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Posted: Monday 6 July, 2020

by Rosemary at 3:19pm in Smallholding Comments closed

Monday 29th June

Pretty changeable today – some heavy showers, some light ones and some sun. And thunderstorms!

Last night there were two wee cucumber plants from the seeds I sowed last week; this morning there was one wee cucumber and a big snail on the second one. More sown and in the propagator.

Dan dried and wrapped the Toscana and started some Lancashire. The five camembert are drying now.

toscanaWine soaked Toscana, ready for the cheese cave.

There was a bit of ragwort coming in Sheepfold, so I dug that out this morning after I poo picked, along with some docks that has made a bit of a power grab. Looks much better. Tara called off ponying today, so Smokey got a day off. We’re not going out as a group until Friday but I’m planning to take him out on his own.

I had a good morning – everything scored off my list and a couple done from tomorrow’s list. And the afternoon was good too. Since we’ve downsized the sheep flock, the pressure is off the grazing a bit, so we decided that we wanted to create a more biodiverse holding. Our local RHET Coordinator is an independent land consultant who specialises is this sort of development, so I discussed it with her and we’re part of the “Birds and Bees Project”. In the autumn, we’ll be sowing an acre of species / wildflower rich seed in Home paddock. We have to keep it for ten years – which is no problem for us. We also received ten tree sparrow nest boxes, a beautiful barn owl nest box, an invertebrate box (bug hotel) and a huge bird feeder.

Tuesday 30th June

Another changeable day – sun and heavy rain, but still warm. First jobs this morning, after the morning round, were to wash up cheese stuff, milk stuff and bake a lemon Swiss roll. Then I rewarded myself with a wee ride on Smokey in Sheepfold. It was fine – he was Smokey. Didn’t dump me, offered a trot, planted twice for reasons best known to himself and practiced his back up. And I’m going to do it all again tomorrow.

After lunch, I got into the veg garden; I took the mesh off the peas and watered them with comfrey liquid. They’re coming away slowly after their bad start – some are starting to flower. I decided since they were netted, I’d sow carrots in between the pea frames. Might work – we’ll see. Sowed about six rows; will sow another six in a couple of weeks. The pea frames made with electric fence posts and stock netting seem to be working well. Sowed three rows of parsnips as well.

gardenVegetable garden.

Dan was working this morning, but did his comfrey orders, then after lunch went off to thin apple trees. I thinned two of the plum trees – not that they needed much. The Victoria is heavily fruiting, and though it breaks my heart, I’ll thin it, and the pears, this week sometime.

Wednesday 1st July

Cool and raining this morning, and there’s been a lot of rain overnight. Looks like Annie is coming into season.

First job was to put flea / tick / worm spot-on on Penfold, Tom and Diesel. Pen’s easy – he barely opened his eyes and I managed to sneak up on Diesel and Tom while they were asleep too. Usually, it’s a bit of a pantomime but timing is, apparently, all. Diesel is catching so many bunnies, he's getting a belly.

catDiesel's bunny belly.

After breakfast, I thinned the pears (didn’t take much) and the Victoria plum (lots to come off). I was planning to go to the feed store tomorrow, but it’s to be dry so decided to go today.

Thursday 2nd July

Cool and overcast this morning, but sunny, warm and still this afternoon. Was planning to ride but have jiggered my back.

Rat bait boxes came so I swept up and got them down; I saw Ratty yesterday. The new box for Smokey’s rugs came too, so when they come back from the laundry, they can be properly stored. Gave Smokey a brush this afternoon. Going to wash his legs at the weekend – won’t have time tomorrow because I’ve got the dogs and Bertie at the vet.

Some of the camembert has black mould so has been binned. Dan made another Lancashire today but is going to try the camembert again. He had the same issue last year with one batch while another batch was fine (and delicious), so he’s determined to master it. Milk yields are unpredictable – less than 2 litres on Tuesday and 6 litres yesterday.

Friday 3rd July

Heavy rain today. My back is still pretty sore – no idea what I did to deserve this. Took the dogs and Bertie to the vet for their annual check ups and vaccinations. All fine but Bertie needs a scale and polish, so I’ll book him on for that next week. The vet said he was the most relaxed cat they’d ever had in the surgery. I can believe that – he’s a very cool cat. Picked up Bravoxin for the calves and a tin of Alamycin spray – never like to be without it.

Horrors – the cake tins are empty!

Saturday 4th July

Wet in the morning then dry and sunny in the afternoon and evening. Walked Smokey out; Tara rode Euro. My back is improving but still not right.

Albie found the sugar beet and lost a tag. It’s a full rip too, poor wee man. He was sniffing round the empty buckets last night so I put a wee bit in a bucket for him today – he was getting stuck in. Afton wasn’t interested. Rosie’s in season.


Andy was here so he and Dan cut and split timber. They took down the dead tree in the front garden – sad, but it won’t be wasted.

Sunday 5th July

Very windy this morning but dry, sunny and surprisingly warm. Dan took the muck trailer to Lindsay’s and emptied it, then mowed the back lawn and tidied it up with the strimmer. Strawberries needed picked, so he moved on to that next. There are a lot of fruits but very small. I can take or leave strawberries raw, but I love them cooked.

I baked – gingernuts with too much golden syrup, so they look a bit like ginger snaps and a malt date loaf. I need to get more malt extract. Since I was waiting for the loaf to cook, I addressed and stamped the envelopes for the comfrey orders. That’s become my job because I’m a neater writer than Dan.

Rosie and Annie were in generous mood tonight and gave about 5 litres – probably half and half. I let them into Far Ditch and fresh grass and let the sheep into Near Top, again fresh grass for them. Dan will take the topper out and top Home this week.

Dan did a bit of apple thinning – that’s most of the Sunset done and they’re the most time consuming. The second Ragfork should arrive tomorrow, so we’re going to do an hour a day in Laing’s Field, until we’ve lifted most of the weed, then we can get it topped.

Lovely evening, sun’s out and the wind’s dropped bit. Home produced roast pork, potatoes and cabbage for dinner. Braw.

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