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Posted: Monday 15 June, 2020

by Rosemary at 6:56am in Smallholding No comments Add your own

Monday 8th June

Dry, intermittent sun but cold and windy. I’m not a fan of housework but neither do I like to see the house too dirty – or untidy. I tend to be pretty tidy generally – a place for everything etc. etc. Normally, after lambing, I do my spring cleaning. With the coronavirus outbreak, that’s been somewhat curtailed – because a good bit of the task is taking stuff to the laundry. Including the settee covers. To protect the settee – or Tom and Diesel’s bed, as it’s also known – I put some vet bed down – and on the IKEA chair that is Bertie’s preferred sleeping place. So this morning, I thought I’d wash the covers on the dogs’ beds and the vet bed. I might have put it on to protect the settee, but I should have vacuumed first – SO MUCH cat hair! Oh well, at least I could see where I’d been with the vacuum cleaner. All lovely now – I’m sure the cats don’t recognise it. Windows next.

I had a quick run into Arbroath for diesel, with a load of stuff for the skip, to Screwfix for bits for the protective skirt for the cheep pen and for a bit of shopping.

When I got back, Dan finished the cheep pen – fingers crossed that it’s fox proof or we’ll have no chicken to eat after about September, unless we fancy spent layers. Or Nugget.

Tuesday 9th June

Nice morning, clouding up and getting cooler and windier. Put the cheeps out this morning then tidied up the lamps and cleaned out the box. It’s minging job so best tackled right away.

Took the ponies along the railway. Smokey’s changed since we’ve been walking out – today he was out in front and offered to go further than we were planning. I’ve put the wheeled hay rack in their field again – Euro was wasting too much hay with his habit of peeing in any that’s on the ground.

It’s Cheeseday today and today’s cheese is Lancashire. This is new – not had Lancashire before, but it is a cheese we both like. So in five months, we’ll find out if it worked.

The socks Dan’s been knitting me are too wee to go over my fat ankles. It seems to be the band of colourwork that doesn't stretch. John the Tractor is coming tomorrow to see if he can lighten the tractor clutch a bit so I can drive it.

Rosie was in a foul mood at milking; patient persistence paid off in the end but she was even less generous than usual.

Raining by bedtime – yay!

Wednesday 10th June

Looks like it’s been raining most of the night; grey and cool this morning. The fox has had an attempt at getting into the meat chicks but was defeated by the security skirt.

foxFoxed fox.

Dan’s mum had a wee bonfire of garden rubbish – she loves a wee fire. Perfect day for it too. Tractor John had a look at the tractor and has done some oiling and removed a spring, but we’ve decided it’s partly the seat position that makes it very difficult for me to depress the clutch.

Having finally secured some condensed milk, I made a boiled fruit cake. It’s better than the last two (which were fine) and I didn’t have to soak the pot to get the welded-on fruit off it.

I asked Dan to move the electric fence in Laing’s Field, so that I could put the cows through. It’s a three strand fence on windey things. The proper way to do it is to untie each strand in turn and wind it up. Dan decided to do it the "quick way" and untie all three at once. Half past nine and we were still out there trying to unravel the knots and tangles – how a wee breeze and some clumps of rushes can transform three lines of wire into such a mess, I have no idea. Eventually, we cut the worst bits out. Cows will go out tomorrow after milking.

Thursday 11th June

Spent much of the day in the veg garden, weeding, planting out dahlias, cosmos and zinnias. Dan had double poo picking to do as he didn’t do it yesterday – I did some before breakfast but not all. He had a pile of real work to do too, but managed to find a few minutes to pick the last of the peas from the polytunnel and clear the bed where they were planted.

I took the last of the rubbish to the skip and picked up red diesel for the tractor.

My chum's wee lassie is being brought up right - munching prime Shetland beef burgers. She's such a wee cutie.

astridAstrid enjoying her Shetland beef burger.

The cattle got through into Laing’s Field. They were very happy indeed.

Friday 12th June

Hot and sunny for most of the day but rain in the evening. Dan baked bread, vacuum packed the Lancashire cheese and sorted out a cured pork joint that we’re going to have as bacon. I was tired this morning, so got up at 5.30am as usual, did the animals then took tea and cake back to bed. Fell sound asleep and woke to the smell of bacon. Dan was testing it – I though I was getting bacon for breakfast, but it was just a wee sample. Still, looking forward to the rest.

We had a swarm of bees this afternoon. They were right at the top of a tree and Dan couldn’t reach them. He’s put out a lure hive with lemongrass oil – so fingers crossed they move in there tomorrow.

Saturday 13th June

Cool, misty and overcast, then rain. Alistair came along this morning to help with the swarm. Between them and a skep, and some sugar syrup, they got them into the hive but by teatime, the bees were back in the tree. In the rain. Why leave a nice dry hive with food on tap to be up a tree in the rain?

Anyway, I made another boiled fruit cake and weighed out the ingredients for coconut mounds.  I also took Smokey for a walk – alone and with his saddle on. I wanted to check that the girth was OK, since he’s lost so much weight. It is.

Dan had planned to start topping our paddocks but the tractor battery was flat. Again. However, he got out after lunch and did the four paddocks in the five acre field then put up a line of electric fence to make a track from Laing’s Field to the barn.

After lunch, I got into the polytunnel, picked sweet peas for the house, sowed basil, parsley and French marigolds and potted on some of the lavender that I bought a plug plants. THere were two varieties - Munstead and Hidcote. One's done relaly well,the other not so mcuh. All have survived though. My abjex=ct labelling means I don't knwo which is which. Nor do I know where I'm going to put them.

Then it was into the front garden to weed the two flower beds there – however, as I’d sown an annual bee and butterfly mix, I wasn’t entirely sure what was flower and what was weed so I pulled out the stuff I was SURE was a weed and left the rest. Passing the fruit garden and on a weeding roll, I pulled out the weeds in front of the gooseberries and blackcurrants. The gooseberries are groaning with fruit and the blackcurrants not far behind; and the blackberry looks really well, so hopefully a good crop.The spuds in the other side are coming on well.

spudsSpuds.

By 3pm, the rain was tipping down, so Dan went off to knit and I put my feet up with a book – I think we deserved it. Next Saturday is the Summer Solstice – so we get a day off!

It’s funny watching the calves at milking – while their mammies and Daddy are tied up, they make use of the facilities – have a drink, a lick of the salt, a wee go on the brush and munch some hay out the ring feeder. So grown up now, they think.

albieAlbie at the brush.

aftonAfton at the salt lick.

I haven’t been getting as many eggs as I would expect – partly I guess because a few have been broody – but I asked on a poultry page on FB and the advice was to stop the afternoon corn and just feed layer pellets. I’m almost out of corn so when it’s done, it’s done. One less thing to buy – wonder if pellet consumption will go up. The corn really attracts rodents too, so that’s an added benefit of stopping it. They’re no going to be happy though.

henVery free range hen.

Sunday 14th June

Muggy and overcast. Rebecca, Kate and I walked out the ponies. Smokey was very good. When I got home, I made coconut mounds while Dan went shopping. He then topped Home, which is the last paddock to be done – Laing’s Field next - and took the dogs for a walk. Gwenna was quite naughty – but she should sleep well tonight.

I did most of Monday’s paperwork.

Dinner and an early night. I’m reading “Harry Potter” for the umpteenth time but I haven’t read it for a while. Love those books – although I didn’t  queue at midnight to get them.

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