Sunday, April 28, 2013

Spring is so lovely

The sun has been out, the grass is growing and we have more lambs.

Mum might as well have not gone to work on Friday. Lottie gave birth to twins in the morning. Followed by a very large single for Shirley in the afternoon with assistance from Nigel.

We are so lucky!

The lamb with bent legs is mended but its Mum has rejected her . So Diana is now Pearls friend and we take them for a walk each evening. They are such a pleasure.

The horses and cows have been out in the field this weekend. Its nice to see them enjoying the sun.

Gareth and I joined the smallholders group this afternoon for a tour of a sixty acre private wood. It was beautiful so many bluebells.

Finished off with Berkshire Pork and Darcy Spice Cider. We shall all sleep well.

Tomorrow is a sad day, Domino our sow is going to the abattoir. I have had her for four and a half years. But we are unable to get her in pig and we made the tough decision that she must go.

Next weekend we must turn the carcass into sausages and bacon.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

New chooks, lambs and chicks.

All has been busy so i'm writing a quick update before an early night.

We collected some ex commercial organic black rocks on Friday. They have come to the end of their commercial life at three years old, but will keep us in eggs for a long time.

One of the incubators hatched over the weekend, not a particularly good hatch only 8 out of 20. Having spoken to several other people it seems its been put down to the bad weather when the eggs were laid.

We will reload tomorrow with bourbon red and bronze eggs.

We had a good tidy up at a piece of land we use and its all ready for our remaining lambs from last year to start grazing next weekend.

Pearl is still wonderful she has been to water the greenhouse with me tonight.

Polly lambed twins on Friday, One had back legs that weren't quite right. We have splinted them and they are coming right.

Tilly lambed on Monday, a lovely big lamb.

We still have four girls to go. They can't hang onto them much longer!

Night night

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Ram lamb born

Today a ram lamb was born to our Oxford Down, Teresa. Pics to follow at the weekend.

Pearl has taken to chasing the cat.

I also remember a conversation around the kitchen table last year, that we wouldn't run all three incubators again. We would use self control. However I walk into the dinning room tonight and chuckle to myself!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

New Arrivals

We never seem to have a dull moment!

The week just seems to fly by and before you know it, its the weekend again.

The salt beef was very nice, we enjoyed it with fresh bread, mustard and horse radish. We will definitely do it again.

Mum and Dad went out on Saturday and Gareth and I were left in charge of the small child, Pearl the lamb! My god I'm exhausted and appreciate all the hard work Mum is putting in to raise our bundle of joy. Put that bit of paper down, stop chewing that, get out the cupboard, come and sit down. Thank god for the dog crate! A few hours was such hard work. Gareth managed to cover his jeans in lamby poo!


Its still so cold and nothing wants to grow, so today we have planted some carrots and parsnips in a length of gutter pipe that we hope to transplant into the vegetable plot. At last all the potatoes are planted.

This afternoon, we set off to collect our next group of pigs. Oxford Sandy and Blacks from Marsh Farm Country Park. We were thinking of having four but settled on five, a gilt and four boars. They seem to have settled in well and hopefully when the ground dries up in a few weeks, they can move into the wood.

The quail have started laying.

Mums chooks are really starting to get into some sort of order now, the surplus cockerels are now in a fattening pen. So, roast chicken in a few weeks.

We are collecting twenty Ex Commercial Free Range Black Rock hens on Friday, so lots of eggs soon.

Back to work tomorrow.

Monday, April 8, 2013

A bit of spring in the air!

Since our last post, we have had a little glimpse of spring and how lovely it has been!

Signs of Spring
We have had a very productive weekend.
Mum and I have planted lots of seeds, some for our flower border in the garden. Foxgloves, Aquilegia, Lupins, Hollyhocks, Poppys as well as lots of scatter and rake, Mother thinks I've got an addiction to these. We have also planted 40 sunflowers. We are hoping that we can dry them and the chooks can have them over the winter.

Even Titten was helping

Nearly all of the seed potatoes are planted.

Mum has planted Chard, Kale, Tomatoes (lots of them, Mum gets carried away with these) French Beans, Broad Beans, Beetroot, Cauliflowers. Lots of pricking out to do other the next few weeks.

Dad and I did a bit of maintenance, we put the cattle feeders back, as Denis had took to standing with his front feet in them when he was being introduced to Tilly.

Mended the turkey run door as it was falling to bits. Always maintenance to do!

We also hung the last gates in the pigs area in the wood.

Dad has rotovated the path that runs to the bottom of the wood and put some grass seed down. This is going to make things so much easier when the bees arrive. When hopefully we have some very full supers to extract honey from.

Pearl had her first outing for a cup of tea in the garden.

Gareth and Maurice have been making a pile of scrap metal over the last few months, we took delivery of a skip on Friday for it all to go in. We hope that it will raise some money to help towards finishing the meat cutting room.

We had a lovely shoulder of lamb for dinner, its such a treat

Tonight brought the job of testicles and tails. We really don't like banding them, but it is for the best. We cheat and get our friend Nigel to do them.

We've have started a cure for salt beef to night, it will be interesting to see how it turns out.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Pearl and another lamb

Well, its been a strange week. I was having a good old sort out of Mums feral chickens on Wednesday. She has nearly as many cockeral's as hens. They fly out and lay eggs where they want. So I set about getting a little order!

The Jubilee Orpingtons are all together now as are the buffs. And with a little help from Gareth at the weekend to move a coop, I will have a pen of fattening cockerals! Mum and Dad both find this very hard, but with the price of feed, Its not possible to have so many males in the flock.

I moved onto the last pen, to take some hybrids out from the Sussex Cockeral, when we had a collision, he managed to fly at me and catch his spur on a vein in my wrist. Blood, blood and more blood. It was pumping out! But I managed to keep a hen under my arm, shut the door and apply pressure! Mum normally can't find the first aid kit but she found it very quick. Off to the doctors we went! A course of antibiotics and hopefully I will be on the mend.

However it has left me a little useless, I couldn't go back to work on Thursday because I can't drive. My wrist is so sore I can't twist it or bend my fingers too much. Mr Sussex is a lucky boy, if I had another Sussex Cockeral, he may have been on the table by now! I have managed to type one handed! And prepared a piece on East Essex Smallholders Group for the new magazine Practical Sheep, Goats and Alpacas.

I have also finally written my piece for my guest blog for The Good Life in Practice.

Pearl is doing well, I have been in charge whilst Mum has been at work. She likes the dog bed in the kitchen, she likes listening to the TV.


Daisy lambed late yesterday, she didn't take to the lamb very well but after helping it to feed and penning her up tight, she loves her little boy now.


 Teresa is fed up, she is so heavily pregnant.


I'm cooking dinner tonight, pheasant with Phili, Black Pepper and Breadcrumbs.

 More lambs expected this weekend.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Our Little Easter Bundle of Joy

We mentioned in our last post, we had a lamb indoors. Its been a very tough few days and we were convinced we were loosing her on Sunday. But Pearl has now turned a corner, she is doing really well. Sucking for herself, all though she does insist on a 20 minute belly rub after each feed! Lambing is such a special time of year, and although hand rearing a lamb is hard work, its a joy.

Dennis and Tilly are now  living together. Although Dennis was really naughty jabbing his horns into Tilly's belly. She has now taught him who is boss, not to mention she is bigger than him and he would do well to remember he was only loaning her bedroom, whilst she was away!
The pigs have doubled in size since they arrived.
Not only is Mum feeding Pearl in the night, she is also checking on the ewes as we still have another 9 to lamb. We have CCTV running to a screen in the Utility Room, it makes life so much easier. Next lambs due at the weekend.
Gareth and Maurice have made a fantastic job of the path running between the pig runs, it will make life so much easier.
I have planted out the early spuds this weekend, I'm worried its still a little cold, but I had eight, thirty egg trays full of seed potatoes and these were very well chitted so I thought I would give it a go.
Mum has lots of vegetable  seeds on the go, the bay windows in the lounge have become the new green house as the weather is still so cold. I have also planted some flowers, Foxgloves, Lupins and  Delphiniums for the new flower bed. Ox Eye Daisy's to top up the little patch of wild flower meadow. As well as Bluebells which we want to plant in the wood.
Spring is certainly in the air, the Bourbon Red Turkey is full of it. He is such a handsome chap.
We have also added to the bug hotel over Easter, still a few holes to fill. Next stage the roof!