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Posted: Thursday 26 June, 2014

by Rosemary Champion at 12:00pm in Smallholding No comments Add your own

Most of you with smallholdings will appreciate the need for an eight day week / 30 hour day. Even with me here all the time, there's always a long list of non-routine jobs to be done (although, to be fair, it's shorter than it was four years ago). However, Dan's real business is quite quiet mid-summer, so he's decided to work from home from tomorrow until 4th August!!!

I know he's hoping to do some cycling and to make some improvements to the TAS site, but mainly we'll be working together on the smallholding. Bliss (for me anyway :-)).

After dinner yesterday, we had a walk round with the draft "list", added a few things I'd missed and now I have been charged with working out when we're going to do what and ordering any materials we need.

There are two main areas - round the barn and in the orchard.

We extended the roof on part of the barn at the end of last year to make a bigger area for the cows to winter in and the joiner finished the rest of it last weekend. We're now waiting for a contractor to concrete a small area where the cattle winter and to put hard standing down on another area. We have to extend the guttering, put up the IBCs for water collection and dig an overflow to the ditch. Plus there's a bit of tidying up round about to be done - old hen houses to be dismantled, some redundant timber to be cut for firewood and probably several visits to the skip :-)

In the orchard, Dan's tried a couple of different methods of keeping the hens off the apple trees but the best was the combination of bricks and chicken wire (one of his rainy day jobs is to write up the "orchard" article for TAS). Although we had a lot of bricks around the place, there aren't enough to do all the trees, and they are too expensive to buy, so we're going to use the stone that came from a building we demolished four years ago, thus killing two birds with one stone - trees sorted and pile of stones tidied away :-)

But first job is to sort the electric fence in Sheepfold, the ponies' field. It was put in four years ago but, with our sandy soil and the sheep pushing under the bottom wire, some of the posts are a bit wobbly. Dan will top it tomorrow night, then over the weekend, we'll move the posts, fill in the subsequent holes and get the ropes back on. Then the ponies can go out there rather than dossing around the barn as they are at the minute, where they rub, push, poop and generally make nuisances of themselves - although they do keep the grass down :-) And the barn area will then be pony free, thus allowing us to work there without worrying where Bug is and what he's up to.

For now though, I'm off to finish mucking out the barn :-)

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