Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Around the croft.

It is a while since I have had a post about all the crofty goings on.  So here is a quick roundup for you.
The three little pigs are - well - getting bigger.  They are now too big to get through the fences, so the electric wire has been turned off and they have the run of the whole garden again.  Still lots of fun, but they are a bit boisterous - especially when you brave the pig pen with a bucket of food or water.

They are making a grand job of ploughing up the future veg patch though.  Confining them to a smaller area at first has been a good plan.  They just race around doing piggy things all day - going for nice long naps now and then. We are enjoying them so much right now.

There was another sheep fank today - this one was to bring the ewes in for tupping.  A tup is a ram, in case you are unfamiliar with sheep terminology.  We now have 5 ewes - all of whom will be visited by the tup next week.  Can you see Maddie Mor - there with her new yellow ear tag?  Both Maddies are looking wonderfully well after their time on the hill.  After their honeymoon, they will all go back up to a different part of the grazings, until nearer lambing time.  Soo, look out for spring lamb posts sometime in April!!!

And talking about honeymoons - well, I am afraid that Baby has had hers postponed.  We were all set to walk her up to see the bull last week, but discovered just in time, that he had been moved to the other end of the village.  Delia, her mother, was going to accompany her on her walk, but was to go into the field next door, to be with some of the other local cows.  Mother and daughter have never been separated and we certainly did not want either to be distressed.   After much discussion and consultation with more cattle savvy crofters, we decided to hold back. Our worry - and that of two of our mentors, was that Baby's calf, if we were lucky, would be due around the end of August - and it may take a couple of cycles for her to conceive.  So - the calf would be born as we approached Winter, and would miss the good grass, and have to face bad weather when it was still young. Far better to wait and try for a Spring calf.  Others feel that she should really be going to the bull to get started and we could catch up with the seasons later on, and we could always bring the calf inside.  What to do? Everyone seems so convincing.  We are still pondering the question -  I am sure that an answer will come.  Wonder what Joel would do?

On to simpler matters then. The fencing has begun - lots of posts and wire arrived on site last week, and our local fencing contractor has started already!

It looks beautiful running all the way down the bottom field there - so orderly.
  Check out the new drain too!

The garlic has been planted in the growing shed.  Once again I have gone for seed from The Really Garlicky Company, who grow in North East Scotland. I have always had good harvests of decent size bulbs with 4 or 5 nice fat cloves from this source.  That seaweed/manure compost is just so rich and good looking - this has been such a good bed - it has enabled me to do more growing this year than I'd thought.

I have planted out some of my winter greens in between the rows of garlic - catch cropping - Prickly seeded spinach,various lettuces, salad leaves and spring onions.  I have one chard plant left, celeriac and fennel are at the top of the picture, and a row of calendula at the front of the bed.  Further down, there is some dwarf green kale, parsley and other salads - but there isn't a photo - sorry.

And a little experiment to end with - a very overexposed shot of my witloof chicory roots that I am going to force into lovely little chicons.  Just enough for a nice starter for two!  ♥

It is always nice to take a wee walk around the croft - hope you enjoyed it too. xx


  1. "You could always bring the calf inside." Boy would he/she have gotten a look from me! LOL! We had calves and lambs come early, before warm weather and had to bring a few in. Me, I would definitely do everything I could for a late spring calf! If you're asking. If not, sorry for the unsolicited advice.
    Your bed and winter greens look wonderful!
    A lovely, crofty post-thank you!
    Have a wonderful evening!

  2. I love to visit the croft and it was so nice to see the three little pigs again. I miss having a pig, mine was Miss Vivian Leigh.
    Your garden looks lovely and thank you for the reminder to get my garlic in the ground, I keep forgetting! ;)

  3. I would say late spring is best for both calf and mother from our experience. We calve 300 Black Angus cows each year.

  4. I have no idea on the farming questions but it is lovely to live vicariously through your experiences! A bit like watching River Cottage :) Love those little piggies.

  5. Good for the Little Diggers!!
    It is a relief to see long waited for work progresing- I'm envious!
    I must get my garlic planted- it is a bit too wet at the moment

  6. Love your little piggy rotorvators, Jacqui. They really do the job well (and no petrol needed!)

    Excellent fencing, done properly, nice and tight.

    Wonderful post, thanks for sharing.

  7. Glad the piggies have stopped escaping! Lovely to catch up with what you're doing, always inspiring xx

  8. Wow....te croft looks great, new fencing - unlike my old efforts with straggly wire etc - the Spots doing well and the cattle ruminating, as ever. Go for the Spring calf option - easier all round for all concerned, including you!

  9. Thank you all - and yes I think we are feeling more inclined towards the spring calf option. You know how it is when you are a newbie and everyone else is so much more experienced. we won't be trying to milk Baby anyway, so there is no rush. I forgot to mention that John is going on an AI course soon too. xx

  10. Yes fully enjoyed the walk. And planting garlic. I have never thought to do this, but now you have me googling this!

  11. It's lovely to see what you're up to on your croft. You are a very good advert for beautiful Scotland and rural living, your blog always makes me feel cosy!! xxxxxx

  12. It is so lovely to have a tour of your croft. So much is happening with decisions needing to be made all the time. I love Lewis and your photos take me right there. Thank you.

  13. Jacqui you must sleep like a top with all that fresh air and exercise!

    Lovely photos and tales from around the croft... just a weensy bit of envy on my part, LOL "Smiles".

    San xx

  14. You have been busy! Wish I had seaweed you lay it on the soil or put it in compost heap and let rot?
    I haven't had much success at growing garlic. I must try again.
    Much love

  15. Lovely photos all of them and so good to catch up on all things around your crop. What gorgeous looking sheep! And I am jealous of your compost ;-)

  16. I love visiting the croft and seeing all the happenings!

  17. Always something happening at the croft, and always enjoy visiting!

  18. No experience of calves, but having had a January baby and a March baby, I would go with a springtime birth every time!

    Ooh, you've just reminded me that I haven't ordered my garlic yet. Off to do that now.

  19. what fun to catch up with you and the croft. your little piggies look like an energetic bunch. i have no idea about crofting so i admire your hard work and perserverance. thanks for sharing with us.

  20. I love seeing the croft and the work you do. Also, I'm dying to have pigs one day, maybe one I can keep in the garden?

    And just image, you come down for Christmas to find a calf sitting in your kitchen. That would be a sight! Not sure I'd want one inside =P


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