Saturday, May 26, 2007

Whats been going on in our woodland!
Well the charcoal burner has been working hard and the first of this seasons charcoal is hot off the press...............well cold out of the kiln really! Ben, a hardworking lad on work experience with Pete from Brymore school spent a long time sorting out and splitting enough wood for several burns. The picture shows the kiln at full burn before being shut down to 'cook'

We have also a lovely new coppice crafts area for our coppice craft courses with shave horses, pole lathes etc all set up and ready to roll in a beautiful for the autumn will be on the Woolly Shepherds website in a day or two and some are part of Somerset hedge week, a celebration of Somersets hedges

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Things can only get better.......................I hope! As promised here our our cheeky Berkshire piggies...............4 month old boars due for the freezer in September.....
The lamb that had been chased by the children and badly injured could still not get up unaided after 10 days so the vet put her to sleep. He thought it was nerve damage to her back and torn ligaments and his opinion was that to try any longer was futile as she would probably never recover...........sad day and expensive! I am thinking of giving the parents of the children the vets bill.
Worse followed...............some sheep we bought in a few weeks ago, of whom the unfortunate lamb was one, had not been sprayed against fly as far as we knew, but were all shorn around their behinds and not at all dirty behind. We could not spray them as it was too close to shearing and its not good for the shearer to get residues from the spray on him. (we shear next week weather permitting) Well on Monday we found 3 had shoulder strike (blowflies which are a green bottle lay their eggs on the wool at the can guess the rest) There were few hatched maggots so we cut back the wool and applied 'Spot on' which usually polishes them off....................but these were tough little b####rs and it didn't so yesterday Pete and I sheared 3 maggoty sheep..............luckily before too much damage was done. One is totally shorn the other 2 look like poodles and will have to wait for a full shear until next week as my back couldn't cope with more! ( Jock our shearer will do about 20 plus per hour!)
Got back to a phone call stating we had a dead sheep in another field!!! Dashed off with 4x4 and ropes (they always die in an awkward place) to find poor little Longly, one of my favourite Dorset Downs who has a tendancy to get over on her back and get stuck, necessitating frequent rescue had done it again, obviously after I last checked on Monday evening and before my check yesterday! (I check that group every other day as its overlooked by some houses who let me know if something is amis) She had got herself in the only dip in the field and rolled by the fence and got stuck. I felt very bad about it all as I manage my stock very well but I cannot watch them all the time sadly. She had 2 lambs but they are 8 weeks old, well grown and will be ok. Added to all thet Liverpool lost the European cup final so Pete was even more depressed!

On a good note I sold some old ewes last week and got the highest price for cull ewes in the market....................the market report stated Mr Grainger rather than Mrs which miffed me a bit!
I attended Wonderwool in Builth Wells in mid Wales at the weekend and had a wonderful time, sold an incredible amount of wool and other stuff, got interviewed for Simply knitting and Smallholder magazines and generally had a great weekend. Pete held the fort and I could not have done it without him!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Well I'm back! I really should post more but its so very busy here that I rarely get to take a photo to show you all! No more lambs killed by dogs thank goodness but one was unfortunately chased by a 4 yearold which panicked the group of sheep and it got trampled, sustaining pelvic injuries....50/50 chance of making it but where there is life there is hope!
The pigs are growing at a pace and are very naughty! They escape under the gate with a big shriek as the electric fence pings them only to be herded back immediately! The funniest thing I have seen was the Ouessant sheep chasing them around the field!
Lambing has finished at last and the last ewe had triplets, two black and white ones that look just like a friesian cow and a little white one. Last week I bought 9 very nice ewes and their 15 lambs in Taunton market for a ridiculously low price..........hopefully the prices will go up, but its lean days for sheep farmers at the moment.
I am off to Wonderwool next week and am dyeing, carding, packing, skeining and balling lots of wool ready to take with me. I will also be selling some super new lines including willow baskets that have wool wound in to them and special willow baskets for putting balls of wool in whilst knitting! I have also been working hard on the organisation of Fibrefest
the amazing celebration of fibre in the south west. Louise Cottey my fellow organiser and Steve Whitley of Corrymoor socks and me met with others on a very wet day to walk around Bridwell Park where it will be held.........what a fantastic setting! Book your stand or ticket now!
Talking of wool.......remember that post where I recounted how Alan Titchmarsh bought a cushion from me?
Well I have just received this and apparently he keeps it in his office and loves it!!!