Sunday 25 July 2010

Our not so silent lambs!!!

Last weekend we weaned the lambs. This involved bringing all the ewes and lambs into the roofless barn, which they did with very little trouble. But then this was when the "fun" started! We had decided that whilst we had everyone penned up, it would be a good idea to not only worm everyone, but also check feet. This year we seemed to have one of two of the sheep with the startings of Foot Rot, which is not nice. So anyone with the slightest signs of redness or anything else unusual between their toes was given a shot of long acting antibiotics and their feet a good squirt of Bactokil.
The lambs have been split into two groups, ewes and tups/fat lambs and are now residing in two separate fields on the Common Land. It took the lambs 2 days before they stopped calling for their mums. As usual Missy's son was the last to stop bleating a good day after everyone else!
The ewes have spent the last week in a paddock, which had not a lot grass in it, to help them "dry up", and today we've put them onto some much better grazing so that they can start to put back on the weight they have lost through feeding their lambs.
Tim has spent the week framing the final side of the barn. He just needs to sort out the remaining wall sheets to see if they are of any use, as this side of the barn gets the worst of the weather, then he can finally put the roof back on!

Monday 19 July 2010

Wind, wind and yet more wind.....

This last week has been so windy here that Tim has been unable to do any work on the barn and I've not been able to get on with anything in the veg garden, or do any of the spot spraying I wanted to get on with.
My 2 days at the Employment Tribunal ended up being just 1, so the spare day I had at home enabled me to finally get our accounts to the accountant.
With the weather so bad we finally bought the some paint to repaint the kitchen and utility room and I stated painting on Sunday. The ceilings are so high in that I'm using a scaffolding tower to reach the top, so for the last couple of days we've been "dancing" round the tower. Because the ceiling was just bare plaster, so far I've put in 2 coats of cheap base paint and 2 coats of quality paint in Jasmine White, but it looks like it will need a 3rd coat :( The walls under the window sills are being painted with a hard wearing paint, so hopefully it will stand up to dogs when they stand on their back legs and rest their front paws on the window sills to see who is at the gate. The paint has to be allowed to dry for 3 days to harden, then it's supposed to stand up to anything!!!! We shall see.....

Sunday 11 July 2010

Lambs and Farmer's Market

Firstly thanks for all your lovely comments about Deefa in stained glass, I will be seeing Jayne this week, so I will pass them onto her.
On Monday we had all the lambs in for their final Heptovac injections, checked their feet as one or two are limping (a quick squirt of Bactokil soon sort them out) and finally give their backs and bums a squirt of Crovect as a protection against fly strike. We're glad we did as on Tuesday we noticed that one of the pet lambs kept looking at it's back leg and on closer examination, he had a few small maggots at the top of his tail. So he got another good squirt of Crovect. When we checked him again the following day, there was no sign of maggots, and no sign of any skin damage, so we'd caught it in good time.
Yesterday I was at Saltburn Farmer's Market. I don't know if it was the warm weather, but there were more people looking rather than buying. But it was still nice to see everybody. Next market is in August, so we will see how it goes.
Tomorrow I have a trip to Newcastle to sit at the Employment Tribunal Court and on Tuesday, I should be in Thornaby, no doubt I will find out on Monday afternoon. If the wind has dropped Tim is hoping to do some work on the barn now that the bruising on his hand has gone down some what.

Wednesday 7 July 2010

Deefa is immortalised!!!!

My friend and fellow smallholder Jayne does stained glass work and some while ago she had a prototype glass design of a sheep dog. It was so real that I asked her to make me one, but to change the colours to reflect Deefa's. This is the result.

No Jayne hasn't forgot to put a tail on the Dog, Deefa doesn't have a tail and the sheep is a Scottish Blackface, to match some of our girls
On this photo, the flash worked and you can see more of the detail of the glass work.
Needless to say we're really chuffed with it.

Sunday 4 July 2010

The sheep have a hair cut....

Today the sheep were sheared. All week we have had warm weather, but watching the weather forecast rain was predicted for today, but after lunch.
Freylynn and Mark, along with Lunil and Mark came to help, as well as the Resident Vandal. The shearer arrived with his young son, as the "wire man", at 10am. We'd already got all the sheep into the barn ready for the shearer. For various reasons I can't name the shearer, his son or publish their photos on this blog.
Anyway we started with the "boys" and their fleeces were very mixed. Archie's as usual was lovely and soft, Finn's not brilliant, Cecil had already started to rue his and Fluffy's was like a carpet. This set the scene for how the ewe's fleeces went. The Scottie's fleeces went into the Wool Board sack along with all the other white fleeces except Frea's it was too nice to part with. The winter has been hard on the girls as we kept very few. A couple of girls had the very early signs of fly strike. Another 24 hours and we would have had 2 very poorly ewes.
We took the opportunity to weigh the ewes as well and looking back through my records most of the girls have come through the winter better than we thought and strangely enough we weighed the ewes on the same say last year, so it was interesting to see how the girls had fared over the past year. Most had gained weight, though Ariadnne has lost weight so we will have to keep a careful eye on her over the next couple of months, but she is feeding triplets.
We also weighed a couple of the lambs. Number 19 (he had a rough start in life), he's gaining over a kg a week, and number 6, at 10 weeks of age he already weighs 33kgs!!!
Freylynn did a sterling job of wrapping the fleeces and Mark, who wants to learn to shear sheep, actually sheared his first sheep, Carolyn, under the watchful eye of our shearer. We chose a sheep who is quiet and who's fleece was not brilliant, so if Mark made a mess of the shearing it didn't matter. But Mark did a very good job and some of Carolyn's fleece has gone back to Baildon to be spun up into a hat for Mark.
We that's the shearing over for another year, I now just need to get the wool sack, which is half full of fleeces, to the Wool Board drop off point, at a farm at the end of our village! Thankfully the promised rain has so far not materialised so the ewes shouldn't be too cold tonight.