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.