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Posted: Monday 15 July, 2019

by Rosemary at 12:04pm in Smallholding No comments Add your own

Monday 8th July

Lovely day, so ditched the office and spent the day outside. Dan saw two foxes last night – a big dog fox and a smaller one, either a youngster or a vixen. His late night apple thinning is keeping them away from the hens.

Picked and cooked more strawberries; they really have been amazing.

The cheeps seem quite settled in their pen.

I carried on weeding; Dan made elderflower cordial and checked the bees.

The strip grazing is going well – you can see where the ponies have been!

grazingCan you see where they've been?

Tuesday 9th July

Raining off and on most of the day, but with some hot and sunny spells.

Bryn and Gwenna are feeling the heat.

brynHot dog 1 - Bryn.

gwennaHot dog 2 - Gwenna.

We had a visit from Monifieth Walking Group, for tea and cakes.

Trip to the cinema this evening to see “Yesterday”. Loved it.

Wednesday 10th July

Very wet overnight, but daytime weather isn’t as bad as forecast. However, housework was done.

Dan was in the bees again; he’s been looking for and marking queens, but there’s one he can’t find.

We now have ripe and ready gooseberries. They’re Hinnonmaki Red and are really sweet; edible even raw.

gooseberriesGooseberry Hinnonmaki Red.

Thursday 11th July

Heavy rain showers, but very warm. Our four sacks of fleeces were picked up today. The sheep are feeling the heat, so I’m sure they’re glad to be shorn.

sheepSheep, feeling the heat.

Rosie is in season. If she holds, she’ll calve 20th April. Annie was in season last week. Since I don't want them to calve before turnout on 1st May, I'll get the vet to gove them a hormone injection to bring them back into season after the 26th Jluy, giving us an earliest calving date of 5th May. I don't like messing but we don't have the space for them to calve indoors.

Dan’s now sure that we have a queenless hive, so he’s going to combine the nuc with the new queen with the queenless hive. The missing queen was quite old and he was planning to requeen this year, so it’s just a change of timing.

Friday 12th July

Off to Stirling today to meet up with some chums.

Saturday 13th July

Showery, overcast, hot and humid. But Dan worked on the field shelter and it’s done. It’s a good handy space. When we moved here, it was open to the five-acre field, but when we split the field into four, we organised it so that it could be accessed from two paddocks by taking the fence to the centre of the shelter and adding a barrier and two gates. Since then, we’ve put on a metal roof and put down a hardcore floor with rubber matting, along with a tap on the outside of the strainer. We’ve used it for ponies, cattle and sheep that have needed to be isolated, I’ve used it for milking as there’s power close by, we use it for handling sheep (with the addition of a couple of hurdles) and even overwintered two heifers in it a couple of years ago. That’s what gave rise to this final alteration – the cattle gates that formed the east barrier gave no shelter from the east wind and snow and we had to put up a plastic windbreak in a hurry. The new Yorkshire style boarding should make a good job of breaking the wind without making a wind tunnel.

FS1Halfway there.

FS2Nearly done.

FS3Finished, apart from the tidy up

Our chum’s dog, Ciara, is here on a wee holiday. She’s lovely; Bryn and Gwenna love her but Diesel, not so much.

CiaraCiara, on her holidays.

Sunday 14th July

Sunny and warm. Dan picked gooseberries for our friend, Mel, who has a lovey greengrocers in Broughty Ferry (Clementine’s). She buys as much local fruit and veg as possible, which is great. We’ve already frozen lots, so she took all the Hinnonmaki Yellow and a load of Hinnonmaki Red, with more to come. Oh, and some cucumber – Muncher and Miniature White.

Annie is lame in her off hind and has a sore bit on her near fore teat; Sudacrem has been applied and I’ll see whether she’s more or less limpy tomorrow.

I picked blackcurrants – cleaned off three of our six bushes –and made our first batch of blackcurrant cordial. It’s mulching overnight and will be bottled and pasteurised tomorrow. Then I cut the front “lawn”, which was long and damp, so the mower kept blocking up. But it’s done; now just to keep on top of it. Since the mower was out, I did the drive edges and the back lawn as well. The veg garden will have to wait.

Dan went back into the bees to combine one good hive and the queenless hive – so now we have five hives and a nuc. It’s been a busy season so far. He also spend a while strimming two poultry paddocks, so that the grass has wilted away by the time they move at the end of the month; he also moved more bags of mulch material into the orchard. Hot work.

After dinner, we slipped out to Laing’s Field, Dan with the ragfork and me with the weed basher, to remove thistle flowers. A happy hour was spent – and a few happy hours still to be done.

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