Wednesday, 30 December 2009
Every morning has seen us carrying bales of hay and water out the the sheep, and on more than one occasion this whole process being repeated in the afternoon. Now the snow has started to thaw, we're all wallowing in mud and several of the sheep are starting to limp.
A job for this weekend is to take Finn out from the ewes and put him in his own paddock along with Cecil, Archie and Fluffy. Whilst all the sheep will be coming in to the barn we'll give them the "once over", feet trimmed and a mineral drench etc.
Brazil is already in the barn, and has been since the Sunday before Christmas, when I went to feed that morning, she didn't come to the feed trough and when I went up to her she didn't move and looked very confused. Closer inspection revealed that she had gone blind! Thankfully a couple of injections from the vet on the Monday morning and her sight slowly returned over the next few days. She's fine now but we're keeping her in just to make sure. Today she was joined by Abbi, who was limping at this morning's feed which has got worse over the day. We caught her up and looked at her foot, it felt warm, but I couldn't see anything, and as the weather has been so miserable today we felt that Abbi would be better spending some time in the barn, she didn't complain, a sign a sheep is not 100%, and it's a whole lot easier for us to catch her to check her foot. Hopefully it's nothing too serious, but on the wet ground, her hoof is soft and a small piece of grit could have got wedged up the inside of her hoof. Painful!!!!!!
Despite the snow we've managed to get a couple of jobs done, the drain in the main barn (where I'm hoping to put the pet lambs) is now laid, just needs the top covering putting on. Virtually all the wood that was in the barn is now chopped and split, the wood that I can't cut got soaked when a load of snow slipped off the wood store roof, into the barn right on top of the wood! A few dry, windy days and I'll be able to get it cut and stacked.
I wish you all a good New Year and that not too many of you are struggling with all the snow.
Sunday, 20 December 2009
Deefa in the snow, but if you look at the clouds near the top of this picture, that is a warm front out at sea, as long as the wind comes from the West they will stay out at sea, but if it changes direction, i.e comes in from the East, we will get another fall of snow.
The Hobbit's tree house looking very wintry this morning.
Saturday, 19 December 2009
Wednesday, 16 December 2009
Sunday, 13 December 2009
Finn is now on his last raddle colour, blue. I don't think we will have any ewes with blue bums, Finn is not interested in any of the ewes, just interested in eating. The ewes are not paying him any attention, a sure sign they are pregnant.
We've also moved the gimmers and ewes around. With all the rain we've had just recently the fields they are in are not poached, as yet, but the grass is looking less than appetising, so the gimmers are in the top field by the common land, the ewes and Finn are in the field at the back of the house. We've also given the ewes some more mineral licks. They have had a good go at eating them, but not as much as the last one they had. It was gone within 2 days, a sure sign they needed the licks. We will keep giving them licks now right through until after lambing, just to make sure they are in tip top condition come lambing.
Now the weather is getting colder, I'm sure there was snow in the rain this morning, the sheep are starting to eat the hay with some gusto and most mornings sees Tim and I taking between 2 and 4 bales of hay out to the hay racks, and to try and stop the sheep poaching the grass around the feeders, every time the rack becomes empty, we end up pushing them further up the fields, not easy when the fields are muddy and the wheels on the hay rack have sunk into the mud!!! As yet neither of us have ended up on our "bums" in the mud from pushing the hay racks, but there is plenty of time for that to happen!!!!!
Saturday, 12 December 2009
From a selling point of view it was a mixed sort of day, sometimes busy, sometimes quiet. I sold out of gloves thanks to the cold weather, the hats and scarves also sold well. I'd also taken some scarf packs kits (wool, needles and pattern) for people to knit their own, which quite a few are to appear in people's Christmas stockings this year. I did a lot of talking, met some people who went to the Textile Event at Danby back in October, they re-stocked with the fibre they'd bought then. Overall the response from the shoppers was positive and I'm eternally grateful to a member of the York Spinners Guild, who was shopping in Saltburn, by helping out on the stall this afternoon.
It would appear that I've now got a stall at this market next year when it starts again in April - Result - I think is the expression used in this instance.....
Sunday, 6 December 2009
I'm going to ball this wool up and make it into packs for people to knit their own scarves. I've yet to take some pictures of the scarf to be knitted, which I'm still knitting, then type up the pattern, before putting the kits together! Easy I have 6 days to get it all done!!!!! Haven't decided what fibre I'm going to take with me yet.
The other thing we've been doing today is racking off the sloe, bramble and bullace wines. They have all settled out and have quite a bit of sediment in the bottom of their respective fermentation jars. The sloe wine, is going to take some maturing, it's quite tart and reminds us both of very immature elderberry wine, you can taste the tannin from the fruit. The bramble wine is still quite sweet, but a lovely deep red colour and you can certainly taste the brambles. The bullace wine, or should I say Damson wine, tastes the best, still a little sweet, but already showing it's potential as a wine, which one of our neighbours says "is not one to be drunk standing up!" And we have 5 gallons of it!!!! At some point we could have a really good party!!! Or it will help out with Christmas presents next year.
This week the weather has been either wet or dry with wind. The sheep are not doing too badly with this wet weather as they have access to some shelter and it isn't really cold. We've had a couple of frosts, but nothing too serious. Finn has now covered all the ewes, he's covered Beatrix, Beniece and Ariadnne for a second time. Beatrix and Berniece are always covered twice. Finn covered Ariadnne the first night he was in with all the ewes and we suspect that she was at the end of her cycle, and in his inexperience covered her. But now we can safely say that all the ewes that have "red bums" are now pregnant and we should start lambing around the 3rd April and finish around the 27th, a normal lambing period for us. Not bad considering the problems we had with Spotty Dog.
Well I'd better finish now and get on with my knitting as I can't do it whilst watching Top Gear!!
Wednesday, 2 December 2009
Looking round at the other sheep that were in the sale, ours weren't the largest, nor the smallest, and the prices the earlier pens of sheep were going for were not bad.
We were selling in the main ring and it quickly became apparent that because our little Shetland X's were something unusual, the bidding was very slow to get going, and though we didn't get the highest price, we got a fair price. It will pay for a tonne of sheep concentrate feed for the winter.
One thing we are now sure about, buying the Scottish Black Faced ewes was a good move, as their lambs should be more acceptable to the local mart buyers and hopefully sell for more than our Shetlands.