Sheep Scanning by Catherine Evans :: 24th December 2008

Today the ewes have been scanned to see how many lambs they are expecting. There is a man inside the steel cabinet behind the race with an ultra sound scanner – just the same as used for an ante-natal scan! – and he calls out the number of lambs. The ewes are then colour coded accordingly and sorted into different groups. Those expecting more lambs are given more food to ensure strong, healthy lambs are born – I always find it amazing that we take such trouble!!

The young cockerel by Catherine Evans :: 11th December 2008

The young cockerel is beginning to look very smart and hopefully we will be able to hatch out some eggs in the Spring. That is if egg production increases – at the moment I am only getting 1 or 2 eggs a day from 8 hens – a very poor return! I think I will have to invest in some more hens too.

Elsewhere on the farm we now have young calves in the new shed and John is busy converting another of the buildings to take the 2 sets of twin calves as they are rapidly out growing their current pen.

Winter Sun by Catherine Evans :: 07th December 2008

Today is a perfect winter morning – frost on the ground but a cloudless blue sky. Ideal weather for walking! Yesterday the boys injected the bulls against black leg – a viral infection that can result in sudden death. A lot of the calves are also suffering with pneumonia and will need to be vaccinated.

More Piglets by Catherine Evans :: 02nd December 2008

Sam

Sam

2 new piglets arrived on Sunday from our friends John and Annette. They are 3 parts large white and 1 part Gloucester Old Spot – but sadly have no spots! They have been named Sam and Jim by friends at work – but I think they should really be Samantha and Jimima as they are both gilts (girls)! They are just over 8 weeks old and were weaned last week.

Jim

Jim

They seem to have settled in well – it was difficult to photograph them together as they were dashing in and out of the pen!

Sad News by Catherine Evans :: 13th November 2008

Buffy the hen

Buffy the hen

Last night Buffy, my oldest and prettiest hen, died. She came to us soon after we moved in, the victim of a broken home, along with 2 others buffs and a handsome cockerel. She outlived her companions by several years and has been a welcome sight wandering around the farm. Recently she and Jet, our dog, had become constant companions, following each other around and even sleeping together in the kennel! The henhouse won’t be the same without her.

Rain, Rain and more Rain! by Catherine Evans :: 11th November 2008

Cegehin

Cegehin

We have just returned from a few days in Spain and I have decided to share this photo as it is raining cats and dogs outside and we haven’t seen blue sky since we returned! So this is to cheer me up as there is nothing happening on the farm – only doom and gloom from John as everything is so wet.

Remembrance Parade by Catherine Evans :: 10th November 2008

Bell Inn Brass Band

Bell Inn Brass Band

Once again the Band has participated in Cleobury’s Remembrance Sunday Parade. After mixed success at marching on the netball courts on thursday night we were all relived that this years parade passed off without incident. It is always heartwarming to see the number of people who line the High Street to join in this act of remembrance.

Cider Making by Catherine Evans :: 14th October 2008

Washing and ScrattingSunday was Cider making day. We gathered with friends in the shed to pulp the apples ready for fermentation. We had collected a selection of apples – traditional cider apples, eaters and cookers which were all washed before pulping. Washed apples are fed into the scratter and forced through with wooden plungers. The pulp is then pressed to remove the juice. This year we used 2 presses and this speeded up the process, we had always been waiting for the press before.

PressingThe pressed juice can then be drunk, frozen (to be drunk by guests later in the year!) or turned into cider. Cidermaking is a bit of a black art and we are continually experimenting! The general concensus is leave well alone and hope for the best! Last year this philosophy resulted in a quite palatable brew – and there is always mulled cider for that which even die hard friends won’t drink!!

We are all planning to meet up in the Spring to compare the end result – could be an interesting afternoon!!

Harvest Finished by Catherine Evans :: 04th October 2008

viewWe finally finished combining yesterday – all is safely gathered in. It has been a difficult harvest this year – constant rain and then breakdowns leading to long days when the weather has been dry. The next task is to prepare the fields for next years crops and get them planted before the winter – more late nights!

Late Harvest by Catherine Evans :: 20th September 2008

Combine HarvesterThe weather has finally dried up enough to carry on with the harvest. This means long days and lots of stress when things don’t go well. The poor conditions also place greater load on the equipment – we have already had 2 chains break and a blockage caused by the amount of soil being picked up with the crop.

Home Grown Sausages by Catherine Evans :: 04th September 2008

Our 3 Gloucester Old Spot pigs went to the abattoir on tuesday and will be returning as tasty sausages, chops and joints. The crackling on home grown pork is fantastic and guests are always commenting on how nice the sausages are!

Calves settling in by Catherine Evans :: 26th August 2008

The calves are settling in and are fed from the bucket every evening. Egg production has slowed, with only 1 or 2 eggs per day, at least 2 of the hens are broody but none of the eggs we have tried to hatch recently have been successful.

New Calves Arrival by Catherine Evans :: 11th August 2008

New CalvesThis morning John took a heifer to Ludlow Market – and returned with 2 sets of twin bull calves! (He had bought them from a local dairy farmer on his way home). The calves are just over 1 week old and will be fed from the bucket for about the next 6 weeks, when they will move over to solid foods.

Burwarton Show by Catherine Evans :: 07th August 2008

Badger faced sheepToday we are off to Burwarton Show – the largest 1 day show in the area and usually a great opportunity to catch up with friends you rarely see as everyone goes. Owing to the wet weather John is coming too as it is too wet to combine. There is something for everyone – livestock, machinery, crafts and entertainment.

Entertaining Cleobury Mortimer! by Catherine Evans :: 10th June 2008

Catherine and Becky both play in the Bell Inn Brass BandCatherine and Becky both play in the Bell Inn Brass Band and if you are interested in live music we are usually playing somewhere most Summer weekends – check out the website for details. If you prefer folk music, Catherine is a member of Crooked Steeple Morris a ladies clog dancing side based in Cleobury and again can be seen in action at various locations over the summer months!

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