Tuesday, 31 March 2009
Ryeland Rams. Crispen will hopefully have done enough to ensure the survival of his line. He is getting fatter, still being mugged by Maggie every day but seemingly he is getting inside more calories than he needs once more and putting back on the weight he lost so rapidly early this year. This year we are going to rest our three original ewes, Rita, Roxie and Rosie and only letting Crispen lose on Easter and Springtime.
That's the plan. Lets hope the fences and gates can contain the beast.
Monday, 30 March 2009
For a longer tale see
or just scroll down.
Sunday, 29 March 2009
Look how fat these little pups are getting, some of them have put on half their birth body weight in the last five days. Reba may look sweetness and light but she ate the roast dinners of three people today when they weren't looking! She needs the calories obviously!
We often get to see Harrier Jets streaking past low level here, sometimes we are higher than the planes. Its quite a thrill.
Equally amazing is this little shitland pony, not that you can tell by looking at the photo, he seem innocent enough. But this is where you would be wrong, this is The Pocket Rocket, our feisty miniature horse called Trevor. Take a moment to look at the picture and note the fence, the fence next to him, the fence that is level with his shoulders, the one that's in effect as tall as he is.
He has just jumped it, probably because he thinks the grass is greener this side, more likely so he can bother the other two, William and Apollo.
Not an easy jump for a 33 inch high plump pony, especially as his approach was an uphill run.
Perhaps the Pocket Rocket has been hiding V.T.O.L ability.
Last night was, for the time being, the last night of interrupted sleep at Rock HQ for a while as Easter has finally condescended to give birth. She delivered at 9.10 BST a strapping ram lamb called Ivor, who alongside his cousin Levi will be brought on and sold as pedigree Ryeland rams later in the year, thus ensuring Crispen has done his bit for the Queen and contributed to the gene pool of this ancient breed of sheep.
Mind you given the trouble they have caused since their arrival at Rock HQ I can see why they are unpopular amongst mainstream farmers, the single large lamb takes twice as long to mature as commercial stock and giving birth to such large lambs is an eye watering experience to watch so it must be excruciating first hand. No wonder they delayed it for as long as possible!
Easter is an extraordinary ewe, she has all the mothering instinct of a Dyson Hoover, which she is ably demonstrating in the clip above. Instead of communicating with Ivor in the low grunt sheep use solely for talking to their lambs Easter is busy stuffing her face with the fresh hay put down to make it cosy for her labour. Last year she gave birth to twins, unusual for a Ryeland, and she refused to feed them. We didn't realise this was happening until it was too late so the lambs missed out on the vital colostrum milk feed so one died and the other, Daffodil, now thinks she is a dog after being bottle fed and running with the pack instead of mixing with her own kind. She is the one in the picture a few posts below stealing the biscuits from Poppy.
Ivor is doing well despite Easters limitations and we made sure that he had a substantial feed before we left them to it to start the days chores.
Spring cleaning! The only drawback of the season as far as I am concerned! The workshop hadn't been touched since last December so was way past a clear out. Pass the broom.
Saturday, 28 March 2009
Anyway Penny and he hit it off straight away. Penny behaved very well, didn't pull her new owners arm off when she took her for a short walk. So we said goodbye and handed over the care of this lovely Rotty to a new family. It was surprisingly difficult to say goodbye to Penny, she has learned to trust us and perhaps people again. I had great reservations about looking after a Rottweiler, especially as we have so many free range beasts here at Rock HQ but she was great. It just shows you, there is nothing wrong with any dog, its the people that look after them.
Good luck to Penny and her new family.
Friday, 27 March 2009
This is Ripley. Sound asleep after a traumatic visit to the vet to have her dew claws removed. Not traumatic for her so much as for Tracey and I. Andy the vet did a first class job, as usual and within minutes they had forgotten all about it. Its still hard to believe that there are now eight little Berners at Rock HQ alongside two very big and very proud Berners.
Anyway, there is now light at the end of the tunnel now as we only have our biggest, fattest worst mother Ryeland Easter left to give birth and it will all be over for another year. I was beginning to get irrationally cross (caused by our lack of sleep) with the sheep due to their lateness of production of potential lamb chops. Its goes something like put the ram to the ewe on November 5th and you get lambs April fools day. We put ours to the ram a whole month earlier, start of October but nothing arrived on time and Crispen our ram had obviously missed his mark because Meg gave birth 16 days ago so he missed a complete cycle. Lucky hes so good natured otherwise he might have been shepherd's pie the way I have been feeling towards him and his wives.
So now we have our goat kids, our puppies and most of our lambs. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and for once its not a freight train!
Thursday, 26 March 2009
Wednesday, 25 March 2009
Tuesday, 24 March 2009
Thankfully we were allowed to come home by our very kind boss at lunchtime as Beth phoned to tell us that Reba was giving birth!
We got home in plenty of time and at 4.50 the first one was born, so far we have six, two boys and four girls! As this video clip was loading another girl was born, we think thats it.
Not to be out done, whilst I was acting as midwife to Reba, Springtime one of our Ryelands delivered Levi, a massive lamb by any standard, thankfully all was well.
Monday, 23 March 2009
Sunday, 22 March 2009
Its Mothering Sunday so as well as thanking our Mums for all they have done for us I thought I would show you all a picture of the Mum to be, Reba, resting today. The bulge is visible and we can feel the puppies moving inside her. She is due on Thursday, so if she is anything like the sheep at Rock HQ this means we should have puppies by Christmas!
Saturday, 21 March 2009
Pixie and Patches have taken the news that they are Pork and Bacon respectively very well indeed. Today they removed part of the roof of the chicken house, just for a laugh.
They really enjoyed the sunshine, we sprayed them with water when they looked a bit like they were getting sunburn, then they rolled in the dirt and looked like Terra Cotta pigs.
We took Mad Keith his present today, it was his birthday yesterday, as we handed over the package he thanked us profusely, it was, he assured us, just what he needed. I asked him how he knew without opening it. He looked thoughtful for a second and smiled saying that whatever it was it was great, he needed it. We left him to his strange and happy world. Time was too precious today to fathom the mind of the technohermit.
Friday, 20 March 2009
Thursday, 19 March 2009
Wednesday, 18 March 2009
In between pig feeding and watering, taking the bin bags down the lane, posting chickens through the hatch so they could sleep safely, collecting bales for the sheep, goats and horses, feeding and watering said sheep, goats and horses, exercising the dogs, rounding the Muscovy ducks and Sally goose up and putting them away, taking the Technohermit his dinner, it was nice just to take time out and watch this sun set.
A few years ago, in a time we refer to as BS, Before Smallholding, we went to the Greek Island of Santorini for two weeks. One of its unique selling points was its famous sunsets, said the be the best in the world.
Clearly the Greeks are mistaken.
They should see ours.
Carlsberg couldn't make better ones!
Tuesday, 17 March 2009
Monday, 16 March 2009
Sunday, 15 March 2009
Reba looking very relaxed and regal lay in the sun at Rock HQ next to the step to nowhere, she really is a stunning Bernese Mountain Dog and is now 7 weeks pregnant.
Saturday, 14 March 2009
Friday, 13 March 2009
Pixie has disobeyed the orders from Berkshire Pig High Command and tunneled out by herself. As she is only two thirds the size of Patches she was able to break out and spend a very happy half hour on what we euphemistically refer to as "the lawn".
Pet status has been revoked until she redeems herself!
Thursday, 12 March 2009
amusement to my walking buddy.
Duracell bunny on acid, totally unstoppable and extremely fit. I used to be able to keep up but as I have fallen victim to middle age spread I struggle to keep to the pace.
The walk is named The Great To Do, or The Offas Dyke Ordeal. Chepstow to Prestatyn via Rock HQ which lies almost on the path around the mid point. I am doing it to raise money for Prostate Cancer Charities.
How we fare, well watch this space!