Thursday, 28 March 2013

A new produce for Cloghermore . . .

We have been growing our own food ever since we arrived at Cloghermore with pigs, chicken, goose, turkey and lambs filling the freezer and of course the produce from the Polytunnel. This year we are adding Rabbit to the menu. A neighbour was breeding her own, but couldn't cope with the killing process (which Diz would do for her) and the preparation so decided she wasn't going to keep them any more. She donated a couple of females and a male to us from her last couple of litters for us to grow for ourselves.
The male is the white and black one Patch, Lavender is on the left and Moss is in the middle. They are three months old and won't be ready for breeding for another few months. The buck will be separated from the does and the doe will be introduced to him when ready for breeding.

Diz made them a wonderful hutch, that can be moved around the garden to ensure the rabbits have fresh ground to nibble at. I'm hoping they will keep the grass and weeds down a bit.
This is their initial house and run and a further two houses and runs will be added.

The does will be able to have their babies in the nest box and have plenty of room to run around.
Jes and Kip think it is great fun to run round after them, Patch and Moss aren't bothered by them and go up to the wire to have a look at them, but Lavender is very skitty and gives them a reason to chase them.
I've never kept rabbits before, they are quite sweet but don't like being cuddled and have very sharp claws, so I won't be getting too attached.
I'm looking forward to another variety of food in the freezer, Rabbit is very tasty.

I know what your thinking, how can you eat anything that cute? I would prefer to know what I'm eating, where it came from and how it was treated before it got on my plate. We are just lucky enough to be able to do that.

Keep you posted
Stella xx

Chops. . . .

Another new arrival to Cloghermore, spring is definitely in the air, even if the weather is a bit puddled.

 This is Chops, he is a four week old Suffolk x Texel sheep. He had a twin but unfortunately it didn't make it. His mother got sick and her milk dried up so we adopted him.
He has taken to the bottle well, being fed three times a day, which Jes thinks is great fun as she gets to clean up the dribbles. Unfortunately Jes likes to chase Chops, which is good training for us to stop her from doing it. Won't be so good if she decides to chase the lambs in the field as the mothers might object. Snotty ewes are not a good combination!! Although she will get taught a valuable lesson by them.

We are looking for another two 'pet' sheep to keep Chops company, but for now he is happy to keep warm in his shed and runs out into the field to have a nibble on the grass. The chickens keep him company and Bruiser keeps a close eye on him.
We will hopefully be picking up some more lambs from a neighbour this weekend, but they have been poorly and he wants to make sure they are well first.

Take care
Stella xx

Friday, 22 March 2013

Flying Trees

I have been doing some thinning on a commercial Sycamore plantation. It was planted about 19 years ago and has reached about 6 metres high. The recent high winds have made life difficult. One larger 8 meter tree was being felled. When it was on the way down at about 45 degrees, a gust caught it and pushed it back up and then backwards. Only one thing for it, pick up the saw and run away!


Stock Training

Stock training with Jes has started. Living in the middle of Sheep/Cow country (no Welsh Jokes now) there is no tolerance for misbehaved Dogs. Training starts with a fence between them and on a lead. Building up to free ranging in the field. A snotty Ewe with Lambs is a bit of a bonus as well. They will come toward the Dog and stamp its feet to ward off the 'Wolf'. The odd behaviour can confuse the Dog and makes them wary of her.


I'll huff and I'll puff . . . . . .

And blow the goose house down . . . . . . . .

We had blustery easterly winds yesterday, not our normal wind direction, and it blew the goose house apart! Thankfully no one was in it. We didn't spot it until it was time to put everyone away, so Bruiser was left to defend for himself overnight. To be honest if Mr Fox chose to pick a fight with him, good luck to the fox!

It is still quite windy today, so the house was dismantled and a temporary house put in it's place. Should be fun trying to get Bruiser in there tonight. I must remember to be busy when it's time to put the birds to bed tonight.

The old house can be repaired but will need a frame to attach all the wood to, which needs a better day to attempt. It won't be needed for a couple of weeks as Spotless doesn't start to hatch until April and they will stay in the nest box initially.

All the best.
Stella xx

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Introducing Jes......

Another new arrival for 2013, a planned one for a change.

Meet Jes. This was her arrival day.
She is a 10 week old Lurcher (like Taz), 1/2 Collie, 1/2 Greyhound. She will grow to about 23" to the shoulder, therefore she will be an inch or two smaller than Taz. So don't be fooled by her small size she will grow.. a lot!
She is from the same breeder as Taz, David Hancocks in the UK and she arrived by dog courier on 21st February. Although we were concerned about her arriving this way, we shouldn't have been, she was very well looked after and wagged her tail from the moment we saw her.
Once she had arrived it was time to meet the rest of the pack. A quick pee stop before the madness begins.
I have been really worried that Taz will sulk once she meets the new puppy, as she has with all the other new dogs. I really don't want her to be miserable in her last days (she has just turned 15). When Kip arrived (the Border Terrier) Taz sulked for 13 months before acknowledging she existed!

As you can see she received a good welcome from both dogs. Taz was quite happy and Kip didn't get jealous like we expected. We left them to establish the pack hierarchy and no one was hurt in the process. It was good to see Taz interested.

Time to meet the other residents of Cloghermore. The chickens were not happy to see her initially but soon settled down. Jes thought they were fair game as they could be chased! She soon stopped that when one of the big Ginger Nut Ranger hens stood her ground and gave her a good pecking. Job done, respect established!

While Beko was still alive they both thought it was great fun to run around together.

The house training immediately started which meant going out whatever the weather and whenever was required. No Diz hasn't turned ethnic, just early morning training. She soon got the hang of it with us encouraging her to 'pee, pee' on the grass. Still a few accidents, but not too bad. I'm not sure if Jes is the worst. I came in one day, stepping over Taz's accidents, let the pup out of her house cage and tried to get her out to do a 'pee' and then Beko walked in and squirted luminous poo everywhere. This can really be a mad house sometimes!

 Everyone seems to be settling well and Taz hasn't sulked once even though she has to share her bed with everyone.
Not sure what Jes will do when she can't fit into Kips bed, she is already starting to fall out of it. She does have her own big comfy bed, but she thinks tormenting her new mate Kip is far more fun. We think it's great, pay back for all the tormenting Kip gave us and Taz when she was a puppy.

If she is anything like Taz we have a lot or torture still to come as she grows. When she first arrived she was smaller than Kip, a week later she is taller than her. So she will grow quite quickly.

Hope you enjoy the photo's.
Stella xx

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

A little lamb....

After last years experience with our three lambs, Sunday, Spit and Donar, Diz swore we wouldn't have any more. He is still sulking over them eating all his trees that were planted - 50! But they did fill the freezer and are still providing us with tasty meat at a fraction of the cost in the shops. Plus we know what went into them and that it is Lamb!! So we had a long discussion about the pros and cons of getting some more 'pet' lambs this year and although I was keen, Diz still wasn't. Someone must have been listening to us talking because as we finished the conversation Diz's phone rang and was offered a week old Ram lamb who's mum didn't have enough milk to feed him. Diz initially said no, but after another round of pro's and con's he gave in and we called the farmer back and 'Beko'arrived.

Poor little thing wasn't well, he had luminous yellow runny poo and didn't smell too pleasant. We were suspicious that he hadn't had any milk from his mum and therefore would not have got the colostrum (first milk) which they need for fighting infections etc. We could only do our best and hope he would get through it.

The four feeds a day began starting at 08:00 and finishing at 23:00. He was too small to put in the turkey shed like we did last year, so he had a cage full of straw in the cow shed and came out to run around with us at every opportunity. He even came into the house when we were making up his feed.
He also joined us on the dogs walk!
Unfortunately he didn't make it. Just as his stools started to get more solid he came out one morning and turned down his first feed of the day and didn't eat for the rest of the day. He was brought inside and put next to the fire but he just got weaker and weaker. Just as we discussed the best way to put him out of his misery he passed away. We did everything we could, but he didn't get the best start to his life and therefore nature took it's course.

We are now on the look out for some more lambs for adoption, but some that have had the colostrum.
Stella xx

Monday, 18 March 2013

Goosey Love: Bruiser & Spotless

Following the loss of our wonderful gander, Studley, last year his replacement has been settling in well. After searching for several months we finally found a Pomeranian Gander to keep Spotless company once the gosling's had departed at Christmas. We were unsure what to call him and let our Belgium naming Guru think of an appropriate name. He has been called many unmentionable names due to his aggressiveness. He has certainly tested the boundaries thinking he was boss of the land. Feeding him was a challenge as he would charge and bite the hand that was trying to feed him. Even though we have challenged him back, he caught me off guard one day and as I lost my footing he grabbed my trouser leg and slapped me with his wings causing black bruising within hours. He wasn't so keen to give it another go when I chased him round the field until he buried his head in the hedge! Boy did my leg hurt though. Our little naming guru thought this was very entertaining and named him Bruiser. A fitting name we think.
He was only born March 2012 so we thought he might be a bit immature for mating, but throughout January we heard his triumphant calls after mating with his new partner. The first few attempts were a bit hit and miss and the look of disgust from Spotless said it all, not sure what he thought he would achieve by sitting on her head! We feared they might be a bit early, but after checking our archives this was normal.
We decided to put straw into the nest box at the beginning of February to encourage egg laying, which the geese found interesting and investigated immediately.

As soon as we stepped away from the box, Spotless knew what it was all about. They both investigated the box, Spotless first and then Bruiser. It was then closely guarded and chickens were chased from that side of the field.
By the middle of February the first goose egg appeared followed by 10 more. Then Spotless settled onto her eggs. We removed the first two eggs and left her with 9 to hatch. We have previously removed a few eggs to hatch in the incubator, but we are not sure if we will do that this time.
Hatching should be from the beginning of April, we hope at least one will hatch anything else is a bonus.

We'll keep you informed.
Stella xx

Birthday Celebrations.....

At the end of January, Stella celebrated her 40th birthday with a surprise gathering. Diz had managed to keep quiet for months while quietly planning things. Stella finally got suspicious when he went to do 'some shopping' late one afternoon and returned with a couple of family members. The next day another trip to the airport and another family member arrived. Must admit Stella was beginning to wonder where everyone was going to sleep, as no beds had been made up in preparation. A girl likes to have these things organised. The gathering had been arranged for Saturday afternoon and Diz spent the whole day and evening Friday cooking and preparing things.

Diz had been muttering about making a cake, so when time was running short Stella made one quickly for him to ice. What followed had us crying with laughter as he tried to ice the cake with a mixture of chocolate icing that just wouldn't stay on the cake! Thankfully he had arranged for a neighbour to make a themed cake and Stella was delighted to see a dragon had made an appearance on the day. Make your own mind up which one looked the best ;-)
Later that afternoon, more surprises as two very good friends arrived from the UK. Sadly they had been delayed  for 5 hours by snow. They should have arrived in the morning but didn't get there until late afternoon. Stella was so shocked to see them, but absolutely delighted. Another panic of where they would sleep, so the attic bed was quickly made up and everyone was settled.
It was such a wonderful surprise to see everyone and they all did an amazing job, especially Diz, of keeping it quiet.

People were very generous and all birthday money was put towards a new gardening gadget. Stella has wanted a 'Tiller' for some time to make digging the garden easier. Once it had finally been put together Stella experimented with one of the gardens in the polytunnel and was pleased with the results. It's certainly not as easy as the adverts made it look, but it took half the time of digging and she could still walk afterwards. They are both looking forward to the spud planting as Stella will be able to do it all with her new tool and Diz won't have to lift a spade - result!

Thank you to everyone who made my birthday very special - Stella xx

Friday, 15 March 2013

A new year at Cloghermore .....

I can't believe it's already the middle of March and we are so far behind with everything at Cloghermore.
Firstly, for those of you who have followed us for the past 4 years by monthly Newsletter, Stella has decided to stop producing them as they are too time consuming. A new year means a new way for following us on our adventures, with a blog. That way both Diz and Stella can keep you updated and events will hopefully be posted regularly. That's the plan anyway. We are both new to 'blogging' and are having a few teething problems with the blog pages, bare with us though we will persevere.
There is a little bit of catching up to do for the first two months of 2013 as we have had a few new arrivals. Hope you continue to join us on our journey and enjoy the new format.
If you have any suggestions to improve the blog page, they will be gratefully received. Feel free to share the blog with as many as possible and don't forget to register as a follower.
Happy Reading.
Diz and Stella