Writing has not been my priority this year , however I do enjoy getting a diary upto date , Im a cancerian and apparently that means I like things neat away in their “cave” or box .. We have had a bonkers and busy year like most people I guess.. We seem to have crammed such a lot in , again , so much for the slower pace of life !
January saw us receive a lovely surprise from our buddies Ali and George via Honeywell biscuit company .. a bake at home focacia that set off a big baking vibe this year . Lock downs have enabled us all to enjoy new pastimes , and baking became one of ours. Honeywell became our new ‘go to ‘ for fun bakes.. give it a go .
The new baby piglets were a source of joy in the sometimes very January of Januarys ..
they never failed to make us smile
The weather in February was magical, everything looked so clean and fresh, the animals all had extra feed and rugs where needed and we loved the bright blue skies and fairy-tale landscapes we woke up to each day..
Not so great were the results of our lamb scan , it seemed we were in for a lighter than light sprinkling of lambs next month but hey, so long as they’re healthy we don’t mind .
Our baking obsession got us again and we had a go at making dip dyed dark skies star biscuits ..yum
March saw us Lambing inside , since we had so few due I didn’t want to lose any to foxes or bad weather etc.
However the girls didn’t much like being cooped up in a warm dry hay barn with all you can eat hay buffet it seems !
Magenta developed twin lamb disease a calcium deficiency common to sheep at the end of their gestation , she was very poorly and we had to jag her with huge calcium supplements.. Moving them all to a field next to the poly tunnel and allowing them inside access when they wanted it helped and before long Magenta had recovered and
Lambs were popping out everywhere!
Actually the polytunnel made an excellent lambing shed so we will be doing that again .. Lovely to be able to nip down and check on everyone through the night without the need for a hill hike in the dark..
The Piglets born at Christmas were giving mum Nora a bit of a hard time so it was time to move them into their own piggy patch .. They loved their new patch of outdoors
Rascally pigs enjoying their new patch of outdoors..
April was warm and sunny , with baby fluffballs everywhere,
Magenta finished off the 2021 lambing by giving birth to two very happy and healthy lambs after all the drama in March ,
and Winifred finally hatched a mammoth nest full .. 28 eggs, 25 hatched and 21 surviving balls of fluff .. BOOM
Some of the ducklings stayed with Winifred but we re homed a few , 6 went over to the 3Rs ..
The cottages were finally allowed to open end of the month and we had bookings coming in , in quite a flurry , and VERY re-assuring ..
May brought us dry warm weather and a wonderful new addition , meet Jim
( Remember the 6 ducklings sent over to the 3Rs well..)A lovely surprise ,in a message late one night from our lovely friends over at the 3Rs horse charity .. “would we like to offer a home for Jim the retired sheepdog” , crikey that didn’t take much thinking through especially when we met him .
He was kind of a swap for half a dozen ducklings it seems !!
The weather brings up the bluebells everywhere , riding at Barstobrick suddenly doubled in pleasure , it was electric and mesmerizing all in one go ..
June was a gorgeous month , plenty of great weather perfect for tagging the lambs .. I like easy and visual systems so our new lambs each year have a different colour tag in their ears and I like to add the Rams name for double checking our animal husbandry ( making sure no one ever gets together with a family member ) so the lambs had pink tags with Ding and Dong in each ear 🙂
The farm shop was something that we had wanted to do for ages but needed time ( to study and sit exams ) environmental health were really helpful and before the month was out we had our freezer stocked with Grobdale pork for our visitors and customers to buy from .
July landed and was a busy hot lovely month , hay making a month early caused its usual chaos but help from friends was very welcomed .
Washing out, on lines in the garden is always a lovely sight ( and a nice nod to being a bit greener )
Always good to end up in the loch after a hot sticky day
August the best month ever was when Olly our new pony for Lauren arrived , this had taken some doing as lockdown seems to have made ponies, puppies and caravans the most sought after things ever ! A 14’2 bombproof cob seemed to be the hardest thing to find in the world but .. thanks to Dee we found and managed to buy our perfect pony for our perfect girl x
Olly settled in really well , really quickly and soon established herself with our herd
September was scorchio and the polytunnel was churning out tomatoes, cucumbers, chillies and beetroot galore ! Prompting another cooking phase
The polytunnel wasn’t the only gardening , and when our buddies Tracey and Jane arrived they set to, weeding and replanting the winter bedding ..
Check out the nails.. still intact !
Jane even managed a little hack out on Olly .
Our Magazine article was published this month ( September comes out in August it seems )
We had 7 pages in the lovely glossy Dumfries and Galloway Life magazine, very much appreciated advertising for our new business . Not sure the ’tilt your chin out 45 degrees ‘ worked to make us look slimmer though 🙂
Anyway back to food ..
The bees had been busy all summer and it was time to gather in the harvest , Gary came up to help me take off the honey filled frames and after I had delivered the heather honey frames a month later we had a bumper crop of 45 jars of the most delicious golden nectar ever tasted .. It sold out very quickly we had to stash a few jars for our winter cupboard ..
October meant tupping time for Grobdale, to avoid a blackface ram getting over to my Herdy ewes I always put our Ram to the ewes 2 weeks earlier than my surrounding neighbours..
so ‘Ramalamb’ came home to stay .
lots of sniffing and snorting to start off a good tupping it seems x
Winifreds latest batch were all re homed except for a couple of drakes which we felt only fair to leave with her , trouble is tame drakes get quite confident and so after I’d been assaulted a few times at the feed bin they were named Ronnie and Reggie
They seemed to behave better for Andy though .. rascals
November was tree planting time ; Since we came to Grobdale I had planned to add some more trees to the land . There are a few beech , Ash and conifers already here, but we needed to plant some large broadleaf trees around the barns so that when the existing ones come down there are replacements already part grown.
The stock could also do with some shelter in various fields for different reasons mostly shade in the summer but also wind and rain protection in the colder months. The bees also come high up the priority list and some flowering species will accompany them down near the loch in spring.
The last reason is that we would love to see more wildlife closer to the farm so a ‘green corridor’ was my plan to create a tract of trees crossing the land from the forest close to our first field . Small groups of trees on the drier raised mounds across the marsh and avenues of beech and hazel line our track now. We have further plans in other areas but for now these will start the bigger plan.
At the end of November, we were coming to the end of our pre Christmas season and I had planned to shut the cottages to give them a bit of a freshen up, and us a break .
Our final pre festive season guests were a dream as have been all our guests but when there are children the niceness monitor just seems to go balistic ,who doesn’t love seeing children enjoying new experiences ?
Its the best bit of this ‘job’ and we all love sharing our animals with our wee guests ..
December and we are on the home straight that is 2021 , jobs on the list were to gather the sheep , split off the ram , dose and get everyone onto suitable grass .
and of course bake a gazillion mince pies !
We probably guzzle a couple of dozen of these babies each christmas so got to start early
Anyway enough already with the reading of my ramblings, get yourself booked in for a holiday, or into the shop for a roast pork joint , or just pop up for a cup of tea and a Herdy hug x
Its good for the soul x see you soon