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Posted: Monday 25 April, 2016

by Rosemary Champion at 1:13pm in Smallholding No comments Add your own

We've truly had four seasons in one day here - snow, hail and rain,wind interspersed with lovely warm sunshine. I guess that's Scotland in April :-)

Lambing is almost over now. Usha lambed on Friday – two nice ewe lambs, and she’s a very attentive mum. The first one needed a bit of a pull and isn’t quite so lovely as her sister, but she’s improving every day. So that just leaves poor Pixie, who is the size of a small white elephant. You can see the lambs roiling about inside her. We moved the empty Ulrika and Teddy the Wether up to Astwood, with the six ewe hoggs and brought the two oldies, Jinx and Juno, home to keep Pixie company. Pixie is Juno’s daughter from her third lambing in 2011 (her twin from that year, Poppy, also had triplets this year).

We’ve been topping up Wee Malky, the twinned on triplet, Umber’s twins (the Number Sevens) and Trixie’s bleaty lamb (No9) but they don’t take much. I’ve moved to feeding them twice a day - 6am and 8pm – and I think they just like it. Ryeland lambs don’t seem to have any problem moving between bottle and mum – and neither do their mums, who watch, then call them back. It does make life easier.

After Wee Malky’s bro having a foot infection, we’ve had a rash of them - maybe four or so. All the same symptoms but I only got ABs for one of them – the vet said that squeezing out the pus until I get blood should be enough and, as usual, he seems to be right.

Dan put more fondant on the second hive today. The first one is very active and had hardly touched the stuff already there. He cleaned out the dead hive today – very sad.

With the decent weather, Dan’s managed to get the first Neem application on the fruit trees. The espalier pear trees are in flower and looking well – Dan’s put electric fence round them as I’m going to put Pixie, Juno and Jinx in the veg garden tomorrow – they might as well eat the grass as us cut it.

The harrow’s still on the tractor – Sheepfold was done last weekend, and the two Top paddocks have been done this week. They’re the wettest ones and took a hammering in the winter. I’m going to throw down some grass seed tomorrow. I’m also going to see if there’s a grass box for the harrow – while me throwing grass seed out of a bucket is rather rustic, it would be quicker and more accurate if it was done while harrowing. I also need to order a bag of grass seed. I’m going for Barmix from Barenbrug UK, which is a mix containing intermediate and late perennial ryegrass, tall fescues, cocksfoot, timothy and white clover.

If Dan can get the other three paddocks done this week, he’ll stick the topper on and top the rushes – hopefully that’ll knock them back and let the grass grow through. There doesn’t seem to be any way to improve the drainage and we choose not to spray them so cutting is the only way to keep them in check.

I’m picking up our new laying hens this week – 30 12-week old birds. Nugget will be going into the caravan with the oldies and Spike will be moving in with the new girls.

It was Bertie Cat’s 7th birthday on the 20th – he was treated to prawns (his favourite food ever) and some cream. Poor boy was beaten up by Ben, the big tabby next door, but Ben’s now gone to his new home, so life will return to normal. Bryn’s first birthday is on the 29th; not quite decided what treat he will be having. His life is one long treat, so it’s hard to decide, but two-week rotted afterbirth seems to be right up there.

And I got my SAF done, courtesy of the nice gentlemen at the Perth RPID office. J

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