Frost / Lambs / Holiday BromanceRSS feed

Posted: Monday 14 October, 2019

by Rosemary at 12:25pm in Smallholding 1 comment Add your own

Monday 30th September

Last day of September is overcast and mild. Took six lambs to the abattoir this morning – four Ryeland tups and two Lleyn wethers. I wasn’t awfully happy with them. The Ryeland tup lambs (not the Lleyns or the Ryeland ewe lambs) have had pretty shitty bums. They’ve all been wormed with Zolvix and that’s improved things but they aren’t fab looking.

We’ve kept one Lleyn wether as a possible tup companion and three Ryeland tup lambs that are nowhere near big enough to go. The plan is to keep them over winter and put them away with any empty ewes that we have at scanning in February.

Tuesday 1st October

The new month dawns cool and clear, and with it comes the desire to clear out and tidy up. Washed the trailer from yesterday first, then had a tidy though the feed store. We’re almost out of layer pellets and mixed corn is getting low too, so it’s a good time before we get a tonne of each in later in the year. I’ll need to get a few bags of ewe pellets for tupping time, too.

I found Bug’s harness in a box under the dining room table. I have advertised it for sale but have had no takers, so I’ll put it away and it can go with all the other horse stuff in due course. However, I’ve fallen in love with Smokey all over again, so I hope it’s not for a long time. I have an equine physio coming to see him when we get back from holiday to see if he can be ridden again. I did sit on him bareback, briefly. My boy.

Wednesday 2nd October

Got the lamb weights and comments back from the abattoir. The Lleyns were 19.4kg and 17.4kg; the smaller one had evidence of lungworm and there was an area of C.tenucolis. Turns out this is a result of infection by dog tapeworm – three sites and the carcass would have been condemned. Our dogs are routinely wormed every three months, but I guess folk who used to walk their dogs on Laing’s Field weren’t all so careful. The Ryelands were 16.3, 16.8, 18.7 and 18.8kg. No48 (16.4kg) showed evidence of pneumonia. I’ve spoken to the vet and he’s not overly concerned, given the weather this year. I've asked for the Lleyn skins to be kept for tanning at the new tannery. The weights aren’t great, but I have put them away earlier this year than usual, partly because of the timing of the Festival, holidays and the ages of the steers (they HAD to go 23rd / 30th September becasue of the OTM rules).

I asked Shotts Abattoir for the carcass grades for the steers – both were O4. Folk who know more about this than I have said it’s a good grade for native dual purpose cattle, so I’m happy.

Blooming Annie, Ace and Archie were through the fence from Laing’s Field to Far Top, which is a pain as I’m trying to keep that for flushing the ewes. It’s a poor fence but I’m hoping that we’ll get it strengthened over winter. Managed to get them back into Far Ditch and I’ll leave them with access to there – it seems to stop them hankering after Far Top, and the gate between the two is chained. I’ve put a line of electric tape on the fence between the two Ditch paddocks and the two Far paddocks and will put the battery on before we go on holiday.

Thursday 3rd October

We had our first frost today, but it was gloriously sunny. Blizzard’s in season; hopefully, she’ll settle this time.

frostFrosty windaes this morning.

This morning, I cleaned out the hen houses. Should be the last time I do the caravan this year. The old hens in there will be culled when we get back from holiday, then it’ll be a good clean down before it sits vacant until March time.

Dan repaired the mounting block befroe someone's leg was broken.

blockMounting black repaired.

Got an email confirming that Ted and Urquhart are going to a sanctuary in December, once Urquhart has finished work. I’m pleased because he’s a nice boy and Ted is his best mate. So we’ll lamb next spring, then I guess we have a think about what we do next. If we are serious about refocussing, it may be the time to wind down the sheep. They’re more work than the cattle and lamb’s harder to sell than beef. We could just keep a few ewes for interest on tours and keep some bottlefed lambs for tours and for the freezer. Still, no decision to be made right now.

Friday 4th October

Dreich morning but brightening up as the day went on.  Picked veggies and took then to the greengrocer. Dan strimmed poultry pens and moved the hens to fresh grass, picked apples and pressed juice.

Picking veg showed how the garden is getting away a bit – need to have a real clear up when we get back from holiday. The garlic, onion sets and shallots for autumn planting arrived today, so they’ll need to go in too.

Started preparing for our holiday – which, for some reason, involved turning out storage boxes in the bedrooms and under the spare dining room table. I found a pile of books that I’d forgotten we had - so there’s a charity shop box now - and lots of photo albums. Lots of photos were of our daughter, who’s 27 tomorrow, so I pulled out a few dozen to make an album for her. Digital photography is great for taking photos but it’s not as good for looking at photos, in my opinion.

Saturday 5th October to Saturday 12th October

Our week’s holiday will  be just one entry. We’re in the coastal village of Gardenstown or Gamrie, on the Moray coast. Lovely cottage, nice food, good books and walking the dogs – perfect! However, both of us will likely do some work. I have Festival stuff to do – this SHOULD have been our post-Festival wind down week, but with the forced change of date / venue, it isn’t.

fraserburghFraserburgh Bay.

We’re also using the time to discuss future projects. Once I get the veg garden cleared down, I’m going to have a rose bed for cutting, so I’ve been reading up on that. Picking the varieties of rose is going to be challenging; I’m going to clear out a bed that had strawberries in it, but they’re past their best, so it will be repurposed. I’m feeling much more positive now that I’m pretty much pain free.

Loved our holiday. Bryn and Gwenna made two new chums - Champ and Hudson. Champ and Bryn had a bit of a holiday bromance, with little sister tagging along.

dogsl to r Gwenna, Bryn and Champ.

By the time we were coming home, they were exhausted.

dogsTired but happy pups.


Saturday 12th October

Home again and feeling relaxed and positive. Started clearing down the veg garden as it was such a nice afternoon. One bed weeded and topped with REMIN. Good forecast for the week, so hoping to get one bed done each day – there are six plus two short beds.

All livestock well, but Diesel is missing. Linda saw him yesterday but no sign of him so far.

Sunday 13th October

No Diesel overnight. Bertie, on the other hand, spent the night cooried in under the duvet. Penfold and Thomas were also pleased to see us.

Planned to prep the ewes for tupping this morning but I have a really sore wrist, so rescheduled for Wednesday morning. Brought them all into Near Ditch, where the grass is lovely. Poor ewe lambs will be gutted when they get turfed out again on Wednesday.

Cold overnight and a good frost this morning; sadly no sunshine to follow, just grey and overcast.

Dan pressed apples. I did some more weeding – the late peas are filling slowly, so I’m going to leave them for now. I have my list for tomorrow but I’m off to soak sweet pea seed now, ready for sowing tomorrow. Spent a few hours in the office doing Festival stuff and catching up with emails, then I get to go out to play.



Monday 14 October, 2019 at 7:58pm

Good to read that you had a good holiday.

Hard to believe Lorna is 27. Seems no time since she was turning 20.

Hope she had a special day.

Catch up soon.

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