Monday 27 December 2010

Christmas Holiday dyeing

As we're not able to do a great deal outside at the moment I decided to dye some of my BFL sock yarn

Brown, Green and Yellow BFL sock wool - the colours are a bit lighter than shown here

Pinks and Greys - BFL Sock yarn

Rainbow coloured Merino sparkle, but don't know if the sparkle will show in this picture

Multi coloured Merino and bamboo

Yellow and Brown BFL wool

Pink & Purple BFL Wool

Grey, Pink & Yellow BFL Wool
Now just need to try and upload them to my Folksy shop and see what sells!

Friday 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas to you all

Just wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
The house is cleaned, animal hay racks full, water troughs unfrozen, wood box full of split wood, so we can now relax and enjoy a bottle of wine to start the celebrating Christmas.

Tuesday 21 December 2010

A couple of sucesses

On Monday the sheep we sent to the mart reach top price for the day, that will certainly help with the winter feed bill.
This morning I received in the post my certificate for the SAGE Level 2 Book Keeping exam I took back in October. I got a distinction!!! Which means I got a pass mark of between 85 - 95%. It's the first exam I've taken since I was a school, so I'm really pleased.

Sunday 19 December 2010

Ice skating in Wellies....

is fast loosing it's appeal! As we walked the dogs this morning, we delivered our Christmas cards and walking down the road to one of the farms I "measured my length" as they say around here when you slip your full length on the ice. No harm done to me, just felt a bit of an idiot with 2 dogs looking at me.
This week we've had a rapid thaw, followed by freezing winds and low temperatures which have turned the slush into ice. Now we have some more snow, which has covered the ice!
Unlike a lot of people we managed to get a delivery of oil, so we will have heat and able to cook over the festive period.
We managed to get the 2 cull ewes to the mart on Monday and we got the top price for our Scotties so we were very pleased. We're hoping to get 2 more sheep to the mart tomorrow, weather permitting of course.
I also started my new job on Tuesday. The people I'm working with seem really nice and the work is not too demanding, and as I'm just working 19 hours a week I can do my other work on the smallholding as well, so it's the best of both worlds.
As this is the final run up to Christmas and more importantly the shortest day on the 21st, all we seem to get done at the moment is feed the animals, check and fill up their water troughs, fill the wood boxes for the fires, come in for lunch and then out again around 2.30 to check waters again. But once Christmas is over and we're into the New Year the days seem somewhat longer and warmer, and then it's only 8 weeks to lambing........

Sunday 12 December 2010

A new form of greeting

At the moment whenever we meet up with our farming neighbours, the first question that is asked is "How many barn roofs have you lost?"
There is not a farm we know of that hasn't lost some sort of barn/shed roof, but thankfully no stock has been injured that we know of.

Two lots of good news

The first is that I've at last got a part time job, and as with all of these things, on Wednesday I was offered 2 jobs. Both same hours, same rates of pay and the same distance from home, all be it in opposite directions. I decided to take the one with Tees Components, as this was the one that I would have been most disappointed if I didn't get it. I start on Tuesday. Tim will now be able to catch up on his afternoon day time T.V viewing! I think not, those that know Tim will know how much he hates day time T.V.
The second is that there has been a massive thaw over the last couple of days. The only down side is that where the snow is compacted, it is now very dangerous to walk on and yesterday getting the truck out to go to Saltburn Farmer's Market, Tim very nearly hit the gatepost as the truck went slip, sliding towards the gate.
So today Tim and I have spent the day digging the track of snow and ice. We were able to use the tractor to pick up some of the snow, but where the ice was compacted we had to use a pick and spades, putting the snow/ice in the bucket of Gnasher to pile it all up in the yard.
Another reason for getting the snow off the track is that we are hoping to get 2 cull ewes off the mart tomorrow morning. The 2 ewes are 2 Scottish Black Faced ones that have been "covered" by Gus 3 times now, which can only mean one thing. They are not in lamb, so we do not to carry them through the rest of the winter. Unfortunately it will mean that we will only have 26 ewes to lamb next year, which is a pain, but can't be helped. Let's hope we get a good price for them as we did last Monday for the 4 fatties we took to the mart.
Last Monday's mart was supposed to be the big Christmas Fat Lamb Mart with over 1600 lambs booked in. Needless to say the snow put paid to that, with many farmers from out laying farms on the Moor well and truly snowed in. Now with the thaw, it will be interesting to see how many sheep and lambs get to the mart.

Wednesday 1 December 2010

Another roof bites the dust...

Tim was working in the barn this morning, sorting out the electrics, so that we could have some lights outside and more importantly, power to the garage for the freezers. When he heard a creak, then a whoosh, and the roof at the end on the main barn came down.

To be honest, we half suspected this bit of the roof could go as the roof perlins were not very meaty and had a bit of a bow in them yesterday. We checked the roof where Finn and his girls are, as their part of the barn is now on it's own. Some of the trusses have a bit of a bow in them and so I spent some of the day taking some of the snow off the roof, to take some of the weight off of the roof. I think it will be an on going job!
We got all of the hay into the lambing barn and both of us are quite tired. I'd forgotten how heavy the bales of hay were!
I wonder if Santa's sleigh will be big enough to bring us a new barn this Christmas?

Tuesday 30 November 2010

There was just a rumble.......

Mid morning there was a rumble and we thought it was the over hang of snow on the house. But when Tim looked out of the bedroom window, this is what he saw!
Thankfully there was no one or sheep under this roof when it collapsed. But somewhere under this are 2 trailers, a chipper and a friend's tractor. We've no idea what sort of the state they are in we will have to wait until the snow melts and we can start to pick up the mangled roof
This shows you the side wall and how it's lent inwards. Not all of the roof has gone, where Tim replaced the perlin and created the area for the pet lambs is still standing.

This is the wall behind the diesel tank and there is a crack from top to bottom. Thankfully the tank is still intact.
We spent this afternoon moving some of the hay that is stored in the middle of the barn and now exposed to the elements, into the lambing barn, the rest we have sheeted and tomorrow will be moved into the lambing barn as well. All the electrics are off outside and tomorrow Tim will have to sort out some electrics for the garage for the freezers and then over the next week or so, sort out the outside lights and power to the lambing barn.
On the bright side we very nearly replaced the old sheeting on this roof with new, no one was injured and no livestock harmed. We've always wanted to do something with this barn and now we have the opportunity! Something to work on during the rest of winter.
I think I can now say I'm officially fed up with this snow.....

Sunday 28 November 2010

Enough is enough!!!

We had yet more snow overnight, and when we went out to feed the animals, Grommet came out of his shelter to meet us....
As you can see, the snow is a bit deep!

Tuppyman walking from the hay rack to the feed trough in a track made by Archie and Cecil

I just had to take this picture of Archie, with snow on his face as he looked at me from behind the hay rack after we had refilled it.
Though we have a lot of snow it's not cold, which means that the sheep are not going through the hay like they did last year. Which is good as if this weather is going to last for any length of time.
The chickens are not particularly happy, they are staying in their hutch more than most. But today with the sun and mild weather I opened up their main door, to air the hutch out and they seemed to appreciate it, but by 2.30 they were all shut up again with water and feed. Two of the hens have decided to go into a moult, so I will have to check my chicken book to ensure that they don't need anything extra.
There's one good thing about the snow I've no excuse not to finish painting the bathroom now that Tim has done all the tiling.

Friday 26 November 2010

More snow

Overnight we had some more snow. It's now over a foot deep. The snow plough has been down the road into the village and past our track end, unfortunately the plough has piled all the snow across our track end, so we're more or less snowed in.
Here is Holly trying to walk in the snow in the yard, she's not too keen about going out and will only walk in your footsteps, like the poor page in the Good King Wenceslas carol.
The Gimmers too are finding the only way to get to their hay rack is to "follow my leader" through the snow
The hens are not venturing very far at all. As you can see from this photo, the snow is deeper than they are tall.

With all this snow, there is only one thing to do, is light the wood burning stove keep warm, though I have been painting the bathroom ceiling now that Tim has finished the tiling. It also looks like I'll not be able to get to the craft fair I'm supposed to be at on Sunday, at Danby Village Hall.

Thursday 25 November 2010

This is what we woke up to this morning!

The yard and gate before anyone or the dogs had a chance to leave foot or paw prints


Holly's been sniffing around in the snow

Some picturesque trees laden with snow

Looking back down towards our house on the dog walk
Walking towards the windmill in the village, showing the sky out towards the North Sea, from where the snow has and is coming from

Deefa forgot about the ditch!

And finally Holly's snow boots, what you can't see is the snow on her tummy!

Wednesday 24 November 2010

The White stuff has arrived

We walked the dogs in the sleet this morning.
We fed the sheep and filled up the hay racks in the sleet.
On and off all day it has either pelted down with hail stones or great flurries of snow, and this evening snow is 2" deep on the window sills outside and it's not December yet!
So I've spent the day either in the office or dying some Superwash Merion Aran wool ready for the craft fair at Danby Village Hall on Sunday.
Yesterday we had a move round of the ewes. The ewes that are with Gus and Finn all have access to a barn, but Tuppyman and his girls don't. So we put Frea with Gus and Missy, Anya, Ariadnne, Allium and Abbie with Finn. Tuppyman has gone back to be in with Cecil, Fluffy and Archie.
With the snow we've had today, not a sheep could be seen in the fields!

Sunday 21 November 2010

Some more new girls

On Wednesday we went over to our friend's Richard and Steph's smallholding to pick up 3 Teeswater Gimmers.
This is Seekie

This is Dimples

and this is Diddles

We didn't choose the names, but the girls are used to them, so we won't be changing them. They are now in with our other gimmers, so we now have a small flock of 12 gimmers to replace some of our older ewes next year and also to increase our breeding flock to 30.

Talking about the ewes, finally ewe 703 has a been covered by Gus. We were going to give her until next weekend and if she wasn't covered by then, she was off to the cull ewe sale.

Life is going to be very busy over the next 2 weeks. I'm working for the Employment Tribunal for 10 days, then next Sunday and the following weekend a couple of craft fairs at Danby. I've had to order some more sock yarn as I've nearly sold out, that should arrive on Tuesday. When I will get chance to dye it up I don't know, but I'm going to have to get it done. It seems as if my work at the moment is like buses, nothing for ages then loads come along at once!

Sunday 14 November 2010

All change...

On Wednesday we swapped the raddle colours for all the tups. Gus is now Green, Tuppyman yellow and Finn, orange.
On Thursday morning Flora had a green coloured bum, where she had been yellow, and as she was the first ewe Gus had covered, we had a slight panic as was this a sign that Gus was "firing blanks". But thankfully no one else has a green coloured bum, and today Tuppyman has finally covered Ariadnne, so we have only one ewe left that is not covered, and that is Scottie 703, who did not lamb last year and we are not hopeful that she will lamb next. Another cull ewe I fear.
The weather this week has been very mixed, one minute it's been so windy that it's been so hard to stand up, the next it's been sleeting followed by rain, already we are wallowing in mud. Then the last two days it has been fine and cold. You just don't know what to wear!
I finally managed to get the last of my potatoes dug up, with the help of my chickens. I've had to put the potatoes on a pallet in the barn to dry before I bag them up and put them in the shed for the winter. So that's another veg year over. I've got the seed catalogues for next year, so I just need to decide what I want to grow next year.

Sunday 7 November 2010

Store Lamb Sales

On Wednesday we took 11 lambs to the last store lamb sale before Christmas. There were 1600 lambs for sale. We had two pens of lambs, a pen of 4 that were under 30kgs and a pen of 7 that were between 30 and 35kgs. We averaged just over £50.00 each for them. We were very pleased with the price.
Tomorrow we are taking 3 old ewes to the Cull ewe sales. Not a nice trip, but sometimes you just have do these things.

The Tup's have been busy...

Out of the 26 ewes the Tups had to cover, there are only 4 left uncovered.
Tuppy man has just Ariadnne to cover
Gus - 2 Scotties
Finn- just Berniece
Looks like we are going to have a tight lambing period. On the 31st March 2011 8 ewes are due. Good job we have a much bigger lambing barn.

Friday 5 November 2010

This just came down the chimney...

On Wednesday night we heard some scratching in the Dining Room, we just presumed it was Deefa "knocking" at the door to come in.
On Thursday lunch time Tim was going to clean out the wood burning stoves, when he saw this!

How on earth this owl managed to get down the chimney, and into the wood burning stove, we've no idea, but there it sat, backing in the sun. I gave my friend Jayne a ring to come and rescue the owl as she's already successfully raised an owl chick.

Here is the owl in Jayne's hands, ready to be taken to her barn to be looked after.
She rang me later to say that after she had given the owl some water and it had, had a little sleep, it was flying around the barn, so she was going to open the door and give it the option of flying out. It should be able to find it's way home as Jayne only lives on the other side of the A171.
But now I know that if this little owl can get into the wood burning stove, down our chimney, so should Father Christmas. I still don't know how they manage to do it.........

Sunday 31 October 2010

Bum Watch update

All 3 of our tups have had their raddles on since the 13th October and finally this week Gus and Tuppyman have covered some of their ladies. Here are the lucky ladies with their dates....
27th - Frea, covered by Tuppyman and Flora covered by Gus. Due date 26th March 2011
28th - Scottie 608, covered by Gus. Due date 27th March 2011.
29th - Fenella, covered by Gus. Due date 28th March 2011.
30th - Allium, covered by Tuppyman. Due date 29th March 2011.
31st - Missy, covered by Tuppyman. Due dare 30th March 2011.
Not forgetting, Fudge and Florence who are due around the 2nd March 2011.
So it looks like we are going to have a nice easy start to lambing next year!!!!
As yet Finn has not covered any of his ladies, but we're not too worried as the Shetland Ewes he's with normally don't seem to come into season until the middle of November.

This week sees another Store Lamb sale at our local mart. We're taking the last of the light "fatties", this will leave us with 4 fatties left to go to the Xmas Fat market on the 6th December at around 40kgs. This will mean that for the first time ever, we will have sold all of our spare lambs before Christmas, which if the prediction of one of our old farmer friends comes true, we're in for another bad winter as the sheep have "come off the moor fat", and this event only precedes a bad winter!!!!!!! Just thought I'd pass on this piece of information, time to stock up the freezer, wood store, thermals and warm clothing. Don't say you weren't warned.......

Saturday 30 October 2010

New arrivals

On Thursday afternoon we went to pick up our 2 new Teeswater Ewes, that had been with the breeder until they had been covered by his tup, and then we had a 3 week wait to ensure they didn't come back over again.

Here they are this morning, at their feed bucket. We've named them Fudge and Florence. It's Fudge who is looking at the camera.
Checking their pedigrees I have discovered that all of our 4 Teeswater ewes are related! Also the tup that the breeder used on Fudge and Florence, is Fenella and Flora's sire!! Thankfully Gus our Teeswater Tup is from very different blood lines.
When we went to choose our 2 new "girls", the breeder had 4 ewes for sale and my friend Jayne decided she wanted to buy 2 Teeswater ewes as well, and as all 4 "girls" looked good, trying to decide who would have which 2 could have been problematic, but looking at their pedigrees, it worked out that there were 2 sets of half sisters, so I wrote the 2 sets of numbers on 2 pieces of paper, folded them up and asked Jayne to pick one. So that's how we decided who got which 2 ewes. Trouble is with all of my "girls" being related, we were hoping to breed a tup of our own to use on Gus' daughters, but for now that's a problem to deal with in a couple of years time.

Silence of the Hobbits!!!!

The Hobbits went home on Thursday afternoon and the house is back to it's normal quiet self (except when Holly barks at the Postman).
Whilst they were here, we made Lemon curd and meringues, played Sorry, helped feed the chickens and picked up the potatoes the chickens had scratched up, checked on the sheep to see if any of the 3 tups had covered any of the ewes, and they had, weighed the "fatties", spraying their heads different colours depending on what weight they were, and spent a very productive afternoon dying wool

This is the suri alpaca/merino wool they dyed for me

followed by some Blue Faced Leicester sock wool

They came to my knitting group on the Tuesday night and we took the wool they had dyed to show my fellow knitters and much to the delight of the Hobbits we sold 3 hanks of wool!!
Now all I have to do is label the wool and I'm ready for the farmers market in a couple of weeks time.

Monday 25 October 2010

The Hobbits have arrived!!!!!!

The Hobbits arrived this afternoon. They should have come yesterday, but as I was at the North Eastern Textile Open Day, sis brought them across this afternoon. Well not quite!!!!
We got a phone call half way through the afternoon, to say that their car had broken down in Pickering. So we went across to pick up the Hobbits, meeting in a car park in Pickering. Thankfully what every problem there was with the car had been sorted out and it got Sis and mum home with no more problems.
We've already had to play a game of "Sorry", a favourite of the youngest hobbit. Eldest hobbit wants to do some cooking, they both want to do some fibre dyeing and they quite like the idea of coming to my knitting group meeting tomorrow!
Before we know it, it will be Thursday and they will be going home.......

North Eastern Textile Event

Sunday was the 2nd year a friend and I ran the North Eastern Textile Open Day, and despite the snow, hail, rain and wind. It was very well attended. It was great to see old and new customers as well as some spinners who'd kindly brought their wheels to sit and spin in the middle of the hall. The day seemed to fly by I was so busy. Sold out of my dyed sock yarn, so I will have to get dyeing again pretty soon.
We will be running the event again next year, we've had request from 4 or 5 more craft workers wanting to take a stall, so that's encouraging. We're trying to ensure that we don't duplicate stalls, so that the visitors can view a variety of crafts.
So look out for our leaflets advertising the 3rd North Eastern Textiles Open Day, at the markets and fairs we will be attending next year.

Tuesday 19 October 2010

The Wood pile

has gone......
3 days of chain sawing created 5 trailer loads of wood.
Which is now stacked in the barn. This lot waiting to be split
and this lot ready to be burnt.
We should have plenty of wood for the winter

Sunday 17 October 2010

Busy wood chopping...

A quick update on the poorly group of sheep, the gimmer's eyes have cleared up and so are out on the grass near the barn, but still in isolation. Amber, Brazil and Amy are still quite poorly. Brazil is quite blind, Amber is in one eye, though Amy's eyes have improved. We gave all three another dose of eye medication, so hopefully this will help.
As the weather has been fine this weekend, we decided to chop some of the wood in the woodpile and get it onto the barn. Three trailer loads later this is what the woodpile looks like now.
This is Nasher with a full load in her bucket
This is the final load in the trailer, it took 2 1/2 hours to fill and an hour to unload and put into the barn
We recon we've got the same amount of wood to cut and store in the barn. It will seem strange not having any wood stored in the yard. But that won't last for long as we will be starting hedge laying again very shortly.
Now just got to split all that cut wood........

Friday 15 October 2010

Poorly sheep

Checking the sheep yesterday afternoon, just before I went to the Teeswater Sheep Breeders Association's council meeting. Amy and Amber were stood by the gate and their eyes were watering and half closed.
So we got them into the barn and then walked round the gimmers to find that Brazil was nearly blind, her eyes were cloudy. We got her into the barn and then decided to get the rest of the gimmer flock near to the barn to check them all out in the morning.
As this group had been isolated for some time, we made sure that rest of the sheep couldn't have any contact with them.
This morning the vet arrived and poor Amy, Amber and Brazil had to have injections into their cornea's. Have you ever tried to hold a nearly blind sheep's head still whilst a vet injects their eyes!!!!!!!
With the vet we had a quick look at the gimmers and one or two were showing signs of weepy eyes, so once the vet had left Tim and I treated any of the gimmers whose eyes were weeping with a medicated eye lotion from the vet, marked their heads with a coloured mark, so we know who we've treated and brought them all into the barn.
Once the infection is cleared up, all water and feed troughs and lick buckets used by this group will be disinfected just to make sure no other sheep are infected. This eye infection can spread through our flock really quickly if we are not careful.

Sunday 10 October 2010

Tup selection time....

Now we have Gus (see previous post), we now have 4 tups (rams), not by design, it's just happened. We have our resident Tup, Finn, a Texal tup (Tuppyman) that was a pet lamb, and a tup that was supposed to be a Texal, but he has horns, again a pet lamb, but we will not be using him.
So this morning we sat down with pen and paper to decide which of our ewes goes to which Tup.
Gus is to be put with Flora, Fenella and the 10 Scottish Black Face's
Finn is to be put with Carolyn, Carmen, Beatrix, Berneice, Emma and Ciceley
Tuppyman is to be put with Missy, Allium, Ariadnne, Anya and Frea, but he will also be going over to my friend Jayne's at the end of November to meet her 6 girls.
We're going to bring all of our ewes in this week and give them the usual "once over" before putting them in with the Tups. They are all going in earlier than normal as we know we will be lambing late Feb/early March next year as the other 2 Teeswater ewes we have bought, that are still with their owner, have been covered by the breeder's tup. We will be collecting them at the end of this month once the breeder is sure they are well and truely pregnant. So hopefully next year we will be lambing 28 ewes.......

Leyburn Show & Sale

After an early start, I arrived at the mart around 8am to find that there was some disarray. During the night some drunken lads had released some pens of sheep. Which meant that when I arrived the mart staff were still cleaning up the mess. It didn't delay anything for very long, just meant that the vendors that arrived not long after me had to wait a little while for all the pens to be cleaned, again!
Overall I had a good day, met a lot of the Teeswater members, who are really friendly and a great help, especially when I was trying to find vendors to give them their labels for their sheep.
Did we get a Tup! Yes we did....
This is Augustus, Gus for short, he was born this year, from a very good breeder, who is retiring from keeping Teeswaters
Once we had bought Gus, it meant that we couldn't buy quite a lot of females that were for sale, as they could possible be related to him. But we did manage to find 2 ewes that were not related to Gus.

Here are Fenella (at the front) and Flora (by the water trough). The are both Gimmers Shearlings (ewes born last year). We wished we had taken the big trailer as the Gimmer Shearlings were not as expensive as we'd imagined, we could have got another 2 or 3 sheep in the trailer, but it would have been a bit of a squeeze. So we decided to stick with what we'd got.
Gus is very friendly as he's been shown this year. I'm hoping to learn how to halter train him so that when he gets older and bigger, he will be easy to move.

Wednesday 6 October 2010

Sheep Update

The 5 new Scottie girls are now wormed and in with the other gimmer lambs, which too have been wormed and marked as to the ones that are to go to the next decent store sales market. This means we will be carrying 10 gimmer lambs through the winter to introduce into next years breeding flock. We had hoped that we would have been able to buy at least 10 Scotties, but it was not to be, so we had a really hard look at our existing gimmer lambs. We have only so much land that some will have to be sold.
Whilst we were in "weighing" and "toe trimming" mode, we also brought the "fatties" in. This group as a whole have gained 2kgs in 3 weeks, which is not bad. But they are still a little light so next week I will be finding out from our auction mart when the next "light lamb" sale is and the surplus lambs will be booked in. It's tempting to try and keep them all and try and put some more weight on them, but experience tells us that what the lambs weigh in November, they will still weigh that in New Year, but we will have to have put a lot of feed into them for nothing. So off they will go before they start eating too much of our winter fodder. We need it for the ewes.
Off to Leyburn tomorrow for the Teeswater Sheep's Show and Sale, my first as their breed secretary!!!!! We are also in the market to buy a Teeswater Tup, but it will depend on the price, as always!!!! Wish me luck.....

Sunday 3 October 2010

New Cockeral

When I got my chickens I didn't really want a cockerel and so I decided to sell my Sussex cockerel. A chance conversation meant that he has gone to live with a friend's Sussex hens at the other side of Whitby and is settling in fine.
My hens on the other hand, once the cockerel had gone were really out of sorts with them selves and when I saw an advert in the North Yorkshire Smallholder magazine for a Cream Legbar Cockerel, I decided to buy him.
I went to get him on Thursday night and on the Friday morning when I let everyone out, there was a bit of "sorting out" between the hens and the cockerel. As it was wet most of Friday they all went into the hutch to stay dry and that seems to have helped them work out their "pecking order" and on Saturday when I let them out the hens were happily scurrying around the cockerel. They are now a much happier bunch of ladies.
He's certainly a nice looking bird, still a bit wary of me, but I'm sure in time he'll be eating corn out of my hand as the hens do.

Success at the Horned Stores Sale

We had some success at the Horned Sheep Store Sale on Saturday. We knew there was only one lot of 20 Scottish Black Faced Gimmer (ewe) lambs in the whole sale of over 2000 lambs, and we had to wait right until the very last lot of Gimmer lamb sales before they came into the ring.
Their owner had 3 lots for sale. 2 batches of 10 and a final batch of 5.
I started the bidding at £30.00 for the first lot of 10, but ended up

being out bid at £46.00. The same hap pend for the 2nd lot of 10. Finally these 5 little ewes came into the ring and I was successful, as the other person who was bought the other 20 wasn't interested in this last batch.
As you can see from the photos they are in the barn for the time being and as the weather today is absolutely lashing it down, no doubt they will be glad to be in the dry.
Before they go out onto the grass, they will need to be wormed and put on short grass as they have just come off the moors and so if we put them straight onto lush pasture it will go straight through them.
Now just the Teeswater Show and Sale to go to on Thursday!

Friday 1 October 2010

Stores Sale

On Wednesday we took 8 weather and 7 ewe lambs to the store sale held at our local mart in Ruswarp. It's always a worrying time as you are not sure what sort of price your sheep will bring. Thankfully prices held and we were very happy with the price we got. It wasn't the highest nor was it the lowest, which to us means we've finally got our sheep right for the buyers at the mart.
Now just to see if we can get some Scottish Black Faced gimmer lambs at tomorrows horned lamb sale.

Sunday 26 September 2010

It's only September but it feels like winter!

Today has been another wet and horrible day and this afternoon we lit the wood burning stove in the front room. It seems strange because this time last year we had fires on the moors!
This morning we moved the ewes into the back field so they have access to the barn for some shelter, as well as some fresh grass. We've moved a hay rack and feed troughs into the gimmer lamb's field so that we can give them extra rations of barley straw and sugar beat shreds. The "fatties" are on hay and sheep coarse mix. We should be giving our tup Finn some extra feed, but he's summered well and if we are not careful he will be over weight.
The chickens are in my veg plot, scratching around for bugs and seeds. The Sussex cockerel went to a new home last week and at first my hens seemed a bit lost with him gone and for a couple of days we only got 2eggs. But they have settled down again and are back to laying 4 or 5 eggs a day.
Yesterday I was at a Craft Fair in Saltburn. It was cold as there was no heating on in the hall, not many people about and so I sold very little, but I did sell more than some of the other stall holders?
I will get some more photos uploaded to the blog, if and when the weather decides to be nice!!!!

Saturday 25 September 2010


Well we are now the proud owners of 2 Teeswater ewes! My friend Jayne and I went to look at 4 ewes owned by a local breeder. Whilst Tim and the breeder stood chatting Jayne and I walked through the girls. We agreed that we both liked ewe number 2 and 3, but would be happy with ewes 1 & 3. We decided that we would take all 4 ewes, but until they came out of the trailer we were not sure who would have which 2. Tim and the breeder showed their true "yellow streaks" by refusing to "referee" who would get which ewes!!!!! Anyway they are staying with the breeder to be mated to his tup. We could be lambing as early as February next year!!!!
We've also decided to change the focus of our flock breeding and breed Teeswaters and Mashams (you put a Teeswater tup to a Scottish Black Faced ewe to create a Masham). So to that end, yesterday we went to the Horned Ewe sale to buy some Scotties. But the few that were there were not very good or went through in too big a group. We only want 10!
Next Saturday is the horned lamb sale and I've noticed in the catalogue there are some Scottie gimmer lambs for sale. So we will go and maybe have a bid on them. It's not ideal but if it's the only way we can get some more Scotties, then that is what will have to do.
As a result of our change in breeding focus, at the Teeswater Show and Sale on the 7th October, will see us looking for a Teeswater tup and maybe a couple of ewes/lambs. It will greatly depend on prices as to whether we just get a tup, or a tup and some ewes.
On Wednesday we are sending 15 of our lambs to the "Store lamb sale". We don't think they will make the 40kg mark by December, so sending them to the store sale means we won't have to carry them through the winter hoping they gain enough weight to make it viable to send them to the "fat market", especially as we are now starting to give the sheep some sort of supplemental feed. Hopefully we will get a good price for them!!!! Fingers crossed.

Sunday 12 September 2010

Cat on a hot tin roof......

Not exactly more a Resident Vandal and hubby on a hot tin roof!!
The Resident Vandal arrived on Monday to help Tim finally roof the lambing barn, but when he arrive the weather was so awful, it looked like the roof would never get finished.
On Monday and Tuesday they finished off some fencing and re-hung some gates around the lambing barn, so that it was all "sheep safe" and finally on Wednesday morning the wind had subsided so they were able to crack on with the roof. It took them 2 days to get all of the 17' & 18' panels in place and securely fastened down.
I had to do an emergency run to York for some more roof fixings on the Wednesday as they were not sure they would have enough to finish the job!
Friday the weather turned again (wind and rain) and thankfully there was just a bit of finishing off to do before the end caps could go on. But the weather has not been kind to us, so Tim and possible me will put them on this coming week.
On Saturday we decided to put the newly roofed barn to use and give the ewes a quick weigh, pedicure and dental check. Most of the ewes are O.K, but one or two are down on their weights and a couple have lost more teeth than is good for them, so we will have to replace them in our breeding program, sooner rather than later. We'll have them in again at the end of the month just to check that they are all putting weight on now that we have put them onto some more fresh grass.
The "fatties" (aka the fat lambs) also went through the scales and anything over 25kgs was given a yellow dot on their back, the ones under 25kgs will be going to the lamb stores market at the end of the month, along with the 7 ewe lambs were are not keeping for breeding.
We've decided that we're not carrying any more lambs than is absolutely necessary through the winter this year. The reaming "fatties" will be gone before Christmas.
On Wednesday we're going to look at some Teeswater ewes with a friend. It will be interesting to see how many we buy! We need at least 6 additional breeding ewes this year to bring us up to our ideal breeding flock of 30 ewes. The Horned Breeding Ewe sale is also on at the end of this month. We will be going to see what is available and hopefully we might be able to get some more Scottish Black Faced ewes like we did last year.
It's a busy time of the year for breeding ewes.

Monday 30 August 2010

Sheepy update

Last Monday we had 7 lambs ready to go to the fat market. We weighed them at around 41kg, but at the mart they weighed around 39.4kg, so Tim has adjusted our weighing machine down by a couple of kgs. Though the price for the lambs was down on the week previously, we were still very pleased with the price we got for them as we've never had sheep ready for the fat market this early in the year.
We weighed the rest of the fat lambs and though we had only 2 or 3 lambs over the 30kg mark, several more were between 25 - 29 kgs and they should be ready for the fat market around December, just in time for the Christmas market. We've also identified around 8 ewe lambs we want to keep for our future breeding stock, the remaining ewe lambs will go to the store lamb sales at the end of September.
We're hoping to be in a position at the end of the year to have sold all of our surplus lambs so that we are not carrying a lot of sheep through the worst of the winter. We're also going to look at the Breeding ewe sales at the end of September for some more Scottish Blackfaced sheep and sell our few remaining Shetland sheep so that we can have meat (fat) lambs ready for the market around Christmas time, and being the Teeswater Sheep's breed secretary I just might have to get a couple of gimmers at the yearly Teeswater sale in October!

Typical Bank Holiday weather

Apart from Saturday morning the weather has not been good. Wet and very windy. It has given me the opportunity to get up to date with some paperwork and get a couple of online orders ready to send off tomorrow morning.
Thankfully we've got our straw in for the winter, though Tim had a frantic job getting an area ready for the straw to be stored in. We have a "bump out" at the front of the main barn, which had a side gate/door, which rattled constantly when it was windy. One day Tim was walking passed the gate with a screwdriver and screw in his hand, and he fastened it shut. Once it was fastened, we realised how little we used this gate, so now it's been removed and new sheets put in it's place. It's made a great storage area for about 100 bales of straw and as far as Holly is concerned a great place to go cat hunting.
My chickens are now in the veg plot and the other day I let them out to wander around the veg plot whilst I was doing some weeding. It's amazing how quickly the chickens came round me to pick up the weed seeds. I had to be very careful digging over the ground with my fork. They took a little bit of persuading to go back into their hut!!!
The veg is very hit and miss this year, the potatoes are proving to be very productive, so are the winter onions, but the summer ones are a little small. The parsnips and beetroot very hit and miss, but the sprouts, cabbages and purple sprouting broccoli are growing great guns. The tomatoes are starting to ripen in the greenhouse and so much more tastier than shop bought ones.
This coming week I'm booked to sit at the Employment Tribunal for a several days. Will be interesting to see how many days I actually days I do work.

Sunday 15 August 2010

Not a lot happening at the moment.....

There's not a lot happening at the moment. The ewes are happily munching the grass and starting to gain weight now they are not feeding lambs. The lambs themselves have calmed down after being separated from their mums.
We've had some much needed rain over the last couple of days. At one point we thought Niagara had moved to over our house, it was raining so hard. Thankfully our grass hadn't got brown, but it had more or less stopped growing. Tim had been out topping a couple of fields that the sheep had been in. He had the topper on a high cut, just to take off the long wispy bits of grass, not cut the grass its self, and cut down some of the thistles that were just coming into flower, and by cutting them now, will seriously knock them back and only a few will grow back next year.
The Cream Legbar hens have started to lay their beautifully coloured olive green/blue eggs. I keep checking to see when the hens have laid and they seem to be laying around lunch time, but today, they have laid only one egg. So it looks like they are going to be very hit and miss with their egg laying. Not that I'm worried as I'd rather have a couple of eggs every couple of days, that way we shouldn't get over loaded with eggs. But my youngest Sussex is a cockerel. I've suspected for a while as the feathers on his back were a different shape to the other Sussex's feathers and checking my chicken book, they looked like feathers of a cockerel and now he's trying to mate with the other hens, has confirmed my fears. But thankfully a chance conversation with a friend means that he will be going to a new home over the next few weeks.
We're starting to eat a lot of veg from the veg garden, cabbage, sprouting broccoli, onions, garlic, peas, beans and potatoes. I managed to finish planting out the last of my leeks just before the rain, so they have been well watered in.
Tim has managed to fit the guttering to the barn, he just has some fencing to move and replace around the barn, but with the inclement weather at the moment, these jobs have been put on hold.
The weather next week is very mixed, good for the grass but not a lot else. You would think that we would enjoy the inactivity, but neither of us do. There is only so much knitting I can do!!!!

Sunday 1 August 2010

Some knitting

This is a sample blanket using the Domino technique for knitting squares. You don't have to stitch any of the squares together, you knit them. It's great fun and so effective, especially using a multi coloured knitting yarn. The yarn I've been using is one called Flora and was created by my friend Freyalyn.
These are 2 knitted bags, which when you are knitting them look like a bra for a lady with 3 boobs!!!!!!
And finally, these are the socks that I knitted from the wool I bought at Woolfest. Sock knitting is something that I've avoided for years having had to knit a pair for my Brownie's, or was it my Guide's, knitting badge!!! Which ever it was, it was torture and it has taken my nearly 40 years to attempt another pair. These I enjoyed knitting and I will be knitting some more as Tim has requested a pair!!!

First Eggs!

My chickens have laid their first eggs. These 2 I found in their run on Wednesday morning. It's the Sussex that has laid these eggs and it seems as if she lays them late on in the day rather than in the morning. So far I've had 4 eggs