Saturday, 21 April 2018

Buffalos On Parade & What Is It ?

Yesterday was a big day for the Water Buffalo Mamas to be, 

 In readiness Petunia decided she needed a mud bath and wallowed the morning away waiting for the gate to be opened 
Here is a video of the being let out.
 Then it was all ready Martin had moved all the electric fencing to enclose the field next door for them to graze, all winter we have been strip grazing, now they will stay were they are until they have calved.
plenty of spring grass for them

 They really enjoyed this new freedom

 And marched around the field checking it all out.

 We did get them a haylage bale to try out and put it inside one of those ring things

We are waiting for one to arrive for Frasier and Johnny at the moment they are happy to lounge around in there haylage bale and use it as a sun bed.
Now what is it 
 Martin has been putting something up
 In the adjoining corners of Buffalo fields, Alpaca fields and Sheep field. 
What is he building ?


Saturday, 14 April 2018

Lots Ticked Off The List

It has been a great start to the year with lots of projects and jobs getting ticked off the list, it makes wonder what I am going to do with myself the rest of the year.
 The aquaponics system is now in place filled with water and running, new paths have been put down in the poly tunnel
 Martin had a helper when moving the slabs.
 With the slabs down I could get to work on the growing areas, there is another behind the tank.
 young seedlings have gone into the aquaponics grow bed
 Goldfish have been added to help kick start the system before we add edible fish.
Here is a video showing it all working, sorry not brilliant sound quality. 

My garden shed had a bit of a battering during the last storms, part of the roof was ripped off and windows broken the whole shed flooded 
 New heavy duty roof gone on
 windows repaired and a coat of preservative.
The shed got emptied and a load of stuff went on the bonfire
the lovely weather has meant I could have the doors open to dry it out and have a reorganising session.  
 I have checked the beehive that I moved the bees into, lots of activity so it looks like a success, I will open it during the week and have a good check over what is going on.
 Last night the goat mamas were given a pedicure all ready for kidding, Thelma at the back is due in about a week, followed by Connie at the front and Helen in the middle, Enid who is just out of camera has settled in well and is not in kid. We have to get some kidding pens set up in readiness now.
The stray sheep on our land produced another lamb, the owner collected the sheep the other day so the sheep saga is over. 
It was not a good ending but I am not discussing it on here.
So all major projects on my list are just about complete looking forward to enjoying some of the good weather coming this week.

Monday, 9 April 2018

Fuel For The Future

Our log supply may be looking very healthy at the moment as we have been doing a lot of clearing of hedgerows, but we are aware it wont last forever, we have enough logs perhaps for 3 years.

A bit of forward planning is needed if we don't want to be buying in logs. We are dependent on logs, for heating hot water and cooking. 
Last year I had a day out at Llamas Eco Village and was impressed with the willow copse grown for bio fuel on the smallholding I toured.

 Later in the year I went to an open day at West Wales Willows
I know Justine and Alan and they are neighbours.
Had a good look at the willow growing for bio fuel and ordered a start up package delivery when they do there cutting in the winter.
The willow was delayed the winter freezing conditions delayed things, any way Alan brought my packaged over, the black plastic for planting through, pegs and 180 willow cuttings. 
3 variety's of willow A9 Viminalis, Surge and Nini 60 of each

plastic sheeting down, it is going to be covered with wood chip something else we have an abundance of 
 It did involve lots of crawling around and measuring out, the willow is planted 1m apart.
We now have it all planted up another big project ticked off the list.

The willow will be cut back to three stems, the whips we take off can be used for cuttings for the next section to be planted, the process will be repeated the following year, in total we will have 3 lots of willow planted up all at various stages of growing, the third year we should have  our first lot of willow ready to cut for fuel, left to season for a year ready to use as the second area is ready cutting and on it goes cutting on rotation for as many years as we want.  We can also cut the thinning's in leaf and use them for goat feed.
Now we wait for it to grow.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

A Couple Of New Faces On The Block

Like lots of smallholders and farmers we are starting to lamb 
 This little fella put in an appearance over the Easter week end
 He is a good size and was on his feet and feeding very quickly,
I got him moved with mum into the next field
 He is a very hansom chappie 
It all started with this sheep
 I spotted her in th top field lambing, she didnt even look pregnant, I got her taken down to the small paddock and watched her, after a few hours she produced a very undeveloped lamb, I had the vet out to check her over and he said her condition was too poor to carry a pregnancy, these are the stray sheep, Animal Health are now involved and are building a case against the owner. In the meantime 
We have gone through all the sheep, pulled out any that look pregnant, returned the others to the top field, trying to feed up and keep an eye on the rest, checking every 3-4 hours as we know they are due but dont know when or how many they are carrying, we have 10 left to go. 
Another new face is 
 Enid is about 4 years old and came to us from friends who had tried to home her and it didnt work out.
Enid has not lived with goats before and spent her life in a small stall going for occasional walks.
 Enid has been with us a couple of weeks and is slowly learning goat life, we hope this Autumn to put her to a billy.
Speaking of which Thelma, Connie and Helen are all getting wider and bulging out at the sides, kids due end of April start of May.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

What Are They Up To Now ?

If our neighbours overlooked us or passer by's could see that is what they would have been asking yesterday 
 A project with an IBC tank, Martin went and picked up a couple of them yesterday, we needed one for water over in the calves field.
 The other was was dismantled down with the help of Sol and Tess
 The metal surround cage had to be cut down
 With the angle grinder to a specific size
 Once the base was separate it was all taking shape
 Next the tank had to be marked and cut apart
 Some one was in the naughty corner, once the base was cut off the tank Tess was in it like a shot trying to lick it out, 
It contained food grade almond oil before and she ended up covered in it. 
It was all given a scrub out with hot soapy water over in the veg area away from Tess.
So what's it all for ?
This all being put together to make up an Aquaponics system that we hope to introduce Brown Trout and Crayfish, a lovely addition to our table.
Aquaponics basically is you have a holding tank for your fish the water is pumped up into a grow bed filled with gravel were you grow plants in a soil less system the plants take there nutrients from the water cleaning it before its returned to the fish as clean water. Giving you a system to raise fish and vegetables for the table.
The next stage  is to add the pipe work we are popping into town today to pick it up, I am also waiting for a delivery of the expanding clay pebbles and the pump.
The system is going to set up in the poly tunnel, if it works well we can add another system to it.
 I have dabbled with small aquaponic systems over the years and done a lot of reading up and collecting information, before we moved here we both went to see a set up in Weston Super Mare and that is what really sparked an interest in it.
here is a  video of a very small system I put together before we moved here.
I am looking forward to getting it all running now 👩