WetRSS feed

Posted: Monday 7 December, 2015

by Rosemary Champion at 11:35am in Smallholding Comments closed

The weather and Storm Desmond have dominated the last week. To be honest, we’ve missed the worst of it here – yes, it’s been wet and windy but nothing compared to Cumbria and other areas of Scotland.  There’s quite a lot is standing water in the fields and there’s an ominous bulge in the roof of one of the henhouses – and the roof of the outside WC is leaking – but by and large, it’s not been too bad.

After picking up Fraser, our new steer, last Saturday, I had to do the movement on to our holding. I find CTS On-line pretty easy to use so long as you do the movements within the three day time limit. If you do it later, you get a telling off from the system. Maybe you get a black mark on your records as well L

Thanks to the wonders of t’internet and social media, I saw a course on micro-dairying advertised – further investigation revealed one on nano-dairying (four milking cows) and I’m booked on it. Yay! It’s near Axminster but I can get a train from Dundee to Exeter then a local train to Axminster. It’s a ten hour journey but I’ll have my Kindle and a picnic, so I’m quite looking forward to it. I love travelling by train. I shared the information and I think a couple of other Shetland breeders are interested.

I’ve started giving the ewes some hay in the morning. They aren’t clearing it up yet though. They’re in the driest field but it’s pretty bare. We’ve sadly had some green bums – but the worst bit is that I kind of took my eye off the sheep and I don’t know when they became green or if the tup has had plenty raddle on all the time. We’ll be taking him out on the 12th, as all the ewes will have had two cycles and a five week lambing period is long enough with only fifteen ewes. Hopefully they will all be in lamb, but we’ll know in January. Once we’ve taken the tup and wether out, we’ll bring the six ewe hoggs and the three retirees home for the winter – they’re just across the road at our neighbours, so we won’t need the trailer.

When we sent the tup lambs off to the abattoir, we asked them to hold back and salt four skins, with a view to having them tanned. Well, the skins are off to Skyeskyns on Thursday, courtesy of another local sheep keeper who is taking up her own. I’ve always wanted to get some sheepskins tanned, so we’ll see what they are like. There’s a limit to how many we can use in our own house – I’m already planning some redecoration to accommodate this year’s – and I don’t know if I can sell them at a good enough price to make it viable.

I spent Saturday clearing out the polytunnel, while Dan had the less attractive job of clearing the ditch of fallen leaves. After five years of getting his feet wet, he’s finally decided to invest in a pair of waders. Yesterday (Sunday), Dan and our friend Andy were working in the barn. That’s where we store our firewood and the saws for cutting and splitting it. There was piles of wood that have been there five years in some cases, so they’ve been sorting through it, cutting the crap stuff and tidily piling up what might be useful. I suggested to Dan that any that’s still there in twelve months should be cut for firewood, but he’s resisting. And probably he’s right. The day after we cut it, we’ll need it.

And we’ve cleared out the plant room, where the boiler for the ground source heat pump is. It’s lovely and warm so ideal for drying wet outdoor clothing – but it has become a dumping ground for all sorts of “stuff”. So it’s now empty and being cleaned out – Dan’s dad was in there this morning – and painted, then we’ll put in some hooks, shelves and a washing line. Just in time for summer J

Bryn’s bushed this morning. We had his chum, Angus the Springer Spaniel, for a sleepover yesterday. Boy, did they run. Angus must be equally bushed though.

And I finally plucked up the courage to phone the Rural Payments people about the basic payments on our seasonal grazing let and all the rigmarole surrounding it. After a long chat with an awful nice lady on the phone, we decided the best thing would be for me to take all the paperwork to Perth and for us to go through it there. So that’s scheduled for the 15th December – so hopefully, it will all be sorted by Christmas. Our application for Basic Payment for Dalmore has been approved. It won’t be much but it’s better than nothing. It’ll pay for the new roofs on the WC and the henhouse.

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