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<< December 2020 January 2021 February 2021 >>

1st: The Land 2nd: Dogs 3rd: Poultry 4th: Goats 5th: Wool and Fibre 6th: Poultry 7th: Poultry 8th: Sheep 9th: Dogs 10th: Dogs
11th: Poultry 12th: Alpaca 13th: Sheep 14th: Poultry 15th: Poultry 16th: The Land 17th: Fruit and Veg 18th: Poultry 19th: Goats 20th: Wool and Fibre
21st: The Land 22nd: The Land 23rd: Fruit and Veg 24th: The Land 25th: Dogs 26th: Alpaca 27th: Poultry 28th: Goats 29th: The Land 30th: Sheep 31st: Poultry
1st: Perfect
The most perfect New Year's Day: frosty, cold, sunny and beautiful. Aside from the poultry (poor things are still under lockdown), everything was outside today - although the goats only got as far as the flagstones (wimps!!). The rhea, as usual, took the cold and the sub zero temperatures of last night in their stride - they seem just as comfortable in cold weather as hot, always looking alert, fit and healthy.
The walk round the land with the dogs was just heavenly.
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2nd: Sparrow
The innocence, cuteness and sheer gorgeousness of puppyhood!! Now five months old, Sparrow just loves life, the universe and everything. Having her in our lives is such a lift!!
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3rd: Cracked it
We have been struggling to find veg to hang for the turkeys: cabbage, kale, swedes, sprouts, have all just hung there, day after day, untouched. A lettuce vaguely got pecked but I think that was only because it was in their way.
We then hit upon the idea of skewering swede using old tent pegs and securing them in tight bales of straw. What a result - a whole swede gone in just two days. Thank goodness, we were beginning to worry about their well-being!!
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4th: Over half way
Rather scarily, we are now over half way through the goat gestation period with the first kids due to put in an appearance in the first week or so of March. We don't know for definite that all the girls are pregnant, although looking at their overall condition and girths we are reasonably sure they all are. We are very excited and very much looking forward to having a few kids racing around. Last year we just had Onion and her three who we then sold. We just hope the land dries up and we get a nice, early spring!! Ha ha!!!
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5th: First Alpaca Rug
And here is David's first finished alpaca rug being modelled beautifully by Chili, David completed it just before new Year and it is now in the bedroom so each morning we get the joy of walking on it in our bare feet. Rug number two is now planned and the loom is already warped and set!
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6th: Sad but necessary
The alpacas are staring at the fox trap!! This is because there was a fox trapped in there which they alerted us to first thing this morning. This may well have been the fox that took our Rescue Rhea and sadly, it is no more, as we got James to come over and humanely dispatch it for us. With all our birds inside, we are potenially safe but without easy pickings, a fox may decide to try to break in any houses with poultry inside which would result in carnage. Our decision was made easier in a way because today we decided to move all the poultry into the bottom half of the new barn where the turkeys have been on their own. There is enough room for all the birds and it is much lighter and also easier as it gives us just one place to keep on top of it. BUT is would be easier for a fox to get in than the stables, so knowing this fox is no more does give us peace of mind. It's always a tough call.
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7th: Light and roomy
And here are the poultry in their new, light and roomy accomodation. It was such a joy to walk in there and see them all this morning. Hopefully we will see a rise in egg numbers now as well as slightly happier and more active birds!
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8th: Full clean
A frosty, misty start to the day and with the sheep and alpacas out grazing, we did a full clean of the sheep side of the new barn, including lifting up the pallets. We wondered if we might find a hibernating hedgehog or two there as we did last year, but nope, they were just very full of spent straw and hay.
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9th: Best buddies
Every time we take the dogs into the sheep and alpaca field, Sparrow and Master Muckle always end up making a bee-line for each other. He is an utter darling, so friendly and affectionate with us - and Sparrow of course just wants to play. If Muckle or any of the other ewes come over though, she is 'persuaded' to back off a little - LOL - they aren't so keen for her to say hello and so she has already learnt to keep a healthy distance.
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10th: Handsome dogs
Whatever they were staring at, it was totally captivating. Dragonfly and Sparrow were staring too. We couldn't see anything mind you so we looked at them instead and felt mega chuffed at how alert, happy and healthy they all are.
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11th: Getting their greens
Thanks to the continuous supply of veg from James at Simmons, the poultry are not missing out on their greens at all. Lettuce is a mega favourite and not a scrap is left!
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12th: Wet, wild and windy
A horrid day so we kept the sheep inside and gave the alpacas free choice. They tried it outside for a while but were back in well before feeding time. Having the double field shelter as 'open plan' is working a treat as they have so much space and it means we can muck out one side whilst they wait in the other. We are dead chuffed!
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13th: Staying in
Another not so great day on the holding - we let the sheep decide if they wanted to be out or not! Mrs White on the whole, chose not!!!
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14th: On the up!
Egg numbers are on the up and we are getting our colours back: greens, blues, whites (not shown) and all those different shades of brown. Egg collecting is always such a thrill - even after 13 years!!
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15th: First goose eggs!!
Well, look what we were greeted with this morning when we went down to muck out!!! Two and a half weeks earlier than last year too... time to get the incubators set back up.. so excited.. spring really is on its way.
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16th: Grazing
We are giving the sheep and alpacas access to Oak Field as well as Goat Field. It doesn't look it but after another night of rain, the land is saturated once again. Having six acres to roam on during their few hours outside will hopefully take the pressure off a bit!!! And as feed is such a draw, they are always back inside ready for tea at the end of the day!! We have them so well trained.
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17th: First veg plot session of the year
Not the most exciting photo but one that fills us with pride! Today we had our first session in the veg plot where we managed to get the long overdue fruit posts in the ground so we can then string wire across and so give the raspberries and backberries something to hang onto. The raspberries will need chopping back as this year's fruit will come from this year's growth. The backberries should fruit on last year's growth and so the current stems will need tying up - hopefully an easy job now we have extracted them from the grass. We also managed to find both the bleuberry bushes under all the grass and both had lots of new buds. This year, our secret to sucess will be little and often!!! (We hope!)
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18th: Inside compost
If they cannot get to the compost heap, then we just have to bring the compost heap to them.... It works, after a fashion!!!
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19th: Udders
As the goats happily munched on brambles from Andrew's latest gardening clearance session, we took the opportunity to look at udders, In all four girls we do feel they are growing - suggesting all are in kid. Oh my - the excitement mounts. Seven ish weeks to go!!
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20th: Rugs
David has now completed TWO alpaca rugs on our loom - cannot tell you how soft they are and how beautiful they smell.
We have one each side of the bed!
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21st: A lot of sky for our money
Today has been mainly dry, the sheep and alpacas had some time out and we ended the day with a stunning sunset!
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22nd: Rainbow
Another dry day save for a brief shower when we were treated to a beautiful rainbow.
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23rd: Another allotment session
Our plan with the allotment is to fill it with more fruit trees and bushes and so today we planted a pear and plum tree and another blueberry bush. We are very determined to freeze as much fruit and veg as we can this coming year so we can keep ourselves in both over the winter. Fab though the fruit and veg is from James at Simmons, we spend £30 plus a week with him and it would be great to cut that down a little!
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24th: Our first snow
It wasn't a lot and by the end of the day it had disappeared under the sleet but the dogs enjoyed it for a while. It always pretty but we are now of course left with even wetter land!
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25th: Sparrow!
Learning from her elders how to sit patiently and wait for a treat... NOT!!!
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26th: Another day inside
They want to be out but the heavy rain tells us otherwise...
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27th: Lockdown Dustbathing
So how many chickens can fit in a dust bath?? Two and a half so it seems..
Providing lockdown dust baths inside can be fun: our birds are on straw on mats inside the barn but in the gaps round the edges they have scraped away at the bare earth and created some great dusting areas. We had given them old grow bags full of soil but they eventfully filled those with straw. Their idea works much better as they can make it as deep as they like!!
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28th: Udders 2
Yep, udders are definitley growing - well done Barrington, we weren't sure you could reach (LOL) but it looks like you did!!! (fingers crossed!)
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29th: Getting out where we can
A windy, wet start but a sunny end and we never cease to be amazed at how different the smallholding can look with a bit of sunshine on it. And we do love seeing the stock out where they are meant to be!
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30th: Keeping entertained
The sheep are probably inside 3-4 days a week so it's good to keep them entertained. Putting in a full bale of straw for them to eat and spread is always popular. By tomorrow this will be totally scattered.
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31st: Poultry
The poultry of course are inside 24/7 EVERY day and so keeping them entertained is crucial. Thanks goodness for straw yet again - the birds adore being strawed out and spend hours looking for bits of seeds - usually finding a fair few too!!
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