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Shane & Emma's Smallholding



May/June Update


k late again…did you expect any different??? 

Where do I start, it has been so busy?

With Finley of course…as I write this he has just breached five months…that’s right folks five months! You’ll notice two things, first, how quickly did that pass! Secondly we are gauging his age in month rather than weeks…it's a baby thing!

Here's a little treat for you…we are sharing with you his first ever taste of chocolate…if he could speak he would have said…Bloody marvellous!

On the smallholding there have been many changes firstly our stock…there are a few additional animals on the smallholding…we’ll start with our lamb stock…you will remember that we were undecided regarding rare breed or not rare breed…well we ended up with both! We are now the proud owners of a rare breed flock of Portland's, a small breed that has the unique ability of breeding out of season.

We also have four ewes, there were a few more including three castrated Hogget's (lamb that is over twelve months and under 24, also referred to as Shearlings ), and seven lambs, the lambs have all found new homes and the Hogget's were turned into Mutton and some of you have been enjoying the delights, we have kept back one of the lambs and she will join the four ewes and we'll breed from them.

The lamb is the one that hasn't been shorn...the ewes are made up of Suffolk crosses (they are the ones with the dark brown/black faces) and Polled Dorset crosses (white faces)

These ewes are all experienced mothers and all but one gave birth to twins this year and I am expecting the same next year, we have decided to breed both the Portland's and the small group of ewes...the Portland's because they are a rare breed and fit very well with our lifestyle...and the ewes because they are just so easy to handle and are very friendly which will be a huge bonus at lambing season.

Now we move to the cows…you may remember from the last couple of updates that we swapped Dee Dee for a Dexter bull for meat, this meant that Dee Dee could go on and become a cow and raise her own calves in the future and we would still get beef...we’ll we had the beef back in early June and along with a few of you have been feasting on fantastic Dexter meat…you know its coming…”BLOODY MARVELLOUS!”

Since then we have acquired another Dexter cow…well in truth she is a 4 year old heifer (virgin) called Violet.

She has been running with Mary and Elsa and fits into our little herd really well, we will make arrangements for her to have a holiday romance when we have a visit from Maximus (short legged bull that serviced Mary and Elsa last year) Unfortunately Maximus cannot service Violet as two short legged Dexter's cannot breed due to the risk of unhealthy calves...so Violet will go off to see a non-short legged Dexter fella.

Mary and Elsa are both very much preggers!...hope to have new arrivals next month.

As if that was not enough we also have a couple of Golden Guernsey goats this time mother and daughter, mum is called Reet and her kid is called Honey……Emma has always wanted them and it was her birthday recently…what can I say…so I said it with goats!

This means fresh milk everyday...woo hoo!

This is Reet, she is very friendly, and is the supplier of our milk...about a pint a day.

Here she is helping with the weeding...eats weeds gives milk...Fantastic.

And this is her Kid "Honey" you'll notice that willow is introducing herself...she is also wondering why this new comer has her puppy lead!

We'll move on to current livestock…Last update we told you that we rescued some battery hens…sounds like we camo’d up and freed several battery hens commando style…well we didn’t we bought them from the Battery Hen Welfare Trust…much easier, however you can see the improvement that a few weeks of open space and a good diet can achieve, these are the same ladies as last update…a few more weeks and they should be as good as new…we did unfortunately lose a few…four in total…just couldn’t cope with the lifestyle change and popped their little clogs.

I think that’s about it regarding the livestock…we’ll keep you posted if it changes.

Now then…the non livestock, at last we are see some activity with our additional field…take a look at this!

Doesn’t she look luscious…well trust me she does if you’re a ruminant (grass eater), this is a five star meal if you happen to like eating the green stuff.

Our energy drive is moving in the right direction…we have now installed the hot water solar system on the roof to compliment our wood burning (Efel) system, this is producing all of our hot water at the moment…and it’s free…well it will be in about two years when it’s paid for itself…Many thanks to Daryl my very helpful plumber friend without his help I’d still be at the unwrapping stage!

If you're interested in this kinda stuff there is a really good link on the links page...check it out.

Check out them clouds!!!

As always we'll finish with Willow...getting comfy in a straw bail!

Right then that's it folks...I'll try and get the next update out on time...and if you believe that then you clearly haven't been paying attention!!!

See ya

Shane, Emma, Finley and Willow

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