Cows in calf / Barn prep / Baking / Tupping prepRSS feed

Posted: Monday 30 October, 2017

by Rosemary at 10:20am in Smallholding Comments closed

Monday 16th October

Wet and miserable here today. Jane was out to trim Bug’s feet so he’s looking better all the time. He seems to quite like his boots.

I was up early this morning so made spiced iced buns – they were pretty random in shape, but tasted lovely, with cinnamon icing.

Tuesday 17th October

Very windy today but grateful that we’re not being hammered like Ireland and other parts of Scotland.

Alistair, our vet, was out today to scan the four cows and all are in calf, so that’s good news. Especially for ACE!

Ace, winter 2017Ace, having proved his worth.

Alistair also took blood samples from the three calves for BVD testing. All the cows are due in May, which is good – I wanted to bring the calving forward next year.

Dan’s been tidying the barn in preparation for John the Digger coming tomorrow.

We hosted a meeting of the local SWI tonight so I did some baking – scones, mini Victoria sponges with lemon curd filling and mini coffee and walnut cakes.

Dan and Paul have been moving offcuts of wood round to the pigpen – going to be a good Solstice bonfire this year!

2017 solstice bonfireSolstice bonfire material.

Dan also syphoned the cider into bottles – it tastes very appley, and should be ready to drink in a few weeks.

Syphoning ciderSyphoning our first cider.

Wednesday 18th October

It’s been lovely and sunny today but a bit cooler than the last few days.

I popped up to Astwood to feed the steers, in preparation for loading them next week; cleaned out the hen houses and took Diesel to the vet for his annual check up. He was just fine, as expected.

John the Digger put in a good day; he scraped all the rotten wood chip off the triangle, leaving the hard surface visible; he also scraped the entrance into Sheepfold, so getting the barrows of horse poop out will now be easier.

Triangle scrapedTriangle after scraping - it's the junction between 3 areas, so great to have clear.

He also pulled down a fence, scraped out the salmonberry and pulled out some privet hedging, before digging the trench for the drain in the barn floor. 

Privet hedge gonePrivet no more - this will be a new corner of the barn.

I actually did everything on my list. Never happened before and may never happen again.

Thursday 19th October

Popped up to Harbro for a mineral lick for the ewes and some raddle powder. Quite excited about the sheep this year.

Brought the 15 ewes in and ran them through the race, trimming faces, bums and feet – now they are ready for love.

For the first time, I did this on my own and I was really pleased with how I managed. The race and crate are really paying for themselves.

Dan did more preparatory work on the barn. The cattle tell me they are starving.

Friday 20th October

Glorious day here today. Went to meet with my mentee, which was good.

Dan and Paul laid the drain from the area of the barn that’s to have a new floor.

Barn drain being laidChecking drain fall.

New drain in placeDrain in, ready for floor laying

Then had dinner with a friend then off to see “Alex Salmond Unleashed”. Very funny.

Saturday 21st October

Another nice day but there must have been a lot of rain overnight, looking at the water on the drive, in the fields and in the wheelbarrow.

Met with the man who owns the 10 acre field next door and have agreed a seasonal let from next November, with ad hoc use over this winter.

Cleaned out two hayracks and put some grass seed down on the bare bits in Sheepfold.

Weeded some of the fruit garden, which was a disgrace.

Sunday 22nd October

Took the ewes up to Astwood where they can see and smell the tup, and vice versa. That will be them until the 5th November, when we let him in with them.

Took cattle gates up as well (not at the same time as the ewes though) and Dan built a catching and loading pen for the steers for Wednesday.

Cattle pen at AstwoodCattle pen built.

It's the best handling facility we've had for the cattle and should make it very easy to load them next week.

Fraser and steersFraser and the rest of the steers.

We’ve decided to take down the existing wall in the barn to increase the flexibility of the space. John the Digger is back on Friday so we’ll get him to knock it down then.

Walked the field next door – hoping to get the cattle in tomorrow. It’s rough but plentiful grazing – which should suit our cattle just fine.

I attended a meeting of the Board of Trustees of Smallholding Scotland – some good progress made.

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