Sunday 30 January 2022

Storm damage


A large conifer tree fell victim to Storm Malik in the Whinnies Community Garden yesterday. Sadly, the tree came down onto the fruit cage where I have been keeping 31 chickens during the avian flu restrictions. I am pleased however to report that none of the birds were injured. We will be building a new run for the chickens so that the fallen tree can be removed and the fruit cage rebuilt.

Wednesday 26 January 2022

First lambs of the year


Our first lambs of the year were born this morning. Madge, the Suffolk ewe, gave birth to a boy and a girl. All are doing well. The 2 babies are quite large and have a good appetite. They quickly found the milk supply!

Tuesday 25 January 2022


The trunk of a tree that fell victim to a storm 2 years ago was left on our Nearside allotment but we only got round to chopping it up a few days ago. 2 years of sun have ensured the wood is very dry. Great for burning on our stove. The larger sections of trunk will be split tomorrow and they will then go into our wood store. 

Monday 10 January 2022

Goat superstars

Last year we donated two goats - Sooty and Sweep - to Birkheads Wild Community Interest Company (CIC) which works with children from disadvantaged backgrounds. The goats are brother and sister and were born two years ago. I hand raised them as their mum rejected them. I first encountered Birkheads Wild at a school fair in 2019. I had 2 other goats there (and a stall selling homemade jam) and the CIC were there as well. I got on chatting to Fiona, who runs the organisation, and I was invited to see their facilities.

Sooty and Sweep are now TV stars! They were featured on BBC Look North and Tyne Tees TV news last week. Journalists had picked up on the CIC's appeal for Christmas trees to feed to the goats. Camera teams went in and got some fab footage of Sooty and Sweep chomping their way through trees that would otherwise have ended up in the waste system.

I need to pay them a visit. I'll take my autograph book in the hope of getting some hoof prints!

You can see the BBC news story on this link.

Wednesday 5 January 2022

Recycling Christmas trees


A few days ago we put out an appeal to local residents to give us their Christmas trees, rather than throwing them out. For the past three days I've been driving around the area collecting them in. There have also been lots of trees dropped off by people at the Whinnies Community Garden car park. We have had so many trees given to us that we have had to branch out from the original plan of giving them to the goats to eat the twigs and bark. Instead we turned over a new leaf and have been chopping the branches off some of the trees which we will shred and use for bedding. The goats are enjoying the trees as well but once they have eaten the bark and twigs, they will be chopped up and used as firewood next year. So, a treemendous response to our appeal and the goats especially are very happy!

Saturday 1 January 2022

The hay arrives


The hay and straw arrived yesterday - 3 big bales of hay and one of straw (for bedding). It did not take the sheep long to find it! This will hopefully be the last year we buy in hay. We are in the process of buying the neighbouring land and we will be looking to get a good hay crop from the additional land.

Unhappy tummy


Bubble, one of our nanny goats, was off her food yesterday. I checked on her at 5pm, 8pm and 11pm. She was still off her food but not showing any serious symptoms. At 3am, when I checked on her again (a great way to bring in the new year!) she was settled down with Ramesses the young billy and she seemed quite comfortable. This morning she was still off her food. Then suddenly, the arrival of some fresh hay changed her mind and she started chomping her way through it.

She was back to full health this afternoon, eating more hay and bamboo leaves. Scare over. Tonight when I checked her, she was chewing the cud, a good sign that her internal workings are back to normal.