Plums / Grazing / Milking cracked / Wood store startedRSS feed

Posted: Tuesday 22 August, 2017

by Rosemary at 9:50am in Smallholding 1 comment Add your own

Monday 7th August

Dry, sunny and windy today. Got news that we won’t have the grazing at Ravensby any more. That’s a real blow, especially with losing the grazing at Astwood as well. To be honest, my head has been right up my bum today. Didn’t even milk the cows.

We don’t have enough grass at home for the small herd of cattle and small flock of sheep in the numbers we have at the moment so I need to think hard about what we keep and what we sell. It was tears and snotters at the prospect of selling Rosie and Winnie.

It’s 17 days since I noticed Rosie showing signs of a first season but she certainly doesn’t look like bulling now.

We cropped one of our plum trees today – can’t be sure which variety, the label fell off long ago but we think it’s Opal.

Opal plumsPart of the Opal plum harvest.

It’s the first year we’ve had a decent crop, so there’s been plenty eaten, jam made, and Dan bottled some with a little dark rum.

Bottled plumsBottled plums.

We'll need to wait til winter solstice to try them. :-(

Tuesday 8th August

Head slightly removed from bum today. Tried a different routine for milking – brought the two oldest calves in, penned them for five hours, brought the cows in and let each calf out in turn. Calf goes to feed; s/he gets access to one quarter and the machine goes on three. Great milk let down!

Once I’ve got a bit of milk, machine comes off and calf finishes its feed. Bingo!

Still working on the grazing issue. We were previously offered the field next to us (it was part of this holding until 2010 when we bought this and a house builder bought the field) but it’s sown with alfalfa and that seems to be poisonous to cattle and sheep.

Which seems bizarre. If it is true, then the field would need to be sprayed off and reseeded and that’s hard / impossible to justify on a seasonal let.

More and more I become convinced that our land system in Scotland is broken. Folk can own land with no obligation to use it productively or even maintain it – and yet they block other folk from taking on the responsibility.

Maybe the extension of the obligations on crofters to use land purposefully should be extended country wide.

Bottled some apricots I bought on the reduced counter at the supermarket, we’re trying to do better at preserving food in the summer so we can enjoy it through the leaner months.

Wednesday 9th August

Good milking today again.

Went to see Dundee FC beat Dundee United FC in the betfred Cup tonight.

Really enjoyed it.

Thursday 10th August

Another good milking; Dan made cheese.

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

Blizzard playing deadBlizzard playing dead.

Friday 11th August

Dry, sunny and windy.

Ace and Winnie seem to be loved up, but I haven’t seen her stand for him.

Winnie attending AceWinnie attending Ace.

Made a baked cheesecake with a ginger base – delicious.

Sauron's eye cheesecakeSauron's eye cheesecake.

Shared around the residents to spread the calorie load.

Saturday 12th August.

Spent most of the day moving furniture. We’ve moved our office into the new classroom (still haven’t found a good name for it, so the classroom it is), so our smallest bedroom has become a store room and the room that was previously the office is becoming a guest room. Before Saturday.

Found quite a lot of stuff we don’t use (how can this be?) and some stuff we’d forgotten we had - so had a bit of a clear out and a tidy up.

Paul had two mating bumblebees land on his hand – this is unusual apparently, they will normally mate on the ground or on vegetation, only rarely while flying.

Bumblebees matingBumblebees mating.

Sunday 13th August

Sunny and windy.

Applied Crovect to the sheep – might be the last application this year, depending on the weather.

Bug and Smokey had their feet trimmed. Bug’s grow at a horrendous rate in summer and he really does need trimmed every three weeks – or he needs some roadwork!!!

Observed Ace sniffing round Rosie but Winnie is still his love.

Work on the apiary continues, Paul and Gemma have moved the six hens they brought with them into the area to help with the clearance, and they’re doing a grand job.

Apiary progressApiary progress.

Work started in earnest on the new wood store – we’re installing a big outdoor wood store to season enough wood for a winter. The site's been cleared and levelled, getting rid of a large laurel which we'll definitely not miss!

Woodstore site clearanceWood store site clearance.

We’ve got the same space in the barn for storing wood to use, so it should work well. Until now we’ve had big piles of wood randomly dotted about the place.



Tuesday 22 August, 2017 at 1:12pm

Alfalfa is not poisonous it is used a s a high protein feed but you need to balance how much they eat as too much can cause bloat. Many countrys make alalfa hay for dairy cows and goats including uk although not so much in scotland as it won t grow in a lot of areas. MAKE ALFALFA HAY FOR YOUR MILKING COWS

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