Thursday 29 June 2023

June catch up on the smallholding

It is not yet July and there is a lot of Summer still to come. The hot, droughty conditions have made it feel we are are much further along. Here, we did not have a drop of rain during the whole of May and only a brief downpour a couple of weeks ago.  The oft forecast thunder storms seem to pass us by. Today, however, we had some rain this morning but not nearly enough for growers and livestock keepers. At least it has cooled a little.

Much has happened in recent weeks on the smallholding. The ewes and lambs have just returned after an eight week stay at a neighbouring farmer's field where they get some grazing away from the smallholding. The lack of rain has meant that the grass back home is not especially lush. The lambs have grown well though.

We have had two litters of Saddleback pigs in the last two weeks from first time mums: six and eight respectively. There was no need for a heat lamp as overnight temperatures have been so mild. Their mothers display the usual maternal instincts which Saddleback pigs are often noted for. I'm still weighing up the idea of showing the pigs at the agricultural shows. Plans for this were disrupted by the pandemic. I will be looking out for some show potential among our latest litters.

Speaking of shows, one of our 2022-born Wiltshire Horn rams, now under new ownership, did well at the recent Suffolk Show, gaining a fourth place rosette. He is appearing in the Royal Norfolk Show this week too. Unfortunately we have not been able to attend either shows this year as I have been particularly busy recently on and off the smallholding. On top of which we succumbed to a new puppy. The puppy's mother was found abandoned in poor condition and in an advanced state of pregnancy.

The vegetable plot is pretty full now as is the greenhouse. It won't be long before the first tomatoes will be ready. Outside it has been necessary to do some irrigation to keep some crops growing. Our sandy soil, despite the copious amounts of compost and manure added to it, struggles in the current weather conditions.

We had a reasonable hatch rate for the Norfolk Black Turkeys and the young poults will soon be ready to transfer to their outdoor quarters to grow on. 

Lots to keep busy with. And there is an accumulating list of maintenance jobs I note as I go about my daily routine. I did find time, though, to pot on our Christmas tree into a larger container and it is putting on fresh green growth. Always looking ahead...