Planning / Clean polytunnel / Bird boxes / PatioRSS feed

Posted: Friday 27 January, 2017

by Rosemary at 11:20am in Smallholding Comments closed

Monday 16th January

Cleaned out the hen byre today. It was easier than I expected, although there was more bedding than I thought. Still, it made a good base in the muck heap.

And I completed my quarterly VAT return. Always nice to get that off the desk.

Tuesday 17th January

My lovely Winnie has become a monster. She wouldn’t get her halter on today and kicked me on the leg – well, she did get it on eventually.

Looking at the way she’s flirting with Ace, I think she’s coming into season – so I’ll put it down to hormones and forgive her. She’ll be 7 months old on Monday, so I’m thinking that it’s nearly time for her to be weaned. This year, I’ll do that by taking her up to run with the steers at Astwood.

Wednesday 18th January

Dan and I had a wee meeting to discuss what development work we wanted to undertake here in 2017. Inevitably, clearing out the sunken garden was bounced to 2018 – it’s been bounced every year we’ve been here but we’ll get to it eventually.

I love a list; I have a spreadsheet with a page for every month that lists all the routine jobs that fall in that period (as opposed to the daily routine tasks of feeding, bedding etc.). It helps us to plan how development work can be reasonably fitted in.

Coming out of the meeting with a list of jobs to be done by the end of January, I am resolved to do one every day.

Last September, we took down all the bird boxes to clean them, only to find most of them were rotten, so Dan made some new ones sand we put them up as winter roosts. Of course, we’d forgotten that and since the list said that today’s job was to disinfect the bird boxes, I spent half an hour looking for said bird boxes before remembering where they were.

So I disinfected the one I could find. Still, job scored off.

Thursday 19th January

Today’s job was to prune the blueberries – we have five bushes, so not a big job but it’s another one done. One of the bushes is in a big pot but we’re going to move it into one of the new raised beds that edge the new patio.

New blueberry raised bedNew raised bed for blueberry and more.

I do like the blueberries – they’re very attractive bushes, easy to keep, not prickly and, of course, the fruit is yum too.

Tomorrow’s job is to spray the algae in the polytunnel and maybe on the caravan too. I’ve made up the solution on the knapsack sprayer – just hope it’s not too heavy for me to get on my back without toppling over.

Friday 20th January

Sprayed the polytunnel and caravan. I think the caravan might need a further application – the algal coating on it is pretty thick. There’s some of the solution left in the sprayer, so I’ll wait and see if it’s worked before ditching it.

Then I cleared up the ash from our Solstice bonfire and put it on the beds in the polytunnel as a top dressing.

Winnie has lost a tag so I ordered a new one, then looked in the cattle tag box and realized I didn’t have enough for our likely crop of 2017 calves, so ordered ten pairs plus an applicator. 

And do you know, cows are good for the soul? Yes, they can move fast in certain circumstances, but mainly, they like a slow and considered pace, and rushing them is pointless. So go slow for cow happiness, and your own.

Saturday 21st January

Nice day – much the same as the whole week – mild, light winds and dry.

The magic solution didn’t work so it was back to the old method of warm water, washing up liquid and a soft brush. The polytunnel cover is now sparkling!

Cleaned polytunnelShiny polytunnel.

I’ve started to top dress the beds with manure, planning to do a bit every day for the next week.

Dan started to prune the three mature gooseberry bushes – dangerous work indeed. We have three young bushes as well but he’s going to move one of the mature ones and one of the young ones up to the orchard to give a bit more working room.

I spent some time tidying up in the barn and in the veg garden; I cleaned up the beanpoles and sorted out the pea supports, keeping the best and putting the rest for recycling. I haven’t had responsibility for the veg garden – it was Dan’s at Longcarse and John’s here until this year, so just pottering is helping me “get my eye in”.

Dan did a bit more work on the new patio but this is now suspended until our neighbour has finished decorating, because he’s giving Dan a hand.

Patio testTest patio - not the final pattern!

Sunday 22nd January

Not a bad day today – not warm (about 3C) and overcast but dry and gentle winds. Can’t complain for the time of year.

Getting a lot of egg eating in the byre – not sure what to do about it other than pick up eggs more frequently.

Moved the caravan and covered run first thing – wasn’t as difficult as we thought it might be.

Dan popped up to Astwood to feed the steers – it’s an irregular thing now but it keeps them tame – and then on to pick up a bale of hay and a bale of straw.

It’s so hard keeping the cows clean – might have to think about cubicles next year but we’d miss the good strawy manure.

Andy was here in the morning chapping kindling and Paul came down mid morning to firm up on plans for the “man cave”.

He brought his mitre saw, so he and Dan disappeared into the barn to make a bird box – and very fine it is too, so there are plans for many more.

New bird boxNew bird box.

Meg wasn’t so good today – really dragging her back feet and lots of bed-wetting. Her front end is fine. Is it time?

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