Thursday, 14 February 2013

Burgers, burgered

This is why we grow our own meat here at the Croft.

Horse trading, European style.

The map, from, shows the trade routes used to make burgers for British supermarkets. These burgers include horse meat from Romanian abattoirs...

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Putting on the kilos

I have been tracking the weight of our lambs. Last week Digby, the first of the new batch, went from 5kg to 7kg in a week - that's a 40% increase.

Growing up - the power of mother's milk

The lambs in the last batch added weight at a very consistent rate - with just one outlier, Broch. We will be checking how the new batch grow to see if we can find out what determines growth rate.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Tiddles toddles into the world

He was born at 18:00 yesterday - a blustery day. Geisha, his mum, was distracted with the messy business of getting rid of her placenta, walking round and round the shed dragging the bloody bits behind her.

The new Tiddles didn't pay much attention to anything, so I milked Geisha and gave him a few drops of colostrum, and then a little more from a syringe. I tried to put him onto the nipple, but he was not really interested. I checked him late into the night - and still he was toddling around, not really paying attention.

No, Tiddles, the milk's near the back...

This morning the slightly sleepy, dazed lamb was lying down and I began to get seriously concerned. So I milked Geisha and intubated the lamb with 75ml of her milk. I also took his temperature - 39.5º C and thus pretty normal. Pep the wonderful vet suggested 3ml of multivitamins, so I injected him with that.

...and the result, this evening, is a much more alert bouncy wee lamb who has definitely started to suckle. He's a bit hazy-lazy, and takes a little drink before wandering off, but he's looking much more alert.

Lambing - it's a life-and-death business.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Southern Vandal

Another palm tree - a  young one - fell victim this month to the Giant Red Palm Weevil, Rhynchophorus ferrugineus.

The Red Menace

The weevil, which may originally have arrived in the Peninsula on imported Egyptian palms, has come up from the south with the warming climate, and palms all around here have fallen as a result. The Botanic Gardens at Blanes are keeping their palms alive and free of weevils, but at the expense of spraying insecticide into them.

So that's your choice - palm death or chemical warfare.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Digby the Sheep

Digby the lamb, an early 2013 surprise and the first new lamb in my ANCRI scheme was born weighing just under 5kg on Saturday 2nd. Mother and daughter (we named her Digby before I'd quite worked out whether she was a male or a female...) are doing well.

The new ANCRI member

Bee Breath

This is Xylocopa violacea, the Carpenter Bee, breathing its first Spring breath, on the 2nd of February 2013.

My reference book, Collins Complete Mediterranean Wildlife Photoguide (Harper and Collins, London, 2000) says they are active April-September.

Is this early breath another sign of us all warming up - climate change, bee-style?