A June baby

Our beautiful baby girl turned 18 in June and so it’d be impossible not to make a huge fuss of her .The birthday celebrations started with a bounce ! D7C4883A-8BAC-4AE2-96DA-D3DDB48B8DEFAnd then it all got very messy x

First came her birthday present , a new big trampoline , we’ve had a couple of these over the years and basically worn them out so it’s not going to be neglected .. oh and the sheep quite like it too !D8CEDBC6-9272-435C-B046-BB125942E71C




Anyway , as is usual with us, birthdays sometimes overrun a bit and tend to evolve, so it turned into a 4 day event with a proper fun house full ..

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Hot to trot ..

May was beautifully warm and dry , the weather was amazing , perfect for getting out and about in Dumfries and Galloway…

Lauren really got quite into the F2036793-04A0-463C-BC7B-39F86251D3F4horse scene this month and we began riding lessons over at Barstobrick riding stables  about 20 minutes from the farm, here she is riding Big red , our favourite Irish cob .


We also heard about, and enrolled as volunteers for the RDA  (Riding for the Disabled ) also at Barstobrick. 04C0ED95-29EE-4EA7-A72D-1AC9C1886CD3A lovely weekly horse fix for both us and the clients that access this project.

It seems that wasn’t enough, and after revisiting the  3 R’s stables a Fantastic project run by Susan and Gordon Rescuing, Rehabilitating and Rehoming horses and 6022CFAC-4231-4FE4-B538-7B9331B6FD39ponies.


We soon became volunteers and are learning more every time we drop by . 



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As old as the man you feel ..

Tamworth’s Grobdale of girthon piglets husband Scotland

April 2018 is when the man of the house reaches a half century , so this month a lot of the energy is spent organising a shindig to celebrate !

Other than our gorgeous man, it’s been all about babies this month. Pet lamb easycare sheep bottle feed Scotland Grobdale of girthon
We started the month with lambs popping out all over the place , Toms sheep were first,

Like multi vitamins,

about one a day ..

but with all this new life there has to be a few casualties, the first was a new mum leaving behind a little lamb that became


Twinkle toes

She  soon learned to suckle milk from a bottle and everyone had a go at feeding our new house guest x

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Cute enough to eat ?

Spring arrives in  March thank goodness…. though

someone should really tell the weather ! Cos it clearly thinks it’s still Winter ..

The cold doesn’t stop lambing tho and on our daily check round the fields me and Lauren spotted our first Grobdale lamb for 2018 .. so cute . On our way back down , 9F30E354-E35B-4EDA-8403-7B1E7D7E57BAwe spotted another sheep up on the top , separated from the main flock , a tell tale sign she’s about to lamb so we took the kubota up to check her out . The lamb was coming so we hung on to watch , but it all seemed to be at taking a bit too long and 92247B63-D435-446E-BA43-49AE03F9A2D6she wasn’t going to let me get near and without a dog or a crook (or any sheep wrangling skills for that matter)  so we bombed back to the house and rang a man with a dog . Within the hour he had her caught,birthed , and  shown us how to tube feed the lamb . Mum and baby claimed the first stall in lambing shed and by bedtime the lamb was suckling as he should..

(this is us heading back out to the main flock next day)

A lovely bit of drama to kickstart lambing season .

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Who knew that pigs could bark !

It was February , and so my blog catch up is nearly done , as usual it was a full month..we don’t mess around here sat around drinking tea is sooo not done! Early EFB2DCA0-6E2B-41A7-AD80-DA73A7C02FEE
on in the month we had noticed some tiny eggs appearing with the other hen eggs , our little hatchlings Hetty and Betty(about to become Bert) had starting laying after a few days we realised that Betty was actually a cockerel and so renamed swiftly as Bert..

He may become coq au vin yet .BCD41467-9897-4434-AA84-EDCC4D0F6805

They  make lovely eggy bread though , hey Aunty Sam ,what do you think ?

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Rabbits that think they’re chickens !

January 2018 was a glorious  month , we had been here 6 months and it was feeling more like home. We were spending so much more time together as a family , even with Andy away working most of the week.. Doing our kind of stuff, building things , fixing things , learning new skills. Making friends and having friends stay with us has been an added JAN BUNNIESbonus that we didn’t know would definitely happen.

Lauren was getting more and more involved , flower and Daffodil the bunnies had decided they were actually chickens and moved out of their hutch and  in with the hens much to Lauren’s initial worry, then joy as they decided they weren’t shy anymore either !!

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Just out a “walkin ma” pig

December was a month of many colours , most of it glittery and shiny ! As far as me and DEC XMASLauren are concerned, Christmas starts going up the first weekend in December so by Saturday 2nd we were pretty much done !

Even the pigs got decorated , they became “Reindeerpigs “.

RITA REINDEERThis is Edna sporting a lovely set of antlers.. The pigs were a bit of a focus as they were almost at the right weight for slaughter , we had had a few enquiries about the meat and ..DEC SCALES


 Three (not so) little pigs

were accounted for , so it was time to sort out a butcher.. Meet TomDEC TOM G the butcher.   As is usual we researched our topic and chose the best Butcher (it all came down to bacon and sausage – these being paramount in the Hunter household). Tom is Tom Grierson as in Grierson Brothers butchers of Castle Douglas , four generations of knife wielding, chop chopping chaps must be doing something right apparently since 1834 ! We came up with a plan  and a date was fixed for January 22nd 2018…  the girls were on their last month at Grobdale  and

Tom was sharpening the knives !

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A man needs a Tractor .. Fact

November was a big month as far as the man of the house was concerned because it was this month that we became a farm in his eyes ..


Tractor day had come !! BOOM

After lots of trawling machinery and livestock online sites , discussing at great lengths with anyone with any knowledge a suitable machine was found and bought.. since it was delivered to the end of our mile of lane on a week day it was up to me to get it down to the farm ..

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“Don’t ever ask a girl her weight”

October was upon us and life here was looking good. Lauren was settling into college , she gets a college bus and manages a 60 mile round trip by herself ! quite an amazing achievement for a girl used to a 3 mile commute with mum ..We were very proud of her and loved watching her enjoy her new independent steps. Andy’s diabetes was improving, his blood sugars were more stable and he has slowly started coming off some of his meds a wonderful endorsement of our new life.

The diary for October was a diverse one to say the least and it starts off with a weigh in !The pigs were growing well and I was keen to weigh them, however scales for pigs are PIG WEIGHT 1not cheap or that easy to find second hand. I had heard on my very fantastic smallholding course  that you can calculate weight in other ways, so after a bit of research I set about using the tape measure method..


This is Edna measuring around about 30kg according to the math.. And no this isn’t a joke its a real and serious way to weigh your porker..





I did actually get some proper scales eventually and they work just fine .. As you can see Teal trying out up at the top …



However the tape method is quite accurate and a lot more fun ..

 Thank you Debbie Kingsley  for that little gem of knowledge…

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Who ate all the pies !

Nana Irene is the worlds best pie maker !

Official and fact, am telling you . Anyone within a whiffs distance of one of these  fresh pies coming out of the oven is going to get grabbed hook line and sinker. She has her pastry down to a fine art and whatever goes into the pie is always a winner, my freezer always has an apple or meat pie “a la Irene”..

I am a lucky daughter in law trust me. So needless to say we love it when Nana comes for the week or weekend .


I think Nana Irene is one of our most frequent visitors and that’s not a bad thing especially with her kitchen skills .. oh and did I say she makes an epic glazed ham. Anyway enough about pies , for now and on with the month of September.

It was another busy month, and mainly one about livestock , I had been looking for some Tamworth weaners( 3 month old weaned piglets) for a while, and happened upon some for sale not far from Grobdale.



So off  me and Lauren went, one Friday morning and came back with 4 beautiful red haired gilts (female pig not yet had piglets)




The pigs soon earned names. Nora because she was nosey and noisy, then the others quickly became Edna, Rita and Lottie for no particular reasons, we just like old lady names it seems, and they suited them.


We chose Tamworths to try first, as we were looking for a hardy breed with good meat qualities .We liked what we had read and heard, that they are the closest to our original wild boars , and that since they were not that popular after the war they had not been used in breeding programs to come up with the best commercial pigs .Therefore they were the most pure ,piggy pigs and we wanted some..


Oh and apparently they make the best bacon !

We decided that our favourite of the fab four was Nora , she is so sociable and easy to be around so she was our choice to keep and try to breed from once she was old enough , more about that later.

The pigs have turned out to be Andy’s favourite, he loves feeding them and being their “scratch’o’matic”,  pigs absolutely love a good scratch don’t you know..

The next purchase was a starter flock of Herdwick sheep. Again we wanted something hardy , able to cope with the outdoors life here in Dumfries and Galloway up on the Glen and so Lakeland hill sheep it was .


I found a few for sale in Dalbeatie a few miles away and Tom our shepherding friend offered to help me check them out and bring them back if we liked them . Off I went cash in my pocket smile on my face . I knew the breed were a chunky kind of sheep however they are most certainly sturdy units and so when I returned to the farm a couple of hours later with four sheep in the trailer Andy couldn’t believe the size of them.. he thought I’d bought 4 rams !



The next day Tom and I returned to pick up Henry an unrelated, proven and registered pedigree Ram , a most handsome chap ! the boyfriend for my lovely ladies, and completion of my new sheep family all we needed now was to make some lovely Herdwick lambs  to build the flock and try the meat( if we got too many ram lambs). Henry has the most lovely temperament, Andy I think was a bit impressed …

The next animals to arrive were sheep however not ours , we rent out some of our land and my 5 new sheep were about to be proper out ranked with 300 ! Easycares ..

I can only see a wash care label attached to a sheep when I hearSHEEP MOVING that breed name it always makes me smile however apparently its nothing to do with the wool wash cycle required its all about how easy they are to lamb and care for, they even moult their own fleece !

Getting the sheep from the huge lorry at the main road down our lane proved to be a bit hairy but a lot of fun. The sheep all looked a bit grubby and green when they arrived,


however after a couple of days they perked up and all the fresh grass and fresh air really brought them round.

So now we were a farm, I think.

We have chickens, pigs, sheep and a dog all we need now is a tractor and apparently a whole list of other machinery and gadgetry ..

By this time the garden and poly tunnel were giving it there all, and producing all sorts of lovely fruit and veg.

Every time I looked there was something else to pick or pickle.

The poly tunnel had been planted up by the lovely Naomi and we inherited the most prolific cucumber and courgette plants known to mankind ! None of it went to waste, we ate , pickled , chutneyed and made new friends with gifts of fresh or preserved garden produce.


The “glutney” recipe  is a River cottage favourite of mine because you can adapt it to use up pretty much anything you have a glut of .. This is possibly the start of my ‘Self preservation’ range ..


We are still eating these jars of lovlieness  in February as I write this , though I do confess to using the odd jar as a thank you or slight bribe.


A chance conversation in the local post office and the passing of a jar of jam procured a bounty of windfall apples to supplement my little pigs diet ..



Anyway, none of the apples found their way into one of Nana’s famous pies but  am proper looking forward to making pies with all this meat we are cultivating here at Grobdale ..

Shepherds pie , pork pie mmm going to be good ….