Sunday, 23 April 2017

A Busy Two Weeks

The last two weeks have been pretty full on. 
The early part of last week I took two lambs and a sheep to the abattoir, I worked a few days for customers, we pushed really hard with the patio (post and pictures to follow), the veg garden is being well looked after and the lambs have been coming thick and fast.
I'm having a much better time of it than last year, I'm not sure what that's down to. The weather has been amazing, the sheep seem in better condition, I'm better prepared & organised and I seem to be having a fair bit of luck on my side at the moment. 

That doesn't mean it's been plain sailing. I'm having to lamb a fair few ewes, yesterday morning I even had to get my bricklayer to hold the ewe whilst I lambed here, not what he was expecting to do when he turned up! Some of the lambs are quite big that I'm having to lamb, it's an issue with feeding as I don't know if they're carrying a single or twins so the sheep have the same amount of food. 
Not sure any sheep likes to see these two items come out...

Unfortunately the Easter holidays are over now so I'll be back to full time childcare from tomorrow and I've still got nine sheep left to lamb. This could mean some very tired school runs and a grumpy daddy, but hopefully it shouldn't be too bad. 
I'm currently assessing the flock before I go to bed at 11 and deciding when to get up based on what I see. Normally I get up and walk round them around 3 o'clock in the morning but if I see any signs of lambing then it could be two walk rounds, an earlier one and a later one (2 and 4) and dealing with anything that happens. If they lamb in the night I tend to take them up to that little shed in the one rented field and put them in a bonding pen for the night (if I've got the space) before letting them out in the morning. 
Wish me luck with the nine that are left! 

Friday, 21 April 2017

Pea Supports

Call me lazy but I lately I hate growing climbing plants. It's the extra effort of putting up the supports, tying them in and making sure they stay up. 
Trouble is there's lots of plants I want to grow that are not dwarf varieties. These two peas as are a good example, Bijou mange tout and a Latvian soup pea, both grow big and need good supports (seed bought form The Real Seed Catalogue) so a few sprigs of hazel weren't really going to cut it! 
I had a look a bout the place and found some lengths of concrete reinforcing bar about 8ft (2.4m) long. That was going to take some bending from the weight of a few peas! I had six lengths, perfect for two beds. 
Stood on one of my saw horses I knocked them in with a sledge hammer. I kept going until they were stood six feet out of the ground. 
Then with the aid of two young assistants I tied string every six inches up the bars (they held the string for me), I'm hoping this will prove strong enough for them, I've not grown climbing peas before, normally I stick to dwarf ones, so I've no idea how it will hold up.

What do you use for pea supports? 

How big do your climbing varieties get?

Do you think my supports will be strong enough or should I upgrade the string?

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Vlog Episode 4 - Homestead Tour

It's been a while since I did a video and with so much going on at the moment I thought it might be good to walk you all around some of the homestead. 
This video is just filmed as it is, very little editing except where I ran out of memory as I was looking at my beetroots! 
Let me know what you think and what you'd like to see in the next one and I'll try to include it. 
Or let me know if you'd like a video on anything in particular.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Major Tractor Mistake

Well two actually!
The other day I jumped off the tractor and my rather jumpy handbrake sprang off as I hit the ground. Luckily I manged to jump back on before it picked up too much speed and stop it. Made my heart beat a bit faster though I can tell you! 
The second mistake is going to cost a bit more. I opened the window on the tractor to throw my dad a knife and then without thinking picked up the forks on the back.
  I realised my mistake a second too late and tried to drop the hydraulics but they're not very responsive, there was a loud POP and glass went everywhere. 
To say I was a bit miffed off is an understatement. Dad just said it could have been him and it was an easy mistake to make, I said I wish it was him that did it! Never mind, just tricky to stop the chickens from roosting in there at night until I get it fixed! 

Also thought I'd just put this picture in at the end of dad coming back from casting his eye over my sheep with the girls all holding hands. Made me smile.

Anyone else broke a window in a silly way? 

Come on tell me your stories and make me feel better! 

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Lambing problems

I don't dare jinx it by saying things are going okay, but at the moment they don't seem too bad...
The lambs are coming steadily and seem healthy and happy, I've got one inside at the moment who is breathing funny but I've given some medicine and just waiting on that one. 

I have had a couple of tricky deliveries though. 
Both last night. 
One was breach and was coming out the wrong way. I spotted her just as the light was fading, one little hoof sticking out of her. I managed to trick her into a pen with some food before wrestling her to the ground, then I had to try to find the other leg inside her and pull the lamb out once I'd gotten both legs. Because the lamb is the worn way round once you start pull you need to be quick as it'll drown in there once the cord is broken. 
I've never had such a hard one to pull out before, he was huge. I had to put my foot on the ewe to get him out, poor thing. But once he was out I gave him a good rub and he seems fine. 

The second one was from some night time checks last night. I went out at 2am and could see a ewe had started lambing but looked unsettled. I couldn't get near her (a major disadvantage of lambing outside) so I decided to come back in two hours time and see if she'd had the lamb on her own. 

When I came out at 4 in the morning I was gutted to see her running about with just a head sticking out of her, looking all swollen. I thought it's dead for sure but I still need to get it out of her. 

Catching her was another story. I ran round for a bit but decided to get the quad bike out, I've no idea what the neighbours thought to me trying to round the sheep up at half four in the morning, I'm surprised the police didn't turn up in all honesty and do me for rustling!

After about fifteen minutes of her running round and the lambs head making a horrible noise as it slapped her legs as she ran I managed to catch her and pin her to the ground. The the difficult job of lambing her without letting her go! I managed to find a leg a little way back and pulled that and the head, two legs would have been better but the head had swollen and I thought there was no chance of getting that back inside her. Again it took some pulling out but when it came out I was really pleased to see it was still alive.

The ewe tried to bolt at the this point but I pinned her down and checked for any more lambs inside her. I pulled out the twin as well and left her to clean up the lambs as I put the quad bike away. 

By this time I was too fired up to go straight to bed so I thought I'd go and check on them and spray their bellies, it's a good job I did as the one lamb had got up, stumbled ten feet and fell down into the brook, holding it's head just above the water! I rushed in and got it out and then took them up into one of my bonding pens in the small shed I borrow for this month. Rubbed down with hay and making sure they had some milk I then went back to the house. 

It was 5.45 and I wasn't sure if it was worth going back to bed or not! 
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