Topping / Polytunnel / RaspberriesRSS feed

Posted: Monday 14 January, 2019

by Rosemary at 3:23pm in Smallholding Comments closed

Monday 7th January

We’ve had some rain overnight but it’s mild and breezy this morning – forecast to get colder though.

Tara popped down for a blether and did the milking – needs to keep her hand in for February when we go on holiday. I don’t know if we’ll still be milking then.

Finished weeding all the veg beds; Dan put some manure on and we’ve only one to do. The strawberry beds are thick with couch so after they fruit this year, I’m going to clear them out and replant. Pruned the blueberries – they’re so easy to keep – must try and make cages for them this year though so that WE actually get some fruit.

The comfrey is starting to sprout.

comfreySprouting comfrey

What’s left of the brassicas - some sprouts and kale – are going to Teddy and Urquhart as a treat. I’ll need to start thinking about what to do with Urquhart now.

tupsThe boys enjoying their greens.

And don’t let anyone tell you that sheep don’t need water – they do like it fresh and clean though. I clean and refill the troughs when I turn out the ponies and the ewes all come for a drink then.

ewes1Ewes at the water trough.

Tuesday 8th January

Beautiful day – cold and sunny. Spent most of the morning at the dentist having prep work done for a crown. In the afternoon we had a chat with a cake maker about running courses here.

The cows do seem to like the mats. I’ve dropped a text to the foot trimmer; they do need trimmed and end of January is the only time all three are in the second trimester of pregnancy, which is the least risky time to trim them. Ace will also need done – that will be fun. Nik’s going to try to fit us in.

cowsRelaxing cows.

Wednesday 9thJanuary

Cool today, but dry and still. Lucy the vet was here this morning to have a look at Smokey’s sheath and Leo’s teeth. In the end, she rasped both ponies’ teeth and cleaned Smokey’s undercarriage under sedation. It wasn’t as dirty as I feared but I’m sure he’ll feel much better. Leo’s teeth are good but he has two un-erupted canines but since he won’t be bitted, it’s not a huge issue. I got an email from one of his previous owners and exchanged messages with his breeder. Just trying to piece together his past.

leoSleepy Leo.

Cleaned out the greenhouse – it wasn’t bad as I’d had a tidy up at the end of the season – and washed the glass. I didn’t think it was dirty but it was. Started clearing out the polytunnel and the potting shed. At least I started to take everything out of the potting shed.

Thursday 10th January

Smokey found his way into the sheep's haybell. Time for an upgrade.

smokeySmokey, dodger of fences.

Back to the potting shed and got on a bit with identifying the rubbish.

To try and stop the cattle wasting so much hay, we’re starting to put it in in dumpy bags as opposed to putting in a whole round bale. More labour intensive but the waste was awful, especially when the bale was new.

Spent the afternoon watching the debate in the Scottish Parliament on the future of rural support. Gripping.

My new book arrived – “The Scottish Clearances: A History of the Dispossessed 1600-1900”. Strange having a “real” book.

Friday 11th January

Hay waste much less; not only was it costing money but it was filling up the muck heaps at a rate of knots. Three dumpy bags in the morning and four at night seems to be enough.

Took a bale of hay and some we bales of straw to east Pitkerro. A bale there is lasting ten days.

Drafted two newsletters for Smallholding Scotland and read / amended the draft questionnaire. From now on, Wednesday evening is going to be my Smallholding Scotland time.

Got a text from the sheep scanner – she’s hoping to be here 29th January.

Gwenna and Diesel joined me this evening.

petsGwenna and Diesel, best chums.

Saturday 12th January

Yay! Finished the potting shed. We have a pile of small terracotta pots that we don’t really use for growing seedlings, so I’m planning to grow herbs in them and sell them at the road end. Win-win – wee income and less unused stored stuff.


Another lovely day, quite mild – so made a start on the polytunnel, pulling out the old plants and weeding. When we bought the tunnel, we bough frames for staging but haven’t used them; I’ve rooted them out and Dan will put them up – the greenhouse got rather crowded last year. We’ve decided to take the peach tree out – nice idea but it take sup a lot of room and I’m worried that it damages the cover.

polytunnelPolytunnel and staging.

Dan fired up the tractor and topped the rushes in the two Top paddocks – yes, it IS that dry – them did the fence line with the strimmer. The tractor needs a service – Frank, a friend of ours, has offered to do it so Dan’s ordering the filters, oil and grease. We also need to get red diesel before spring. After topping, Dan swapped the topper for the harrow.

toppingDie, rushes.

Dan’s next task was in the fruit garden, taking out old raspberry plants. We did about 2/3 last year, covered it with manure and weed suppressing fabric. The weeds were awful, but he’s battling on.

fruitFruit garden, pre Dan's onslaught.

Sunday 13th January

Another lovely day, sunny and clear but windy. I got a lovely surprise when I went to milk and discovered that Dan had already mucked them out and given them hay. He’s my hero. I couldn’t stop smiling.

Andy came over to spilt wood. He brought Kiera, his lurcher, who just runs rings round our corgis. Ours are quicker on the turn though.

I washed the polytunnel cover – warm work. Again, like the greenhouse, I didn’t think it was dirty but there was a huge difference when I’d finished. I just use washing up liquid, warm water and a hand brush. I'm planning to get the irrigation hoses out and cleaned next week and start getting manure on. I'm thinking about trying Remin to give it a boost.

polytunnelShily polytunnel.

Dan went back to his weeding and finished just as the light was fading. What a job. I’ll get it tidied up this week coming and we can get a trip to the skip with all the rubbish.

fruit2Watered by the sweat of Dan's brow.

I thought my post-festive diet was going well – sadly, that was because I’d put on Dan’s waterproof trousers by mistake. He didn’t attempt to get into mine, thankfully, or we might have had to get the scissors out.

And Gwenna. Just because.

gwennaThe face of mischief.


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