On a very frosty chilly morning today the donkeys, Vanille and Bambo were booked in for a hoot trim, not by farmer J this time who's back is not up to the task at the moment but a very nice French marechal - ferrant, a farrier to you and me, who was so calm and efficient I only had time to take one photo.
I had fretted during the night that these two girls were going to play him up (as they do with us) but they were as good as gold, I'm sure I caught Bambo fluttering her eye lashes at him. It still took half a bag of carrots to keep the calm but they are now wearing nicely cut and filled sabots (hoofs).
And for 10 € a hoof it was money well spent as far as I'm concerned (not too sure about farmer J's feelings on the matter)
Anyone who has done a search for putting in cables I'm afraid this wont help you, unless you wish to par take in putting cables in your knitting! For I have set myself a challenge this January (i may set myself a new each month we shall see). This months challenge is to move on from the knit and pearl of stocking stitch to progress on to a cable jumper, not only a hand knitted cable one but a hand spun and plied aran weight one, as yet still trying to get to a double knit weight - more practise needed there.
So I've been spinning like a mad woman, Ashford corridale fleece, a one off colour called heather which has shades of maroon and purple with a bit of dark green thrown in. As soon as it comes off the niddy noddy (used for putting wool in hanks) it has had its ply set by leaving in to soak for a while, a quick spin in the machine and hung to dry and put on the ball winder its then ready to be knitted.
Now with plain knitting its possible to do other things at the same tim…
There's a lot of legs on the farm here, some two legged who are finding it increasingly harder to push themselves up the pig hill and then working there way through thick mud, they slip and slide and sometimes get stuck but overall keep going.
Sometimes the animals have problems with their legs too. At the moment the only female Perking duck has had a limp for a few days, she has tried to keep up with the gang as they cover a grand distance in their morning and afternoon trip around the farm. I cant see anything wrong, it may be a strain from over amorous male Pekings or the only male Khaki Campbell, who although smaller its a feisty little male with a strong sex drive. She has now realised, thankfully that it is better to rest for a few days in the hope it will recover. So she sits in the pigs hay as they sleep the sheep eat hay on the other of the field shelter, sometimes with the old mulard male who also may be finding lots of waddling a thing of the past.
The ones on the right were moved last week, already a muddy enclosure.
Were getting the hang of this pig moving lark. It takes lots of bread, freshly cooked this morning still warm when it was tempting a group of five piggies out. Also helps to have lots of patience and be calm. I must of oozed calmness this morning as it only took me and a couple of minutes to move the five after place a bread trial to a new enclosure, didn't even have time to take a photo.
It's been damp and foggy here today, the new enclosure is firm with a bit of grass growing through at the moment - it will not last long. A few days and it will be turned into squelchy, wellie hugging mud with hungry piggies trying to get to their bucket of food before it gets in the troughs, overalls are a necessity (and a reliable washing machine)
Around the beginning of each year our cows and sheep have their annual obligatory blood test and today was the day. One of our vets came along bright and early, well it wasn't that bright being a bit damp and foggy today but she turned up with her box of empty sample vials and needle.
The animals are tested for Brucellosis and IBR (infectious bovine rhinotracheitis) here in the Aveyron, which is free. If you go two minutes in the car over the border to the Tarn et Garonne farmers have to pay, but here in the Aveyron we must be poorer farmers, or maybe more livestock farmers who would cause an outcry if they had to pay for an imposed test.
All bovines over the age of 24 months have to be tested, locked down while feeding Anne the vet went along the line lifting tails, inserting a needle and drawing a small amount of blood. Farmer J's job was to tie non co operating cows heads, which calms them down a bit and to shout out their individual number as I wrote it on their sample. A…
After a mild Christmas temperatures went below freezing making the pipes to the cows bath water and pigs freeze up, containers were filled and fetched for the pigs but its a different matter for a herd of large cows all needing a drink.
So on a rather biting windy morning posts were placed with an electric fence being threaded through from the hanger down to the source in the side field, giving the herd access to the woods as well. It took all morning as plastic fence posts were hunted down and pinched from pig enclosures not in use (we seem to get through an amazing amount of these plastic posts) as farmer J switched the fence on and the cows were led down to water I placed the last plastic post in to see a young steer run through the fence taking the wire with him. So after a bit of colourful language, herding them all back, shutting off the field, having a large coffee the fence was mended and re threaded (more fence posts had to be borrowed as he also manged to brake a few of t…