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