Diary

Land of milk and honeyRSS feed

Posted: Sunday 12 June, 2016

by Rosemary Champion at 5:48pm in Smallholding No comments Add your own

Monday

Sneaked off to the cinema to see “Love and Friendship” with Tara. Nice to get a break and relatively dressed up.

Winter and Wallace are now on three feeds – 6am, 2pm and 10pm and glugging down a full 1/2 litre at each feed.

Pedro and Paulo are doing well. Annie has a terrific udder on her – hope she’s prepared to share.

Tuesday

Getting myself in a bit of a brain freeze about cleaning the milking machine. I have two sets of instructions – and, of course, they are different. Just need to think it through logically – first stage is a cold rinse, so that’s a start.

Was supposed to be on a Soil Association Rush Management course today but just too much going on to be away for a whole day.

Wednesday

Not only is Wallace not going to be lamb chops – he’s not getting the snip either! The folk that have bought him are buying some ewe lambs from another breeder, so Wallace is being registered as a breeding tup. Double thumbs up!

Brought Annie and Rosie into the milking parlour today. They were remarkably good – the worst part was getting out the gate without Blizzard. Didn’t milk, as the pressure gauge was wrong. Planning to start tomorrow once I’ve sorted it. Have arranged to take Vicki to her new home next Tuesday.

Thursday

Cool and overcast this morning but warmed up in the afternoon. Started to rain about 10pm – can’t say we don’t need it.

Today didn’t go quite as planned – went to our rented grazing to move the steers and bull to a fresh bit of grass and they were through a fence into a strip of woodland. Some sugar beet tempted Mak, Hamish and Robbie back but could Fraser see the gap (that he’d recently gone through the other way)? No, he couldn’t. Once all the SB had been consumed by the others, Fraser found his way through. Dan’s made a temporary repair.

Been reading the notes from the rush management course – will look back at the most recent soil tests for both holdings and make a plan for liming and fertilizing for the next three years. That’ll be the Basic Payment spent anyway, such as it is.

No milking; definitely start tomorrow.

Friday

Still raining. Dan’s spotted fire blight on the apple trees this morning. He’s dug out six but thinks he might be able to save the other four by pruning. Thankfully, most are in the youngest trees and James Grieve, which he doesn’t like anyway.

Dan’s been up at his bee mentor Stan’s this morning to observe the extraction process. We’ll be extracting on Sunday so that meant that the extractor needed washed, courtesy of your truly.

And we have milk – Annie and Rosie were total stars and stood quietly while the machine was put on (Rosie had kicked the oil reservoir off earlier but hey ho) and we took four litres between them. There will be a bit of refining of the system but we’re up and running now.

Oh, and we had a visit from Carnoustie Scouts tonight – good bunch of kids.

Saturday

Flaming June! It’s rained here all day and it’s not warm either. We did need some rain but I’d rather have had a heavy shower than this constant drizzle.

Milking is still going well. I don’t think Rosie’s letdown is great but after Vicki goes away to her new home on Tuesday, we’ll be able to bring Blizzard and the calves in. With her calf there, she should be better.

Milking RosieMilking Rosie.

Dan found a dead hen this morning – just old age, I think, as she looked fine.

Went to visit some fiends who have just bought the farm steading and 40 acres next to their house, which was the original farmhouse. The buildings and land haven’t been worked for five years since the previous owner died, so it’s going to be a big project but they have lots of ideas. I just looked at the sheds and wondered how many cows I could get in them.

Sunday

Still drizzling. Got up at six am with the intention of having a smallholder’s lie-in. Fed the birds, the pony, the meat chooks and the lambs and checked the cows; went to feed the pigs and one didn’t come. I thought he was having a pee but when he’d been standing outside the ark for several minutes, I set off to investigate and found he’d had an anal prolapse. Called the vet, who came out, put the prolapse back and stitched him up. Fingers crossed he’ll be OK- he’s not constipated or scouring, which are the most common causes, so he may have eaten and passed a foreign object like a stone, or he might just have a weakness in the muscle.

Dan had taken the first super off our good beehive, so Alistair (our vet, who is a friend and also beekeeper) stayed to help with the first extraction.

Straining honey from cell cappingsStraining the last drops of honey from cell cappings.

The honey is very pale and has a lovely flavor – we think we’ll get about nine pounds. So we really are the land of milk and honey today.

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