Relaxed at home
Relaxed at home
Relaxed at home
Relaxed at home
Relaxed at home
Relaxed at home

<< October 2020 November 2020 December 2020 >>

1st: The Land 2nd: Poultry 3rd: Goats 4th: The Land 5th: The Land 6th: Sheep 7th: Dogs 8th: Wool and Fibre 9th: The Land 10th: Sheep 11th: Rhea 12th: Goats
13th: Sheep and Alpacas 14th: Wool and Fibre 15th: Goats 16th: Poultry 17th: Poultry 18th: Cats 19th: The Garden 20th: Rhea 21st: Rhea 22nd: Dogs 23rd: The Land
Latest (23rd)
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1st: Oak Field
Our favourite field: Oak field, so named because of the oak trees in the hedge that every year spread their acorns far and wide. This year, with the lack of hard grazing by our four-leggeds, we have loads of mini oak trees coming up. We wonder how many will survive the ewes now, and of course the winter!!!
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2nd: Eggs, and more eggs!
We have 18 laying chickens. Yesterday we had two eggs, today we had eight, plus one from one of our five newbies, a mere 15 weeks old. Chickens really are amazing! In 13 years of smallholding we have never had an egg-less day!!!
AND two of our turkeys are still laying as well!!!
As lockdown number two looms, thankfully, the poultry have no problem with 'staying at home'!!
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3rd: Eating
The goats are throughly enjoying all the willow and garden scraps (mainly brambles and nettles) we have been giving them.
Just love to see them eating like this!!
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4th: Autumn
The colours on the beech this year are just amazing - against a blue sky they are so vivid. Makes up for the ash pretty much dropping all their leaves in just a few days...
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5th: Stunning weather
Yesterday and today have been just utterly glorious- if we get a winter of sun and dry like this, we will all be very happy...
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6th: Following like sheep
A lovely view over the hedge this morning whilst walking round Oak field as John and Sonya's sheep decided to move from one field to another, just because, and of course, all following like, well, sheep....
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7th: Innocence
Sparrow - posing as only Gordons know how - combining pure innocence with that vague look of mischief about to happen.
Love her to bits and then some.
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8th: First peg loom rug
Jack's first completed peg loom piece - a cat rug for Salt that fits neatly on her desk where there used to be a small piece of vetbed. It has wonky edges, she cut the warp ends too short, the rows are uneven (due to different sized batts) and the tension of the weft varies madly.. BUT the cats love it (it was destined to be a cat bed from the first few rows when Salt, Chili AND Pepper began to lie on it whilst still attached to the loom) and as it contains wool from each of our six Shetland and Badger Face sheep, we are already rather emotionally attached to it. We have learnt loads and have big plans for the next one - and most importantly, it was so enjoyable to make.
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9th
The view from the back of the barn- not bad as views go!
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10th: No words
There are no words!!! Well, apart from these....
First time for everything... think we are maybe lucky that in 13 years of keeping sheep, this is the first time this has happened. It wasn't even the sheep feed bucket AND it was empty!! We had to go back to the barn, get the sheep feed bucket, put some feed in it and then go back to feed them all in the hope that Ness tried to get her head in the trough, thus leaving us time to grab her and relieve her of her unflattering jewelry. It worked - thankfully!!
And we swear in the photo, Mrs White is laughing at her, (as indeed did we...). Relaxed at Home
11th: Rare sight
Not sure we have ever seen all the adult rhea lying down like this in the day - not sure why, weather was okay and they had feed!
On a separate note, we have been hearing booming over the last week and a bit - feels a little early???
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12th: Melting heart
Hard to resist these faces that show such happy expectation as they patiently (ish) wait for their breakfast... goats are very easy to love!!!
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13th: By dusk
Not quite enough daylight hours at the moment and so it was that the lambs and alpacas' hay racks were topped up as dusk fell this evening. Not that they minded - especailly Neptune, as the photo shows!!
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14th: First woven scarf
This is David's first ever weave: a scarf made using Tekapo wool from Ashford on a Louet Erica 4 shaft table loom. He is now warping the loom for his next project, another scarf, this time with a twill pattern and using Jacob wool from Sharon Trevelyan (from CSUK Wool and Fibre UK)!! Wool which we prefer already as it has far more 'character' than the Tekapo. In between times we are both trying to get to grips with spinning our own wool and fibre.... (David is having a bit more success than Jack is.)
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15th: Hoof trimming
Four out of seven sets of hooves trimmed this evening - including Garlic and Chestnut below. Chestnut as the picture may show, still goes back on her pasterns BUT we are getting there in correcting this and her front feet are actually fine now. Most of the goats don't like us cutting their hooves so we safely tie them to a gate and make sure they cannot run away!!!
In other news, all four girls MAY now be in kid??? We saw Barrington making moves with Sorrel, Coriander and Garlic and none of them have come back into season (that we have seen). We haven't caught Chesnut in season at all so just hope she has been caught too.
Next April will tell - all very exciting!!
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16th: The Good Lifers
Our beautiful geese who spend their days with the other poultry and their nights in the barn. They love their routine and when we open up in the mornings they rush out into the viewing area and in the evenings, they are waiting by the gate to head back in. As we do every year, we look forward to breeding them in the spring and hope for more goslings than the previous year. They aren't easy to hatch and success rates usually amount to about 50% of eggs getting to live, healthy birds. With our super duper incubators, bought this year for the rhea, we have high hopes for 2021!!
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17th: Dust bathing - indoors
A good half of the chickens spend their days in the barn at the moment amongst the goats and rhea - it's lovely and annoying at the same time as they rake up the deep bedding of the goats and expose the wet bits (!!) and it's not like they don't have their own straw in their stable...but it's lovely to see them enjoy their free range life so much and with avian flu bio-secuirity a must at the moment, we are happy they spend most of their time inside. In the photo a couple of them are enjoying a dust bath - in the absence of anywhere dry outside.. sensible birds!!
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18th: Waiting for supper
A rare shot of all four cats together, waiting for their supper and eyeing up the dogs as they do!! Just adore these four, all different characters, all affectionate in totally different ways AND, dare we say it (withiout tempting fate), expert at keeping the rodents down - we have hardly seen a rat in the last couple of years. They do an amazing job!!
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19th: In flower!!
It's mid November and all these are photos from our garden today. Part of us worries that we are so 'warm' still, warm enough for so many plants to be in flower; the rest is grateful for the uplift they bring in a world that at the moment, seems just a little, if not a lot, off-kilter. (Covid-19, Avian Flu, Trump's lack of concession, Johnson's lack of leadership, stolem African babies....
Our bubble here makes us feel very lucky!!
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20th: New homes
We have sold six of our rhea this week which has been very welcome news and now we have just three left to sell - which if we don't, won't be too big an issue. The six have gone in two trios to a petting farm in Essex and a smallholding near Coombe Martiin here in Devon. Both sets of new owners have been in touch since and touch wood, all is going well. It has restored our faith in the idea there i s a market for them and given us hope that we can now plan another year's breeding: the aim being to breed less but have more survive. We do utterly adore the rhea, this year has seen plenty of heartbreak but plenty of sucess too and above all else, massive enjoyment and learning! Our biggest hope at the moment is that our rescue rhea turns out to be a female!!
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21st: Another sale
And in more rhea news, today we sold one of our adult white male rhea. In having a 5:3 male to female ratio, we have been of the mind to part with at least one male for a while now, in order to somewhat balance the numbers. We haven't really advertised but simply respond to any enquries we see on Facebook. The buyers are a couple from near Barnstaple who last their male earlier in the year. The sale is agreed, monies are paid and now we just have the fun of loading him up one day this coming week.
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22nd: Stand off
Sparrow is getting a little bolder/ more inquisitive with the livestock, not quite such good news with the birds (!!) but when it comes to the sheep and alpacas, and to a lesser extent, the goats, she is still keeping a respectful if 'interested' distance. The sheep don't stand for any truck from any of our dogs: they are not adverse to a bit of foot stamping and lowering of the head. It is the best way round for sure!!
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23rd: Views
Having 'views' from our land is the icing on the cake as far as our smallholding experience is concerned.
For us, standing in a field with our stock, looking at the view, brings a real sense of calm and humility. We feel a small part of something much bigger but happy to be so. It feels the best of all worlds: living in a smallholding bubble but feeling very connected with the farmers and smallholders around us.
We love how the views change from season to season, how the light changes from morning to evening, how the colours vary as the fields are using for different stock and crops throughout the year. We love noticing the small details and the sweeping vistas, we love how more is revealed as autumn arrives and then is hidden again as spring growth begins.
We feel very lucky to have a smallholding that has great views over the countryside: we can see see Dartmoor on one side, Exmoor on the other and the rolling landscape of North Devon in between.
Our views bring solace and comfort. We feel very lucky to have them.
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