Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Sheep shearing

We normally have a local guy do our shearing but this year he's retired so now we are resorting to hand shearing. With the purchase of some fancy shears we've already tackled the three tups, and will start on the ewes tomorrow.
Will post some images in the next couple of days. The Tups are done, not pretty but done and protected from fly strike for the time being.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Summer weather

Just finished laying the last bio film ready for planting, late finish as rain is closing in. This is a late year our onions and leeks not planted yet, courgettes, Marrows and squash are all in but have hardly moved in the last two weeks. We have only had two days of over 20 C during June but unlike last year we have had plenty of rain.
The weather forecast shows no hot weather for a couple of weeks and we need at least two weeks of good sunshine and plus 22 C if we are to get any reasonable honey harvest. I've bought in a number of Nucleus hives from a commercial beekeeper to see if they will produce more under these difficult conditions, time will tell.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Laying Bio Plastic for planting

After a wet April where we were unable to get on the ground there is at last an opportunity to get on the land and start laying the bio plastic mulch in readiness for planting.
Following a couple of false starts due to hydraulic problems we got off to a good start and the plastics have gone down well.
For the first time this year we are rolling the beds after they have been laid to prevent the problem of random air pockets under the mulch, so far it seems to be working well.

Millie checking the depth of the coulters and tension of the mulch

Bees in June

The season so far has proved quite promising, the hot May has starting to fill the first supers. So far we haven't had any swarms although I've had more swarms landing in my spare equipment than for years.

View from between the frames showing brace comb and reasonable bee numbers.

Supers stacked ready for the inspection

The inspection complete supers on ready for the flow and the intended extracting date of mid June

Sheep Dog Trials

Millie enjoying her trip to her first sheep dog trial
The weather was damp, rained all day with a cold wind but better fort trials as the dogs get less stressed than in the heat.
So it came to our turn. How did it go?

Well the good thing was ... nobody died, but the story goes down hill from there.

I sent her out and she doubled back to where she had seen sheep taken to the holding pen. So I sacrificed any possible points and walked her halfway up the course where the sheep were being held. Couldn't find them so I sent her on the other flank and after crossing twice she spotted the she and ran straight at them , ran round them and started pushing them the wrong way.
To cut a long painful story short we ended up with sheep scattered across the field and a stunned silence from the other competitors when I brought the run to an ignominious end.

The end I suspect of our short trialing career.

To err is human to to make a really big cock up you need an excitable collie and a handler who knows less than he thought he did

Friday, 1 June 2012

Sheep update, Hill Radnor Lambing and local Abbatoir

Lambing finished over 7 weeks ago now, the last ewe lambed a full 7 weeks after the fist. Next year we are looking to get the breeding ewes in season at the same time. The dry cold summer of last year reduced both the quality and quantity of the grass so the ewes were not in such good condition as I would have liked. The plan for this year id to reduce the flock and keep a much closer eye on the quality of feed, we will give a  supplementary feed to bring the condition score of the ewes up.

The young ewe that was very ill (previous post) has made a full recovery to my surprise. She was so ill that we left here in the back garden with no fences and she stayed put for a week or so anyway. Now she is a round as a barrel and showing a healthy interest in the Ram, she definitely needs fencing in now.

We lost just the two lambs twins still born to an unwell ewe otherwise all our breeding ewes lambed although a lot more singles than last year. Our percentage lambing was 120%  compared with 140% last year, we are hoping for better this year with the new grazing regime.

The worst news regarding the sheep enterprise this year was the local abbatoir closing at a weeks notice. It was a community based business  started 18 months ago with local farmers buying shares but it looks like we have all lost our money. More important is the loss of yet another small welfare friendly abbatoir. There is some hope that a new facility may rise from the ashes of Daysdrove.