Update w/e 12th July 2009RSS feed

Posted: Monday 13 July, 2009

by Rosemary at 4:48pm in Anything goes Comments closed

We've had some fabulous weather this week – wonderful sunshine, but with some pretty heavy rain too, so things are growing well. Even the sweetcorn looks a bit perkier.

Most of the broad beans are now picked and frozen. The strawberries are still coming but the raspberries are almost finished. We're planning to replant these this year, so I think we'll have three varieties with successional harvest times. Now the peas and the blackcurrants are ready for harvesting – I find blackcurrants really tedious to pick, but it will be worth it (I tell myself). Actually, I've bribed Dan's mum and dad to come and pick them, in return for morning coffee and a Jacob fleece.

I got the Jacob fleece from a friend who keeps a small flock. Dan's dad is learning to spin and is keen to try different fleeces. The Jacob fleece is beautiful - shades of cream, brown and black.

We lifted our first new potatoes this week and they are delicious. It's a variety called Mayan Gold; the seed potatoes are quite expensive so we grew them in pots on the patio. The pot we emptied yielded three pounds of potatoes from one seed potato, and they are lovely and clean. We have another four pots to empty over the next few weeks.

I was running a “Backyard Poultry Keeping� course on Saturday, so that was a spur to do those tidying jobs that are always bottom of the list. We kept the sheep on the lawn over winter, which was great for lots of reasons, but the downside was the self-seeded grasses from the hay we fed them on the patio. I spent several hours weeding it, then gave in and Dan strimmed it. The “wildflower meadow� needs cut as well but Dan will have to gird up his loins and look out his pith helmet and machete for that job. However, the buddleia is in full flower and we're starting to see butterflies in the garden. We also have a pair of goldfinches feasting on the thistle heads.

I really enjoy the poultry courses. I've met some really nice people; many keep in touch and have joined the TAS forums or Central Scotland Smallholders' Association, which is great.

I am expecting a visit from Animal Health on Thursday; I got a call to say I had been selected from the Sheep and Goat Census to have my sheep tested for brucellosis and toxoplasmosis, both of which cause abortion in sheep. I don't routinely vaccinate my sheep for either.

I am also hoping to get a visit from an experienced Ryeland breeder to assess Li'l' Bud. I think he looks really good, but I am a) inexperienced and b) biased so thought it would be good to get an expert eye to look at him. The Coloured Ryeland Breeders Group has been very helpful in this regard. I've also checked with the vet about the cost of getting Dickie castrated, so I can keep him as a companion for Li'l' Bud, who can't continue to run with the ewes for much longer. It's a bit pathetic, but he's so tame, I can't eat him. I must be more focused next year, or we'll be overrun with wether lambs!

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