Thursday 30 June 2011

Bunny inspects poover.

Well the fibre workshop and studio is showing visible progress now, with the timber-framed walls going up in the last week, and roofing currently taking place. Mrs. Smallholder became Mrs. Ambulance Driver when one of the carpenters had a disagreement with a saw.

One evening I surprised a rabbit hiding in long grass and nearly gave him a journey up the Poover tube!

Glastonbury Festival came and went with contrasts between very wet and very hot - the sort of sticky  mud that takes both hands to pull your boots out on friday, to sweltering heat on sunday - all in all quite brilliant - I saw U2 on friday in the front enclosure in constant steady drizzle turning to rain wearing many layers of clothing, and finished seeing Beyonce on  a warm evening in T-shirt and shorts on sunday, with lots in between.

Sunday 19 June 2011

Lots to look forward to.

Minnie, at 326 days enjooying the view at the brow of the hill.

Bramley has been at 'finishing school' this week - following weaning in March, and trips to a couple of shows, she relapsed and has been having suckles from Pelachuta, perhaps unsettled by the move to the temporary paddock - so last week we seperated the adults from the younger ones. Strangely, they all took a dim view of this, and despite clear rivalries normally between Ambrosia and Moira, they all hung around each side of the fence day and night, rarely going far to graze, or to the top of the hill to look at the view. Today we put them all in the top field to lift their spirits, and they've wandered all over the place, clearly glad to be back together. Clearly breeders with larger herds have to do lots of moving and separating, but it seems that a group of six aged from 1 to 8  has a strong bond that's easily unsettled.

Work on the fibre studio is becoming more visible, with the plinth brickwork being laid yesterday, dodging the showers, and hopefully a big step forward this week, with the timber frame due to arrive tomorrow!
The plinth brickwork shows the outlines more clearly.

More excitement, as this weekend I'm off to Glastonbury Festival!

I see that Beck Brow Minnie and Patou Minnie have delivered their cria recently, and our Minnie is now at 326 days so hopefully will join them soon. (I can get back quickly from Glasto' should the need arise).

Sunday 12 June 2011

Concrete ensuite.

"About time he took a turn inside the pen - he's not coming out until he's finished"
 When the girls spent several days in the shelter during the snow a couple of winters back, they started a latrine just beyond the roof canopy, which of course they have since continued, whether they are taking shelter from rain, or shade from the sun. As this area is just gravel and hardcore, it's difficult to clean up, and so yesterday, I took advantage of the builders mixer and started a concrete latrine 'apron'. Of course we'll need a ceremonial laying-on of some poo so that they continue to use the same spot...or will they? I may be extending the slab gradually.

The always attentive Bramley takes notes on concreting - she could be useful next time.

Saturday 4 June 2011

Rosette for Ambrosia.

Being first class of the day, the marquee was a bit quiet.
 Friday was Adults and Seniors classes at the Royal Bath & West Show, and when I realised a few weeks ago, that Ambrosia would be just into that age group, it seemed a good opportunity to enter her into the class which would be smaller, because many of that age would be pregnant, and so not going to shows - it turned out to be a good move, as she was awarded a rosette for 2nd place, from judge Val Fullerlove, who complimented Ambrosia's various attributes, and of course, it gave us another turn in the ring for the Championship - all good experience. And so now we can concentrate on programming our breeding for this year - hopefully shearing before the end of the month will enable that to happen.
Judge Val Fullerlove sees the amusing side of Ambrosia's reluctance to be seen;

We concluded the day after the show, by collecting our other girls from their temporary grazing in a rented paddock up in the village - it's great to have them back. On thursday we wormed the herd in preparation for their return, to minimise the risk of bringing back new parasites  to our land, and that went smoothly.While they were away we checked them three times a day, and we would often turn up to find one of them with a large dead bramble stem attached to their fleece, which isn't easy to remove because of it's tenacious grip on the fleece, and the need for gloves to avoid having your hands ripped as they resist you pulling it off. This short spell away made us appreciate the hazards of rented grazing (albeit minor in this case). This afternoon I hoovered the paddock to leave it good for the next occupant (Goldie the mare).

Our paddocks have improved greatly over the month, due to the several short spells of rain that we've had, the weeding and the fertilising. I've also improved the gates to the shelter compound, to prevent Bramley from escaping when she adopts her post-shearing slenderness.

Today, they were treated to the bathing troughs, which was a welcome homecoming treat they enjoyed, though it's not been as hot as yesterday.

Update on the cr*p circles (see last post for explanation): they appear to be favouring the longer grass as a latrine.

As we were looking after our grandson Oscar, today, I took him to the show this morning, - it was Suri day today, so I collected some Suri fleece that Mrs. Smallholder had arranged from Felicia of Popham Alpacas. It also gave me a chance to see a bit more of the show that you don't have time for when you are showing...

Small boy doesn't find the trains whistle so exciting when he's sat behind it!