Well we've gone and done it again...so this'll have to be the update for April and May...we really don't know where the time goes.
Right then…lets start with the bit you’ve all been waiting for…the new arrival. We are proud to present the first Dexter calf born at our smallholding.
We called him Bovril, as suggested by Vicki at Emma's workplace because we thought it was a lovely name for a little boy...Now then, let me start by saying this is our first calf! and not as easy to identify as one might thing...upshot is that it's not a he it's a she!
She was born on the 2nd May at approximately 18:30. and Bovril has been discarded for a more fitting name...Dee Dee.
Here she is with mum and sister at three weeks old...Oh my god! we have a herd of cows!
Talking of names, we have to say a huge thank you to everyone who participated in the “name the pigs” competition, we had a hoot at some of the suggestions, we had some crackling (get it!) entries including :- Sporty, Posh, Baby, and Scary (or Ginger) - Oink, Sooey, Squeal & Plod - Riggs, Getz, Murtaugh and Joshua - Boss Hog, Daisy, General Lee, Uncle Jessie - Crockett and Tubs Cagney and Lacey - Magnum PI(G), Rambo(ar), Spamela, Guinea – Peewee, Meat, Ballbricker, Honeywell amongst the many that were entered one of our favourites was Hogwarts, Hairy Porker, Hogrid and Herm-Swiney…but the winner is Helen Culverhouse with Delboy, Rodders, Cassandra and Raquel…Well they are all trotters!
Well done Helen, one bloody marvellous Durston Breakfast winging its way to you.
are back from the pork taste experiment we were conducting and I’m pleased to say
the pork was fantastic…The large Black, GOS crosses came out better than
expected, so much so that we are seriously considering buying a large black sow
to breed with our GOS stud boars.
The Tamworth bacon and hams came back in April and Julian our butcher excelled himself…This has been my favourite bacon yet! However this does put us somewhat in a quandary…the Tamworth’s were the hardest of the pigs to manage, and we swore we wouldn’t raise them again…but they taste so good.
Little bit of a sad note now as one of our original two GOS has proven unable to produce any piggies, she has had a good innings and a pretty wholesome life but we’re afraid she’s off to the butchers at the end of May.…on the plus side all that good living should produce some fantastic hams.
I took a visit to North Sea Camp which is an open Category D prison with a strong emphasis on resettlement, there is a farm on site which is managed by Andrew Wright and Simon Dawson. With a view of picking up a replacement for “Auntie”, Andrew showed me around the farm which was very much appreciated, I thought you might like to see some of the litters that had recently been born.
These little guys are Large Black piglets.
And here they are with Mum.
These little guys are Large black and Middle White crosses.
I decided to settle on this little lovely…
She’s a large black gilt (not had a litter yet) however this is about to change as she is “in pig” with the litter due in the next 10 – 16 days. As you can see she’s settled in at ours nicely.
Our Stud boars have been out for the last month, with Patrick (now Rodders) moved on to another servicing…lucky lucky pig! Delboy (formally Sambo) is still on his original service with Rosey…He should be back on the smallholding as this update goes live, he'll be straight in to service Raquel (mum).
Hatching season is with us again as you can see with the arrival of these new born…these little guys are Silkies.
They have come from the eggs of these little cuties…which I bought in on a whim, as Emma loves them, I must be going soft!.
As usual Willow has been getting in on the act.
On the Willow front, thought you might be pleased to know that she has come into her second season and as directed by all the literature on Dobermans we have decided to let her have a litter, so began the arduous journey to find her a mate, we began with the breeders near us and would like to thank them for their help and advice.
In the end the answer was right in front of us all the time…Our fellow smallholders 'The Conway's' have a fantastic dog, with an excellent temperament, called Spider (short for Spiderman), and as you can see they make a fantastic pair.
Once we checked the bloodline to ensure that they are not related and numerous other checks (arranged marriages are so difficult to organise) Glen and Bev very graciously gave us Spider to frolic with Willow for a couple of weeks, and let me tell you that two Dobermans “getting it on” is a lovely thing to watch (not that! you orrible lot) the playfulness…and with close supervision their friendship was consummated with a successful pairing…and no there aren’t any pictures! Hopefully there will be an arrival of little Willows/Spiders, and pictures for the July update.
That’s it on the animal front, we have planted up the fruit cage and poly tunnel, and also planted a large number of soft fruits mostly currents (black, white and red) on the bank by the pond, we have also planted the first of our fruit trees (apples and plums)…We’ll post pictures on the next update as there isn’t a great deal to see at present.
That's your lot folks for another month...catch up soon.
Shane and Emma