Monday, 30 April 2012
Jason and Izzy are about to be introduced to the MKII Baby lamb shelter, MKI being a box behind a baby gate in a gap between the cooker and fridge. The MKII is now complete, save for a quick trim with a Stanley knife to tidy up the roof felt. Not bad for an evenings effort and all without using my new toy, a chop saw. Using it would certainly have saved effort but the inevitable trip to casualty would have slowed things somewhat and blood stained woodwork would have upset the lambs.
Sunday, 29 April 2012
Saturday, 28 April 2012
Friday, 27 April 2012
Thursday, 26 April 2012
Wednesday, 25 April 2012
Tuesday, 24 April 2012
Monday, 23 April 2012
We were fully prepared for all eventualities having mobile phones, 24 hour ration pack, spare clothing, nappies, two dogs and a spare shitland pony who wasn't at all annoying the whole trip up to the Whet stone on the ridge. We played statues and as it was getting late, and looking like rain we set off home
All making it back in time for tea and medals. Even Trevor. The most annoying pony ever.
Sunday, 22 April 2012
The day started extra early in anticipation of Piggle delivering her piglets, but she just lay head first in the straw, huffing and puffing until the feed bucket arrived at which point she forgot her labours and scoffed.
As ever the job got started with almost no planning and little idea of what the final product will actually look like. Help was at hand, or rather paw
Saturday, 21 April 2012
Friday, 20 April 2012
Gone are the days when the morning routine could be done on the run in 20 minutes, fetching the water alone now takes half an hour to quench the thirsts of various critters. Last night at not long before midnight I found another litter of piglets as I took water to the three little pigs, who are now not so little and still alive despite various threats to their well being. So now one who should be sausage is a mum, mercifully only two Mangalitza piglets who exploded with rage on being picked up to be taken to a place of safety. Trying to separate new mum from goat, shitland mare, dogs and Ryelands in the dark when all you want is your own bed was an exercise in patience.
This morning both little piglets were alive and kicking, as were the 19 others of various sizes, some of which are getting quite big.
The plan for the weekend is to secure another pig pen, build another pig ark and hopefully get some planting done in the garden. High on the jobs list has been fix the fence, the one that marks the boundary between our world and the militias. Its fallen into disrepair, trees have grown through it, posts have rotted and at one point you could, if so inclined, step over to lush green pasture. Our critters are too well trained (read stupid) to do such a thing, but the Berners have been looking longingly at the lamb chops grazing so rather than risk a potential conflict I decided to fix it myself. Having watched various large men put up fences and being an experiential learner I knew the theory and in practice this went far better than I had hoped.
Skipping off work late this afternoon I allowed myself three hours to complete the task, in the end it took three and a half which included clearing up. Key to success was using Hazel as a wire tightener, a complicated wooden structure was screwed to the end (two planks) and tied the wheel carrier. Three broken ropes later a nylon strop was found and voila, piano wire tight fencing and all without ripping the back wheel carrier off the door. By the time evening rounds were due the sun was setting on a nice new fence, see above inspected by Reuben, the old fence can be seen where it had fallen. So happy was I with crossing this job off the list I set about felting the roof of the pig ark built last week and used the only thing that tidies up a farm yard better than snow to clear our yard. A bonfire. 11pm a final check, the yard is almost clear, save for a pile of gravel, the fire is burning out, the fence is still standing, but best off all there are no new life forms.
Thursday, 19 April 2012
Wednesday, 18 April 2012
The accuracy of my statement "No no new arrivals thank God" at half past sparrows fart was very short lived as my beautiful and oh so patient wife, who was sharing the joys of the spring morning with me (a morning that had reverted to type, horizontal rain, the heavy wet type, you know its raining hard when its running off your eyelashes type rain) pointed out that Bonny was lying in the shelter making funny noises.
Ryelands tend to have single lambs, and as ours tend to be well fed the lamb can be quite large. This was the biggest yet, a prize ram in the making.
The title for best ram lamb at Rock HQ was stolen later this evening when Maude, who also had trouble and needed my less than expert services to deliver the supersized lamb, threw out this monster black ram lamb.
Tuesday, 17 April 2012
Monday, 16 April 2012
Tempting isn't it! Not long now until Kobe and Hetty are turned out. Kobe is growing fast and is a friendly chap, just as well considering he is going to be a monster sized dexter.
Guinevere is building a nest in the newly vacated farrowing pen, Morgana is enjoying herself in the new accommodation built this weekend. Piggle is face down in the straw trying not to give birth. I have a feeling its not going to be too long before we have two new litters. Sales are going well, two of Iggles piglets are off to a new home in a few weeks, half of Morgana's litter are signed up for pig club, and today I was talking to a soon to be top chef who is keen on extending the menu with a little help from the rest.
Sunday, 15 April 2012
The day erupted with a very rare event, a blue on blue attack. While I was tending to the important things in life, teaching the apprentice smallholder the finer points of sausage sandwich construction and an appreciation of Pink Floyd, my beautiful and oh so patient wife was trying to raise the alarm. When she could finally be heard over my "singing" a tuneless rendition of careful with that axe Eugene, little t and I tried to make a sentence out of "Don't know whats going on...sounds like murdered goats.....Trevor"
Poor Kayleigh who is at best of times nervous of the great outdoors due to the sky about to fall on her had been let out of her enclosure by the Pgoor(More likely Maisey standing up leaning on the door and her weight sprang the bolt). Having seen the doorway to a different world Trevor got amongst the goats and with his usual approach of if it stays still eat it if it moves mate it set about trying to create a new species by mounting Kayleigh who would have run away save for Trevor now hanging on and biting the back of her neck. Somehow fully laden (Anglo Nubian's are not pack animals so this was a feat of strength) Kayleigh staggered down the lane and crashed into the front door of the cottage in order to gain attention. In case this failed to elicit the necessary response she gave the universal cry of despair uttered by Anglo Nubian's when being sexually molested by a miniature stallion, which in case you have not heard it sounds like several cats in a paper shredder.
Opening the front door created an interesting mix of randy stallion, terrified goat, excited Bernese and yours truly barefoot trying to avoid injury and protect milk supply. A well aimed wellington distracted sex beast and Kayleigh was given sanctuary in the conservatory while footwear was used properly and animals given a chance for pulse rates to settle. The disturbed goat was taken back to her stall, at this point Easter decided to drop a lamb and so another day began at Rock HQ.
All quiet on the western front a quick headcount revealed that all lambs had survived another night, admittedly Audi and Izzy were in the kitchen all night so were given a bit of a boost, but 5 lambs, 11 piglets, one quail all going strong.
The majority of the day revolved around either building things for pigs, moving pigs, feeding pigs, chasing pigs, getting boar out of large green tank, running away from angry boar who objected to being made to get out of the tank and watching the piglets enjoy their first day outside the farrowing pen. Tomorrow should be quieter, I'm going back to work.
Saturday, 14 April 2012
Good news on the lamb chop front, Izzy, the small creature taken from death's threshold yesterday, was alive and well this morning and reunited with Springtime and her brother, Audi, in the sheep pen. Hourly checks have been in place to make sure they continue to thrive, Audi has no sense of direction and needs help finding the milkbar.