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Hurricane Bawbag

Thursday 8 December, 2011

by Rosemary at 5:06pm in Smallholding Comments closed

We are in the grip of Hurricane Bawbag. However, we seem to be less affected here than other parts of Scotland, so we're grateful for that.

The animals seem fine. The ponies have been a wee bit spooky about stuff blowing around, but not at all bad. The cattle were cosied up in the field shelter earlier - I opened the gate yesterday for them. The sheep are grazing and pulling at the hay - I think a combination of wool and a low centre of gravity makes them pretty impervious.

I was most worried about the chooks but they have food and water in their houses, plus grit and oystershell feeders, so they can stay indoors if they want to. In fact, most were outside but looking a tad ruffled. Bet we don't have many eggs tomorrow.

All done

Saturday 12 November, 2011

by Rosemary at 8:58pm in Smallholding Comments closed

It's been an unseasonably warm week - but I'm not complaining. The grass is still growing and it hasn't been too wet, and that suits me just fine.

Leo has now served his nine ewes. We changed the raddle from yellow to green today and we'll be looking for green bums for the next couple of weeks - hopefully, there won't be any and he can go back into the orchard with Dickie at the end of the month. Leo's such a docile big boy - I just slapped the raddle on in the field, while Dan held his head (I'm not sure that was really needed though).

First frost

Saturday 5 November, 2011

by Rosemary at 8:51am in Smallholding 1 comment Comments closed

We've had our first frost this morning. It's a beautiful day - clear blue sky and bright sunshine, but cold, so I had to root out the wooly hats and gloves.

I've given the ewe lambs some hay this morning. The paddock they are on resembles a bowling green, since the ponies have been on it all summer. The hay rack has a lid so the hay won't spoil and they can pick away at it if they want to. They also have a molassed lick and they're getting a handful of sheep nuts late afternoon. The feed is really to get them used to coming to a bucket.

Tidying up for winter

Monday 24 October, 2011

by Rosemary at 9:54am in Smallholding Comments closed

Do you get the urge, as the days shorten, to batten down the hatches? I do.

There are a few jobs still on this year's list wink but the orchard fencing is the last big one. There's a couple of wee bits of fencing left, a couple of gates to be hung and wood to cut but these are either inside jobs or ones that can be done on the good days we get in winter.

Wood storage

Saturday 1 October, 2011

by Rosemary at 6:43pm in Smallholding Comments closed

When we moved here, there were four tattie boxes in the barn. Stacked two on two, we've been storing cut firewood in them, but they are almost full and we haven't started on the piles on wood that have accumulated over the past year. Since the tattie boxes are great for this purpose, I phoned the local sawmill to see how much they were to buy - £58 each plus VAT. Time for a rethink.

Our neighbour has a roofing business and he gave us a few empty slate boxes for firewood - just the thing. They aren't quite as deep as tattie boxes but with a bit of work, they will do the job just fine. So Dan's been working on that today.

Barn enclosure

Thursday 29 September, 2011

by Rosemary at 7:42pm in Smallholding 1 comment Comments closed

The walls of the 1/4 of the barn we're enclosing are complete. We're very pleased with the result.

Barn enclosureBarn enclosure

Before the first course of the wall was built, we sized it to take 2x4ft hurdles and one 6ft hurdle neatly. Before the concrete floor was poured, we put in blocks of Kingspan about the size of the feet of the hurdles; now that the floor is set and the walls up, we've dug out the Kingspan and the hurdles now fit quite securely in the holes.


Saturday 2 July, 2011

by Rosemary at 5:35pm in Smallholding Comments closed

Dan and I were having a chat today about sheep handling facilities - at the moment, we have hurdles to make temporary pens but no race, gates, weigh crate or turning crate. This means that both of us have to be there to do any sheep tasks.

This lead us on to a discussion about other equipment and we've decided to liquidate some of our savings and invest in a small tractor and some other bits and pieces, like a topper and some sheep handling equipment. Dan will be researching the tractor and related bits; I'll be looking at the sheep stuff. What fun!

All change

Saturday 2 July, 2011

by Rosemary at 5:25pm in Smallholding Comments closed

We've moved sheep, cattle and hens today - busy, busy!

The Black Rocks needed a bigger pen and we wanted them out of the Orchard, so thate we could get the sheep and cattle in there. Moving the henhouse and building the new pen was Dan's first job this morning.

Then we moved Leo, our tup, and Dickie, our wether, into the paddock at the railway. They were no bother at all - quick pedicure, a rattly bucket and we were done.

The heifers moved next - on halters and as good as gold. Very happy to be on fresh grass.

RWAS Spring Festival

Tuesday 24 May, 2011

by Rosemary at 3:26pm in Smallholding Comments closed

Or the Smallholder and Garden Festival as was.

Dan and I, with our friends, Andrew and Janis, headed to Wales last weekend to visit the Smallholder Show in Builth Wells. Dan, Andrew and I have been before, but it was Janis's first time. Unlike last time, we stayed in a B&B, rather than camping.

The weather was pretty good on the Saturday, and on Sunday, early rain gave way to lovely sunshine. Of course, with the prospect of a new national Smallholder Show for Scotland, we were looking at the Show a bit differently.

Livestock Units

Monday 25 April, 2011

by Rosemary at 8:07pm in Smallholding 2 comments Comments closed

I've been researching infromation about managing grassland for a TAS article. One of the useful things I came across was Livestock Units (LUs), courtesy of the SAC Farm Management Handbook. Basically, LUs are a way of comparing the grazing and forage requirements of different livestock. Bear in mind that grass yields are subject to may variables, so LUs are a guide only.

A mature Friesian cow weighing 625kg, giving 4500litres of milk and producing a 40-45kg calf is defined as 1LU; all other livestock is a proportion of this. For example, a medium weight ewe is 0.08LU, a horse is 0.8LU, a lamb from birth to fat is 0.04LU.

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