Saturday, 31 July 2021

Horn trimming

 

Perky had his horns trimmed this week. One was heading to being in-growing if it wasn't cut. He is now looking as elegant as usual.



Thursday, 29 July 2021

Bath time

 


4 ducklings hatched in our incubator recently. We added them to the duckling run where they were adopted by the slightly older ducklings we got a few weeks ago. As you can see, they rather like bathing together in the seed tray we use as a water bowl. They have a paddling pool as well which we use as a duck pond.

Cod!

 


A friend has been fishing in the Shetlands. He caught this rather nice cod and has now swapped it with me. I will be providing jams etc in return. It's rather nice to have fish back in our diet. We have so little of it now as the two people we previously traded with for fish are no longer in a position to go fishing.

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Gooseberry and raspberry gins

 


It's not just jam we've been making with our gooseberries and raspberries. We've been making fruit liqueurs as well.

Gooseberry and raspberry jam

 


Plenty of gooseberries and raspberries to pick at the moment. They go well together as a jam. The gooseberries supply tartness and pectin while the raspberries supply the sweetness. I made 16 jars the other day.

Goat food glut

 


Lots of hedges in our area are being cut at the moment and people are giving us their hedge trimmings to feed to the goats. We have an enormous glut but the goats will be feasting for some days to come.

Dinner tonight!


We are having a duck egg and goat cheese flan for dinner tonight. Home produced and home made. Yum!


Friday, 16 July 2021

Self-sufficient salad

 


A rather pleasant salad for lunch recently and most ingredients were home produced: potatoes, quail eggs. lettuce, herbs and goat cheese. The mayonnaise sadly came out of a bottle purchased in the local supermarket.

Making butter

 


Now that we are milking the goat, we are able to make butter from the cream. And Mabel's milk has lots of cream in it!

Saturday, 10 July 2021

Milking Mabel

 

Mabel is now producing far more milk than her baby needs so we are milking her to take off the surplus.

Friday, 9 July 2021

Slow move forward to a sloe crop

 


It has been years since we have had a decent crop of sloes but I spotted a blackthorn in a local hedgerow recently which had lots of fruit on it. Not yet ripe but it could be that we are heading for a decent crop this autumn. Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, 6 July 2021

The baby is named

 


Our new Anglo-Nubian billy kid has now been named. We asked local residents to come up with names and we would choose the best. We chose one with an Egyptian theme (the Nubian desert is partly in Egypt). To find out the new name, click on the video!

Is she or isn't she


Over the winter, our Anglo-Nubian nanny, Bubble, was in with Perky, one of our billy goats. She did not get pregnant. But more recently she has been in with Sunny, our other billy. And now there are signs she may be pregnant. We are not entirely sure, but we are hopeful. We are keeping an eye on her. We'll keep you updated.


Saturday, 19 June 2021

New duties for our nannies

 


We have moved 3 of our nanny goats to an overgrown paddock on the edge of our smallholding. They have a new task to perform. They are to eat all the grass and weeds. What a tough life!

Friday, 18 June 2021

New arrival

 


Mabel, the British Alpine goat we bought in April, had her baby last night. We had no information on the breed of the father but the moment I saw the kid, I could see that Dad was an Anglo-Nubian. The kid is a billy and this time, that's good news for us. We need an Anglo-Nubian billy for Bubble, our Anglo-Nubian nanny who so far has not fallen pregnant to our two other billies (which are Saanen crosses). We bought Bubble because she is from a milking breed so no pregnancy means no milk. Mabel's baby will hopefully solve that problem when he grows up.



Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Toad of Toad Hall


We have found our first toad on the smallholding - a toad. It was under some wood which we moved to create a temporary gate. We are delighted to have them around. They eat the bugs that would otherwise eat our crops.


The pigs have arrived - the video

 


I shot this video when my friend Steve's weaners arrived. Sadly I wasn't there to film their actual arrival when one of the pigs escaped and ran around the sheep field!

Monday, 14 June 2021

Sheep sheering - the video

 

We filmed this on the day we first attempted to shear the sheep. We got one sheep done. The others had to wait.

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Repairing the goathouse

 


Last month we had much more rain than usual. The result was a flooded goathouse. To avoid a repeat, we took up the paving stones on the floor, put down a thick layer of recycled gravel and relaid the paving stones. The result: a dry goathouse!

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Our first attempt at sheep shearing

 


We turned our hand to sheep shearing today. As a first ever attempt it wasn't too bad though I doubt we will win any sheep shearing competitions. Ethel however was pleased to be rid of her heavy winter coat. We will shear the other sheep on Thursday.

Monday, 31 May 2021

New chicks


 Our first chicks of the year hatched over the weekend. All 7 have been adopted by a mother hen.


Wednesday, 26 May 2021

Visitors


 Every day we are visited by a pheasant and his crow friends to eat the leftover sheep feed!


Thursday, 20 May 2021

First hatchlings of the year


Our first hatchlings this year came in the form of ducklings. We have previously hatched ducklings in our incubator. This was the first time we have had a duck go broody and sit of the eggs. Mum and her 5 babies (one more than the 4 in the photo!) are now in a separate run and are doing well.


Friday, 30 April 2021

Keeping the home fire burning


April has been rather odd as far as the weather is concerned. Sunny and dry through the day, very cold and dry through the night. It's been great for charging up the battery from the solar panels. But the cold has required us to bring the stove back into use to heat the house. Our cat was happy with that! 


Monday, 26 April 2021

Babies at last!


 Our 2 Texel sheep lambed in February. And then we waited for Madge, our Suffolk, to give birth. And we waited some more, and kept waiting......

The waiting came to an end yesterday. Madge had 2 babies, both girls.


Saturday, 13 March 2021

Donating 2 goats


 Last month we donated the two small goats, Sooty and Sweep, to a charitable organisation just a couple of km from where we live. They run outdoor educational activities for children, especially those needing extra help. The two goats were hand raised by us so they are very friendly and used to being handled by people. The video above was filmed on the day we moved them.


Friday, 12 March 2021

Our first lambs


We are new to sheep keeping but this video was filmed on the day in February when our first lambs were born. Ethel had three babies but one did not survive the birth.

Monday, 8 March 2021

Digging up artichokes


We have one crop from last year that is still being harvested: Jerusalem artichokes. I dug up another sack of them yesterday. Great in soups, veggie curries, gratin and especially lovely when roasted.


Our first lambs


We now have three lambs! Ethel and Dot have had their babies. Alas, they are all tups so we won't be keeping any. One sheep is still waiting to give birth. Madge is looking large and hopefully will have at least one ewe. Fingers crossed.


Thursday, 25 February 2021

New kids

 


Three kids were born this month, all females. Two were to new mums and sadly neither knew what to do and showed no interest in their babies. We are raising them by hand. They are pictured above. We've named them Janie and Dolly. Until a couple of days ago we were keeping them in the house at night and taking them through the day to be with the adults.

Spot, our older nanny, has, as usual, been a great mum for her baby Seren. No need to hand raise her.

Shreddies


We are needing bedding, especially for the chickens. They continue to be confined to their henhouses and runs while the restrictions remain in place to control avian flu. SO we are going through all the papers we have in the house to decide whether or not we need to keep them. If they are no longer needed, they are shredded and taken to the henhouses. My completed sudoku fell victim to this last week. 


Wednesday, 3 February 2021

New arrivals

 

We had our first baby of the year born yesterday. Jolene, one of our nannies gave birth to Dolly who, unfortunately, she rejected. We are now raising her by hand. This was Jolene's first birth.

Today, Spot, our oldest and most experienced nanny, gave birth to a boy and a girl. They don't have names yet.


Thursday, 28 January 2021

Sunrise over the smallholding


We've been doing some early starts this week to check on the sheep and, especially on one in particular (Ethel) who was unwell last week but is now well on the way to full recovery. The early start meant we experienced this great sunrise at 7.45am on Tuesday.


Monday, 25 January 2021

Frozen pond

 


We are going through a rather cold snap at the moment. All water has turned to ice. The duck pond is frozen solid. I'm not sure what the ducks are making of it but they are unable to bathe and keep themselves fully clean. Hopefully a thaw is on its way.





Monday, 4 January 2021

Veggie curry fry up


 We never allow waste in our house so leftovers are used to make more meals. It can produce some interesting breakfasts - fried up leftover veggie curry, for example. Alas, with this curry, though the vegetables were all locally produced, we had to make a trip to the supermarket for the rice.


Honey and raspberry beer

 
We've been trying out our honey and raspberry beer over Christmas. It has worked rather well. Only 8 bottles to go. It may take me some weeks before I can report that the beer has all been drunk.

Saturday, 2 January 2021

Using up the quail eggs

 

We still have quail eggs to use up so I used a few boxes of them to make a potato salad. We used our pink fur apple potatoes as they are great in salads. I have to confess we cheated with the mayonnaise. That came from the local Coop.

Friday, 1 January 2021

Mud!

Our weather has been alternating between cold and wet. We can get the land rover around the smallholding when it is cold but we very nearly got stuck when we drove over our main field to move a load of manure recently. The ground was wet and not frozen. The land rover was redecorated and then had to have a clean up!