Monday 10th December

Took Tom to the vet for his dental assessment; he only needed a scale and polish but he’s well in the huff with me. I am persona non grata. Every time he sees me, he dives for cover. Hey ho. Still, he's come a long way in his relationship with the dogs.

tomTom and the dogs - and no hissing.

Almost finished the backlog of diary entries – the process is now well consolidated.

Ross came down with his new guide dog puppy, Nicki. She’s a cross between a Golden Retriever and a Golden Retriever x Labrador – she’s one of the pups from Zaza’s first litter (Ross puppy walked Zaza too). He still has Jenny, who goes off in January to start her formal training, so he’s got his hands full. Gwenna and Bryn made her very welcome.

pupNicki and Gwenna

Started poo-picking Sheepfold – much evidence of pony playing.

playPony play.

Finished their howff, so they have somewhere dry to spend part of the day, eating their breakfast and some hay. Decided to put them out in Laing’s Field.

poniesSmokey and Leo

Tuesday 11th December 17

Finished the diary entries!!! And did some Smallholding Scotland stuff.

Took Penfold to the vet for a further post-op and he’s been discharged. Yay!

Wednesday 12th December

Finally got round to cleaning out the empty chook caravan – it’s pretty much cobweb free and liberally sprinkled with Diatom, ready for spring.

caravanClean caravan.

Started working on the course programme for here for 2019.

Dan put up some hooks for Leo and Smokey's halters.

haltersTidy halters.

Thursday 13th December

Started emptying, defrosting, cleaning and stocktaking the freezers. With the beef coming next week, it’s the last chance I’ll have for a wee while, as all the freezers will be full (although we’ve sold 17 beef boxes). Did the upright, which is mainly fruit and vegetables and started the first of the four chest freezers – have it emptied anyway.

The ewes were relaxing in the trees today.

ewesEwes loafing.

Received my favourite Christmas card today – from Mrs. Paterson. I may have recounted this before – if so, I apologise and put it down to age. I wanted to be a vet; didn’t get good enough grades in my Highers; applied (on the advice if the Careers Service) to study agriculture and started sixth year at school. Visited my shepherd uncle in the October holiday and saw a job for a student; applied, got it and left school. I knew diddley squat about cows and was a wet-behind-the-ears townie, but there I was, living in a howff in the middle of a filed and milking cows twice a day. My boss was Mrs. P’s son. I got pretty homesick sometimes and she was very good to me. In October next year, it will be 40 years since I started work at Woodend. Every year we exchange Christmas cards; in that time, we’ve met once. I don’t know how old she will be – over ninety, maybe. Anyway, I’ve sent her card with my email and said if she doesn’t do email, one of her 17 great grandchildren can email me to arrange a visit.

Forty years. Jings.

Friday 14th December

Glorious day today – blue sky, sunshine. Leo, the pony, went for an x-ray – the stables’ vet has a new machine to try out, and he’s the guinea pig. I’m sure he will be really good. He was picked up at 8am and back at lunchtime. Smokey called and called for him.

And it’s not good news. We knew he had a bony callus on his off fore; the reason for it is that he has a fracture between the pastern and fetlock joint. This is consistent with the story that his current owner, David, got from the dealer, that he had put his foot down a cattle grid with his “owner previous to the dealer”, if that makes sense. David has offered him to me for free, as a companion, but I want to speak to my vet first, after he’s seen the x-rays. Poor boy. He’s sound for now anyway.

Have arranged to pick up the beef on Tuesday morning, so emailed all the customers to arrange collection.

Saturday 15th December

Cleaned out the brown hen house.

Hosted our Festive Wreath Making course today, tutored by our chum, Rebecca Makepeace. With spiced apple juice, mulled wine and homemade mince pies and festive biscuits, plus a plethora of foliage, flowers, cones and berries foraged from round Dalmore, the six participants made beautiful wreaths. Then Dan and I had a go and made a few to, hopefully, sell.

While the course was going on, I had a chat with Alistair, our vet, about Leo. We’ve decided to keep him, knowing that either his leg could give suddenly or he could develop chronic lameness; either way, we’d have to have him euthanized. He won’t make old bones. Still, he and Smokey are happy enough dodging about, so we’ll play it by ear. Smokey is 21 and has COPD; we’ve agreed that the best plan will be to let them live out their lives together until one is unable to go on, and let both go together. Breaks me up.

The hideous thing is that, had the folk who owned him when he had his accident, called the vet, it was pretty easy and not expensive (£500 or so) to sort it. A simple cast for six weeks would have left him sound as a pound. It makes me angry and sad that a lovely young pony has been spoiled like this.

Since the weather was to be sleet and strong winds tonight, I’ve rugged Leo and Smokey.

Sunday 16th December

Hmm, Smokey was without rug this morning. Found it in the field, inside out, chest and belly straps intact; leg straps broken. How did he do that? On the plus side, the scouring action of the wind and rain has rendered him sparkling white! I need to clean his willie though. I think I’ll need to give him a wee sedative.

Dan did a bit of chain sawing of branches broken in the storm. Nothing too drastic, thankfully.

logsA few more logs for the store.

There’s a bit of standing water in the fields.

waterStanding water.

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