May started off with a very tiny wee last lamb, quickly and aptly named ‘Toots’.. she was born on Star wars day or May 4th (May the force be with you ) and we were worried that mum being very young herself ( cheeky last years lamb getting in with the ram when she should know better ) didn’t have enough milk.
The last few months have been very full on, what with the spectacular apocalytic, pandemic that has hit the world .then a drought.. then a moorland bush fire !! sounds biblical doesn’t it .
But not a mention here of the ‘C’ word I promise .
This is my catch up blog because it seems the whole world has conspired against me and my date with a laptop once a month…
They won 3 times it seems but now I need to empty my thoughts out online sorry .
November descended on us all like a sneaky ninja … ( well it was dark, and black a lot )
where has this year gone ?
We feel like we’ve fairly trotted from one job to another non stop since forever … But what a lot’s been achieved .
October rocks up , fresh cold and clear blue skies.. (sometimes 🙂 The sheep were a high priority this month and the first thing to sort out as next month is Tupping time and we needed a new Ram .
So I trotted off to the lakes, Cockermouth Tup sale to be exact.
Herdwicks are a Lakeland breed and so the Lake district is the ideal place for a bit of sheep shopping ! The annual Herdwick Tup sale was my first choice and something we were keen to try out ,so first Saturday of the month I booked Henry and Harry into the auction at Cockermouth and headed off VERY early one clear cold morning all loaded up with everything I needed to sell them and buy a new Ram for my girls ..
Get your best knickers on girls ..
The Tup sale started off with lots of showing , the competition is fierce .. winning a rosette will gain you a lot more Guineas in the auction ring so primping and preening was paramount ( I didn’t even attempt it , I’d only just managed to get my two off the hill, feet trimmed and in a trailer never mind a pink rinse !
Love the way they judge them from the back end.
Notice their fleece colour , its an oxide powder called Raddle that’s used to mark the backs so they stand out (Its more pink than red I think ) Herdwick showing raddle is a very specific product and uncharacteristically EXPENSIVE !
Anyway time to get mine sold and to choose a pink Ram
I found three I liked, and set to checking their teeth and boy bits ! yes I did , and no there’s no photo ( I was on my jack jones) all the Rams for sale were in either individual pens or grouped by owner to be sold individually .. You can see the picture I’m sure , me sneaking around trying not to be noticed in case I couldn’t catch the sheep ( tho I did and had em in a head hold so I could check them out .. thanks Tom C for the shepherd training )
One of the three became our new Grobdale herdy Ram .. meet Harold a slightly older gent so hopefully experienced, and I waved goodbye to Henry and Harry , sadly they sold separately but am sure their new jobs will keep them busy so they don’t miss each other too much….Job done tick
A bit later in the month Andy came over all “Wallace and gromit” turning up one Friday lugging a huge industrial oven he’d Skip dived , with an evil and cunning plan to morph it into a smoker ..
Cue lots of metal cutting noises , welding and banging sounds and smells for a few days then hey presto a contraption !!The finished article looks awesome, a bit
Heath robinson meets Aardman animations..
AND it conjured up the most mouth watering smoked duck . He’s a super hero inventor my hubby x
Talking about mouth watering dishes, our first
home bred piglet went off to his final destination at the rather fabulous No 1 Fleet Street restaurant housed within The ship Inn Hotel.
“roast porchetta, apple and butterbean puree, pork and cider steamed petite pudding, slow roast belly, parsnip puree, chorizo crumb, roast potatoes and sage juices “
Sorry I’m still drooling at the thought, clever chef that Callum Harvey .. book in if you get a chance .
The oven was a great up cycling project and we didn’t stop there, on a trip earlier this year we had seen some lovely furniture made from oak whisky barrels and it had been
Poking Andy’s brain ever since ,
So one Friday we took delivery of 18 pre used whisky barrels from Loch Lomond distillery .. cue sawing and banging noises x I didn’t get too involved but loved having a go at the “un coopering”.
The first creations were quite lovely and the jury is still out on which we like the best ..
I’m quite excited to see what my clever man makes next .
Furniture making and buying were a small part of the steading conversion project going on , the build itself was gaining in momentum as more trades joined our builders on site.
We had dykers (dry stone waller’s to us) , electricians, digger drivers, plumbers , zinc roofers and then at
the end of the month Scottish power rocked up with all sorts of vehicles and hardware to install ..
Up on the hill though, the sheep couldn’t care less .. they were enjoying the sunshine and their new boyfriend ..
Fingers crossed ( not legs) we have lambs on the way ..
June is the best month as far as our favourite ginger is concerned as it means all her favourite things .. Cake , friends , presents and chocolate .
We always celebrate a birthday and it generally lasts more than a day, shame the cake didn’t last as long .
A surprise visit from our besties also went down a treat too.. we love you guys.
June 13th was Nora’s due date , and we had planned for Andy to be home for the early days , we couldn’t have planned it better as he had only been home maybe an hour when Nora went into labour !
We camped out in lambing shed to be rewarded in the early hours with the birth of
9 healthy happy piglets ..
As first timers we were quite nervous , there was so much that could go wrong however Nora was a true textbook pig and did everything according to what we had read .
Nora has turned out to be a fabulous mum looking after her litter .. we clearly brought her up well .
Nora was looking fairly pregnant by the Beginning of May, she was (if it was a baby bump) in her final trimester and looking pretty
Andy loves his piggy ,so she gets quite pampered and well looked after.. if I’m honest she’s actually a bit spoiled …
I didn’t get breakfast in bed ! just sayin ..
Nora has had an internet acquaintance over for a sleepover !
She held out for a week and then had to give in to his charms .. floozy , but hopefully we have piglets on the way , thus..
“Nipple cream for our pig “
Apparently it’s the year of the pig ,and February it seems is definitely the month of the pig here at a Grobdale !
We had felt for a while that Nora needed some help on the fertility front, she wasn’t showing any signs of coming into season so AI (artificial insemination) hasn’t been an option ,
We needed a real man ..
We have found Social media to be a powerful tool and I’ve used it to sell and source all kinds if things including this time ,a loan Tamworth boar .
It took just over a week of messages and phone calls .. on the journey I found her brother and her parents !
Third time lucky I discovered “Boaris “ and no he doesn’t have a blonde unruly mop ..
Our second December here at Grobdale, and we feel settled , less fly by the seat of your pants, maybe even comfortable.. dont get me wrong , every day has an out of your comfort zone moment or three but the majority of the time it’s jobs that we’ve done before or at least something similar ..For instance painting your loan Tup with raddle !
Surely that’s just finger painting with animals instead of children .
If you’ve followed the link above ( click on the underlined word raddle ) you’ve read that by putting a dye or raddle on Gibbs , makes sure that he leaves his mark on any of the girls he’s mounted , so we know who could well be in lamb and who’s due first if she is pregnant. All good information to a good shepherdess (and I am trying to be).
The loan tup Gibbs was turning out to be rather lovely to deal with , hopefully he’ll be as easy to load and return to his owner at the beginning of next month ..
So November’s here and the pigs decided , between themselves one day that they needed a change of scenery ..
So one afternoon we decided to take them out down to the loch ,their first walk out was hilarious they were just proper giddy pants.
The freedom caused them to work up a fair old appetite , as if they needed any encouragement and when they’re hungry the noise they generate is rather impressive compared to their size I can only compare it to
A hundred violins being played REALLY badly !