Friday, 20 April 2012

A New Calf & New Courses

I was caught on the hop last weekend when Imogen produced her calf two weeks earlier than expected, but Mumbleys Bryony is just beautiful and loving being the centre of attention of both her mum and Susie the heifer, who can't quite work out where she came from and why she keeps checking her udders!

A gorgeous little Shetland calf, Bryony is even rarer still because she is a red & white Shetland.  The gene is recessive and quite a lot of inbreeding has been done in the past, so we were careful to find an excellent bull genetically and are thrilled with the result.  Sadly, we can't keep her unless we find another bull, but she will stay with us until she is old enough to leave Imogen.

For those of you still thinking about beekeeping, we have added two more courses to meet the huge demand, 14th July and 24th August, but the former already has two bookings, so dont leave it too long.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Hard at work having fun!
Oh heck, it really is a while since i blogged - tweeting is definitely the lazy person's blog and i'm not even that good at that!  We have had our first craft course, Rag Rugging, which was a fantastic success and i was only sorry that i wasn't on it myself as it looked fabulously creative.

Well, Easter has passed, the piglets have sold like hot cross buns, as have the lambs and some of the sheep, though they haven't all gone to their new homes yet, so there are still plenty to see. Once again, i am cutting back on the amount of livestock as the courses take up so much of my time, that i don't have time for breeding as well, which is a shame. There are still plenty left, including three boar piglets, Salami, Pastrami & Chorizo, who we are fattening up.

The bees loved the spell of hot weather at the end of March, but are no doubt as confused as the rest of us by the weather. There is rape growing in masses of fields around us, so as soon as the weather warms up again, they will be off, filling the hives with honey as fast as they can.  I have lots of new styles of hives which i am trialling, which is fascinating, including a polystyrene one and a purple octagon!
Take a break from logging
The first Volunteer Day was a great success and we got so much more done with so many hands, as well as consuming a large quantity of brownies and cherry cake. The next one is on 29th April when we will be limewashing, sorting out the sheep, planting veg and sowing a wildflower patch.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Piglets, piglets everywhere!

Bang on time, Crumble produced her piglets at high speed and luckily between 9.30 and 11.30am.  We have 11 lovely little ginger and black darlings, who are bundles of trouble!  Only four days old and they are charging around with enthusiasm, scratching on the corners of the blocks and biting each other's ears (which causes huge amounts of squealing!). 

They had a tough start as they were born on the coldest day of the winter and for the first two days found it hard to keep warm, even under the heat lamp.  They are amazingly intelligent and were returning to the heat lamp by the end of the first day. 

They don't stand still for long, but i think we have at least five gilts and they will be ready to go by the end of March and are ready to view now.  Be Warned - they are VERY cute!!

For more info or to come and view them contact me on

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Winter Update

Zooming around with the wind in her ears (Otter that is)
Winter is arriving slowly, thank goodness and i have only just started feeding the livestock.  We have haylage this year for the first time and it is very sweet smelling and the animals seem happy, but i dont really approve of all the plastic used to wrap it, but we have a rather shady patch of ground in this year's hay meadow and were persuaded to give it a try.  So long as we have a decent bit of warm dry weather next summer (ha!) we should be able to go back to hay as next year's hay meadow is sunnier.  Quad bike coming into its own again - best thing i ever bought - i spent one winter trudging across fields with bales in a wheelbarrow - no wonder my back is shot to bits!! 

Merry Christmas to all - back to blogging in the new year, though i might squeeze one in, so dont go away..........

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Susan the Heifer and other news...

Once again time flies and i have been full of good intentions to write this and sooo busy.  I am thrilled to say that i have put the finishing touches to the second layer of lime plaster on the strawbale building.  No offence to all the wonderful people who have helped me build it, but i have got the professionals in to do the final coat.  If nothing else to appease the grant people and the insurance company that it is all done properly!  Now i can think about paint colours inside and out and decorating ready for the courses next year - much more fun.  Next step is to get the log burner in.

Anyway, big news is that Plum is pregnant too i think - she wasted no more than a few seconds after getting off the trailer to persuade Walter (see previous blog) to do his stuff, so he was happy to see her!

More good news: I have not only got a lovely red and white Shetland heifer (with the rather odd name (for a cow) of Meadow Susan - henceforth to be known as Susie) to keep Imogen my wise old lady cow company, but have sold Jack the red and white bull to the same chap.  This will mean that Jack has a few more wives to keep him company - up to now he has had a couple of steers and a middle aged, pregnant cow (a bit limiting for one so young and opinionated!).  Even better news is that Imogen and Susie will be able to go for "a sleepover" every year as he is only in Worcestershire.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Feeding the Bees

With the warm weather lasting so long, i have had a chance to feed the bees a bit more.  Having taken all the honey from them in the spring and summer, we have to replace what is taken with sugar syrup.  As usual, i am behind in my jobs!

I had a phone call from some friends whose neighbours had a problem with a swarm of bees in their compost bin.  The swarming season is May to June, which gives the bees time to build up reserves for the winter.  A swarm in October stands little chance of making it through the winter, but i have given them some sugar syrup and can but hope....

Monday, 17 October 2011

The Final Straw

This is not a blog about the appalling service (or lack of it) we have had from BT residential broadband this week, though i am fuming.......

The last of the first coat goes on!
This weekend we finally put the last of the base coat on the inside of the strawbale building - thanks go to Gwen, Alice, Pablo, Jonathan, Cat, Julie, Chris, John, Melissa, Simon and Spence (and my Simon).

By the end of Sunday afternoon, we had also finished most of the second coat, which, thank goodness, proved to be ten times faster and easier to apply than the first, with a fabulously smooth finish.  (Those of you who have helped with the first coat in the past, will know how slow it is - well all that is a thing of the past and it is speedy speedy from now on, hooray. 

Planning the inaugural opening already!.....