Wednesday, 28 October 2020

It’s Getting Very Tedious

 Yes we are back in lockdown here in Wales, it’s becoming very tedious every time you start getting some normality back in your life they snatch it away, considering we have such low numbers in Wales it makes no sense. 

Before lock down we started taking Paige and Mia back out the beach, 

It was great being out with them but of course now we can’t go.

We have just been through this years round of TB testing

All went well and we passed, we had the females scanned for pregnancy but only scanned in calf, we will repeat in December.

The light Sussex pulleys are all now laying like it’s going out of fashion, and the silly turkey has got her seasons mixed up and has also come into lay.

On the subject of chickens, we have started culling the Light Sussex cockerels

There weights are not to bad, and they there is a lot of meat compared to bone, not as much as the Ross Cobbs and I think come next spring we will raise some more Ross Cobbs to bulk out our meat.

We made the descion to sell all the Hebridean ewes, we had a flock of 26 and we needed the land for the Buffalo, the last of the ewes went last week end, we still have the rams, there for the freezer this year and three for next year, we may just go down the route of raising a few bottle lambs for our own use. We will see. 
Elvis our Boer Billy is back from his holidays, he was away with some ladies.
Now he is back he is in with our ladies 

He is a big fella, but as gentle as a lamb.

Thank you for all the messages after the loss of of our beloved Tess, 
She is so missed, 
She was a big part of our life here, her legs went completely and we were having to help her up all the time and the crunch came when her front legs went and she couldn’t even get up for a drink of water, we think she had a stroke as when we found her in the morning she was in a bit of a state, so we took her straight to the vet and said good bye. 
They allowed us to be with her, and she went to sleep for the final time in the one place she really loved in the back of the car on my knee. 
We cannot thank our vets enough for the kindness and compassion they showed to Tess and to us. 

She is now laid to rest up in the woodland field beside Sol and Kara and her place is marked with a Sweet Chestnut tree.

Sunday, 18 October 2020

Goodbye Tess Sweet Dreams

 The time came to say goodbye to Tess it was heart wrenching, Tess was my dog, my shadow my friend, now there is a big empty hole that my little chocolate pudding use to fill. 14 years old was a good age, 4 years she had been at my side but it was like she had been there forever. 

Sunday, 6 September 2020

Did We Have An August


I don’t really recall the transition into August and then September, I just feel like time is so unimportant to me these days that I don’t notice it. It’s like the clock on the wall it is unimportant, the animals are very good at letting us know when it’s time for feeds, the seasons tell us what we should be doing.

BankHoliday we set up the marquee, and welcomed a collection of family and friends to join us for a lamb spit roast, the whole day was done in accordance to Welsh Goverment COVID guidelines, plenty of social distancing, no fingers in food we bought loads of tongs, disposable compostable table wear, we got to catch up with family who we haven’t seen at all this year, and I got to meet my great granddaughters 

While the marquee was in place I put it to use and ran a food preserving taster day for a group of local ladies

We had a great day smoking cheese and garlic

Steam juice extracting grapes that I picked from the poly tunnel

Canning kidney beans

Dehydrating a selection of things that are to be used for our fruit and herb tea blending day

We sent a buffalo off early on in August and we have just got the meat back from the butchers

Our second buffalo went last week, 
We are dispersing the sheep

We need the land for the buffalo, so the sheep have to, we still have 3 rams to cull this year and we will keep on this years 3 ram lambs for meat next year, half the ewes have now gone.

Tess, Paige and Mia have enjoyed trips to the river, we have stayed away the beaches as they have become tourist magnets.
All in all we have just carried on with life, what ever is happening else were has little effect on us. 
I think winter will be interesting, coughs, colds, flu and Covid.
Hope everyone out there is staying safe. 

Sunday, 19 July 2020

May To July

How did that happen suddenly it’s July, although I will admit things have been a tad busy here as always.
Every time I think I must write a new post my time gets snatched away with something else.
It seems most people during lockdown have had lots of time on there hands it hasn’t happened like that for us, in fact lockdown hasn’t really changed anything apart from not going out to do craft fairs, on that subject I am thinking I won’t be returning to the craft fairs and if I do it might just be a couple of big events next year.
I have started setting up an online shop we’re I have been selling lots of my makes, still more to list.
We have been doing all the usual stuff Shearing Alpacas and sheep has been done, Buffalo have calved, ducks have been hatched, pigs being raised for the freezer, new goat kids, started milking again.
Poly tunnels have been busy.
Something new we have been trying is drying buffalo dung pats to use on the fire during winter

We gather up and lay them out courgated sheeting to dry, once dry they are very light weight no smell and burn really well giving off a good heat, the idea came from Martins trips to Nepal Up in the mountains, were they dry Yak dung for cooking and heating As there isn’t a supply of wood readily available.
We have also been trying out a home made log kiln.

The frame is built from scaffold tubes as we have access to those,  it has metal sheeting painted black on the roof, sloping south, we have used heras fence panels for the sides and front, the logs are all stacked in from the back and raised off the ground on a wire floor.
Air circulation is important this set up helps season the wood quicker reducing the moisture content, now instead of waiting a year or more until its ready to burn we can have logs cut during the year ready for winter, Martin checks the moisture content with a probe thingy and when the logs are ready they are moved to the log store. The whole set us has worked really well for us.
Something else we are trying 

Making our own mini silage bales , areas of grass we cut and scythe we bag up all the cuttings into black sacks and wrap them with silage wrap, we hope this winter this will help supplement animal feed.
Back in April /May I had a clear out of flower seeds mixed them up together and scattered them along a section of the field I use to grow animal feed 

There is a good mix of poppies corn flower larkspur and lots of other all now flowering, they will be left to self seed and I hope we will have a nice wild section for years to come. 
Martin has back in hospital for what we hope is the final operation on his shoulder, he has been battling with a constant infection since his first operation back in December, they have now removed a foreign object and we hope things now just move on and we can put all this behind us. He has been very poorly with it all and it has made things difficult here at times.
We have some big changes afoot here, I will post more on them at a later date when things are in place, but I can say we have decided the sheep are to go we are up to a flock of 26 we are selling off the ewes and will just keep this years lamb rams for the freezer and will just get in a couple of bottle lambs to raise each year. 
Lots going on lots of changes here at Stickle Tarn.

Sunday, 3 May 2020

Time Is Flying

Even during lockdown time is flying by, I haven’t left the smallholding for 8 weeks now and don’t feel like I want to go back out there in the big wide world.
There is always so much to do and never enough hours in the day, although I am looking forward to hubby and grandson returning to work and having the place to myself.
There has been more new additions since my last post.
My great granddaughters made a very early appearance, obviously in a rush join the family

Hope and Lily arrived 11 weeks early eight games in at 3lb 5ozs and 2lb 9ozs, 

Mum and babies are doing fine after a few days in NICU they moved into high dependency, they are now breathing unassisted and now moved into the nursery.
They are now 16 days old, were does the time go, we hope they will be home in a few weeks and as soon as lock down is over the family can get together and celebrate there arrival.
We have now finished lambing, 12 lambs all arrived unassisted, fine and healthy, all lambed outside.
The boys have been ringed and the girls are all wearing earrings
We also had arrive 
A lovely set of twins from Thelma and our billy Elvis, we are still waiting on the arrival of more kids.
We have been sending Enid goat and the two little female runts from last year round next door to help clear a yard, they have to earn there keep.
They are brought back at tea time
They were all suppose to be going to a new home then the lockdown started and they are still with us but hope to move them on soon.
The usual growing is going on in the poly tunnels, buffalos are being strip grazed so being moved every few days onto fresh grazing, Turkeys have been moved to a new home up by the goats as the men folk had issues with Stanley attacking them, the little chicks are all feathered up and moved to a chicken house and run in the poultry area, and we are getting ready for some piglets to join us in the next couple of weeks.
Grandson had a lockdown birthday
So there is plenty going on, so glad we are here and not in a town, hope you are all keeping safe and bearing up under the current situation. 

Saturday, 11 April 2020

Spring Additions

It’s so glorious you wouldn’t believe it’s only April, I do wonder if the fantastic weather is the result of lower pollution levels with the lock down or is it just coincidence.
We had a lovely new arrival 

Lavender presented us with a son, 
This is Boris son of Johnny and what a little smasher he is.
As he was arriving into the world on the other side of the fence we had a ewe delivering twins.
We still have four more ewes to deliver, we have had lots of lambs this week.
The garden shed got an unplanned spring clean,  I was looking for an attachment that eluded me in the shed and in desperation the whole shed got emptied
It gave me chance to go through everything, de clutter pass on to others what I didn’t need.
Then re organise the whole shed making it easier to negotiate and find things
Plenty of space and the tools are easy to get to, the old wooden units that were damp and warped gone on the bonfire replaced with plastic storage units that have been in storage.
And yes I found what I was looking for.

I have been de cluttering seed packets as well, I have sold a lot on my little stand at the end of the drive, I have been mixing up seeds with some wild flower seeds I have and they have been scattered in a cleared strip in the field it will be lovely if some of them come up.
On the little stand Alpaca poo and herb plants have been this weeks best sellers, we did end up with a wait list for Alpaca poo.
In the veg garden growing area I am setting up new additional grow beds 
A couple of the beds are for growing on natural dye plants,
I have started som Japanese Indigo from seed and bought in. Madder and Woad plant to start things off.
Other new beds as for growing on herbs I have been asked by a local restaurant to supply them with fresh herbs and edible flowers.
Last Year I had a go at growing Gourds for crafting with.

They grew really well in the poly tunnel and the whole effect of them growing up the supports and hanging down was fantastic.
They were harvested in Autumn when the leaves started dying off, 
Everything I read about the drying off said to just leave them a mould will grow over them and the skins would harden, 
Winter is damp in wales and I had doubts they would dry off, above the log store Martin put in a mezzanine floor for me to store fleeces up there, so I laid out the gourds and left them for the winter
 Got them down the other day, all covered in mould and yes under all that mould is a nice hard skin.

Now I am just cleaning them up ready for decorating, I am so impressed with them, I have now got more seeds sown for growing on this year.
We have enjoyed a few treats this week
Home made cream teas, 
Lots of BBQ
Hope you are all staying safe and have managed to enjoy some of the good weather