Wednesday 28 October 2009

The Railway Goods Van

This old railway goods van sits at the back of the barn and is in need of some TLC, so today we decided to put some new roofing felt on in an attempt to stop some of the rain from coming in.
But once we had taken all the old felt of, it became very apparent that the goods van was past the TLC stage. The sides have come away from the floor, and the floor, which has been patched in several places, that when Holly walked on bounced. Not good.
So we have decided to condemn it. Trouble is, it was a good place to store all the slab wood that needs cutting for our log burning stoves. Which means that all of it will have to be removed and a new, dry home found for it all. Tim had already brought a trailer load into the barn for me to start chopping and whilst we unloaded it this afternoon, we did a very ruthless sort out of what was good to burn and what was not.
Tomorrows job, you've guessed it. Remove the rest of the wood from the goods van and then decide how we are going to dismantle the van, without damaging the barn behind it!!!!!! Any suggestions..............

Monday 26 October 2009

Textile Day at Danby Village Hall

Sunday, was the day that the Textile Open Day at Danby Village Hall, Danby, that Phillippa and I had organised together happened.
We've been arranging this since the end of Woolfest, the idea being we used local Textile workers, as there is nothing like this event in this neck of the woods. We've contacted all the local Weaving and Spinners guilds within a 100 mile radius, the local W.Is, local radio, newspapers and T.V, as well as posters given to local Tourist Information Offices, libraries and put up in any other interested place we could think of.
4 other stallholders attended, making 6 different stalls in the hall. Phillippa put on a Natural Dying

Display down the middle of the hall.
11am arrived and the first people started coming through the door. We'd put in our publicity suggesting that spinners bring their wheels for a "Spin In", which some did and several ladies spent a very productive afternoon spinning their newly purchased fibre.
All day there was a steady stream of visitors and it only became quiet around 3pm, and during that last hour I was able to get some spinning of my own done.
We were asked several times if we were going to "do this event again? and if so when?" Well the answer is that "Yes" we will be doing this event again, all who had a stall agreed it was well worth the effort and there are some mutterings of doing it twice, one early in the season (April/May) and the other around the same time as now.
I always manage to forget something and this time it was my business cards!!! Normally I'm hardly ever asked for one as my details are on all my fibre labels, but yesterday, because we were local, everyone wanted one!!!!!! Good job I had some spare fibre band labels that I could hand out!!!!!
Photos are the 2 sides of my stall, showing the range of fibres that I now sell.

Sunday 18 October 2009

Hedgelaying Day

On Saturday evening Freylyn and Mark arrived, along with their dogs, Lunil and Bill for the weekend. Mark is interested in learning how to lay hedges and as Freylyn was teaching at the Eden Guild of Spinners Weavers and Dyers, it was decided that instead of going home, they would come to us for the weekend, and that on the Sunday, Tim, Mark and I would do a spot of hedge laying, whilst Freylyn supervised the dogs and got on with some knitting.

This is the section of hedge we were to lay and as you can see it's pretty overgrown and to make things more interesting, we had to ensure that anything we chopped down didn't hit the pig arc.

This is what the hedge looks like now. It looks really severe, but in the spring it will grow back and it will be surprising how quickly a hedge will appear. We all had a great time and we could not have ordered a better day, sunny with a very slight breeze. It started to rain just a Freylyn and Mark were leaving for home after tea.
Tomorrow Tim and I will have to clear all the brushwood and any logs that are any good to burn, stored to season for a year or two. I can see the old shed in the yard coming down to create a new area for this years wood pile from our winter hedge laying days.

Thursday 15 October 2009

Liver Fluke

Last night Tim and I went to a talk given by our vets on Liver Fluke in sheep and cattle. We went along with a couple of other smallholders and we all thought that there would just be a handful of people to listen. WRONG there were nearly 100 local farmers in attendance to listen to the talk.
Liver fluke has never really been a problem in this area but over the last couple of years it's been rearing it's ugly head. There is no cure for it, only control by regular medication and some paddock maintenance. This is the only parasite that affects BOTH sheep and cattle, so you have to treat both sets of animals, and not all medication controls the full life cycle of the fluke whilst in the animal.
Interestingly it is thought the reason why fluke is now in the North East is due to the Foot and Mouth outbreak 9 years ago. Everyone that was "wiped" out bought in new stock from the areas that were clear of Foot and Mouth and some of these animals will have come from the West side of the UK where the fluke is rife, and because there has never been a problem with fluke at this side of the country, animals were not given a flukicide as part of their general health/worming programme. Slowly the population of fluke has been growing, we've then had 2 very wet summers, ideal breeding for the fluke and the snail it relies on and BANG, everyone has a problem.
For us, all I know is that we have reeds in our paddocks, which signifies we have wet areas, a good breeding ground for the host snail for the fluke, and though none of our sheep we have taken to the abattoir show signs of fluke damage, we will be dosing our sheep against fluke. There is a joint wormer/flukicide that has come onto the market that has a 27 day meat withdrawal period, as opposed to the normal 56 day withdrawal period. Which means we can treat the lambs that should be going to the market next month as light lambs.
All in all it was a very interesting meeting and it did generate a lot of "chatter" around the tables. Our girls come in at the end of this month for their annual pre tup MOT, so I will be checking with the vet what flukicide we need to be using.

Sunday 11 October 2009

A "tidy up" week

Autumn has well and truly arrived, the swallows have gone and we've had our first frosts, not hard ones, but enough to whiten the grass. I managed to get the shelter that Ghilli and Grommet will be using this winter "dug out" of the old straw and manure. With having the sheep in this field for part of the summer they have well and truly paddled everything down. But it's now dug out, the sides repaired, the panels were coming away from the frame, disinfectant put down, followed by a full bale of straw. All nice and snug ready for the bad weather.
We are starting to eat the winter veg out of the garden, the sweetcorn has nearly all gone, so the stalks will need to go through the shredder, some of the sprouts and cabbages are ready. Tim had pickled a couple of jars of red cabbage that were ready. The potatoes are still O.K despite the blight. All their peeling, tops and any suspect potatoes go straight into the bin, not the compost bin. I'm slowly filling the empty beds with compost to give the worms chance to take it all into the soil through the winter and hopefully to add some body to the soil. Next door keep a few calves and they have said I can "raid" last years manure heap for my garden

We've moved the ewes into the field at the back of the house and this evening the "girls" were busy grazing just in front of the study window, I couldn't resist taking this photo of them all. The grass is very long, so they will be in this field for some time, but be moved out before the really bad weather sets in after Christmas, as there is no shelter for them to go in. They do hide down the bank sides, but it's not the same as being in a warm, dry barn .

This is Spotty Dog the Suffolk ram lamb we are borrowing this year, all raddle'd up and raring to go. He's in with the Scotch Blackfaced ewes at the moment. We don't really expect him to cover any of the girls for another couple of weeks yet, but he was creating quite a fuss about being on his own, we decide to put him in with a raddle and see what happens. Ariadne, Abbi, Astrid, Allium and Missy will be joining his harem at the beginning of November.

Whilst I was out with my camera, Missy came strolling up and I took this picture of her, She is looking so well, especially after the scare we had with her before lambing. Will be interesting to see what she produces next year.
Looks like it's going to be a mixed week next week, so when it's fine I'll be doing outside jobs (digging veg garden, re-pointing back of house) and inside jobs (chopping and splitting wood, paperwork). Let's hope there are more fine days than wet days!!!

Sunday 4 October 2009

Update on the Moors fire

Well the fire is finally out, though we woke to no power and the smell of smouldering heather and a fine breezy. This afternoon the fire tenders were still damping down on the moor. It would appear that the fire is as a result of the game keepers doing controlled fire burning of the heather on Thursday.
This mornng was a sheep managing day. First we (Deefa, Tim and I) moved the marauding munchers on to the common land, moved Ghilli and Grommet temporarily into the Allotment, moved the new girls into the barn so we could weighed, wormed and heptovac'd them. They went through the weigh scales and up into the sheep crush with very little encouragement. Certainly made life easy. We then moved them back to their field, followed by Ghilli and Grommet. Ghilli runs full pelt back into his paddock whereas Grommet goes at his own pace, it is totally beneath him to run, unless it suits him!!!!
The weather is still holding and the swallows are still here. Last year they were gone by the beginning of September. It looks like the fine weather is to continue into next week and for some this is causing problems with their grass as it is not growing. Our neighbour has sold his young calves to a local finishing unit early as he's running out of grass and I've started to notice ring feeders out in fields with silage in them for the beef cattle. Hopefully tomorrow Tim will be out with the topper, on a high setting, to take off the dry grass stalks where the sheep have been grazing over the last week or so, so that the new grass that is slowly coming through isn't choked and is fresh again for when the sheep go back into these fields.

Sunbathing Alpacas

No Ghilli's not ill, he's just sunbathing. When we first saw him do this, we wondered what on earth he was doing. But on a warm, calm day he likes to lay on his back sunbathing. Grommet just ignores him.

Saturday 3 October 2009

Moor Fires close to home

Tonight we are sat waiting to see when the fire of the moor is finally put out. We expect moor fires in the summer, but not in the Autumn. No one is sure how it started, but all the fire engines for North Yorkshire are here and the main road is closed. The moor is so dry and if the fire gets into the peat, it is nearly impossible to put out.
We went to the Hill lamb sale this morning and half way through the auction the auctioneer advised that the Moor Road was closed as there was a moor fire at Danby. You can imagine the conversations that were going around the auction ring from then on, as most of the farmers had brought their sheep from this moor to the sale. When we got home we could smell and see the smoke and all afternoon the smoke has been drifting across our land, and these high winds are not helping the situation. At tea time we could see the head of the fire in the distance, not a very comforting sight I can tell you. Hopefully no one will be hurt and no animals will be lost.

Mole Gassing on Thursday

And this was the field that I was working in, the view over Sandsend and Whitby is quite spectacular. I hit this field really hard last year and as a result there is very little mole damage in the middle of the field, just round the edges, against the wood.

Whilst I was walking round the field I came across a collection of toadstools, I think they are inkcaps, but I'm not sure.