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Posted: Monday 12 April, 2021

by Rosemary at 8:54am in Smallholding 1 comment Add your own

Monday 5th April

Cold, cold, cold. Wind sweeping from the Steppes and scouring all before it. Sunny though, and dry. So not really complaining.

And so it’s the end of another year, so all the paperwork has to be gathered for the accountant. I always get a bit stressy about this, although I guess I’m better than some of their clients. At least I don’t dump a box of receipts and invoices on their desks. Bank accounts and cash dealt with, just waiting on the credit card bill, then I can get the VAT return done and the accounts closed off. I’ll do our personal tax stuff at the same time, and then it’s all done. And breathe.

I don't delibertely chit my maincrop potatoes but it happened anyway this year. Spent a happy half hour freeing the tatties and chits from the netting bags.

tattiesRooster, more than  ready to go.

Tuesday 6th April

Still Steppes weather. New hens are doing well – 24 eggs last night from 40, and a lot of them are of a size to sell.  Last years hatch is up to 33 from 40 hens; the caravan hens (the oldies) are up to a dozen.

I’ve started giving Kit and Scoot a wee bit of cake, along with Roo and Niamh. Although they’re Shetlands, they are carrying twins so a wee bit of a treat won’t hurt them. Took Roo weeks to work out how to come in to be fed. Took Kit and Scoot two goes. The hardest bit is keeping Greedy Bambi out.

Wednesday 7th April

Not so cold today – the wind has abated. Dead chick in the meat chicks and one with a really shitty bum, which will bear further investigation.

Found a cauliflower, so made roasted cauliflower soup. I need to pull the rest of the leeks and turn them into soup too. And cook some rhubarb. Not feeling very motivated today.

I started to pinch out the sweet peas. Never done that before but hopefully it will get them to bush a bit.

Does every farm have a corner like thsi?

cornerThat corner!

Thursday 8th April

Wow, what a day. Strong winds and dust storms. Not a nice day to be out.

Two of the meat chicks have really dirty, clotty bums. Joy.

Friday 9th April

Lovely day; sunny, warm but with a bit of a breeze. But nothing compared to yesterday. First job was to go for hay, having unloaded the half bale of straw that stopped me getting two bales earlier in the week. There’s enough to do the pig ark and the lambing pens. Hung out a load of washing and it was dry in no time.

Gave the two cheeps with the dirty bums a wee bath and cleaned them up – hopefully they won’t be too traumatised. For all that we’ve reared meat chicks for years, the rate of growth and change never fails to astound me. I cut a turf for them to keep them amused.

Biscuit tin was empty, so I made some ginger nuts and an “All Bran” fruit loaf. Easy and quick but very tasty. Next time I think I’ll make the loaf with apricots rather than sultanas.

Gave Smokey a good groom; he had horrible black stuff on the inside of his back legs (I think I know where it came from but won’t share here) but I’ve managed to get it all off as his winter coat comes out. He looks grand, my old boy.

smokeySmokey (Munro of Millfield).

Had half an hour in the greenhouse to sow Cucumber Mini Munch, Pumpkin Blaze and Courgette Tosca. Dan planted the Rooster maincrop tatties, 58 in total. We’ve just finished last year’s crop this week.

veggardenTatties in.

Big long list of things to do for the weekend. First job is to try and relocate the hens’ caravan so Dan took the front loader off the tractor and took it round to Home. It could all go sadly wrong, so fingers crossed for it going right. This is Miranda, our tractor: 1987 John Deere 11040 56hp 2WD.


I’m reading “Anne of Green Gables”; never read it before and I’m rather enjoying it.


Saturday 10th April

Busy day. Moved the caravan. There were a few “Oh, poop” moments but considering it hasn’t been moved for maybe seven years, it went surprisingly smoothly. The key point will be bedtime and will the hens find it.

caravanCaravan on the move.

caravanOld caravan pitch.

After that, Dan got the harrow on the tractor and stared harrowing. Home first – it’s pretty mossy because it was so wet over winter. Dan did it twice – once east to West and once North to South; then he was off to Laing’s Field to start in there.

harrowingHarrowing Home.

After the caravan, my next job was to set up the field shelter for lambing. Pens, straw, buckets, skips - all we need now is sheep.

shedLambing shed equipment ready to go.

After lunch, the pressure washer was brought out to clean the ladder and the staging that we used as perches during the polytunnel “cluckdown”. It’s a great wee tool, so the job was soon done. Dan was distracted when he took the staging off the supports and started digging out the paths and putting the soil back on the beds. It’s so dry; I’ll have to stick the sprinkler on to give it a good soaking before we plant anything. Thankfully, Dan’s dad over ordered Growbags so I can pinch a few of them

tunnelPoor polytunnel.

Late afternoon, I drove to Arbroath for some shipping and to fill the car with diesel – and got caught is a heavy hail shower, which turned to snow. Thankfully, it didn’t lie, though it did elsewhere.

Sunday 11th April

Very cold start but lovely and sunny, and warm in the sun – but still had a couple of hail showers. Dan went off with a trailer load of muck while I did the early chores.

After breakfast, I set the peas (Hurst Greenshaft) and beans (Runner Firestorm and Scarlet Empire, Dwarf French Rocquencourt) to germinate on damp paper. I put the early peas outside to start hardening them off; I’d like to get them in this week.

Dan changed the wheel on the trailer – we’ve replaced all the tyres now, so that should see them right for a while. Still on the wheel jobs, he took the solid wheel of the dead wheelbarrow – it can certainly be used again. Then he put up wires for the climbing roses – I’ll get them tied in this week.

We had a bit of an afternoon off – although Dan went into the office to clear his desk for Monday. I was less dedicated – messing about with Lego, and then taking Smokey for a walk. Roast chicken for dinner, followed by rhubarb crumble. Yum.



Wednesday 14 April, 2021 at 1:35pm

How on earth do you keep track of all the jobs! YOu must have plans and remionders everywhere.

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