Marmalade / Vegetables / Smokey's bathRSS feed

Posted: Monday 23 July, 2018

by Rosemary at 6:28pm in Smallholding Comments closed

Monday 16 July

The dry, sunny weather continues. We launched our new website www.dalmore.org today – very pleased with it. It’s aimed at the local market – food, yarn, courses. Dan picked blackcurrants – we have a bumper crop this year. Met my chum Carol for tea then went on to a meeting about the implications of Brexit on food and farming. It was all pretty depressing.

Tuesday 17 July

Made two batches of blackcurrant jam and one batch of cordial. It should have been three batches of jam but I wasn’t concentrating and tipped the sugar in before I’d cooked the fruit. We’ve discovered that the drained fruit remains after the cordial is made is delicious with yogurt. Picked strawberries – the last of the early ones and the first of the late ones. Cooked some for breakfast.

Ace is courting Rosie – almost exactly two months after she calved (20th May).

We’ve got our first farm walk booking and sold some yarn – as a result of the new website and FB page.

Janet came over to give me a scything lesson. I bought the Austrian scythe last year, but never got round to even assembling it, and we inherited another one with an aluminum snath from Alan and Pam, but the blade of that needs peened. I understand the technique – getting my body to do it is quite different. Should be good for the waistline though.

Wednesday 18 July

Made more jam, prepared the fruit for three fruit marmalade and baked ginger cakes then went off to a Scottish Rural Action event on – you’ve guessed, Brexit.

Thursday 19 July

Brought the sheep in and isolated the lamb with the squitty bum, took a faecal sample to go to the vet tomorrow. She looks fine in herself but it can’t go on. Tagged a couple that had lost tags or, for some reason, had been missed when we tagged them a few weeks ago.

lambTidy lamb.

Finished the marmalade – it’s pretty good. Planning to sell it soon. Bottled blackcurrants.

marmaladeThree Fruit Marmalade.

Walked Laing’s Field and pulled two bags of ragwort. Still a lot to do.

Friday 20 July

We have rain and quite a lot, thank you.

Popped into Dundee with the sample for the vet. Roads busy with golf traffic.

Filled in the application for a Small Farm Grant to help with the cost of rubber matting for the barn. This will improve the cattle’s welfare, as standing on concrete was the cause, we think, of the lameness problems we had last winter and reduce our reliance on straw for bedding. I’ve had mats for Smokey for years and we have mats in the field shelter and they’re just great.

Bathed Smokey – was just washing off the suds when our campers arrived. It was hard to say who was wetter – Smokes or me. What a welcome for them.

Saturday 21 July

Put some veggies on sale – beetroot, shallots, courgettes and carrots.

veggiesVeggie rack - great in fine weather.

Dan repaired our neighbour’s chainsaw and went in to inspect the bees. He’s been feeding them regularly to let them build up numbers but he was able to take off five frames of capped honey. Hive 2 has to go, sadly. It’s so aggressive it’s no pleasure to work with and now, of course, Dan has the Buckfast queened hives to work with and they are a joy.

A bird flew down the chimney into the stove in the office. I was working and heard it flutter down – thankfully, it was OK and exited quickly through the French doors. It was a day for rescues – there was a wee mouse in the mixed corn bin this evening. What a fright we both got. I considered going and getting a cat but in the end, I released it outside, with a stern warning never to return. Softy.

Blizzard tried to give me a heart attack by playing dead.

BlizzardA heart stopping find.

Sunday 22 July

Popped down to East Pitkerro to see the steers and to discuss arrangements for this winter. The shed we use wasn’t properly mucked out last autumn – there is years and years of muck in it – but it needs to be done this year so we’re going to get a price for a “man and digger” to do it. The muck is packed solid – not something to tackle by hand, for sure.

Dan did some scything in the orchard – so much more pleasant than strimming – then we took bags, the ragfork, latex gloves and the wheelbarrow into Laing’s Field and pulled another four bags of ragwort. One more trip this week should see it pretty much done for this year. Wish the thistles, docks and nettles were as easy to deal with, but I hope to get out with the scythe next week.

I’ve decided to take a more relaxed attitude to the cattle. I worried about them calving indoors so always had a May or later calving, but with the bull running with them and the Shetland fertility, it looks like it will be April next year. So I planned to have them jagged with hormone to push the calving back – but I’ve decided not to. We have three tame, docile cows and a docile, well-handled bull – so I’m just going to manage it. Ace can go in the field shelter for a few weeks before Annie is due to calve and we’ll let nature take its course. I’m not going to have them scanned – Ace knows when they’re ready to be served and fertility doesn’t seem to be a problem, so hands off.

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