Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Perils of Farming - the story of our "Black Bag" Ewe

The first ewe to produce a lamb had a ewe-lamb about 6 days before any of the others.  We called her one lamb "Fluffy".

At injection time and drenching we noticed that one of her udders was all blood-blistery under the skin, all the udder had gone hardish and swollen and the teat was protruding up and about twice the size of the other side. Like a pyramid on one side, and she was limping so it was obviously sore.

We called the vet on the phone who diagnosed her with mastitis, sight unseen.  We started her on antibiotics which I had to inject her with, and Mastalone injected into both teats following milking her out by hand every night for 5 nights.  She was kept separate with her lamb in the yards, so I could keep an eye on her and treat her every day.

She stopped limping and recovered her oomph, so we let her back out into the flock.

Then last weekend we did our crutching.  There she was again, this time with most of the udder fallen off and hanging on by a thread of "meat".  All the wool had also gone from her underside.  We called the vet, again.  He came out within 1/2 an hour and operated, cutting off the udder totally.  She had a large open sore where it had fallen off by itself, but it looked good, no infection, and it was granulating and healing nicely in the from the edges.

He shot her up with antibiotics again and left with instructions to treat her for flystrike a couple of days later.  Well, we got them into the yards again today, and put on the flystrike powder.  The wound looked great.  It has decreased in size down to about a 10cm square piece and is all healed looking.

I can't believe one her udders just "fell off"!  how wierd is that, and what a lot of pain she must have been in.  She certainly is one tough old bird!

Apparently she will raise a lamb quite successfully with just one teat, but if she has twins we should take on off her next year and hand raise it.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Start of the Preserving

I find it so exciting going when there is more produce in the garden than we can eat on a daily basis.  Then my mind works overtime trying to figure out what to do with the glut before it spoils.


The first things ready have been Broad Beans, or to give them their fancy name, Fava Beans.  I ended up using a recipe adapted from my treatment of artichoke hearts last year.
Fava Beans in dressing
Blanch the broad beans for 3 minutes.  Pack into clean Agee jars. To each jar add several sprigs of thyme, 1 clove garlic chopped,  1/2 teaspoon salt and a grind of pepper.  Make 1 part olive oil,  2 parts white vinegar, 1 part lemon juice dressing.  Heat till hot in the microwave.  Pour over the beans, leaving 1 inch head space.  Process at 15 lbs of pressure for 35 mins.
At the same time I made some Leek and Potato soup base and they are processing together.
I really like canning. Food doesn't spoil or get freezer burn the way it can in a freezer, and there is no defrosting.  Just take off the shelf and heat well. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

A great planting day

When the rain has finally fallen (6mm in the rain guage) and the weather is overcast and warm the only thing to be done is to get into the garden and make the most of it. yesterday there was no wind, the rain had ceased,  and there was no risk of sunburn. So out came the hoe and trowel and we got to work
I put in several rows of carrots, many rows of french beans, a block of corn, some lettuces, and two whole beds of potatoes.  One bag of Jersey Bennie,  creamy and waxy for spring eating, and one of indeterminate origin because I had kept them all winter in a bucket and have forgotten their exact origin.  From memory they are probably jersey bennies too.
These are Dwarf French Beans

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Spears and Things

One of the first spring harvests, Asparagus, is finally coming into it's own.  These spears are from 2 year old plants, and I have a couple more plants from older rootstock, which are slowely coming out.  I think it has to be one of the most succulent and tasty of early harvests, especially with poached eggs and hollondaise sauce.

My leeks are looking pretty good too, I must say.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Blinky frost - my poor Mulberry Tree

 Anyone who has been reading my blog for a while will know how much I have hankered after a Mulberry tree!  Now that I have two decent sized specimens what happens?  the hugest frosts you ever saw - look at the buds on my best tree...completely frosted off.  Every bud that has had leaves is now black,  There are still a few buds not yet burst and I have hopes that they will be OK.   Does anyone know if they will come away again? or is this the end of my tree?