Tuesday, 10 July 2018

A Bit Of Spending

To run a smallholding you need to spend money and if you want to do it on a shoestring you need an army of volunteer helpers.
We dont have the army of people, we get visitors but then they are here on holiday so 99% of the work falls to me and Martin.
We dont mind after all  this is our lifestyle choice.
Here are some recent purchases
 We got a baler old but working it will do us fine, I have managed to download a manual off the internet.
 This is a windrow, it puts all the dry cut grass in a row for the baler to along and pick up.
 This is a tedder it tosses and turns the cut grass to help it dry ready for baling
 a crane that works off the tractor its surprising how many times we need to lift really heavy things and if there is just you two oldies it can be a struggle.
 A field roller we were looking for one earlier this year to flatten the ruts in the ground were the buffalo had been grazing and couldnt find one, then when Martin went to see the baler the fella also had a field roller, good result.
 Cattle crush, we have had to buy this in new as we needed an extra wide one for the buffalo to get in even extra wide is going to be a squeeze for them, but vets dont like to treat or do TB testing on them without the restrains of a crush, one swing of those horned heads could cause some damage. 
I dont blame the vets one bit, animals are unpredictable and sick or injured animals are even worse. 
So its been a few weeks of spending but its all needed
Martin has been out since early this morning before the sun breaks through and heats things up, cutting the field we to take hay off.


Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Garden Visit

I forgot to post June plant of the month
Well here it is 
 Saxifraga Stolnifera Maroon Beauty.
 Another plant for the shady corner
 With lots of new baby plantlets growing.
Here are the details Saxifraga 
Parts of the garden are struggling with the heat and lack of rain,
but some parts are blooming 
 The shady corner is doing well
 I love this Clematis and the plants growing over the edges of the steps leading down to the cabin
 This poor border is in desperate need of rain, I think it has been 7 weeks now since we had any.
 This rambling rose was here when we moved in, a lovely splash of colour in an otherwise dull corner.
The baskets are blooming well and the window boxes are just starting.

There has been a couple of new additions to the garden
here are a couple of videos to show them.

and another 

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Sun, Water and Solar.

Using The Sun 
We have no shortage of it at the moment although I would love us to have good day of rain.

The dogs are being sensible staying in the cool of the kitchen Tess likes to stretch out in front of the fan, Sol lies in the long grass in the shade of the house, the other livestock tend to stay in the shade very sensible.
 There is plenty of tree shade around, 
This has been the temperature 6pm in the evening, a change in routine has taken place, we are up at 5am all animal chores are done early, including poly tunnels, garden, foraging for the goats I can then be indoors by 10am before the heat gets to much, I dont venture outside much again until 4pm and we get finished at about 9pm with dinner outside, 
The Rayburn has been out and we cook outside on the BBQ, fire pit or I cook dinners in the electric pressure cooker, of course lots of salads are on the table as well.
The Rayburn heats our water as well, we have an electric shower so thats not a issue and the washing machine works on a cold fill.

I have been putting the solar kettle to use, I got this about 10 years ago and it has paid for itself many times over
 It takes about 45mins from cold
 To reach boiling point
I put boiling water into the thermal jugs and we use it for washing up, also for a cuppa. We are getting more than enough boiling water for our needs.

 Water is a bit of an issue at the moment
 We have 19 IBC tanks that are used for rain water collection that is used in the poly tunnels and for the livestock,
 each tank holds 1,000 lt, 
We have just had our water bill in for the last 6 months £49 cant complain at that.
we bought in extra ones this year and now all but 1tank has run dry, this means a lot of hauling water for the animals 3 times a day, we got a couple of extra hoses and have re filled the tanks for the animals from our mains supply, and moving water to the far end fields with the water pump fixed up to the generator.

A bit of equipment we invested in earlier this year that has also proved to be a worthwhile investment. 
Even I can use it. 
The remaining tank we have I have been using for the poly tunnels but that will run dry after this week end, I do watering in the evening and only do it twice a week for the things in the ground using half a tank for each tunnel. 
The solar powered fan I got the poly tunnel has been running every day and want to get one for the other tunnel now.
Now the sweet corn is forming it needs pollinating and the fan is doing a great job creating a breeze through the tunnel. 
The forecast for the next week more sunshine. 


Tuesday, 19 June 2018

The Milky Bar Kids

Those kids grow fast and become more bouncy with it
 I spend time almost every day, collecting branches and forage to decorate the climbing frame, this way the kids learn to climb building up there muscles and balance skills along with problem solving.
This time of year fresh foraged greens are a major part of there diet as well as the mamma's, they need to make the most of it before winter returns and fresh forage is sparse.
 Now the kids are less dependent on there mums we can now separate them at night, much to the relief of the mums, they never have objections to there youngsters being put behind bars at night, I am sure they secretly sigh and think at last peace and quiet.
 The start of the weaning process opens up the milk bar for us, we never take off milk until we start weaning. 
over winter the milking machine was given a god service, new pipes and a new milking cluster.

 As Enid has come into milk she was also put up on the milking stand, she was fine about it
A little twitchy when the cluster went on but she has now got use to it, she isn't producing as much as the mamas who have kidded, we get about a pint off her.

We only milk in the morning and are getting 7-8 pints a day. 
Looks like I will have to get making some dairy products again. 

Thursday, 14 June 2018

The Wooly Gang

Sheep are crafty little so and so's and always scheming, I also find them very noisy when they see you they holler for attention.
The day that little compost hatched the sheep were planning a surprise too, this time it was Tuffty, so called because she has a tufty Mohican on her forehead.
Here she is can you see what she has done
No here is another photo 
Now you can see the fluffy cowpat in the grass
Yes Tuffty produced a surprise lamb, I went to do the morning feed round and this is what I discovered
Little lamb arrived during the night was already up and feeding and dry and clean.
Tuffty was a first timer and managed all by herself, she was now behaving very smug about the whole thing.
and being the proud mum she showed off her daughter to the other half of the woolly gang who live in the next field.
One of the reasons for getting Hebridean sheep is they come into season in November and you can have a ram run with them all year, I don't think ours read the book properly or someone was  playing hooky from school that day.
Then there is Miss Hairy Chest
 Like a few of the ladies she decided to undress but she wasn't being elegant about it, she unzipped her fleece down the back and was trailing it everywhere, I took her in hand and plucked her I couldn't get round to her chest area as I was holding her by her handlebar horns at the time.
 She just had to sport a hairy chest until shearing.
Which took place a couple of days ago.
 Starting with Randy the Ram
Of course we made another discovery during shearing although, I had a suspicion, 
Tuffty wasn't the only one who played hooky from sheep school that day.
This young lady having a pee is bagging up and due to deliver any day.
 Randy who is pictured here has a lot to answer for, we now know what he was up to during that cold snap we had. 
The rest of the woolly gang got sheared the other day too
here is a short video of Odd Job being sheared watched over by the others. 
 They also have there teeth filed down if needed and a pedicure.
 And the result after
 Pipe Cleaner Alpacas.
The others are at the back of field lining up for a roll in the dust bath.