Winter is drawing in and I feel it!
The evening are getting dark earlier and nights much colder. I have ordered the round bales of haylage for the winter and the animals will be moving in from the fields soon.
We have sold six of the seven piglets over the last few days. The remaining one will stay with the sow for company. They were very easy to sell which surprised me. I had imagined the market at this time of year would be poor compared to spring. Who wants additional livestock going into winter?
The cow will move into the cow yard in the next two weeks. She wouldn't see a field again until May next year. The milking machine had broke down about two weeks ago and instead of forking out a few hundred to fix it , we have decided to buy a new portable machine in the spring when she freshens. At the moment I am hand-milking her every evening. She is giving about 5 litres on once a day milking. Once she moves indoor, we will dry her off. She is due her angus calf in early March.
The hens are doing well. We are getting about seven eggs a day from ten hens ( one pullet, two ducks and two roosters ). We expect to get (less) eggs right through winter as many of the hens are this years.
The bees are still foraging in the middle of the day. A great deal of pollen is brought back into the hives each day. I expect that the queens will slow down now and then cease laying sometime next month. The full hives should have plenty of stores as I took so little from them but I will continue to feed the two nuc's.
We have three horses. A pony for the children and two youngsters for me. The youngsters stayed at my sisters farm all summer, but the older of the two, a two yr old Mermus R gelding will move back here for the winter. I will collect him at the end of this month. I will be training him over the winter to lunge, long rein and then ride. I prefer to start them young and slow. I worked with him for a few weeks during the summer and he can already be tacked up in cross-ties and take my weight lying over his back. The children continue their riding lessons and will be riding their pony max over the winter. I plan to bring them to lead-rein show jumping leagues in Feb with him.
The range in the kitchen and open fire in the sitting-room is lit every day. The cottage is very cosy and snug! Thank God for turf :-)