Sunday, 28 November 2010

An early cold snap!

So, it this what we are in for?

In common with other parts of the country we had a first flurry of snow on Friday, 2" or 3" falling, followed by a hard frost, down to -6c last night. This cold weather puts paid to window cleaning - water (if you can get it out of the frozen van) either turns to slush in the hose or freezes on the cold pane, so we'll have to see how we go tomorrow. I've been trying to figure out how I can keep the water-feed pipes that are outside the van free of ice, or at least ow I can thaw them out quickly - Louise's hairdryer was a fail... I have a greenhouse heater inside the van keeping the water in the pumps and the rest of the (expensive) system liquid and hopefully preventing damage.

Any standing water doesn't get chance to thaw, so the ice on the pond get's progressively thicker and it's only regular bashing with a stout stick that keeps the troughs free of ice, a bit of a battle against the elements and it's only the end of November!

The chickens wouldn't be tempted out of their house yesterday morning, even with the promise of corn. Their water hopper is frozen solid, necessitating carrying up a full bucket of hot water to immerse it in, thus defrosting it. Most of them have moulted, included our cockerel, so are dressed in clean, bright white feathers. The cockerel has yet to regain his sickle tail-feathers, but he still looks fine.

The sheep have all been covered by Mayhill Grenadier and the raddle crayon has been changed from red to blue. Hopefully they are now in-lamb.

As you can see, they do suit the snowy scenery.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

A visitor to Haul Y Bryn

Last year we sadly said goodbye to our original Wiltshire Horn ewes (poetically named for their ear tag numbers, No 1 and No 2), and their daughters, No 3 and No 4.... The daughters were Wiltshire Horn X Hampshire Down and they didn't suit the hilly area we 'farm' so i'm afraid they had to go.

To replace them all we approached a respected local breeder of Wiltshire Horn, Jim Stone, and purchased 3 ewe lambs from him. As a parting shot he offered to let us borrow a Wiltshire Horn ram when tupping time came around....

Looks like love at first sight for 'Spotty Nose', right.

We took Jim up on his offer and today went along to his farm to collect the majestically named Mayhill Grenadier, registered as he is with the breed society. He's a fine boy as you can see, 18 months old and ready to play his part.

Each day over the next few weeks we'll go and check which ewes have been covered, then work out roughly when they'll be due. And so the cycle begins again.