Diary

Fences / Poultry / COVID19RSS feed

Posted: Monday 23 March, 2020

by Rosemary at 2:26pm in Smallholding No comments Add your own

 Monday 16th March

Frosty first thing, then sunny and windy, finally damp and windy. Tara and I rode Euro and Smokey. They were awful but it seems that, however awful they are, I still feel better for having ridden.

The tractor mechanic man came down this morning, surveyed the poorly John Deere and said that he could fix her. Dan just has to get the parts, which isn’t proving straightforward. Still, progress nevertheless.

Two fencing men today; Linda’s fence is finished apart from the post caps, stock fencing at the field is done and the fence for the race is started. All looking good.

lindaLinda and John's garden, redefined.

stockfenceNew stock fence.

The new race will let stock, especially the cows with calves, move form the filed right into the barn, without detours to the ditch. We had to put two gates in so that Dan can access the apiary.

raceRace to stop wandering calves (and bull).

gatesAccessgates to apiary.

Wenow need to decside what we're going to do with our new bit of garden - trees and shrubs for wildlife, I think.

gardenBonfire, then planting.

In the office for a bit – ordered ear tags for the lambs and completed my Single Application Form. Yay! My diary is getting emptier and emptier as the Covid-19 measures bite. As long as I’ve got Dan with me, I don’t mind being socially isolated.

 

Tuesday 17th March

Beautifully sunny but still very windy; light rain from about 4pm. Finally, Zephyr went off to her new home. I hope she does well for them. She’s a wee sweetheart and I confess to having a wee greet as I waved her off.

So, the Royal Highland Show is cancelled so our Shetland@RS2020 project has bitten the dust. Planning to go ahead with the film though. Spent the afternoon cancelling workshops and tours and events here at Dalmore Croft. We’ll miss the income and we’ll miss the folk – but it’s kind of nice to have our home back, at least temporarily.

The fencers finished today and have done a splendid job. Very, very pleased with Jimmy and Neil from Coventry Fencing. Bliss, a gate to the road that works!!

vegNew fence in the vegetable garden.

gateRefurbished road access.

Wednesday 18th March

Sunny again but still pretty windy, which spoils it a bit. Dan did a poop run and I did a double hay run, first to East Pitkerro then to here with a bale of hay and a bale of straw, for the lambing pens and the pig ark.

I’m picking up our 30 pullets on Friday along with the meat chicks; usually I wait until mid April to get pullets, but with concerns about movement restrictions, we’re doing it now in one collection. So that means we had to move the hens from the green house to the caravan tonight, after cleaning it out this afternoon and giving it a good dust with DE.

Popped to Forfar for chick crumbs and lamb milk – and some shopping. Couldn’t believe the empty shelves. What are folk thinking? They’re going to be damned sick of pasta.

Thursday 19th March

Lovely day, sunny and much less windy. When I let the new caravan hens down this morning, the yellow leg ringed ones, which were in the caravan earlier in the year, scattered to the four winds. The others stayed around the caravan. They’ll be more adventurous tomorrow, I’m sure. We’re getting a third cockerel from a friend – he looks like a beauty. I put some cardboard boxes in for laying but I think it’ll take a couple of attempts to get it right.

Tara and I managed out for a wee quick hack – there’s no other kind with just Euro and Smokey. Just as well we have a sense of humour.

Gave the green henhouse a good clean, pressure washed the perches and gave it all a generous dust with DE. Normally, I would disinfect and leave it empty for three weeks before bringing in new birds. Dan gave me a hand to get the box for the chicks in place – all sorted now apart for the extension cable, which Dan will sort tomorrow.

Dan’s getting on with more pruning – it’s the paddock with the big trees now, so they take a bit of time. Still, getting on. And he cut the back lawn withour newly serviced lawnmower - much, much better.

lawnFirst 2020 run out for the lawnmower.

Friday 20th March

Ah, the vernal equinox and it really feels like Spring. Although there was a frost this morning, it’s been blue skies, sunshine and, for most of the day, no wind. Cold as the sun went down though. And we’ve pulled the first of the rhubarb. Delicious.

rhubarbSigns of spring - new rhubarb.

Off at 7.30am to collect pullets and chicks. Roads very quiet as expected. Home at 10am, chicks into the box, pullets into the green henhouse. Dan was pruning. Then cleaned up the car and pressure washed the poultry crates. Job done. The crates are great - wish we'dbought them years ago istead of faffing about with puppy cages and cat baskets.

chicksThis year's meat birds.

hensNew Rhode Rocks - and one old white hen.

Had the best ride out with Rebecca and Tara – over the Buddon, in the sunshine, on lovely tracks. Rebecca has ridden there for years so knows her way around. Smokey seems to love it, which makes me happy.

Dan and I took out the heifers’ pen so the cattle had proper access to the brush. And, boy, did they make the most of it.

When I went to shut the hens in, half the new hens were roosting on the house floor and half were perched in the apple trees. By the time I finished, all were on the house perches. Hope that was a lesson to them!

Saturday 21st March

Dry, patchy cloud and sunny spells, cool wind. Didn’t ride today but Tara and Rebecca did, and took Smokey with them. We’re going to build a pony assault course in Sheepfold.

Dan went pruning early. He’s finished three paddocks and is part way through a fourth; two to go, but they’re not the biggest trees. He also gave the front grass its first cut of the season.

lawnFront lawn cut.

Then he fed the bees; we lost the biggest colony. They should have been fed – big colony uses a lot of stores. Lesson learned. Dan gave me the dead bees for the hens; apparently they love them. We’ll find out tomorrow. (They don't)

Duck arrived today. Duck’s not a duck, he’s a new cockerel. And very handsome he is and very attentive to his new flock he is. He, Nugget and Rocky will have some crowing competitions now.

duckMeet Duck.

I spent a wee while in the vegetable garden, weeding and tidying up. Planning to spend most of next week in there, tidying and planting. It’s a good forecast and the diary is empty. Looking for a bright side to the Coronavirus pandemic, we won’t be short of jobs to keep us busy on the property and it might be the tidiest it’s ever been!

 

When I tied up Ace for feeding tonight, Dan cleaned the brushes then gave Ace and the cows a going over with the shedding comb. Boy, did they enjoy that.

cows

First job tomorrow is the lambing pens, then getting the first four ewes in. The Ryelands tend to be bang on 147 days, but I’d rather get them in a few days early and settled.

Most of the new hens had made it on to the perches in the house – about eight plus Duck were in the trees. Battle being won.

Sunday 22nd March

More sunshine – cool in the light breeze though. Dan took a trailer load of manure to Lindsay’s first thing then we took advantage of the empty trailer to fill it with rubbish and take it to the skip. Most of it was wood from the old fences and the end bits of pallets that have become kindling.

And here's what happens if you don't clear up round thehay racks regularly and frequently.

hayrackHayrack debris.

Andy was here when we got home, then Tara and Rebecca arrived so we had tea and Easter egg – all of us appropriately distanced form each other. The six dogs – three Labradors, two Corgis and a Lurcher – all played together in the sun. Our two are consequently exhausted.

dogsCorgis with flat batteries.

We didn’t ride today; we’re going to build a round pen in Sheepfold and an agility / assault course so that we can play in hand. Most countries have advised stopping riding so that the risk of accidents is reduced and therefore pressure on health services

The lambing pens are now bedded. It’s not the best, but should work OK so we brought the first four in this evening.

Dan shut the hens in – all but one hen had gone to bed. There's always one.

 

 

 

 

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