Are sometimes wrong…
This week, a couple of days ago, was forecast to be very grey and overcast, possibly with a bit of rain. It really irritates me, along with the rest of the population obviously, when there is a surprise good weather day and I have to go to work. Not yesterday (or today, and fingers crossed, the rest of the week!).
The potatoes are now into the top bed (A) and we have done half a bed of Agria (nearest the house) and half a bed of the other one, which I’ll have to check the name of when I go back out tomorrow. All from our friendly potato farmer, Jamie, in Lincs.
The next bed down (B) which will have the fruit group in I this year, has been dug over along with some compost and we’re putting old straw and hay on it to mulch it and suppress weeds until we plant into it in June.
After one incident or another, where clipped wings haven’t done the job for example, we have ended up with a bad drake to duck ratio. We’re down to two Muscovy drakes (Orlando and Othello), three Muscovy girls (Vita and the two chocolate girls) and one runner drake (Linford). This is not helpful really, especially given Linford’s tendency to actually get on top of Orlando when he mates with Vita. All a bit messy. So today we went to Melton Fur and Feather market, hurray! We have to avoid going very often because we are ver easily distracted into buying things we didn’t go for. And today was very busy and there were lots and lots of possibilities. One way of curbing our enthusiasm is to only take a limited amount of cash. We had £50, which was good because this prevented us from buying a pair of peacocks, which went for £100.
What we actually bought was not at all far off what we intended to buy, which was ideally, more Muscovy girls. What we came home with was a very sweet Muscovy girl and four fairly entertaining khaki Campbell girls. After a showering of lice powder and a wing clip, the Muscovy girl (from now on to be known as Violet…) has been added to Othello/chocolate girl gang and the khaki’s (no names as all identical) have been put into the area with Orlando, Linford, Vita and the chickens. This has blown Linford’s mind a bit as he can’t cope with not being nosy and checking the new girls out but not having Vita (who couldn’t really care less) with him all the time. So basically he’s just running aback and forth for now.
We did nearly also buy a girl Indian runner and some hatching eggs but came to our senses.
Everyone seems to be settling in fine.
This is one of the two times of year when pretty much every bit of electric fence, every bit of housing, every water and food station and therefore every animal is moved from the now a bit tired winter ground, to fresh new pasture which has been rested for a good few months.
So, following harrowing of the fresh new bits, on Saturday morning, all of the sheep were wormed and hooves trimmed as needed and then moved over to the lambing pasture, ready for the girls to hopefully lamb in the next couple of weeks. This is a mixed blessing for Rambo who can’t wait to get to new grass but is always very annoyed to find he can’t just go everywhere he likes. This is the only time of year when they are completely penned into a relatively small area, which helps us to catch and tag the lambs and check them over when they arrive.
The poultry are now all under the tree and have been split up into three areas; the geese are separated, Othello is in with the two chocolate Muscovy girls and the random collection of the two chickens, Linford, Orlando and Vita are all in together. And Mac has been moved too. And they all look pretty happy and are certainly quieter now they don’t have to defend their patches from anyone but us…
My least favourite plot job, possibly aside from dealing with strike fly, is harrowing the pastures. It’s a pain in the arse because if it’s a bit wet the John Deere gets stuck because the bit of harrowing kit makes it heavier, and also the harrower gets jammed up with old bits of thatched grass, which is the idea, but this means you have to get up and down over and over again to unclog and collect it. It needs doing though, and it does make satisfyingly straight lines on the pasture. So on Good Friday I harrowed the new lambing pasture, ready for the sheep to be moved onto it, and the area up around the tree onto which the poultry will be moved to spend the summer. The other areas will need doing over the next couple of weeks, but I’ll wait until I’m in a good patient mood before I do it…
There is definitely someone who presumably hopes it doesn’t flood any time soon. Our resident moorhen has constructed a lovely nest on top of a load of stuff that’s kind of caught up with itself in the river. It’s got 9 lovely speckled eggs in it. Last year she had 4 or 5 very cute fluffy black chicks so hopefully she’ll do well again this year!
Last year the raspberry bed got away from us a bit. The birds ended up having a good year because we couldn’t get to everything to harvest it. Nothing against the birds but I really like raspberries so this winter we’ve done a hard prune to get it all back under control. Possibly too hard, but time will tell. We’ve taken out all the runners and also managed to move the gooseberry and redcurrant bushes to their own beds. They have joined a new blackcurrant bush that my clever mum propagated for us. Hopefully now we can get to things we can make better use of them. We just need to finish weeding and recover with mulch and we’ll be good to go.