I was strimming at 6am for an hour before work. Why? To get rid of thorns that have been scratching the noses of the lambs, which has led to them contracting orf…
So, the lambing/small holding saga at Field End continues. No sooner did we get the little lambs to feed than they got Orf. This is a painful skin disease, like a type of eczema, that affects the nose and mouth of the lambs. It looks like raised lumps and it can be transferred to the mother’s teat and udder. If that goes pear shaped (not literally) then we might end up hand feeding all 7 lambs, which makes strimming weeds at 6am a breeze!
We have sprayed the lambs and ewes with an antibiotic to contain the spread and it seems to be working. We understand that it clears up in a few weeks but this whole thing was a new one on us. Thankfully, help was at hand again as Jill who sold us the sheep came by to see how we were getting on and spotted it.
It is at times like this that we feel embarrassed by our lack of knowledge and we do need to ask advice a lot. There is also a wider responsibility to the farming community to make sure we are running our small holding properly. But, while I am sure there is some rolling of the eyeballs, we have not seen it or encountered it. We have only had positive encouragement and advice.
Despite having ‘to-do’ lists longer than a politician’s nose and the inevitable feeling of being total and utter amateurs, this whole lifestyle is important and worth going through. There are so many benefits, from a deeper understanding of the food chain to a greater ‘feel’ for more sustainable living. Our family and friends are getting involved and it is desperately good fun, for us and the boys. We love it, so we won’t call it Orf.
I was torn between work and home today. Our first ever lambs were born yesterday morning and, having worked late, I didn’t get to see them until this morning. Ros had been there just after they were born and she managed to rub one of them into life.
She said it was amazing and I was gutted that I missed it! I was in the Planet Positive office having a great time developing our 2020 Vision campaign that we will be launching early June.
So, this morning we went to check the lambs who were in good shape but found two of our ewes clearly had a stomach upset… After the school run we set to work in cleaning them up and calling our farming friends for some advice to make sure it would not affect their lambs.
I was able to hit-foot to work for a meeting with our web manager and the preparation of the Planet Positive carbon calculator which is looking great on the ‘mirror’ site before it goes live in a couple of weeks.
This balance is really exciting but it is difficult when it is out of kilter. When there is real pressure of essential (and fun!) opportunities to make more of our sustainable living then getting a train for over an hour to London is not so appealing. Conversely, running Planet Positive is my dream job. It is all consuming, stretching your mind and your ability. There are no boundaries and you could literally spend every waking hour making more and more opportunities happen.
So, sustainable living and working do put pressure on the work/life balance, but only because you want more of both.
At last our home insulation is complete!
Our Planet Positive living is really gearing up. Outdoors we are working hard to supply more food from our land. Indoors we are trying to use less, improve our sustainable living and reduce our carbon emissions.
We still get our gas and electricity from E:On, specifically because we wanted to complete our discounted cavity wall insulation. This is a great scheme – the subsidising the insulation of homes across the UK.
We applied to our energy provider late last year and after a telephone survey were given the all clear for an onsite survey. This is conducted by a local company, subcontracted to E:On. After some time (about 3-months) we received a survey and after a couple of weeks were given the green light for a subsidised insulation.
Now, in mid-April the work has just been completed. The timing is somewhat pedestrian, however, I am sure that is down to the number of applicants and homes to process.
We have a 4-bed home and were asked to provide about £240 towards the insulation. We estimate the cost saving will be about £150 per year, giving us a payback period within 2-years. We know that cavity wall insulation can reduce heating loss by up to 15% and reduce our annual carbon emissions by about 1-tonne per annum.
This is one of the most cost effective and carbon effective activities you can do. To find out more take a look at the following: Planet Positive reduction tips for your home and Grants in the United Kingdom
We will now review the different energy suppliers to secure the best green energy we can get.