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Shane & Emma's Smallholding



January Update

Yeah I know late again! Well it has been very busy here on the smallholding with an absolute ton of stuff going on…I really don’t know where all the time goes!

Well let’s start with my favourite bit…Finley, we will try really hard not to go overboard with the baby pictures but this is his life as well now, so here they come…

New arrivals next...Maximus the Dexter bull came back in September to “get it on” with both Mary and Elsa, but because our Violet is a short legged Dexter like Max we had to send her off to see a long legged Dexter bull, so with any luck Maximus should have done his thing and we should see calves around June time.

There were 9 GOS piglets born mid September…five went on to new homes and we have kept back four for fattening. 

Here you can see that they have escaped their pen and are doing what all piglets do naturally and that is to practice their inquisitive side...even if it is with Tony, one of our neighbours...You'll notice mum is keeping a close eye on proceedings...Don't worry, all our piglets tend to roam for the first few days, but they never stray too far from Mum.

Unfortunately we have some sad news…Reet our Golden Guernsey Goat was very ill and had to be put to sleep at the beginning of October, that left us with only one goat “Honey” which is not an ideal situation…so the hunt for a companion for Honey began…As you can imagine trying to find a kid goat of the same age as Honey was quite difficult…add to that that all of the breeders had already sold there stock we were having a difficult time of it!

...luckily we chanced upon Jasmine who is a lovely friendly Kid of the same age as Honey.

As you can see they have very different coloured coats but both are Golden Guernsey's…Jasmine has settled in very well and gets on fabulously with Honey.

November was as usual a very busy time for us as this is the time of year we take our pork and lamb off to the abattoir for their new homes. This is always a stressful time of year with so much to do and so little time…but we managed to ensure all of you that ordered pork or lamb with us got your order…that is with the exception of Carol one of our Smallholding friends who’s pig just wasn’t playing ball and we couldn’t get her loaded at all…in truth that last statement cannot express the absolute chaos that was caused when the pig would not cooperate with Emma and I…there was much chasing of pig up and down her pigsty, bribery with food and finally the resignation that she was NOT going to be loaded...I guess free range pigs and abattoirs timetables don’t always mix! I have now built a holding area in the barn so we can collect pigs from the field at our…sorry their leisure, then load much easier on the day…far less stressful…it’ll also double up for lambing in the spring!

Holding pen as modelled by three ewes and Mary one of our cows, and yes I did say lambing, because we have decided to have a ram in to service our ewes, the Ram is a yearling (kind of a young man) and of the Wiltshire Horn breed which mixed with our ewes should give a very good sized lamb…If he can work out what to do that is!

He is a lovely fellow and ever so friendly, we are hopeful that he is capable of performing the deed!

Emma and I have decided that we are going to raise our own table birds again as they are just so much better than the bought ones available…I just need to get my head around plucking…my least favourite job on the smallholding.

These guys are around four weeks and normally get dispatched at 12 weeks…as we let them free range they tend to take a little longer and we dispatch at about 16 weeks.

That’s it on new arrivals, we have been kept busy as you can imagine with the arrival and growth of Finley….I can’t believe he is one already!

But I have still managed to squeeze in the conversion of one of our out buildings into a goat house, another in to a classroom for the workshops I have been running, adding a second floor and the afore mentioned holding area/lambing stall to the barn, I have even managed to clearout our garage so it can be used as a plucking/butchering/sausage making/beer making/cheese making…and anything else making you can think of space. We did manage to make some Elderberry port…only about five gallons of it, along with some cider that I truly believe will be some of the best salad dressing vinegar ever!...time will tell.

And when its been wet outside we have been inside decorating the house.

On an interesting note we had a day with the production team and film crew from “Escape to the Country” they are making a one off special type programme which amongst other things have a section on guys that are already smallholding…which is where we come in, I understand from the producer that we are to get a seven minute section in the programme…if we watch it twice that could almost count as our 15 minutes of fame!

The crew were great and we had a real giggle filming so hopefully that’ll come across in the programme.

The presenter of Escape to the Country Denis Nurse clearly delighted to be in our company...Emma and I didn't let our fame intimidate her!

Denis and the film crew at the end of a long cold day filming at the smallholding

The new series is scheduled for release on the 21st Feb and will run weekdays for twenty episodes...ours is the last in the series and will be on TV at the end of March...when we know exactly we'll let you know, so check it out, should be a laugh!

That’s it guys until next time.

Take care

Shane, Emma, Finley and Willow.


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