Wednesday, July 20, 2016


We have passed the longest day so I think I can finally say summer is here! It has been a while since my last blog so I thought I would give a bit of a update as to where we are. Ellers has now recovered from the December floods and looking full of life. Our meadow around the the pond has grown well and we are looking forward to getting our first hay crop. Although we have put a  a lot of wildflower seed down it still seems to be the grass species that are dominant in the meadow. To counter balance this we are hoping to get some yellow rattle seed from a local meadow down the road and if we can get the Yellow Rattle going this species is very good at absorbing nutrients from the soil and in turn should encourage more wild flower species. 

shearing (21 June 2016)

Our lambs are growing up fast and few weeks ago we had a very sheepy evening where the ewes and Rambo were sheared and the lambs were ear tagged. When we first bought our ewes they were quite wild and had come straight off a fell, but now I can proudly say they are bucket trained (well almost) and our mobile field shelter is a great place to do sheepy jobs. So now the ewes look like goats and it takes me a while to work out who is who without their fleeces. We have just got our pedigree certificates through for this years lambs and I must say it is very nice to see our flock name on a pedigree certificate and it makes those early morning lamb checks all worth while. We also have a local buyer arranged for the lambs, who would like to start their own Jacob pedigree flock. 
Ewes now look like goats!

Rye always keen to help!

The bees are doing great even with Andrew having to deal with two of the hives swarming. Although one hive completely disappeared never to be seen again, we managed to adopt another swarm near our house, which has now replaced the hive that disappeared! From last year just having two hives we now have six hives and are currently selling this years honey!

We have not had any Sand martins take up residence in the grand designs we made for them, but they are regular visitors on the river and we are hopeful that maybe they will make Ellers their home one day. The ponds still has some maturing to do, but we have reeds and yellow flag Iris growing and the Kingfishers are regular visitors. From not have much vegetation on the riverbanks we now have reeds and other vegetation growing that is helping the banks to stabilize after years of erosion caused by livestock entering the river.  

Our orchard trees are also growing well and our chickens seem really settled with Mary hen even hatching her own egg! The ponies are also doing a great job balancing out the grazing meaning we have a truly mixed grazing system. As I write it has started to rain again, so here's hoping the weather picks up so we can get the meadow cut and enjoy the rest of the summer! 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Lambing - Who New An IBC Container Could Be So Useful?

One of the wettest winters on record has resulted in Ellers being continually saturated and ironically the pond field has become the driest.

We had thought about moving the sheep to our neighbours land, but the sheep had a refusal to load moment or two! Meaning the pond field it was for our first lambing year!
There was no way we were going to be able to move the field shelter as at the moment is mud glued to the ground, so we came up with the plan of making pens with shelter area out of hurdles, tarpaulin sheets and the sides were made out of IBC containers (large plastic contains used to store water and other farming feeds and products).
Half term week was our due date for lambing and we started lambing right on time with Clover having twin ewe lambs on 11th February.  We only have five ewes and I am sick of saying the ewe with the forward facing horns and two spots on her side, so yes she is now called Clover and the other four ewes were named as they lambed too.
Two Horns

A couple of days later and two horns lambed with twin ewes again, then Jo, Bramble and finally Thistle on the 14th March. So now we have three sets of twins and two singles and fingers crossed things will continue to go ok with lambing 2016. I think I now have a little more understanding of farming and have learnt so much with our first lambing. Although there have been a few worries at times so far I am still hooked on sheep!
Jo Ewe

The benefits sometimes of getting up early!


It flooded for one day and we had snow another day!

Jo ewe on baby sitting duties!

Camera Traps are Great - Otters!

Every so often we find Otter spraint down Ellers, but a few weeks ago Andrew started finding spraints and Otter dinner remains in one place. This could maybe mean one thing, could we possibly have a holt under one of our Alder trees?!

We have put camera traps out before, but had no luck in the past. Normally we get pheasants, ducks and rats, but this time we had a real chance of getting the Otter. So Matthew deployed his camera trap and we caught this great footage!

Our next camera aim has to be the Kingfisher and Barn owl, so far I have only managed to get sketchy footage of the Barn owl on my phone camera.