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Posted: Monday 8 October, 2018

by Rosemary at 12:34pm in Smallholding No comments Add your own

Monday 1 October

It’s raining. It’s now over two months since Blizz had her dead calf and I haven’t seen her come into season yet. Unless Ace has changed his technique – he’s usually pretty obvious in his courtship – she’s not been bulling. Not worried – yet. She’s still giving about 20 litres a day – it’s been pretty constant since day one. With the pigs away, we’re kind of coming down with milk. Dan’s planning to start making more cheese.

Tuesday 2 October

Popped up to Forfar to the bank and Harbro; met up with a lovely lady from Angus SWI; the local Federation is going to help with the Garden, Craft and food competition at the Festival. Board meeting of Smallholding Scotland this evening.

Not a bad day, weatherwise, so Dan got his bee suit on and took off the remaining supers and put in the varroa strips, in preparation for winter. He picked up a box of fondant at the local beekeepers meeting last night; he’s feeding syrup to two hives and they’re taking plenty down.

Wednesday 3 October

We have a new addition – he’s called Rocky and he’s a Pekin bantam cockerel. Tara hatched him and now he’s a bit loud for the enclosed spaces in a housing estate, so he has come to live with our hens. We put him in the henhouse tonight after dark. Hope he’s OK. He’s much smaller than I thought he would be.

Had a loose steer at East Pitkerro – in the stackyard and shed. He almost gave Arnot a heart attack. By the time we got there, he was back in the field and we couldn’t see where he’d got through.

Thursday 4 October

Rocky looks a wee bit overawed by the 33 hens and the wide-open spaces but he’s a cheeky wee chappie. He’s awfy braw, actually. He’s found the water and he can work the treadle feeder – just. We were a bit worried that he might go on the treadle with another hen, then get pinged off it when she got off, but he must be just heavy enough to keep it down. He’s also discovered apples and how to go to bed at night. When Dan checked, he couldn’t see Rocky but he was nestled in between four hens.

rockyRocky.

Managed to track down a tombstone hay feeder at a reasonable price; should get it before 1st November, when I plan to bring the steers in. Although the two big ones will be away before that, I hope.

Got the pig weights back – 107, 96.5 and 87kg. Milk and eggs are obviously good for pigs!

Dan made a cheddar cheese and extracted some honey. It wasn’t properly cured (the honey) so either we use it quick or we feed it back to the bees. I think we’re going for “use it quick”.

honeyExtracting honey.

Friday 5 October

Got my BVD test notification so that’s booked for 1st November, when I was planning to bring the cows in anyway. Also got an email from Niamhanna at MayoMats to say our mats are coming next Tuesday. Need to get the pressure washer working and get the floor cleaned. Also need to think about the layout, with Hilda the heifer coming soon, I’ll want a separate pen for her.

Saturday 6 October

Dan got the pressure washer working, so I can get on with the cow shed next week.

Martin and Jackie came down to press apples. Dan pruned the plum and gage trees.

plumsPlums and gages pruned.

Steer at East PItkerro out again, and back in the field by the time we got there – but we could see where he’d come through, so that’s sorted. We also secured the gates on the shed and put in the water trough. Gave the steers some sugar beet – they hadn’t forgotten what it was. Won’t be long until they’re in. Winter is coming.

Sunday 7 October

Picked up two bales of straw and took them to East Pitkerro. The steers were looking expectantly for sugar beet. Hard luck, boys.

Libby, Brian, Ryan, Laura-May and Alec were here pressing apples – I think they were surprised by the juice yield. Dan pressed some of ours too.

It’s kind of miserable, so I made a steamed syrup sponge – always makes you feel better. Dan made Gouda cheese – a new one for his repertoire!

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