Lambing prep / Fruit & veg gardens / Spring cleaningRSS feed

Posted: Monday 26 March, 2018

by Rosemary at 9:34am in Smallholding No comments Add your own

Monday 19th March

Spring’s back – although nor sure for how long, but we’ll enjoy it while it lasts.

Bug has been breaching the electric fence, so that was a top job today. I think I’ve beaten him.

Turned out the two young steers at EP; they were very excited. I’ll feed them some sugar beet for a week or so, to get them used to coming to the call and car horn.

Our next door neighbours were in their veg garden today and kindly donated some blown Brussel sprouts to the sheep – they were gratefully received.

Dan took the dogs round Laing’s Field and collected samples for a soil test.

Tuesday 20th March

It’s the vernal equinox – and a lovely one too.

Cleaned out the caravan.

Spent a happy hour lifting a winter’s worth of dog poop off the front lawn – strangely satisfying – and green binned the pile of ivy that had been lying there since the sycamore was felled.

Popped to SAC with the soil test and Harbro for licks. The sheep are inhaling them.

Hmm, I hadn’t beaten Bug – but I have now. Sure I have.

Dan fed the steers on the way to football.

Wednesday 21st March

Popped down to EP – the steers look well. They’re all fluffy.

Ordered new number plates for the tractor and the box trailer. I was sure I’d done this ages ago but if I did, someone’s eaten the plates.

Slowly getting the byre ready for lambing.

Byre for lambingPrepping the byre for lambing.

First ewes due 1st April, so will bring them in about the 28th, depending on the weather.

Been researching cow cubicles and decided that they’re not the way to go. The main plus seems to be that you can get more cattle in a space but leg / feet problems seem to be an issue. Now thinking about rubber matting and minimal straw, cleaned out daily.

Thursday 22 March

Quite a lot of rain overnight but turned into a decent day.

The oven cleaning man came today so our cooker looks like new. I decided to wash all the cupboard fronts – must be spring.

Whizzed to EP. Whyte, the young white calf, is a wee toughie – he shoves the two big boys off their buckets.

SteersThe steers getting their sugar beet.

Friday 23 March.

A mix of rain and sun today. On my way back from East Pitkerro, I popped in to see our chum Janet.

She and her OH keep a small flock of Mule ewes and a small herd of alpacas; they had an 80% / 20% wool / alpaca yarn done and I wanted to buy some. Had a cuppa and a blether, then off to pick up two bales of hay.

Wool / alpaca yarnJanet's wool/alpaca yarn.

The reason for buying Janet’s yarn wasn’t just because it’s very lovely but Rebecca, another friend, is machine knitting some our our 4ply yarn as a trial. She has a small knitwear designer maker business so we’re collaborating in a Carnoustie grown, designed and made knitwear for The Open. She says it knits well but, of course, it’s all brown, so we’re going to use Janet’s yarn as a highlight. Very exciting new territory for us.

Dan finished tidying up the strawberry bed – he’s been trying to get an hour or so outside after work every night, mainly in the veg garden. Planning to have two days in it over the weekend to get caught up.

Finally moved the 2016 hens to the caravan; there were seven 2015 hens left but they’re laying well and look well, so we decided not to cull them.

Dignitas for chickensThe caravan - Eastbourne for hens.

Saturday 24 March

Glorious day! First job was to put hay in for the cows, bed them and vaccinate them with Bravoxin. This not only protects the cows from clostridial diseases but will provide passive immunity to their calves through the colostrum.

Dan’s been in the orchard all day – the pruning is finished, so he’s now top-dressing the trees with wood ash and mulching with waste hay / straw / wool.

I pruned and tied in what’s left of the raspberries in the fruit garden – they should have been taken out eighteen months ago, but we just didn’t get round to it. They cropped a bit last year but harvesting was a nightmare – pith helmet and machete job.

Clearing the fruit gardenClearing the fruit garden.

So they’re tidied up, but will definitely come out this autumn.

Dug out a few straggly ones and pulled out some pallets. Looking much tidier and ready for the weed fabric to go down.

Linda did some weeding in the veg garden; I weeded and manured the pear, plum and gage trees and manured the rhubarb and blueberries.

Espalier pear mulchedOne of the espalier pears.

Also sowed some more flower seeds in the greenhouse for cut flowers in the summer.

Sowing seedsGreenhouse starting to fill.

Sunday 25 March

Another glorious morning. Dan went off to take out a couple of apple trees that are either diseased or not doing well – although we tried to pick varieties sensibly, some have done noticeably better than others and some have done really badly.

I started my day, after feeding, by pulling out all the furniture in our bedroom and giving it a really good vacuum and dust. Dan’s going to give it a coat of emulsion this week, once it starts raining. I found some beeswax polish and did the furniture with that. Oh my, it just soaked it up and the smell was fantastic! Going to buy more now.

Finished preparing the byre for lambing. It’s a bit compact, so I’m planning to bring the ewes in in stages – there are three singles due 1st and 2nd, so I’ll bring them, plus Niamh, in tomorrow (while they’re dry before the weather breaks) then the other five twins due 5th to 10th, after that. The two tail-end-Charlies will be ages yet. 

Dan hitched up the harrow and did Sheepfold. The ewes and new lambs will be going in there in ten days or so, so it should freshen it up for them.

Dan and TomDan and Tom enjoying the early spring sunshine.

Did some work in the veg garden – put in the pea supports.

Pea supportsHome-made pea supports.

We have a variety of styles. We put in 18, one per metre and each will get six plants. With the supports in, I can start putting manure between them. Had a bit of a tidy up – trailer for recycling is full again.

Out for pizza with Martin and Jackie, at the Muckle Backit Pizza Oven, as part of Taste of Angus. It was a pop-up event at Sacred Grounds Coffee in Arbroath. Delicious hand made pizza, brownie, hot cross buns and artisan beer – lovely evening, thoroughly enjoyed it.


There are no comments yet, be the first to comment using the form below.

Leave a comment

Please use the form below to leave a comment. All fields are required unless otherwise indicated, and your email address will not be displayed or shared.

Some HTML allowed: <strong>, <em>, <blockquote>. URLs will be converted to links automatically.

© The Accidental Smallholder Ltd 2003-2019. All rights reserved.

Design by Furness Internet

Site developed by Champion IS