Wednesday 25 September 2019

A Bit Of Buffalo Mania

As another month is drawing to a close we took on some new additions, it would have been better if we waited until the spring, but an opportunity arose and we were not going to pass it up.
It all started with Johnny Buffalo
we bought Johnny buffalo to keep Frazier company after his accident and we couldn't put him back in with the big adult mama buffalo's, Johnny and Frazier both grew up to be a handsome pair of young bulls, and being entire bulls with all those hormones rushing around we would often see and hear them having sparring matches, we also had another young bull Percy who was a calf from last year and was coming up to a year old it was time to move him away from his mama, and time to see if the big mamas would get in calf again.
Buffalo do not show signs that they are in season like cows, we learnt this after watching and watching and speaking with some buffalo owners, so how were we suppose to know when to put a bull in, we were told just put him in and let him run with them for a couple of months.
First we had to separate out Percy we got him loaded in the trailer

 Next Johnny was moved in with the ladies and Percy went in with Frazier, after 12 weeks it was time for Johnny to go.
We booked the abattoir and said our good byes, not an easy one but that was always the plan.
The Buffalo are not pets they are for meat.
after 21 days of hanging we got the meat back from the butcher, we put together small and large meat boxes which had a selection of joints, steak, mince etc advertised them on a local group within three hours we had sold out, lucky we already put in the freezer what we wanted.
Johnny's hide went off to a local private tannery to be turned into leather, which wont be ready for some time yet.
The quick sale of the meat did mean some customers missed out and they have gone to the top of next years list, Percy will go next year, we then spotted a potential problem, 
if the mama's are pregnant, we will find out in about four weeks when they are scanned they wont calf until summer next year, if they have male calves it will be 2 years before they reach slaughter weight, so there will be no meat 2021, if they have females we don't have any meat calves 2021, if they are not pregnant we don't have any meat for 2021.
2021 looked like it was going to be a potential problem that could run into 2022.
We then spotted an ad for young unweaned male buffalo calves, from the same people we bought our initial stock from.
We discussed them at length we wanted to avoid bottle calves because of the extra work load it would bring, also they would need winter protection from the elements as they wold be too young to put in with any of the others. 
we made some phone calls had further discussions.

 went to see them and yes they came home with us, I think the tell tale was we took the trailer.
 meet 007 4 weeks old, Jimmy 5 wees old and Biffo 6 weeks old.
they are more work, making up buckets of milk for them, the whole feeding process is messy and painful, as they like to butt you, chew your hands, stand on your feet, tip buckets of milk over you.
They are destined for the table but not for a few years.
temporary housing is the far end of the woodshed barn so they are near the house, it has been cleared out and closed in protecting them from the wind and rain, we have also given them an outdoor area in the garden.
Next step is build them a winter home in one of the paddocks.
After Martin has finished building winter quarters for the teenage bulls, Frazier and Percy.




Sunday 1 September 2019

August Wow

August brought some stunning sun rises

we also had some great weather, lots of outdoor jobs get done and crossed off the list, as well as all the routine jobs which are always a lot more pleasurable to do when the weather is good.Hot days saw me receding indoors at the hottest part of the day, starting early finishing late seemed to be the order of the day. the animals and poultry were doing the same.
Turkeys arrived 
A bit later than we usually get them in, we only got half a dozen turkey poults this year to raise on, what a problem we had finding some, facebook has made the sale of livestock and poultry very difficult, in there effort to support the ban of puppy farming they have put a ban on all animal and poultry sales, lots of us depended on livestock selling groups on facebook  for replenishing poultry, buying in new breeding lines of livestock. There is another platform that has started up MeWe and lots of groups are moving to that but its not easy to navigate, or usual place to get poults and day old chicks have given up breeding this year as they couldn't advertise back in the spring and they were left with lots of young birds that were growing by the day. Oh and those puppy farmers well they have all moved to MeWe and Gumtree so Facebook didnt have any impact. The only way to have an impact is not to buy any puppies all these fancy mix breeds tat people want is lining the pockets of puppy farmers.
Adopt dont Shop.
We had the usual visitors this past month
I had the opportunity to teach my granddaughter how to spin fleece to yarn on there visit, it would be lovely to see her go on and embrace more yarn crafts then I could pass on some of the fleeces to her.
Her younger sister on the other hand was more interested in the fleece producers  
 She loved being out there feeding the sheep and she took no nonsense from them, even those horns didn't intimidate her.
she loved helping with all the animals and would clock watch until it was time.
New additions from the doves.
Stumpy the dove with no tail, we dont know what happened to her made a ground nest in the aviary, laid a couple of eggs and has been busy raising her young, stumpy cant really get up to any height without a tail and flies just a few feet above the ground,   It will be interesting to see how she is going to teach these youngsters how to fly and how they are going to launch from the ground.
Johnny Buffalo went off to slaughter a few weeks ago
 He spent his last three months in with the ladies and we are keeping everything crossed that he has managed to serve the ladies and they are in calf, we will have them pregnancy checked by the vet soon. If they are not in calf then we have to decide if we want to bring them through another winter empty feeding them with no return. We arranged to pick up the hide and it has now gone off to the tannery to be returned to us as leather this winter.This weekend will see us making up buffalo meat boxes for our waiting customers.
Sweet Potato slips,
for many years I have bought in slips to grow on for slip potatoes, I have always been disappointed, the cost is high for the slips, they don't always arrive in great condition and tend to arrive fairly late giving them a short growing season, so I have set my own and plan to grow hem on over winter to give them a head start in the spring.
 Pig Roast Bank Holiday
 we had a whole pig we kept back in the freezer and August saw us open our doors to family and friends and have a pig roast, we had groups camping down the field for the week end as well as those who were local calling in and joining us, the weather was fantastic we couldn't have asked for better, it was a lovely way to celebrate our life here and end the month.

Saturday 3 August 2019

New wood store
Here is were the new log store is, it will be clad on the outside in keeping with the workshop.
Work has started on the inside
Shale floor is down and the portions are up, giving us three area for storing logs
At the moment the fleeces are in there after shearing
And it’s ideal to store some onions for drying out
There is also an upper store area
That is some were for me to store things like jars, fleeces, bee hive equipment and such like
The floor up there isn’t finished yet and some sort of stair case has to go in at the far end, I don’tdo ladders .
That fleece hanging on the hurdle
It’s one of the hebridean fleeces, I have just pulled it out for a project, right better get going or I won’t get it done. 

Friday 19 July 2019

Outdoors Cooking

Nothing beats cooking outside
 At the end of the day, we all gathered down the field, 
lit the bonfire
And got a goat casserole on the go,
We were joined by a couple of the ducks
Messy outdoor kitchen

Tess loves a bit of outdoor cooking

All three dogs were hoping something would fall there way
And a scout around the campfire didn’t reveal any tasty titbits
Although I think Tess was teasing Mia that she found something
The ducks departed for home as the sun was going down Then it was time to secure everyone and take ourselves back to the house to get cleaned up

Wednesday 17 July 2019

Loving The Flowers

My Prickly Pear is flowering, I was so excited when the first buds opened, there are loads more to go yet, and seeing the bees on them gives me hope we might get some fruit. 
The cut flower beds are now producing lots of lush flowers to bring in the house, Lily’s are my top favourite. 
My view from the kitchen window is just great, looking down the garden, it looks wild but the overhanging frothy look is what I like, not into the formal garden look.
And big statement plants have always been on the list
A few new raised beds are on the go, this one with some climbers to train across the cabin. 
It’s been a great summer so far and we are being reward with great displays in the garden. 

Thursday 4 July 2019

5 Years Ago We Landed

5years ago we started our new life here in Wales it’s been a fantastic journey.

When you get up in the morning to a view like that it feels like your on holiday well I do.

Spending my days laughing at these three 

Making and enjoying fresh mint tea when I want 

Harvesting and preserving veg straight from the garden, this time it’s fresh spinach made into pucks and popped in the freezer. 

Whiling away the time watching our residents in the barn 

Bringing in the sheep at the end of the day ready for shearing, we are really blessed to live we’re we do how we do and appreciate everything around us.

Sunday 2 June 2019

I Have Been Absent

Cant believe its been six weeks since I last blogged, so I better put that right and bring things up to date.
 The dogs have all settled in together and now have there own routine.
 Mia and Paige are best friends and spend there time together,
 Tess being a lot older is part of the gang but in a more refined dignified way as is becoming of an older lady. Leaving all the rough stuff to the younger ones.
Tess has just had her 13th Birthday and celebrated in style with her friends.
In Water Buffalo world
 Percy our young bull calf from last year was loaded up in the trailer

 and now lives with Fraiser 
Johnny was separated out 
 and has moved in with the big mamas Petunia Lavender and young Lily, he is mature enough now to service the ladies although he is a lot smaller, the calves from last year as almost the size of the two year olds. If there are no pregnancies then we will be looking at moving on the females, no point in feeding them through a winter for no return.
New Kids on the block
Connie and Thelma both kidded, triplets for the two of them and what a bunch of cuties they are
 Julien who we brought in to serve the ladies did a grand job.
 Just one little dark one
 all delivered without any issues
 3 boys 3 girls we might be keeping the females as future breeding stock.
Growing stuff
This half of the paddock that was cleared by the pigs, I decided to have a go at growing some food for the livestock
 I have put in half a dozen rows of sugar beet, about the same in spinach and turnips
 over on the other side a couple of rows of jerusalem artichokes, which will create a nice wind break as well as some fodder for the goats, I also had a lot of seed potatoes mixed up up from our own stock and about 6 rows have gone in
 without my Mantis tiller there is no way I cold have go this done, it may be 20 years old now but it still works great.
I invested in a seed sower earlier this year and its been brilliant at getting all those little seeds in without the back ache.
On the building front 
The scaffolding went up, maternity bat roost is in place, scaffolding is down, now we are just waiting on the license to be released from NRW which should be July we can then start with the renovations.