Pruning weeding and fedgingRSS feed

Posted: Sunday 14 February, 2016

by Rosemary Champion at 8:09pm in Smallholding Comments closed

Well, not surprisingly for February, the weather’s been a bit changeable. We haven’t had any snow but we did have heavy rain Thursday into Friday and the fields are very wet again. We’ve had a few really nice days though, that make you just want to get out and about. Like today – it was 10C in the sun, but where the sun didn’t hit, the ice never melted. Forecast isn’t bad for the next few days, thank fully.

Finally vaccinated, dosed and split the sheep on Wednesday. The ewe hoggs, Jinx and Juno are at Barry Mill; the four expecting singles are at Astwood with Taylor and Ted, while the twins and triplets are in two groups here. There’s plenty grass at Astwood and BM, so it’s saving a bit on hay. I’ll start feeding the triplets a bit of bagged feed tomorrow and the twins from next Monday. The vaccinating was fine except I scratched my finger with the needle – before injecting anyone – but it still swelled up and was pretty tender for a couple of days. Given the wet summer and winter, fluke is likely to be an issue so I was glad to get them all dosed.

It looks like I have a buyer for Taylor, which I’m pleased about, so hopefully he’ll be off to Wales quite soon. So I’ll be shopping for a new tup over the summer. And for a new bull, as we’ll be moving Mak on this autumn.

Mak did a bit of moving on himself yesterday (Saturday). I got a text from our landlord to say Mak was on the drive. So we headed up and, to be honest, he hadn’t moved away from his pals and it was relatively straightforward, if a little nerve wracking, to get him back in the field with the help of a bucket of sugar beet. We put out a fresh bale of straw in the feeder and sorted the electric fence, so they should be fine now. I guess supplies were getting a little low J

Dan was back at the community garden this weekend – picking up and delivering a shed that had been donated and delivering more manure. This week the volunteers were planting a willow “fedge”. I’m trying to persuade them to build a muck heap for fresh manure; we’d fill it from the cattle barn next month and by the back end, it will be ready to use. It would save them a lot of time and effort to have it on site rather than running back and forward to us every week. We’re going to run an open day here for the foodisfree group in June.

Planting up the polytunnel is still on hold due to lack of a plan and lack of doors. Hope to get both sorted this week. I’ve almost finished weeding the fruit garden. I would have had it done today but the ground was frozen until lunchtime. There were dozens of fennel seedlings and tonnes of ground elder. All things being equal, I should get the weeding done Monday / Tuesday, then I can start top dressing and mulching. I did manage to get manure on the blueberries.

Lucy, the new horse, is settling in. Smokey is devoted to her and whinnies the place down when she goes out. She’s more horse than I would ever have ridden, even when I was at my most confident. She’s very high energy J

Dan spent most of today in the orchard. We’re going to build a wee muck heap up there, for use on the trees. It will make it easier and quicker to mulch them next year. He’s started pruning and has done fifteen out of 111; if he can get a clear run at it, it doesn’t take him too long but he doesn’t get a clear run at it very often. He is a victim of his own versatility J

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