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!.....

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Crumble goes for a Sleepover

It wasn't exactly love at first sight, although Walter was very interested, but if you look closely at the photo, you will see it was a bit of a threesome at first!  I took Crumble up the road to stay with a very handsome boar called Walter, but unfortunately he already had a visitor who didnt take kindly to the arrival of rival! 

Last year was the first time we went in for breeding pigs rather than just fattening them and as many of you will know, we ended up with 25 piglets between Plum and Crumble, with only one day between the litters.  Although we had no problems selling them, I have decided to spread the litters apart and have been lucky to a. find a boar close to and b. find one who likes the ladies to come to him!

Poor old Plum is a bit lonely on her own, but doesnt seem too bothered and we swop them over next month!  In the meantime, we wait with baited breath to hear what happens next (if anything - we kept two of Crumble's sons for fattening and one of them got in with them just before he left for "The Departure Lounge".  Hopefully he was just too young to do anything!).....