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Posted: Monday 22 June, 2020

by Rosemary at 9:25am in Smallholding No comments Add your own

Monday 15th June

Mild, still and misty. Good start to the morning; early round done by 6.30am then off for hay at 8am. Took the ponies round Barry – buses, lorries and bus stops (it’s scary when you can see yourself apparently)

My new bake ware arrived; fair braw. And a rack to store the trays in, so a happy half hour was spent reorganising the cupboard. Not quite finished yet.

tinsNew baking tins. And a storage rack.

Had about 8 litres off the cows tonight so Dan’s going to make a cheddar tomorrow.


Tuesday 16th June

Damp, muggy. Took the ponies along the railway. Dan made a cheddar cheese. Milk production is irregular now – only about four litres this evening – so need to decide on taking the calves off.

The house windows got their biannual clean today. Does that mean twice a year or every two years? I mean twice a year! The window cleaner was here to do the outsides yesterday and I was sure he must be wondering why he bothers, since the housekeeper never does the inside. Done now and looking braw – it’s as much the window frames and the windowsills that get grubby. I hate things on windowsills – but I have been storing flower vases on one kitchen windowsill – I thought it was a sort of “country cottage” look but they were just dust collectors, so they’re washed and in a cupboard now.

Cutting the grass at 8pm – front and back, just the vegetable garden to go. Dan also cutting grass – in Laing’s Field. Bit short then higher.

Wednesday 17th June

Damp and mild; rain overnight. Some sunshine in the afternoon. Today we should have been setting up our special Shetland cattle event at the Royal Highland Show. It’s a terrific event – if you’ve never been, put it in your diary for next year. I don’t know if we’ll be able to do the Shetland special next year. It will depend on RBST.

Rebecca, Kate and I took the ponies over the golf course. Smokey wanted to go in front, so I let him. Hoping to ride on Sunday. I include a photo of Smokey's bucket - I bought this along with his feed bucket before I bought him, back in 2002. It was part of our trousseau. I still have the rug I bought him them - it's gone to be washed and reproofed.

bucketSmokey's bucket.


Thursday 18th June

Cool and overcast. The rat man was here today; he’s leaving the boxes for a further week. He saw the droppings and reckoned we had one, maybe two rats. Apparently a rat produces 50-60 droppings in 24 hours!!! Anyway, I had a bit of a sweep up while he was there, so we’ll see how we go. I commented that we had no mice now – he said the rats eat them. Every cloud…

Dan finished topping the section of Laing’s Field on this side of the electric fence. We’ll move it Sunday to give them almost all the field, except for the strip closest to the houses.

Dan also baked bread and brioche rolls for our burgers. The rolls were fab and even fabbier with our Shetland beef burgers, Top dinner.

bunsDan's shiny buns.

Friday 19th June

Heavy rain early, then hot and sunny but haar coming in at teatime. Rebecca, Kate and took the ponies along the railway before lunchtime.

haarHaar rolling in.

In preparation for our day off tomorrow, I vacuumed and polished!!! We moved the cheeps and filled their feeder and drinker, so they’ll only need a visual check tomorrow; cleaned out the ponies’, cattle’s and sheep’s water troughs and refilled; filled hay bags for tomorrow evening and filled the hen feeders. Nothing else can be done today instead of tomorrow.

I’ve been asked to be on Radio Scotland’s “Out of Doors” programme on Saturday morning – it’s about the Royal Highland Show, which isn’t happening, of course. Good opportunity to plug our Shetland cattle.

Saturday 20th June

Cool and grey to start, but the sun came out about 8am so a lovely day for the Solstice. With our morning tea, we discussed the sketches for the West Range so we now have a clear idea what we want to raise with the architect.

Dan decided to make a new cheese - wine soaked Toscana. He needed somewhere warm for the new cheese – the oven seemed best, so I cleaned it. Not quite what I planned for my day off but it’s all about teamwork. If we get five litres of milk a day from the cows, that’s 35 litres a week – we probably use 10 litres a week for drinking, breakfast cereal and so on; a cheddar takes 14 litres and the one today 10 litres, so that works fine for the week. I marked up the milk container so that it was clearer how much was in it, not just none or 10 litres!

Best bit was that he wrote the recipe for the cheese on the reverse of his knitting pattern, so he’s done a lot of steps between the craft room and the kitchen today. He’s knitting a hat for his Dad in our dark and light yarns; it has a maple leaf pattern. Looks good.

I did my wee stint on the radio – the guys are so professional; they make it easy for you. Finished potting on the lavender, planted out the few Rudbekia that grew and sowed some cucumber and Brussel Sprouts. I bought the lavender - 24 Hidcote and 24 Munstead - as plug plants. I put them in the poytunnel and they've all survived and some have thrived! THey're ready to go out now - just need to find a place for them.


Picked more sweet peas and a wee bunch of mixed flowers from round the garden. If the polytunnel door is open, you can smell the sweet peas from half way down the garden. Must net the peas tomorrow or we’re going to get none.

peasSweet peas in the polytunnel.

Big dead rat on the lawn – both Diesel and Bertie claimed it.

Dan cut the vegetable garden grass – in nice wee paths, while avoiding cutting the white clover which is in full flower and moving with bees. There’s quite a few plums on the Victoria and a few fruits on one of the gage trees, but none on the other two. One’s done and needs to come out, as does the blackthorn.

plumsVictoria plums.

After dinner, I made a Swiss roll with my new Swiss Roll tin – should have checked that the tine fitted in the wee oven before I started. I could see the air going out of the sponge as I waited for the big oven to heat up. It’s really nice but I was a wee bit short of jam and Dan thinks it needs cream. Oh well, will do better later in the week.

swissSwiss roll.

Sunday 21st June

Bit of a change from yesterday – heavy rain overnight and this morning. Very warm with frequent heavy showers – more grass, please.

Since yesterday’s day off didn’t really materialise, in terms of rest, I made up for it this morning by going back to bed after breakfast and sleeping until lunchtime. I’d done most of today’s jobs yesterday and did some of tomorrow’s after lunch. Feeling a bit wabbit, though.

Dan moved the electric fence in Laing’s Field, the slow way, and I helped. The cattle are very happy. So happy they refused to come in to be milked tonight. Hey ho, won’t kill them to have a night off.  I managed to get some video of Blizz and Rosie walking – so entered them in the virtual Highland Show, in the Any other Native Breeds class.

cattleCattle in Laing's Field.

Not sure about the grass; in retrospect we should have reseeded in September. I think it may have started to sprout before the dry spell, then died. It does look better than last year though. A week or so and we’ll be pulling ragwort. Once he’d finished the fence, he went strimming.

Saw a smallish rat in the feed store.  Where’s a cat when you need one?

Moved the sheep back into Home; I want to try and keep the two far paddocks for the cattle to get them off Laing’s Field in a week or two.




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