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Posted: Sunday 20 October, 2019

by Rosemary at 6:28pm in Smallholding No comments Add your own

Monday 14th October

The sun is out and Diesel is home. We think he was probably shut in one of the stores at the roofer’s yard adjacent to our property. At least, he appeared about 10 minutes after the men arrived for work at 8am.

Dan pumped up my purple ball, which has replaced my office chair. Hopefully it will help my back and I certainly like it so far. And I haven’t fallen off. Yet.

Dan ordered a pallet of bottles for apple juice. A pallet was much the cheapest way to buy them and they don’t go off. We thought they’d come in boxes but no, they come on bug cardboard trays. So Dan’s ordered some boxes to put them in. Hey ho. Best laid plans… He juiced the Ellison’s Orange today.

bottlesHundres of clear bottles.

I pulled out the sweet peas and the cosmos, and baked a cake

Tuesday 15th October

Cool and bright this morning. Went out to do the hens and the morning checks and found Urquhart on his back, legs waving in the air. Well, actually they weren’t moving at all when I saw him – so there was a panicked as-close-to-a-sprint-as-I-get across the field – but he was fine. He obviously hadn’t been down long. He’s looking very lovelorn.

urquhartUrquhart, back on his feet.

And Ave escaped overnight – and ate a pile of apples waiting to be juiced. Hope there are no ill effects.

Dan pressed the Sunset apples today.

I cleaned out the hens and had some sheep thoughts. I’ve always had a 200% lambing as my target – that was what was what was promoted as “best” in my college education. So I flush the ewes – sometimes with licky buckets but last year with a wee bit of cake every day from two weeks before and right through tupping. I stopped the licky buckets last year because they cost me a fortune. So today I though –“why do I want 200%? Selling lamb is hard, I always worry about the grass through the winter, so I’m thinking that 100% would be good – fourteen single lambs is the target. Better to have seven good tup lambs ready in the autumn than have scooty wee twins running on until February. Honestly, sometimes, I’m slow.

Smallholding Scotland Festival conference call tonight. Getting close.

Wednesday 16th October

Cool clear morning. Spent the day desk bound. Thanks goodness for my purple ball.

My Highland pony, Smokey, is 22. I bought him when he was five and we’ve had our ups and downs. He’s always been my special boy though. He’s effectively been retired for nine years, since we moved here. Now that Tara and Rebecca have Euro and Ave, I wondered if I could bring Smokey back into light work, so we can all hack out together. So this evening, a local equine physio came to assess him and she says he’s in great shape. Not “great shape for 22”, just great shape – not overweight, decent muscle tone, strong back. Yay! I’m so excited. I can’t get the saddle fitter until the 18th November, so until then, it’s walking in hand, circle game and a few bareback sits. What a turn up – need to get a new helmet first!

Thursday 17th October

Frosty, cold and clear then sunshine and showers. Dan cut and cooked the first of our bacon – stunning! He’s planning to smoke some at the weekend.

I picked up a tonne of layer pellets – that’ll do over the winter.

Friday 18th October

Down to the butcher this morning to pick up beef and lamb, then home in the pouring rain to sort out the beef and lamb boxes. The first stress is “do I have enough for the boxes”, then having seen that one off, the next one is “what if I can’t get what’s left in eth freezer / ever get it sold”. Well all the boxes were made up, most picked up, the rest in the freezer and I’m sure we’ll sell it. Just a lot of sausages again.

The butcher labelled the two breeds – Lleyn and Ryeland, so one of our favourite lamb customers is going to do a taste test.

I think we need to get someone to go halves on our pig next year. We still have a lot from last year, plus this year’s.

The cardboard boxes for the juice bottles arrived. I swear it could have been “The Generation Game”, as we tried to assemble them. In the end, I phoned the manufacturer and he talked us through it. Once we knew, it was obvious and easy. Obviously.

Saturday 19th October

Wow. Torrential rain yesterday, overnight and this morning gave way to blue skies, but not in time to save the planned farm tour. I hate letting folk down but it was just miserable and the fields are underwater and the animals soggy. Et cetera.

We did host a lovely woven tapestry with our friend Rebecca though. Dan was very busy making up apple juice boxes, and smoking bacon and cheese.

Smokey and I did 10 minutes out, 10 minutes back and saw the trains.

It was the RBST Harvest Supper, but I had to go alone as Dan was finishing the Festival catalogue. We need a new plan for next year.

Sunday 20th October

Lovely clear sunny day, cool though. Woke at 6am with a “Festival panic”, so got up and pottered about.  More folk came for beef and lamb – only two boxes left for folk that are on holiday. Next year, we don’t have to put the steers away until 8th November, to meet the OTM rules, so the lambs will be a better size.

Catriona, the horse physio, came for one of the there pews we bought a few months ago. She saw them on Wednesday and mentioned that she was looking for one, so it seemed good to share. She knew the lady from whom we bought Dalmore and her OH had helped clear up for her when she was putting it on the market.

Andy stopped by to cut and stack some wood and stayed fro coffee and to make up the last of the boxes – more being delivered next week. Rebecca and her sister Elizabeth stopped by for a cuppa too, so it was a busy but social day.

Dan cut the back and front grass and trimmed the fuchsia hedge – surely this will be the last grass cut of the year. Mind you, it was 10C here and not much less overnight.

OK, last week before the Festival. All stops out.

 

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