August has seen new life and preparations for both Christmas and lambing are underway.
We began the month with another litter of piglets being born, that’s 10 more little ones running around the place! With the hot weather we had in August we’ve spent a lot of time filling up wallowing holes for the pigs; there’s nothing they love more on a hot day than rolling around in cool mud. It’s a messy job, but they do love a good shower down with the hosepipe.
I know it seems very early to even be thinking about it, but we have to start Christmas preparations during summer! Our bronze turkeys have arrived and have nicely settled in to the polytunnel. We open up the end doors during the daytime so they can roam outside in the field, then close up at night to keep them safe (they spend the nights roosting on bales of straw and on the top bars of the sheep feeders). We’ll be opening up the order book soon and as numbers are limited, as usual it’s best to get your name and size requirements down early.
After Christmas we’ll start lambing, so preparations are also underway there. We’ve welcomed a new tup (Jock) to the flock this year, so in another few weeks he’ll get to meet his new lady friends. After the shop is closed for the day many evenings at this time of year are spent bringing the sheep up to check through them to make sure they’re in optimum condition before the breeding season starts in September, as well as sorting through them to decide which ewes to put with which tups. Last year’s lambs were weaned a few weeks ago to give the ewes time to recover and gain some condition back again before they plan their romantic evenings! The straw we’ll need at lambing time has all been baled and brought back to the yard so one of the polytunnels is now quite full (much to the delight of the cats, Mittens and Fred, who love playing and snoozing in the bales). To keep the grass in good condition Richard has also been re-seeding some fields throughout August. This involves ploughing up the previous grass ley and re-seeding with a herbal ley to replace the old tired grass. The type of grass seed we use is specifically designed for grazing sheep and contains, among others, meadowgrass, red and white clover, chicory and herbs.
Coming up over the next few weeks we have pig arcs to build, tups to put in with the ewes, fields to fence…we’re never short of jobs to do!