Sunday 30 January 2011

Moving Sheep

As 2 of the Teeswater ewes are about 4 weeks away from lambing, we need to start and monitor how they are doing and to give them more concentrate, so they have been moved into the small paddock at the side of the lambing barn. There was a touching moment when they met up with Ghilli and Grommet, each sniffing each other, as the alpaca's have not seen such big sheep and the ewes have not been this close to the alpacas. We also wormed, hepotvaced and check the ewes feet. Now they are ready for lambing. We will move them into the lambing barn in a couple of weeks, or sooner if the weather turns nasty, and it could as Pete (a local sheep farmer) starts lambing on the 4th Feb, and it always snows when he lambs!!!!
We also heptovaced the Scottie and Teeswater gimmer (ewe) lambs as well as Cecil and Archie. The rest of the ewes and gimmers will be wormed and hepotvaced towards the end of February.
Whilst we were getting the hurdles sorted to deal with the gimmer lambs, I trapped the end of the little finger on my left hand. I have a spectacular bruise, it goes all the way round the top of my little finger, from the top knuckle. Tim says it's not enough to get me out of lambing!!!!!!

It's been a "bits & pieces" week

It's been one of those weeks, where you seem to get not a lot done, yet seem to have been busy all week.
Tim has finally moved all the rubble from the barn and had a fire with some more wood uprights from the roof. The rubble pile didn't look very big, but it seemed to take for ever to move.
I've been busy getting things sorted out for the Teeswater Sheep Breeder's Association's Annual Dinner on Friday night, in Hawes. Numbers had to be confirmed by Monday, but I'd only got 50 bookings, and normally there are over 80! But as the week progressed, the numbers increased to 92! Thankfully it all sorted it's self out and everyone had a good time. Raffle and Annual Draw prizes appeared by the dozen. So a goodly sum was raised to help fill the association's coffers. I eventually got home at 1.15 on Saturday morning, thanks to a detour around Leyburn. When I got home I checked on my chickens to find one of them outside the netting, unable to get into the hen hut. She complained when I picked her up, despite the frost starting to lay on her feathers!
So as a result, on Saturday, we decided to have a quiet day and build up our strength ready to deal with the sheep on Sunday.

Sunday 23 January 2011

Working on the barn

As the weather has been mild and still, Tim has been able to get the roof sheets down and into the trailer, and on Wednesday we took them to the scrap merchant to weigh them in.
You can see the roof, to the right, that is still down, this is holding the back wall up.
You can also see the red trailer, in the gateway to what was the pet lamb area. The trailer is parked there so that we can load the straw bedding into it. This trailer was under the fallen roof and the only damage to it is a slight dent in the top of one of the sides, and this could happen just dropping something into the trailer.
Tim has also started to remove the rubble. We've been keeping this rubble since we had work done on our house, it was to be used, when we had sufficient money to build new walls to the barn, as part of the footings. Now it will be used when the new barn is erected.
I've started getting quotes for the new barn. We're going to get a kit barn, and get a local builder to erect it and put the roof on. No doubt I will have heart failure at the price!

Lambing due dates...

From Debbie's comment to one of my blogs, I've realised that I've not published all of the lambing dates so here they are....
28th Feb - Fudge - Teeswater Ewe
1st March - Florance - Teeswater Ewe
Then a bit of a break until....
23rd March - Frea
24th March - Scottish Black Faced
25th March - Fenella - Teeswater Ewe
26th March - Allium - the wild one
27th March - Missy
30th March - Carmen
Then all hell breaks loose!
31st March - 3 Scotties, Abbi, Anya, Carolyn, Cicely & Cully
1st April - 1 Scottie, Yellow Neck
2nd April - 1 Scottie, Emma
3rd April - 1 Scottie, Beatrix
4th April - 1 Scottie, Berniece
7th April - Flora - Teeswater Ewe
10th April - Ariadnne

26 ewes and we would hope for 150% lambing ratio which should give us 39 lambs, so any more than that is a success, any less, disappointing, but the ewes have been through a tough winter, so 26 healthy and strong lambs is all we can seriously wish for.
As always I will post pictures of the lambs and my friend and fellow smallholder, Jayne has said that she will make sure she is free on the 31st March and I'm going to book a couple of day holidays.
Now just need to check the lambing supplies, order the homeopathic pre lambing medications to put into the ewes drinking water, relax and not start to panic!!!!!!!

Monday 17 January 2011

Deefa is in the wars!!!!

Over the last couple of days Deefa has somehow managed to damage the dew claw on his front left leg. It's extremely sore. When I was taking his harness off him this morning, I caught it. He yelped and snapped at me, and then snuggled in for a cuddle.
He's not limping and we are trying to stop him from licking it all the time, but if it gets worse I'm afraid Deefa will have to have a trip to the V.E.T by the end of the week

Being mean with the hay

We are fast running out of hay, as is everyone, so in order to preserve our diminishing stock we are being quite mean with who has and doesn't have hay.
Our original plan was to give all the sheep Barley straw through November and December, whilst there was still grass for the sheep to eat. We'd bought in 130 bales of straw just for that reason. But with the sudden arrival of the snow, the sheep went straight onto the hay. But over the last few weeks we've been cutting down the hay the gimmers have, and giving them the straw instead. They had a bit on a whinge about it. But now they are quite used to the straw. We've also started to give the ewes straw, every other day, and on fine mild days, shut them out of the barn so that they go out and eat the grass.
It seems to be working, we are not going through the hay as fast as we were and we've been able to source another 100 bales of hay, which should at least last us through to lambing!
In many ways it is cheaper for us to feed the sheep a concentrate feed, but as the ewes are in lamb we have to be careful how much concentrate we given them, as over the last 2 - 3 weeks of pregnancy, all excess feed goes into the lambs, so we have a delicate balancing act of giving the ewes enough feed so they don't loose condition, but not too much that the ewes have BIG lambs.

Clearing away the fallen barn roof

Tim has spent quite a bit of this week taking down the corrugated sheets, that were once the barn roof, off the broken wood roof trusses. He's putting the sheets that are mangled and twisted into the trailer so that he can take them to the scrap metal merchants. There are one or two sheets that are worth saving, but where to put them is going to be another headache!
We thought that one of the reasons why the roof collapsed under the weight of the snow, was that the roof trusses and perlins were rotten. But as Tim is cutting them up to put them into the trailer he's finding that the wood is not rotten at all, it's just shattered under the weight of the snow!
Some part of the collapsed roof Tim is leaving in place at the moment, as it's supporting part of the back wall, and it's not causing us any problems at the moment. The thing that is, and does stop Tim taking the roof down are the high winds that have a tendency to blow around here quite a lot!!!!

Saturday 15 January 2011

Good bye to my Ashford Traveller....

My Ashford Traveller Spinning Wheel was the first wheel I ever bought, some 20+ years ago and it has stood me in good stead for many years, that was until I bought my Lendrum Spinning Wheel about 10 years ago. Since then my Ashford has been languishing in the spare bedroom, protected from dust in it's case.
I hadn't intended to sell my Ashford wheel, but a chance conversation with a friend, who is learning to spin and her desire to buy a wheel. I decided to sell my wheel. So this summer we agreed a price and for her birthday and Christmas, family contributed towards her Spinning Wheel Fund.
Today she and her partner came for lunch and to collect her wheel. Whilst waiting for them to arrive, I decided to check out/spin the Ashford Traveller for one last time. I had forgotten what a dream this little wheel is to spin, and in some ways I'm sorry to see it go, but I know that it is going to a good home and it will be used and loved, in the same way I did when I first bought it all those years ago. Silly I know to be attached to a spinning wheel, but I learnt so much about spinning using this little versatile wheel.

Sunday 9 January 2011

Holly's new look

Holly has the type of coat that has a mind of it's own and despite my best efforts I can't keep it well groomed. So she (and Deefa) visit Ann their Doggy hair dresser on a regular basis, only with the bad weather Holly has gone a month longer than she should have done.

Shaggy dog Somewhere there are a pair of eyes on that face

One clean shaven dog

with a stick for a tail.
It may look a bit severe, but Holly is not bothered at all and she comes back from her visit to Ann a happy dog. Unlike Deefa, who, when I took him out of the car to pass him over to Ann, tried to hide behind me! (Holly nearly ran into the Salon) and had to be dragged into the salon, and I could hear him crying as I got into the car. When I went to pick them both up at lunch time, Deefa was still crying and he ran headlong into the car, on the other hand Holly allowed Ann to carry her to the car!
Today both dogs are back to normal, though Holly didn't seem to dawdle on her morning walk and Deefa is a little quiet as he's not got much of a voice. He is such a softie!

More wool dyeing

I've had the dyes out again
Salmon Pink - this time dyed for myself

Blue and Green

Not a brilliant photo, but this should be a golden yellow

Brown, yellow and green

My favourite, grey, pink & yellow

Sunday 2 January 2011

Now the clean up begins......

Up until this morning, the snow and ice had virtually disappeared, but we've had more snow today. But thankfully, over the last couple of days Tim has been able to make a start on removing some of the metal sheets that were once the barn roof.
The insurance loss adjuster came to see us on Wednesday, so now we can at least move on with the barn. We've started to look for companies that build steel barns and think about how much, or how little we want them to do. So far we're going to ask for companies to quote for (a) to supply barn only, (b)to supply and build, and (c) to erect barn only. It's going to a busy January ringing round.
It looks like some of our hedges have succumb to the weight of the snow, and yesterday I spent some part of the afternoon with loppers, cutting out the broken branches I could see. I'm sure more will appear over the coming months when we notice that there are no new buds appearing.
The animals are coping really well with the weather, the gimmers bouncing around and the ewes are starting to look slightly "round", especially the 2 Teeswaters that are due at the end of February.