Wednesday, 13 June 2018

The Shearing Project....and things

Sheep Shearing Time

...... rounding them up....

.... managed to get a few into the back pen...

.... and Lester and friend making a joint effort to shear the ram.....

.... watched by Lissie and Bonnie, who are always very interested in whatever is going on.

And that's that, the sheep keep their fleeces because the shearing tool could not take it from them, because:
- either it was not the right time to shear, the weather having been unseasonally cold and wet,
-  or the shearing tool was blunt,
- or the action of shearing was not right. 

Oh well, the weather still remains its inclement self, we are still in winter clothes although we have removed our thermals, the sheep keep their fleece for a while longer until we can sort out another shearing session, and  I felt the change of seasons last night when out chatting with the chickens, it is the longest day soon, and we could do with some dry weather to get things done. 

The dark blob on the screen is a rain drop.

The brown water is what the rain has deposited over the last few days, and the big tree is the oak tree which is huge this year, and we fear lest the oak will topple over with the weight of the leaves and its baby acorns, its roots no longer able to hold it upright because of the ground being saturated. Nothing we can do about this, but wait.

The Main Field beyond the oak is also saturated with rain water and river seepage, so is out of action for grazing. 

Our Wood Pile, definitely not drying out for winter use. 

.... and being delivered in February. The wood was supposed to be stacked and covered, but the rains came before we could do that. It is another job with the weather has not allowed us to get done. It is hard to watch the fuel for next winter being drowned in a sea of  wet vegetation, which will have to be cut down before we can start stacking that wood.

And another job not done is the maintenance of the raised beds....

.... they need refilling, but I could not get to the pile of compost out in the back veg plots, because of the overgrown state of the land in between, which was too wet to cut because of the rain. But we do have a self seeded courgette, and small row of onions, and a few lettuce. I wait to get the compost before I can plant seeds.

  You can also see the overgrown state of the paths round the raised beds, which do get cut but then it rains, which makes the weeds grow back again at a phenomenal rate. It is difficult to keep on top of things at the moment. 

Oh dear, ..... I find myself lapsing into moans and groans about the effort of trying to run a smallholding when the weather is not being particularly helpful, so I shall close. Being a smallholder certainly creates a strong inner self,  and if it doesn't then you will give up the quest to provide food for yourself, and I find myself having a growing respect for people who lived in past times, when if you were unable to grow a harvest for winter use then you would starve. 

We won't starve because food is readily available for us to buy at supermarkets, even though that food is not particularly healthy because of the amount of chemicals it is subjected to.

Is it worth the effort of battling against things, like the weather, bugs, etc....., just to feed yourself as best you can? Yes, it is, because the lifestyle and fulfillment that goes with the effort is beyond price. 
...... Oh well done, Vera, you have just talked yourself into being positive again, so well done you. 

So bye for now, the sun has appeared so I am going to get outside before the rain starts again. It will be too wet to do anything on the smallholding, but at least I can sit and crochet. 



Barbara said...

Your weather looks very much like ours. Except it's warm here. Almost too warm for this time of year.
When you say that "being a smallholder certainly creates a strong inner self" you are not exaggerating. I, too, admire our forebears who managed to survive all the challenges. I wonder how we would fare without the safety net of the grocery store.
Hoping for drier days and successful gardening for you!

Dawn said...

Shearing here today, sheep and alpacas brought in last night, we have had no rain to speak of for 5-6 weeks the occasional drizzle thats all the water tanks are all dry and the veg is stalling or bolting because of the heat, last year was a wet one for us, its all swings and roundabouts on a smallholding

DUTA said...

The shearing of sheep, brings to my mind a rather strange tradition in our religion. Boys of three are given their first hair cut at Mt Miron. Imagine that day with hundreds of 3 year old boys getting their hair cut! Great fun, and also.. a bit of crying.

The weather controls our life. It has always been so, but it's getting much worse. Don't count on the food at the supermarket. What happens to the farmers has immediate effect on the shelves of the supermarket.

I like your photos; you're good at taking the right pictures.

Mama Pea said...

Oh, dear Vera, I loved this post because you laid it all out as it is and truly didn't whine or complain one bit! Having to deal with all that you are because of the drat-blasted weather (which we can do absolutely NOTHING about!) absolves you of any guilt you could possibly lay on yourself for not doing what needs to be done. (Am I making any sense?) So many folks these days are plumb apathetically lazy and refuse to take any form of self-responsibility and couldn't, for instance, grow any kind of food to feed themselves if their lives depended upon it. But you and your dear husband are doing the darn hard work necessary to be self-sufficient to a great extent. This, too, shall pass and next year will be much, much better. Not that I don't know it is so hard to keep the optimism through this season which has been a downer for you, for sure. Keep up the "realistic" posts as I truly feel it helps us all. Hugs to you!

Rhodesia said...

I see our neighbour has sheared all his sheep. As you say it is still quite chilly and oh so wet. Looks like we may have a few dry days up to the weekend. The weeds are having a ball they seem to grow regardless!! I presume the little shop is not going to happen this year as you are struggling with the raised beds.
Take care and enjoy the rest of the week Diane

Vera said...

BARBARA, thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Keeping on going on, that is what us smallholders have to do!

Vera said...

DAWN....hope the shearing went well, and that you get some rain, and that we get some sun!

Vera said...

DUTA, thanks for the interesting comment you made about the hair cut 'shearings' of those little three year old boys. I suppose the tradition of the hair cut at that age was to bring those youngsters from babyhood into childhood? Glad you enjoy the photos.

Vera said...

MAMA PEA, thank you for your inspirational words. Sometimes it is a bit of a plod being a smallholder/ homesteader, but always it is worthwhile, it is just that sometimes we forget to stop and remind ourselves at how good a life it is!

Vera said...

DIANE, the Market Garden Project is still alive, it is just that we are having to do other things relevant to that project at the moment.....for example, getting the milking area sorted out, and the chicken flock numbers increased so we can have a good amount of eggs to sell.
Progress is slow though, because Lester is working full time, but he is still very much motivated to get the project up and running!
As for the weeds..... !!!!!!!!

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Life is what happens in the midst of our plans, as the saying goes. Good for you for soldiering on.

Janice said...

Hi Vera, it must be very frustrating when you have so many things you want to get done and mother nature has other plans! Hope you are getting lots of your inside stuff done instead!