Tatties / Pasture Pen / Dead calfRSS feed

Posted: Monday 27 May, 2024

by Rosemary at 7:22pm in Smallholding No comments Add your own

Monday 20th May

Up at 1.30 am then 4.30am; come on, Blizzard lol. Cool at 4.30am but sun out by 9am, and shaping up for another warm day.

Dan finished the pasture pen for the meat chickens and we finally got them outside. Great to see them chooking about and pecking away at the grass.

penPasture pen.

chicksMeat birds.

Strawberries starting to ripen in the polytunnel.

strawberryFirst strawberries.

Tuesday 21st May

Murdo here, so he and Dan have been busy in the front garden. A few more yards of woodland path in and the base of the stumpery made. They were kept on task by the Coopervisor. We hope to start getting the stumps arranged at the weekend.

stumperyFirst steps to the stumpery.

stumperyBase for the stumpery, complete with one stump.

stumperyPaths going in round the stumpery.

pathMore path.

CooperThe Coopervisor.

Wednesday 22nd May

Light rain / drizzle overnight but clear by morning. Light rain in the course of the day but dying off overnight.

Blizzard decided the field shelter was the place to be.

BlizzardBlizzard babysitting.

We bought a new preloved car. A “Fantastic Red” Ford Puma; we’ll get it next week once the towbar is fitted. However, it will only be able to tow the box trailer, so any BIG towing will require the assistance of friends. It’s so lovely.

Thursday 23rd May

Blizzard’s due date. I’m knackered.

Dry overnight, but not nearly as much rain yesterday as forecast.

Blizzard went into labour at lunchtime. She quickly produced a head with no feet; I couldn’t feel any. I phoned our friend Alistair, who is a vet, and although he was on his half day he came out and calved her in about 5 minutes. Perfect big bull calf – with no heartbeat. We’re all gutted.

I was desperately hoping for a heifer – a final Rosedean calf to be registered to our prefix. But I’d have happily taken a live bull. But it wasn’t to be. Feels like Rosedean Shetlands has gone out with a whimper.

In the fourteen years we’ve had cattle, starting with two heifers in 2010 (one of which was Blizzard) we’ve bred 35 calves; in that total, we had two born dead; we registered three bulls (Viento, Valiant and Braw) and sixteen heifers. We’ve taken them to shows, including the Royal Highland Show and the Scottish Smallholder Festival; been on BBC “Landward”; written about them in magazines and on our website; and featured them on various social media groups. I served with pride and passion on the committee of the late, lamented Shetland Cattle Breeders Association.

While I am proud of what we achieved, my big regret is that I failed to bring about any improvement in our woeful breed society, the Shetland Cattle Herd Book Society. At a time when interest in regenerative farming is booming, our breed is going backwards. It’s utterly shameful. It’s so sad that Defra would not allow a breed society for mainland bred cattle to be established. I’d have worked my bloody socks off for that. I took down my private Shetland cattle Facebook group today.

But the good thing is that Blizzard is well. Hopefully we can keep her free of mastitis while she dries off. Then she and Rora, and Rora’s calf, will be off to Guardswell  to reunite the Rosedean herd under the ownership of Anna and Digby.

Friday 24th May

Blizzard is still calling; her udder seems fine. The knackerman came and took the dead calf away. That is all.

Saturday 25th May

What a glorious day. Dan’s been weeding and then riddling soil in the new beds at the front. The boxes of plants for the second bed were delivered. Rain forecast for tomorrow but I hope I can get them in.

Dan cut the back grass. I planted out the runner beans. Only four of the six germinated properly. I may have to buy new ones next year. And I applied comfrey liquid to pots, baskets, polytunnel and the strawberries outside. The polytunnel ones in baskets are doing quite well.

tattiesTatties are through.

Blizzard is fine; I brought them in last night and just let them into the tiny wee paddock to get some sun and to let the calf run around. They’re back in tonight. I’m hoping the diet of hay will help with the drying off.

Smokey is so itchy. The sweet itch vaccine has clearly had no impact at all. I’ve bought garlic to add to his feed and sorted out the fly spray, so hopefully, I can at least alleviate the itch.

I pulled out all my cattle bits and pieces; shed a tear or two. I’ll give them to Anna and Digby to use, if they can. Passports and documentation are all in a file ready to go. Just need to make the travel arrangements now.

DottieDottie. Must be something about these as lambs like them too.

Pooped CooperPooped Cooper.

Sunday 26th May

Tipping it down. I slept in until 6am for the first time in ages; by 7am, I was out sowing seeds. I’m so late this year, but hopefully, the seeds will catch up. Sowed salad leaves, rocket, perpetual spinach (that’ll be a treat), spring onions, beetroot and carrots. I had bought seed tape – great fun on a wet and breezy morning. Anyway, done now.

I had a wee sort through the seed box and ruthlessly discarded – well, not very much, But every little helps.

Dan was out after breakfast finishing the second bed at the front, but by 10am, the rain was heavy and unpleasant to work in, so it was teatime. But not before I put all the plants outside for a good watering. The trick will be to stop the labels being soaked.

Pretty much rained off for the rest of the day.



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