Friday, 28 January 2011

Blow the winds Easterly

Well the last few days have given a new meaning to the song!!   Still at least it is not raining or snowing, although that may still come. (Or is it Blow the winds Westerley?)

Tanya, the skinny young alpaca, seems to love living with the weanlings.    She is eating heartily and almost looks as though she could be a mini herd leader.   She still feels really thin, but I think there is a ray of hope.  Tuesday will be the end of her second week away from the main herd so I will get Nick to see what he thinks.    He should be more objective as he does not see her every day.

I really should be halter training the weanlings that are up for sale but just cannot get motivated to get out there.

Mike has nearly finished converting the old pig ark for the bucks.  It looks like a mini gypsey caravan now.   It is certainly cosy in there.   When Colin comes to shear them we are going to separate the does and bucks and bring the doe kids back up with their Mums.   This will make better use of the space as the does will all fit in the goat paddock and the small paddock will be ideal for the bucks.  We will have to re-sort at the end of the year when the young does are ready to be mated, but hopefully we will have a new buck by then.

We are in the process of getting our planning application ready.   We have had temporary planning to live in a mobile home on site for five years but time is now up and we have got to apply for permanent.   We have definitely met all the criteria laid down in the government guidelines but the council acts in mysterious ways and they are all powerful.   Luckily all our neighbours are keen for us to stay as are the Parish Council.

As some of you may remember the place was an absolute tip when we bought it and we have spent lots of hard work and loads of money bringing it up to good quality grazing, with hand layed hedges and coppiced trees. We have got rid of most of the ragwort and other dangerous weeds.  We have erected good quality shelters and fencing and restored the barn which was in a terrible state of repair.   Unfortunately the barn is very narrow and so not ideal for storage and impossible to turn a tractor inside, but it has been useful if not really fit for purpose.  We are hoping to convert some of the existing barn into living accommodation whilst keeping the farm office etc: as it is.  It will then be a house with barn attached as they say on Escape to the Country. 

Luckily we have an agricultural agent who does all the dealings with the council. I cannot be trusted to keep my cool when dealing with officialdom.

Mike has been wanting a proper barn ever since we bought the farm as he is the one that loads and unloads, repairs the farm machinery, drives the tractor etc:    It is even more important now that we are having such hard winters.   We have to buy hay and feed in small quantities because we do not have room to store much.   That means we have to pay top price for forage and when it is in short supply we cannot stock pile enough.    We have been getting two or three big bales and a horsebox full of small bales at regular intervals this winter and there have been times when we were worried that we would run out altogether.

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