Saturday 31 March 2007

Saturday 31st March

Not really a lot to report this week, just waiting for lambing to start.
Tim finished the brickwork so that he could position the diesel tank.
The nephews arrived today, full of beans and lots of energy. By Thursday they and the dogs will be exhausted.

As promised here is the list of due dates for our ewes with the number of lambs we think they are going to have.

1st April - Abbi (Twins)
2nd April - Anya (Twins), Allium (Twins)
4th April - Lilly (Twins)
6th April - Brazil (Twins)
7th April - Astrid (Twins)
11th April - Brigid (single)
13th April - Missy (Twins)
15th April - Ariadne (Twins)
16th April - Lucy (single), Lotty (Twins), Bearniece (single), Amber (Twins)
18th April - Layla (Twins)
20th April - Amy (Twins), Amber (Twins)

I'll post as the lambs are born.


Sunday 25 March 2007

Sunday 25th March 2007

The threatened bad weather finally arrived on Wednesday, we woke up to 2" of snow. It was an "interesting" drive to the station for Denise as the snow plough has not been out on the roads. But she made it in time to catch the train to work. By the evening the snow had gone, though there were a couple of cars on their roofs by the side of the road. The snow has made our land nice and sticky again!!!!!

This weekend has been a very busy one. We had to move the remaining hay and straw out of the barn as we need the space for the lambing pens. We moved 100 bales of hay and 30 bales of straw, twice, onto the trailer then off the trailer onto pallets in the main barn. Tim also laid 92 blocks to repair a bay of the barn where the diesel tank is going. No wonder he aches!!!

The lambing pens are now in place, strawed and ready for action, so to speak. We don't have our sheep scanned to see how many lambs they are having. So we've had decided to have a guess as to how many lambs our ewes are having, taking into account their past lambing history. I'll list them next weekend and we will see how accurate we were.

A sad part of the weekend, was on Saturday night finding Robocat, one of our barn cats and amazing catcher of vermin, dead on top of the hay stack. He looked as if he was asleep, and so peaceful. Our other barn cat, Garyling is a little lost without her mate. We didn't know his age as he was left by the previous owners, so we can only guess. All we know is he had a happy life with us. We will have to watch Grayling carefully over the coming weeks. We buried him in the woodland, under a crab apple tree we bought. He loved being in there, sunbathing.

Hopefully this week will be quiet so that we can adjust to the clocks going forward, I know the clock ways it's 07.00 but the dogs 7 sheep are telling us it's 06.00 and we should be up walking the dogs and feeding the sheep.

That's all for this week's post. Next weekend not only do we start lambing, the nephews arrive!!!!


Sunday 18 March 2007

Sunday 18th March

At long last we have had a fine week and the land has dried up really well and it has meant that Tim and the Resident Vandal have been able to get on with building the base for the fuel tank and the start of the footings to repair part of the barn side.

They also had a couple of abortive trips to B&Q due to a rock breaker being defective. Thankfully Screwfix direct came to the rescue.

The ewes are looking well and with only 2 weeks to go to lambing, they are starting to bag up well. One Lily, who is not supposed to be due for at least another month, looks like she has only a couple of weeks to go. When we looked at the "raddle" dates, she is showing 2 dates, we think she has held from the first date and is due on the 6th April and not the 24th. We will watch her very closely

Talking about the weather, we woke up this morning to no electricity. Thankfully we have a generator and an Aga, so we have light and warmth. The power lines were down due to the high winds, and we also had some snow storms. The forecast for the rest of the week is not good. Snow until at least Wednesday. We could be lambing in snow drifts if we are not careful. So for the coming week we will be riding out the bad weather, ensuring the animals have plenty of hay to eat in their shelters.

More next week as we move nearer to lambing. We will have to start getting the lambing pens ready

Denise Newey

Sunday 11 March 2007

Sunday 11th March 2007

Well at long last we have had a fine week, the land is now starting to dry out. We've started to put into the ewe's water a natural spray that will ease their labour. We've used it for the last 3 years and, touch wood, we've had very few problems. Only 3 weeks to go until we start lambing.

Today we spent a great day with some smallholder friends who live in Teeside, they breed Teeswater sheep and have short horn cattle, kept in the traditional way. We thought our land was steep, but having walked Richard and Steph's 16 acres, we won't complain again. But we are very jealous of their dry land. It was good to spend time talking about livestock as smallholders, the problems, pleasures and new plans we all have. We will all meet up again at Stokesley Show in September with our animals, spinning wheels and weaving looms.

Another success this weekend was getting Holly, our rescue dog, to the vets for her yearly injections, without her being sick in the car!!!! We've got her ear infection finally cleared up. Tim did make the other owners in the vet's laugh with Deefa. Who cried whilst Holly was in the examination room. He wanted Deefa to "sit" and the command "sit" didn't work, Tim resorted to "park your bum Deefa!" and Deefa sat instantly. We stopped off at Sandsend so that Holly and Deefa could have a good run on the beech as a treat for being so good. They both really enjoyed themselves.

Next week a lot of work should get done, Tim is having a week's break from the cafe and the Resident Vandal is coming to stay along with Keira Dog. The plan is to build a plinth for the tank to hold the fuel for the tractors and dry line the fleece store. Read next week to see how much gets done.


Sunday 4 March 2007

Sunday 4th March 2007

It's been a hectic weekend again, as always on a smallholding. When we first moved here and as a way of getting to know the area, we decided to deliver telephone books. It's surprising who and what you meet!! Anyway that was what we were doing on Saturday. It was a really sunny day and a real pleasure to be out. It wind dried out our land nicely.

Sunday, Denise spent attempting to plant the remaining 100+ hedging plants that were left over from last weekend, when we planted a 100m of hedging, each plant 6" apart. The surplus plants have been used to create a hedge along the edge of an area of trees, can't call it a wood, only contains about 20 conifers, and to fill in the hedge we laid last month. Tim cut back part of a windbreak hedge of conifers that have got greatly out of hand. But the weather turned nasty just before lunch so rain stopped play, so to say. So we spent the next couple of hours, splitting wood for our 2 wood burning stoves. It becomes a weekly job through the winter. We try during the summer to get the wood cut and ready, but last summer the builders were re-roofing the wood store, garage and old feed store, so we were unable to get ahead of our selves, maybe this year we will do.

So what does the coming week bring - well if it doesn't stop raining the animals will not move out of their respective shelters, so it will mean the hay feeders will have to be kept topped up daily, rather than as and when required, and rather than topping up the straw for their bedding on a weekend, it will more than likely want doing mid week, If the weather is fine, Tim will finish off cutting the conifer hedge, and Denise has an early trip to London (work related).

Will post again next weekend