November 2019

We had 60 students visiting from Aberdeen university as part of an animal welfare course all students enrolled on science and environmental courses need to do. It was rather a large number to accomodate but we managed although not sure they could all hear when Paul and I were saying things. Two days later we had a rushed visit from 2 farmers from Orkney who are considering going organic and they wanted to get first hand experience from us. Their visit couldn’t have come on a worse day – cold and wet, pouring with rain and sleet and we had very little time as we had to float sheep to the abbatoir and two or 3 other things going on too. However we managed a quick tour of the cattle courts and a cup of tea – of course and they asked lots of questions. We wish them well. We have all of the cows and spring calves inside now but the bull and heifers and stirks still outside. It’s very wet under foot but they’re not making too much mess. Still quite mild. Ther are 8 fat cattle inside finishing up on silage and a bit of barley and they will be off to the abbotoir at the beginning of December. The veg on the stall once a week in Insch on a Friday is selling well and people look out for it ther every firday. I have to say i was not very willing to set it up yesterday as I picked sprouts and dug leeks in sleet and wet at 7.30am!! Today is the Suffolk tups big day – this afternoon he will be let out amongst his ewes (we’ve only got 26) and the Ryland tup will go out with his 3! That’s the two Shetland ewews(still going strong – I think they are about 7 years old now and one other. And we’ve passed the 21st anniversary of moving to Coldwells this month! What a time it’s been!

April 2018

Thursday 5th April saw us turnout 18 cows and their calves on to pasture. Still rather wetter under foot than we would like but the weatherforecast is showing a rise in temp and not much rain.

March 2018

Well what a terrible first week of March weather we have had with snow and gales and now driving rain. It has been tough going in these conditionss getting all the sheep and cattle fed. However, there is no option but to turn out suitably clad! There have been some early starts as right in the middle of all this we started calving – 6 have arrived safely already, all are doing well. One was vigorous but unable to find the udder and as the cow was vicious, head-butting and kicking out, we had to bring her through the snow to the cattle crush to restrain her safely whilst we helped the calf latch on. First I had to hand-milk her in a blizzard and transfer the milk to a bottle so the calf could get the first suck. Fortunately before the snow arrived Paul managed to finish all the ploughing but one field and spread muck and plough in the new market garden area. Once the snow has melted it will be back to the fields as soon as possible to finish spreading muck and ploughing. We now have 18 calves born including one set of twins. unfortunately one cow had a stillborn calf so we had to split the twins up and give one of them to the cow who lost her calf. All are doing well now though and both calves getting plenty of milk. The weather has continued to be trying and very wintery. I think we’ve had two days of sunshine in March. Paul, Megan and Oliver completed planting a new hedge around Megans market garden. All the ploughing is finished and we are raring to get on the ground with our new set of harrows/tines.

February 2018

Springtime, calving and lambing are fast on the approach and last week saw us cleaning out the cowshed in preparation. Muck-spreading continues and the old fence in the top fields is almost completely dismantled, ready to be replaced. Our SRUC Organic Farming Student Abi has had her first tractor-driving lessons and has been enjoying driving up to feed the sheep on sunny-frosty mornings. Preparations for ‘Meg’s Veg’ market garden are well underway, with the first seedlings appearing in the polytunnel, and an amazing amount of work has been done digging a trench (by hand!) for a section of the fencing that can’t be accessed by machinery. Meg’s first customers have already been in touch – could you be the next to sign up?? LATEST NEWS: Coldwells is going to feature in a film about local wheat and bread. Artist Katie Stewart is conducting a project called Bread + Butter for Macduff Revival – she will be making a loaf out of locally grown wheats and has already visited our farm to do some filming and interviewing.

March 2015

Calving – very good calving season.18 calves born including 2 sets of twins. Sadly one of them died as it was being born backwards and did not survive. But the other pair are absolutley beautiful. Their mother has a white face and her two calves are the same: big panda faces! To my horror when I looked in their pen this morning after the bedding straw had been blown out from the machine one of them was missing! There was a big panic on until fortunately he was found alive and well sitting round the back of one of the cattle courts. As the bedding builds up at this time of year some naughty calves like to escape through the barriers and explore the world. So he was very relieved to be reunited with his cow.

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