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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.

Royal Welsh Smallholder and Garden Festival

Saturday 12 March, 2011

by Rosemary at 11:02am in Smallholding Comments closed

Booked our accommodation this morning - getting excited, even though it's still two months away.

We've been before, in 2009, and thoroughly enjoyed it. We're going both days this year because we didn't manage to see it all in one day last time.

Maybe meet a few TASers there too.

Today's list

Sunday 27 February, 2011

by Rosemary at 2:11pm in Smallholding Comments closed

I had four things on today's list and I've done three. We've just had lunch - boiled eggs and soldiers. Yummy! We don't eat a lot of eggs - and not as many as Dan would like - because customer demand is outstripping supply so we have this as a weekend treat. Daft, isn't it? Oh, they were delicious.

Anyway, this morning, in addition to my normal routine, I have cleaned out the caravan and dealt with all the stuff. I finished "grooming" the sheepskin cushion covers and put them on the dining room windowsill and Felix has taken up residence, basking in the sun. I now need to sort out what needs to go into the caravan before our first guests arrive.

A few things off the "To Do" list

Sunday 27 February, 2011

by Rosemary at 9:48am in Smallholding 1 comment Comments closed

Do you have a "To Do" list? I have several - there's an annual one, that has big projects on it, there's one specifically for fencing and boundaries, a planting plan for the vegetable garden and there's a daily one.

The annual action plan is so scary I can only look at it once a week, when Dan and I update it. It has completion dates and notes of who's responsible for various projects.

The fencing / boundary one is new. Dan and I walked all the boundaries last weekend and made quite detailed notes of the current condition, then decided what action needed to be taken and when (ideally). It's been subject to some amendment because of the drainage issue we have, but we're back to putting up the fence to divide Five Acre next weekend. I'll just need to be patient regarding the calves. John and Dan finished the south boundary fence of Five Acre yesterday; the east fence is new and in good condition; other two are good enough for this year. If we have time, we will refurbish part of the west boundary fence, but it's not essential.

Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to work...

Monday 21 February, 2011

by Rosemary at 10:57am in Smallholding 3 comments Comments closed

I've ordered Smokey's French collar, harrow and scrub puller today.

Off to see Shedman about the new poultry house now.

Best laid plans etc etc

Friday 14 January, 2011

by Rosemary at 12:40pm in Smallholding Comments closed

Before the arrival of the Animal Health officer this morning, I had planned to go and pick up straw from a neighbouring farm. I need it for bedding the calves and for the lambing pens. I've managed to get 25 small bales at £2 each, which I'm happy with. I've been paying £3 a bale from elsewhere. So that's Monday now, along with a visit to the accountant to sign off last year's accounts.

I've also managed to secure a further 12 large round bales of decent hay from a second farm. I'm paying £25 per bale, delivered, which again, I'm happy with. This should see us through until the grass comes in, although our ponies get hay all year to try to prevent grass sickness and because they are on such restricted grazing. I bought seven bales, then a further two bales earlier in the year so I'll have a better idea soon of how much I need to get through a winter.

Animal Health

Friday 14 January, 2011

by Rosemary at 12:34pm in Smallholding Comments closed

After ten years of smallholding and seven of keeping livestock, we had our first visit from Animal Health today. Actually, that's not true, when I think about it - they tested my sheep flock for toxoplasmosis and brucellosis a few years ago. But this was our first "real" visit.

The officer who came was very helpful, very knowledgeable and even gave us some suggestions for the website. I took him round all our stock, the feedstore and we discussed paperwork and current issues. To be honest, it was a pleasure, once I got over the initial "jellylegs".

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