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Posted: Monday 30 March, 2020

by Rosemary at 8:18pm in Smallholding No comments Add your own

Monday 23rd March

Braw spring day and the first day of the “lockdown”. Paperwork day, so mostly in the office. I’m thinking about selling small meat packs – mince, stew, sausages. Cancelled the May and early June courses, but fingers crossed for the later ones. Started rescheduling for autumn.

Started to build the pony assault course – round pen, cone weave, trotting poles, stand. Not much fun on your own though.

Tuesday 24th March

Just lovely today – up to 13C and sunny. Would have been warmer if the wind had dropped. Picked up two bales of hay for here then another two, dropping one for the steers at East PItkerro. We’re going to turn them out next Monday and put a bale of hay in the field for them. Dan looked back the diary and we turned them out about 20th March last year.

Picked up some animal feed at Harbro, some shopping and went for prescriptions but they weren’t ready. No sugar, no flour in the shops. Other than that, had a rather unproductive day but have big plans for tomorrow – although they may be curtailed as tonight is the first night of 2am checks on the ewes.

Made Stilton and celery soup while waiting to do the 10pm check.

Wednesday 25th March

No lambs overnight but five today. No8 lambed a white ewe at lunchtime; No15 seemed determined to have the lamb so No8 was put in an individual pen. Then No8 had a second white ewe lamb. Then a third lamb – a black tup. Now this put the wind up me a bit as she’d scanned with twins. Was the first lamb really No15’s? Checked No15 again. No, she hadn’t lambed. So triplets for No8. Then at dinnertime, No15 did lamb – twin tups, one white, one black. All well. Keeping an eye on the triplets – might top them up with a bottle but want them to get maximum colostrum from mum first. She’s very milky, but I don’t want her udder ruined either.

tripletsNo8 and her unexpected triplets.

Dan pruned more apple trees, then we did some pottering – tidying up where the new fencing was done, painting the back panel of the trailer so the guys at the skip stop asking us if we’re commercial, adding more woodchip to the apiary path, weeding the three flower beds round the house. Very satisfying.

 

Thursday 26th March

Ooh, rain. Been a while since we’ve seen that. Must have been a fair wee bit overnight – so hopefully the grass will get growing now! Lambs all seem to be fine. Had a moment about the black twin, but his mammy had pulled the hay over the top of him.

No pruning today because it’s wet – the cut doesn’t seal quickly enough and bacteria in the rain water can cause infection. So Dan barrowed more wood chip to the apiary. Nearly finished.

Put meat packs on the Facebook page and sold four almost right away. Can’t keep up with the demand for eggs – the pullets had better get going? Maybe folk will get the idea of buying local food as a result of the virus shutdown.

Planted out sweet peas and peas in the polytunnel.

peaplantsEarly peas in the polytunnel.

Carrots and some salad that I sowed ages ago are sprouting.

carrotsCarrots and Claytonia.

Sowed 130 peas (Hurst Greenshaft) in pots in  the polytunnel.

peasPeas Hurst Greenshaft.

Penfold’s not well – he seems to have a sore mouth. Wouldn’t eat Dreamies, so it must be bad – but he managed some fresh chicken and then some sardines. He’s had dental work before and the vet I spoke to was the one that actually did it, so she’s prescribed Metacam until the virus situation resolves and we can get him treatment. I’ve got some white fish fillets in the freezer, so I’ll cook some of them for him too. Poor old boy x

Friday 27th March

Cool and overcast but decided to turn the ewes with lambs out anyway. They have the field shelter if they need it. Lambs tailed, ewes wormed and fluked then the pantomime of getting them to the filed past the first grass they’ve seen for ages. The triplets are doing fine, but just keeping an eye on them in case they need topped up.

lambsTwo ewes, five lambs.

Dan worked in the apiary and then went pruning. We’ve had a few mini beef box orders and more folk ordering eggs, so we sorted that out at lunchtime. I cleaned the windows in the boot room – let there be light etc etc.

Saturday 28th March

No11 and No14 both lambed about 1am. I usually get up and check at 2am, but I wakened at 1am and thought I’d just go early. Both were chuntering around. Put them in pens – what a mess they make – and checked them. Both lambs nearly there, so gave them a wee hand, checked the lambs were breathing, iodined the navels and checked the ewes had milk (both have loads). Came in, boiled the kettle for a cup of tea, went back for a second look, No14 almost there with No2, so helped her (just for speed so that I could get back to bed). No11 pushing, checked her – crown of the head and no legs. Sorted that; whoosh, lamb out, iodined, breathing. Cup of tea and some chocolate (I deserved it, IMO). Checked again at 3am; all lambs up and trying to suckle. Got a break now of a week until No7 and Niamh are due on 7th and 12th April respectively, so mucked out part of the lambing shed.

9am, I went for two loads of hay with the livestock trailer then Dan took the flat trailer and emptied the muck onto Lindsay’s heap. A few folk have been coming for beef and eggs – we leave them in a rack outside the gate. It’s weird.

We’re still having our Saturday cooked lunch – bacon, egg, sausage and homemade rolls. Linda cooks it and we collect it and eat it in our dining room. Socially isolating. The Saturday collective lunch has been going since we moved here ten years ago, almost without a break. Whoever’s here – Andy, Rebecca – eats too. I love it. It’s one of my favourite things.

After lunch, Dan went off to prune – he’ll be finished tomorrow, bang on target.

I weeded two pear trees – hard going – and planted four potatoes in the polytunnel.

Sunday 29th March

Struggling to meet demand for eggs – those pullets better get a shift on! Pruning finished – before the end of March! Yay!

Cool, light cloud and sunny spells – so No11 and No14 and their lambs are out. Good to see them gambolling about.

Dan had a fire to burn some brash; I walked the fields. Not much grass and Laing’s field is awful. Left the ponies on too long. Tractor John is coming tomorrow or Tuesday, so we’ll be topping the rushes and then harrowing hard to get things moving. I’d love a seed box for the harrow but the price was just exorbitant.

So tired today, not helped by the clocks changing. We should stop doing that. I woke up just before the alarm went off at 6am and wondered why it was till dark – too dark to let the hens out, so had half an hour before getting up feeding the sheep, bringing the ponies in, letting the hens out then going back to bed. Feel like I could sleep for a week.

 

 

 

 

 

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