Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Getting the lambs ready for a journey

Monday 14th November 2016
Boris was a bit under the weather today. I think he got stung by nettles yesterday. Arthur and I stayed in and looked after him.
Tuesday 15th November
It's a time of clearing and preparing the soil for next year. I never get this achieved when I'd like to in late autumn and then the ground usually becomes too wet to work except when there is a heavy frost.
But this year the ground is, for the moment, drier. Anticipating removing a lot of dead and dying foliage, I decided to turn all the compost heaps today and to move any well-matured compost from the bottom of the heaps and place it on next year's potato beds for the worms to work in to the soil.
This was a pretty big job, but it was a good day for it.

Came across a couple of dead rats in the compost heaps.
Good to know the poison is working.
There aren't many around, but they have been more persistent than usual this year.

Boris stayed inside for the morning, but Arthur kept by my side until he rediscovered the joys of digging for voles. After lunch Boris came out and between them they managed to catch one.

Darkness comes soon at this time of year. We'll get the peg loom out soon to pass away the long winter evenings. But today there was international football to watch - that was until we really were plunged into the past when the electricity went off. It made a couple of attempts to come back, but I missed most of the goals. It made me think about what people did in the past. Winter must have been a lot harder than it is now.

You can just make out the lapwing flock as it wheels round over the distant copse.
Thursday 17th November 2016
It was nice to see a sizeable flock of lapwings wheeling around the fields today. As they turned back into the sun they gleamed white. It must have taken at least ten minutes before they finally decided it was safe to land.

Friday 18th November 2016
A forage around the garden to find the ingredients for a couple of cauldrons of soup. The leek plants are looking good and there is a whole bed of self-seeded parsley which brightens the place up at this time of year. So a leek and potato soup was definitely on the cards. The Grow-Your-Own group are round tomorrow evening, so I'll use the opportunity to use up some pumpkin too. The sage has thrived this year so a Pumpkin and Sage soup should do the trick.

Saturday 19th November 2016
A welcome significant frost and a reminder to turn as much of the soil as possible so the frost can get in and kill off some of the nasties.

The evening gathering went very well and we managed to come up with some exciting plans for 2017. More about those later.

Sunday 20th November 2016
Main job today was to worm the four sheep in the top paddock and to get ear tags in the two Shetlands which are going off next week. The wormer is just a precaution, but it has a six day withdrawal period on the meat (the minimum period between administering the medication and slaughter) so needed to be done today.
The two Shetland lambs were born and reared on the farm and have always been pretty tame as far as Shetlands go. The two commercials were cade lambs from the rare breeds farm and have been interacting with humans all their lives. So getting them penned was easy. We draw the hurdles in around them until they are pretty much pinned in. This makes administering drugs (just a liquid which is syringed into their mouths) and putting in ear tags very easy. Most importantly it's efficient, stress-free for us and the sheep.
With the ground turning sticky the commercial ewe who's been up here all the time had picked up a large clod of mud between her toes which was causing her to limp a little. This was a good opportunity to remove it - there was actually a stone inside it - and she is much happier now.

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