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Rain, cheese and weedsRSS feed

Posted: Monday 20 June, 2016

by Rosemary at 11:08am in Smallholding No comments Add your own

Monday

We actually got some sun today – came out about noon until about 4pm. Really warm too. Either side of that it’s been overcast, with rain this morning.

Dan started to make some beer – bitter, I think.

The poorly pig seems to be OK and has been reunited with his brothers.

The milking routine is falling into place but I need to get another cleaner – an alkaline one this time. The hypochlorite seems to be coming via South America. Having a bit of a problem with the legs of the cluster touching the ground when I’m putting it on – don’t know if there is a problem with the machine, a problem with the operator or if it’s just due to my cows having short legs. We need a resolution though.

And our nineteen fleeces were picked up today for delivery to The Natural Fibre Company.

Tuesday

Took Vicki to her new home near Dunbar today. Weather was awful – thick drizzle with really poor visibility. Made it safely and dropped her off, saw our new bull calf with his mammy. Nice calf and a very nice cow too, so well pleased. Car broke down on the way home so home too late to milk. Will be a different regime tomorrow, as we’ll bring all three cows in plus the calves.

Dan made our first cheese – paneer – so looking forward to that for dinner. He also “rescued” a few jars of honey that had become very heavily crystallised by reheating it and seeding it with some shop-bought – we now have jars of lovely creamy, set honey.

Wednesday

Porridge with our own milk and honey for breakfast. Yum. Still raining; it’s so dark and dismal. Forecast for the weekend is better – maybe we’ll even get a glimpse of sun! 

Moved the ewes and lambs from Astwood to Barry Mill, where they are belly deep in grass. And weeds. They were very well behaved – they like getting on the trailer, as they know it means fresh grass. Just need to watch for dirty bums. We planned to do them with Crovect but it’s too wet, so that’ll be a job for the weekend, if the weather IS better. 

Ryelands at Barry MillEwes and lambs moved to Barry Mill.

Milked this afternoon – the routine is settling down now. Brought Blizzard in as well, and Annie’s calf. Rosie’s calf managed to miss the gate and was left in the field (he’s not the brightest) – but neither he nor his mammy seemed bothered by the separation. Yesterday’s drive has left me tired and sore – better tomorrow.

Thursday

It’s not raining. It’s still overcast and not very warm, but it hasn’t rained so far today. Yay! Spend the morning weeding in the vegetable garden – the weeds have grown spectacularly since the weather broke. A lot still to do and the grass needs cut, but we’ll need a few rain free days before we can do that. 

Had a couple of breakthroughs milking today. Firstly, managed to get the suction working properly (was pressing the wrong button doh!) and Rosie agreed to feed the machine. Both calves came in today and, with Paulo at her head, Rosie was pumping out the milk. Between the two cows, we got 10 litres – we’ve run out of containers, so there’s some for the pigs ☺ 

Dan’s planning on trying to make camembert at the weekend. I picked some rhubarb this morning – we’ve had a tremendous crop this year – to make rhubarb cordial, from the River Cottage “Preserves” book.

Friday

Still wet. I got up at 6am, fed and checked all the animals and went back to bed fro an hour. It’s forecast to be better at the weekend. So I spent the morning doing housework and baking. The weeds will have to wait. I made scones and some honey cinnamon biscuits – we’re trying to use honey more in cooking and baking. The biscuits are really nice, even without the icing, so I’ll make more and actually do the icing this time. 

Put the cows and calves into a fresh field after milking – huge excitement from all except Blizz, who is too heavily pregnant to do much running around. She just set to munching straight away. Busy day planned for tomorrow but managed to watch half an episode of “This Farming Life” before bed.

Saturday

We awakened this morning to blue skies and sunshine. Hurrah! We planned to spend the day in the vegetable garden, as there were no pressing livestock tasks, other than routine feeding and milking. So we were up at 6am; Dan went off to check the sheep at Barry Mill while I did the morning feeding and after breakfast, we hit the veg garden. I have to say it was no chore, with the sun shining down. But, oh, the weeds!

By the time we finished, all the beds were weeded, grass mown and the edges strimmed, all the debris tidied away or discarded, and it all looked neat as a new pin. Unfortunately, we had to clear some of the sown areas because the rows weren’t marked and it was impossible to tell what was seedling and what was weed. Dan spent the evening getting ready for his cheese making tomorrow.

Sunday

Again, a sunny start but the rain was on by 5pm, and quite heavy. Still, we made hay while the sun shone. 

Dan started his first proper cheese making – Camembert. It didn’t all go according to plan – I think one of the hardest bits is that every cheese maker has his / her own plan and they are all different. As things stand, there are five infant Camembert draining in the kitchen. 

Camembert drainingCamembert draining.

The building of the cheese cave from an old fridge is proving a wee bit challenging – especially the wiring – but we’re hoping our handy neighbour, John, will be able to help. 

There’s something horribly wrong with our livestock trailer. Dan was going for hay and something jammed, and it looks like the axle may be damaged. We’ll know more when we get it to an Ifor Williams dealership. Fortunately, the farmer we buy hay from loaned us his wee trailer – or we would have had hungry ponies tonight. 

The milking procedure continues to evolve and improve. One of my jobs this week is to document it. 

Wallace the bottle-fed lamb’s tail fell off this morning. His sister’s fell off weeks ago and I was starting to wonder if his was ever going to go or whether he’d always have a wee stringy bit on the end. But as he enjoyed his bottle this morning, the rapid wagging finally displaced it. 

Dan topped two fields this afternoon, where the thistles were starting to head and the rushes were starting to flower. I cut the back lawn and the front lawn – the drive on the lawnmower has packed in so it’s a petrol push mower now. Very good for the biceps.

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