Sunday 28 March 2010

The calm before the storm....

Metaphorically speaking, this is the quiet period before the ewes lamb, there is not a lot to do, just make sure they are O.K and to keep a careful eye on them for the early signs of twin lamb disease. These last couple of weeks the weather has been kind to us and the ewes have enjoyed being out in the sun and the warmth, but next week the forecast is not so good, some are predicting sleet!!!!! Just what we don't need in the final run up to lambing.
I've been very busy sorting out my fibre store. Tim came up with the great idea that I get a cheap pricing gun so that I could bundle up all my fibre into the weights that I sell it at and then as and when I take it to markets/shows, quickly price up the ones that I'm taking. But in order to get to that great state, for the last week or so the dining room has been lost under a sea of boxes, bags and fibre. Virtually all of the fibre is labelled now and has already made life a lot easier for me as I've had 3 very quick fibre orders to send out this week, which took no time in putting together and then parcelling up.
Work with the Employment Tribunal is starting, I've got 4 observation days to do before I can sit on the panel and listen to a case, which I hope to be in a position to start doing in May. I have to let the "listings" team know my availability for May, June and July. The Regional Judge will then allocate me (and everyone else) to cases for that period.
Well I think that's it for this week's update, the Hobbits arrive at Easter for the week and our first lambs are due to arrive on the 3rd April and from 26 ewes we will be pleased if we get a lambing %age of 150%, giving us 39 lambs. Anything over 40 will be a real bonus.

Wednesday 17 March 2010

Gnasher the tractor arrives

No not Dennis the Menace's dog, but my new tractor nick named Gnasher because of the 4 way bucket
Here she is on the back of the lorry still fastened down ready to be unloaded

Front view showing the 4 way bucket

Rear view showing the transport box, which can be made to tip. Been trying to get the dogs to sit in the box, but they don't seem too keen.
Now just need the land to dry up somewhat so that I can get out and about and play on my new tractor.

Sunday 14 March 2010

The Girls are out in the sunshine

As the weather has been so nice recently we decided that the best place for the ewes was outside in the sun, so the girls are now able to get out to the grazing area at the side of the lambing barn and should the weather turn really nasty again we can quickly put them back in the barn.

Ariadne (stood in the middle of the photo) has only a month to go and is looking very heavy. Bets are on as to whether she is going have quads. She's had triplets the last 2 years!!!
This is Frea and Brazil in the other barn, you can just see Abbi in the background. They too are enjoying the sun.
This week the ewes had their pre lambing check up. They were given a wormer (even though the worm count result was low, but the vet felt that knowing the worm problems we've had in the past it was better to be safe this time round) a heptovac injections and most had their feet trimmed. We will have another look at their feet once they have lambed. We also moved Abbi in with Frea, Brazil and Amy as she is not due to lamb for a full month after everyone else.
Tim had a check up at James Cook hospital on Thursday and he's been discharged, or as Tim likes to say "He's been expelled from the hospital", which is great. He's been told to get on with his life and that he's been an ideal patient after such an unusual injury. Will seem strange not having to go to James Cook hospital it's been so much part of our life for the past 15 months.
From the hospital we went on to visit our friends, and fellow smallholders, in Teesdale. We had a lovely day walking round the smallholding and looking at their Teeswater sheep, hens and just generally chatting about smallholding things in general.
Yesterday was the first of the season's Farmer's Markets at Saltburn. Thankfully it stayed fine and after a quiet start I had a good day. This month I'm attending 2 Farmer's Markets, the one yesterday, at Saltburn, and a new market at Stockton at the end of the month. Hopefully that will go just as well as yesterday did.
But roll on Tuesday as that is when my new tractor arrives!!!!!

Monday 8 March 2010

And then there were 33....

Tim took the last 12 gimmers to the butchers early this morning, so we are now down to our core flock. The numbers won't stay this low for long as our first lambs are due on the 3rd April.
What a difference a week of sunshine makes to the land, animals and us. Most mornings we have woken up to a heavy frost, which has made taking hay out to the barn really easy as the land is frozen, but within a couple of hours the ground has thawed out and we are walking through mud again. But as the week has progressed, the land has dried out a great deal, but not enough for us to consider letting the ewes back out into the fields. We've moved a hay feeder into the small handling area at the back of the lambing barn, so the ewes can enjoy the nice weather without doing anymore damage to the fields.
My seed potatoes arrived this week and so are "chitting" out in the shed, some broad bean seeds have been sown in pots and are residing in the greenhouse. Today, I spent a lovely couple of hours digging over part of the veg plot to plant a small rhubarb root. I had to soak it in water for a couple of hours before planting as it was a little dry so I'm hoping it will grow well this coming year.

Saturday 6 March 2010

Shed Demolition

This shed is in one corner of our yard and has slowly begun to lean more and more towards the fence and when Tim knocked the door off it's hinges when he tried to get in, we decided it was time to take it down. We thought it would take no time at all, how wrong we were!!!! It took all of Thursday afternoon.
This is the floor of the old shed, a patchwork of plywood sheets, and you can see how the wood at the front has rotted away

Once the floor was taken up we could see at once why the shed learnt so. There was no support under the base for it to rest on, and what support there was, hardly touched the ground.
The bonfire on Friday afternoon was spectacular and was still smouldering this morning, despite the overnight rain.
Where the shed stood is going to be where the wood we cut out of the hedges when we start to lay them in August, will be left to season, totally out of the way!!!!