Saturday, 28 June 2014

Tune In

I posted last July about Mike's day participating in a reality TV show called Ladies of London. Well, it seems they actually made it and aired it. The episode which includes Mike teaching the ladies how to shoot premieres on Bravo this Monday 30 June at 10pm

Courtesy of the Bravo website:

We can't watch it over here in the UK, so you'll just have to let us know how it turns out if you tune in. Mike struggles with image issues post-accident, and he dug deep to find the wherewithal to be in front of a camera. I hope the camera captures his passion and commitment to his work more than his scars.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Why I don't Shear: the Evidence

When we moved home, we needed to find a new shearer. The first guy we booked never showed up. That was two weeks ago. There's another shearer booked for this evening. Both the sheep and I are keeping our fingers crossed that he shows up. The alternative is that I shear my own flock. And I'm a terrible shearer.

This poor chap has flystrike. When the weather goes wet then warm, flies lay their eggs in the humid fleeces, and maggots burrow into the sheep. It's both disgusting and, if left untreated, life-threatening for a sheep.

There is a special dip that I can pour over their backs to prevent flystrike, but I can't treat the flock until the fleeces come off or the fleeces won't be saleable. I can't treat the ram lambs at all as they're going to Ice Camp this week, and the spray has 40 day withdrawal period. This means that you can't put an animal in the food chain until 41 days after application. I never use the dip on any of my lambs or hoggets going for meat.

This ram lamb just needs to be safe and comfortable until ice camp on Wednesday. It won't matter that he looks like this, shorn by me with the cheap, plug-in clippers I bought for trimming bottoms, not whole sheep -

Basically, I just gave him the $5 student hair cut ours moms made us have at the strip mall hair salons when we were kids. 

After seeing their mate, the rest of the flock is really hoping the professionals turn up tonight. And I'm going to tell the guys at the abattoir that my husband sheared this lamb, and roll my eyes knowingly. Pffftt. Amateurs I'll say, without a trace of guilt.

If anyone near Hereford would like to purchase half a hogget, butchered and bagged, we have a few halves ready next week. They are for sale at £65 and can be collected at your convenience. Please email me.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

New Additions

Friday was the last day of egg picking - the daily chore of collecting pheasants' eggs from the laying pens. This means we can release the laying birds to go to wood. They're free to roam, but we still put out feeders for them.

This also means I can bring in new stock, without worrying about infecting our laying stock.

And yesterday was the big Spring Poultry Auction.

I thought of our lonely hen turkey at home. She will soon experience empty nest syndrome, quite literally. And turkeys are flock animals. There were a few pens of turkeys at the sale, but none as stunning as this pair of Narragansett turkeys -

When the first of the turkey lot - a scruffy looking lone Bronze stag - sold of £50, my heart sank. A pair of heritage breed birds in top condition would be out of my price range. When the auctioneer called "selling once, at £20" my hand and bidder's paddle shot up. I don't even think it was a conscious decision. A breed from home, well underpriced. It was meant to be. The hammer dropped on £22 per bird, my winning bid.

I worried that maybe other bidders knew something I didn't.

As I transferred the birds to the dog crate I brought with me - as a just in case, you understand! - two country-looking men stood back with their hands in their boilersuit pockets and nodded approvingly. "You got a good deal there, miss." said one. I don't know why two strangers' confirmation should allay some of my worries, but they seemed genuine. For all I know they were the sellers, and glad to be shot of this pair. Still, when it comes to livestock, I'm an optimist.

The pair are now in quarantine, in a spare dog kennel. I'm an optimist yes, but a cautious one!

Trevor never performed his reproductive duties with any real success. Perhaps because I gave him a name one might associate with a middle-aged dentist. So, I've called our new stag turkey Enrique. That's a name to make ladies (even the turkey variety) swoon. 

If it works, we'll have tiny turkeys this time next year.