I confess to being totally knackerd this weekend, it’s been a busy week altogether.
The lambs are still taking up lots of my time, I ordered in some wormer, who knew what a minefield that would be, mainly to worm stumpy who is still not progressing too well. In the week I decided to tube him, which meant pushing a tube down his throat and into his stomach to try and release the air that is causing him to bloat. It was much easier than I had anticipated thank goodness and although it did let out some air it was soon followed by the contents of his stomach! So the next step was to worm him in case it was a huge worm burden he was carrying, I can’t worm one without doing all the others and so they all had a dose even the two ewes and their lambs. The lambs were easy to do, the ewes not so much, resistance was futile however and we managed to get a dose down them as well as a bit of it over us. Next weekend the lambs are due to be weaned, that means total, sudden withdrawal of milk, should be a noisy few days. To prepare for this they have been on small amounts of hard feed and water alongside the milk but from now I will increase the hard feed available to ad lib, hopefully once the milk bar is empty after each feed they will move over to the feed, I hope they get the idea otherwise they will be going hungry. This will be make or break for Stumpy, he will either improve on hard feed and grass or continue to lag behind in which case there is nothing more we can do for him sadly. I have continued to spray, purple spray on their sores and it looks like the worst of it has passed, all except for Betty who has a large sore on her bottom lip that is pulling the lip down, it’s not infected though so that is a bonus. Frankie is doing well, although we gave up trying to catch his Mum to feed him, he has gone on to a bottle instead, the pasture they are on at the minute is poor and so Mabel’s milk should dry up gradually without problems, he still goes out into the field with them during the day and we bring him in at night because Mum is not very maternal and if there was a threat I doubt very much she would protect him, so until he is big enough not to look like a tasty snack for a fox he will come in to bed each night and go out again in the morning.
On the veg side of the farm, the weather still is not giving us very much to work with, the wind is still cold although the weeds have begun to appear and so the ground must be getting warmer. The seedlings in the poly tunnel are doing well and some potato shoots are beginning to show through, there are loads of flowers on the strawberry plants in there, mmmm can’t wait for those to develop. Outside, the asparagus is also starting to appear and the rhubarb is growing strongly, I have not checked the root veg seeds we planted yet as they are under fleece and I don’t want to let the cold in unless absolutely necessary. The greenhouses went on Thursday and the new poly tunnel arrived the same day so that was good timing. We have not started on the poly yet though as we have been busy doing other things plus it has been too windy, but that is a project I can get started on this week hopefully. We planted up a new bed in the week, well I say new bed, it is a bed that was already there but difficult to grow anything in as it is mostly clay. We decided to make it a permanent bed with a difference, we have planted patio fruit trees, cherry, dual pear and an apple that has red flesh, we also planted some black currant bushes and alpine strawberry plants. Two golden hops are at the back in pots and we will be putting in a Japanese honeysuckle, elderberry and a grape, the ground underneath will be left with beneficial weeds for the the bees, so we are calling it the birds, bees and beer bed. It will need some maintenance to keep the thistles out but not too much, at least, that’s the plan.
The completion of sale on our other house is set for 24 of May and we still have furniture there that will need to be stored so we have been taking out the walls of the caravan that used to be my Dads workshop. This weekend we have filled a skip full of junk that he hoarded over the years, I don’t think he ever threw anything away and it was interesting guessing what half the contraptions were. I spoke to him on Sunday and had to ask why he kept bucketfuls of bent rusty nails, for the scrapman, was his reply although he couldn’t have ever got round to taking them because there were at least 4 buckets of them all mixed in with perfectly useable new nails and bolts! We also went over to the other house to start tidying up the garden, that garden was mostly borders with a small veg patch and for a number of years we opened it up for charity, I used to spend hours and hours keeping it immaculate. Over the time it has been rented out the garden has become a little overgrown, I could never expect anyone to keep it the way I did, and now needs a little TLC before the new owners arrive, so we began to collect and tidy up and make use if the skip back at the farm.
We still have rats lurking around, one evening when I bought Frankie down for his last feed before bed, I spotted one out of the corner of my eye, since then I have filled and refilled the bait trap three times and each morning it has been empty. They are probably breeding at this time of year and so I need to get rid of them as soon as possible, the one in the roof is no longer there so that’s one victory at least. Over the last four years we have never seen any evidence if rats but this year they are living too close for comfort, I can only think that the wet has driven them closer to food sources which is why we are seeing them. The recycle bins seem to be an attractive area for them and so now I have started to wash everything before it leaves the kitchen, it’s great that the country recycles but does cause other problems.
The chooks, quail, cats, dogs and horses are all ambling along doing whatever it is they do best, plenty of eggs from the hens and the quail, the cats lazing around for most of the day, the dogs barking to let me know someone is around and the horses eating plenty of grass and making lots of poo! No sign of any foxes at the minute so everything is harmonious for the time being, just need the air temp to warm up and it would be a perfect farming life, lol.
We did let Rosie out the other week when it looked like Spring was here to stay but we have had to relight her, it was too cold and just a little bit damp in the evenings, I hope the weather warms up before we run out of wood, I don’t really want to buy a load in. She could run all year on a different set up but the kitchen gets much too warm when the sun is shinning in as well, I will just need to make the most of her while she is lit.
I thought I would take a photo or two of the veg garden before it gets growing and then one later in the year as a comparison, also one of the area where the greenhouses were and then one of the poly tunnel when it eventually goes up. Have a good week, the sun is supposed to shine although it will be accompanied buy some fresh winds, better make the most of what we get because we can’t change it 😉
I forgot to mention the willow cage we made that you can see in the photo, we cut down the willows and used the whips to make a cage to go over the dahlia bed to support the taller flowers as they usually flop all over the path, we were quite pleased with our efforts 🙂