Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Winter, peanuts and birds.

I'm feeling very lazy today. It's cold and although I managed to do a few things this morning, I now feel like just sitting tight and watch the birds on the feeder.
Good news is that the ladies feet are getting finally back to normal after continuous and assiduous managing for the past 3 months.
Another good news is that what seemed to me like a confused and homogeneous mass of coal tits on the bird feeders, it's actually a bit more diverse ensemble.
There is at least a blue tit, a great tit and a goldfinch. They are just a lot more shy than the bloody coal tits and you need to be patient and have the dogs inside to see them. Especially the goldfinch. On the ground there is a Dunnock and a couple of female chaffinches. I've seen the male at times too. Of course, checking on everyone and a bit everywhere, there is the Robin.
I had a couple of Pied wagtails for a long while but I haven't seen them recently.
I also haven't seen the tiny Wren in a while too.
The two magpies are always there when the sheep are around, not to mention the blackbird, Pepe's greatest enemy.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Tupping gone wrong

Remember how I said that the ram had serviced all the sheep and that I'd put him in again just in case? Well, it turns out Little Fecker is not that good at fucking, or better, he's not that good at getting them pregnant, because surely he's applying himself a lot.
The result is that I might have as little as only two sheep in lamb (Selvaggia and Concubine), but hopefully the third time around he managed the other 3.
My mistake, I left it too late and when I realized that he didn't work it was too late to get another one. If I went to get another ram now I would have lambing in June, which means milking until January. No way Jose!!! Better be barren for a year, especially now that we only have 4, hopefully we'll make treasure of my mistake and won't do it again.
There is a chance that LF is just inexperienced, that the Frisian sheep are a tiny bit too tall (in fact the only 2 that are not on heat again are the shortest ones), or that LF is not mature yet. Truth is that probably he is infertile but I like him so much that I'll try to keep him, possibly as a teaser ram. Way to go Little Fecker!

Friday, 29 November 2013

Bird mass extinction

Dear friends and 5 readers, I have been finding it difficult to post recently, regardless of the amazing opportunities offered by my newly acquired smart phone (which I got for free from Whizzie).
It's all a big mess in my mind. It's a series of small and big jobs queuing around in my gray matter.
The lane has been fixed but the drainage is still to be sorted out. We did do it actually, we sent all the water in a piece of government owned forestry bordering with us, but it turns out that our neighbour bought it 5 days later and now he's complaining about it and threatening to plug the drain. You think he'd have told us but he didn't. We have a fucking good bunch of neighbours.
So we'll have to do it again.
The ram has serviced all the sheep and I've taken him out now. He's with his Suffolk concubine now.
I'll put him in with the ladies in two weeks again. Just in case.
For the rest, I'm trying to sort out drainage on the upper fields too and tomorrow the digger man is coming in because it's been very dry for two weeks and it's perfect weather to dig.
But the dreadful news of the day is that we had a mass extinction of birds. The fox got 9 chickens and the 3 super cute ducks. Poor Whizzie was heart broken and gave the only 1 survivor to a friend. The evil fox went in and out all night, but what is more shocking is that she climbed a 2 meter net. Guantanamo has been violated. To add more sadness to the bird diversity situation at the farm, I killed a robin. The robin is a lovely little bird. Not just any robin, but the one that I knew and grew accustomed to see around and in the stable. He died in a mouse trap that I thought I had carefully placed in a bird-proof spot. When I saw it my heart shrunk to the size of a walnut. And now I feel even worse. Total miserable. At least we learn from our mistakes.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013


Electricity is a great thing. I finally got the electric connection for the shed last week. And I love it.
Even though the sheep are all dry now, it's still quite busy around here.
We are trying to sort out drainage in a few parts of the farm, especially around the new lane, in order to defeat the evil forces of the water that want to take our new lane from us.
A gate is also very slowly going up at the entrance of the farm. What color do you think we should paint it? I'd go for red.
Little Fecker has been having lots of fun with the sheep but I have noticed that the first one that was covered is in heat again. Not a good sign little Fecker! You better sort it out if you want a long career!
The female lambs are the funniest things ever. You should have seen them playing today. Jumping like silly goats all over the field.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

The love sheep

I'm almost ashamed of myself but I'm thinking of getting more sheep:

Thursday, 3 October 2013

humidity in cheese making

Well well,
humidity is a very important factor in cheese making, mainly in aging, because to get your cheese to age properly within the expected time frame, you need the humidity to fall within a certain range. For example for my pecorino the best is around 85%.
But in the specific case of pecorino, but also other cheeses, humidity is also important in a step that I always took a bit for granted: rind formation. I never had any issues so far and rind for pecorino it's formed after soaking in brine by simply letting the cheese to air dry for one or two days, depending on humidity in the air.
There. In the past couple of weeks we've had so much humidity that I cannot get the rind to form at all. The cheese stays wet and finally after a few days gets covered with slime. Not nice. I do not like slime on my cheese.
It's the awful combination of high precipitation and high temperatures. This will be a challenge next year, I doubt we'll have such a dry summer in the next 30 years :(

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Allo! Allo!

Have you ever watched a tv series from the 80s called Allo! Allo! ? I just finished watching it last night.
Now that the war is over I can get back to the blog!
More than a year down the line and here we are, with 4 lovely sheep, 4 lovely hoggets, 1 lovely ram, lots of lovely cheese and a lot more.
Here's the check list:
Van (thanks to Whizzie, really)
Mobile home (also referred to as jonz-mobile)
Porch, heating, water and generator
Getting Ram
Cheese making
Cheese aging
P's little wood cabin (thanks to Whizzie, really)
Getting flock number
Get official tags!
Fixing lane
Eat lots of cheese
Get electric connection (started months ago, still not finished because of our neighbour Dike being a Dike)
Next in line on the 'to do' list:
Get rid of last two male lambs
Get concubine for little Fecker
Get proper cheese lab
Get vat
Get milk cooling system
Get licence to sell cheese
Fix motorbike
Sell motorbike
Get more sheep!
Be happy.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013


Here is my huge harvest, arranged in classic Italian way. I wonder if it will work here too, with all the humidity we have here, it might not work!

Monday, 2 September 2013

2 gone, 2 to go.

I just sold two lambs to one of the 5 Irish farmers who have dairy sheep (us included).
It's nice to know that they'll have a few years of "work" in front of them and won't go to the butcher, yet!
Maybe I'll be able to sell the other 2 to one of the other 3 farmers :)
I have been to Italy for almost three weeks and I had a great time. We spent some time in the mountains with Katy and Pietro and also with the Bigoli and my nephews. Grand! I also had lots of delicious food and came back with two salami, one of which is called "the donkey's ball". No balls in there, but very similar shape.
The sheepies were well looked after mostly by P but also by Whizzie in the last few days..
So now back to cheese making, also because two dodgy creatures broke into the old house and stole most of our precious cheese! Sorry Dario, you'll still get some though!


Friday, 2 August 2013

Painful, is it?

Lacrime e tormento

I don't think I need to explain how happy I am that this man is finally paying for something.
Too bad he's not going behind bars. QUESTO GRANDISSIMO PORCO!

Sunday, 21 July 2013

My new cheese cave

I finally managed to take a few pictures of my two artificial cheese cave, of the growing lambs and the first real pecorino. I liked it a lot but still need to get some feed back from more volunteers. Back then I still had an issue with the rind formation and mold control in the cave. Since then I have managed to sort it ll out and as you can see the new cheese in the small cave looks just marvellous (at least to me). Ogni scarrafone è bell' a' mamma soja (Even a coackroach looks beautiful to his mum).
On a sadder note, two of the chicks have disappeared :(

Saturday, 20 July 2013

The Irish summer!

Hallo readers! It's been more than 2 weeks now. It's pretty unreal. This is the kind of weather you'd be getting in Italy! A really strange "Irish summer", especially after the super wet and cold summer from last year. We are officially in a drought period now. Not a drop of water for the past 2 weeks and temperatures just below 30 C° in most parts of the country. Hopefully we'll get some rain beginning of next week. My water tank is possibly dry and the grass in the upper fields is very short because the top soil is thin and the lack of water is particularly bad there. At least all this is good for Whizzie's bees, which seem pretty happy and swarming like mad!

Saturday, 13 July 2013

I Needed Farming.

As we say in Italian, "laughing and joking" it has been a year since I moved up here. By "laughing and joking" (ridendo e scherzando), we mean that time passed by real quickly, without us noticing.
Here is a slideshow of what happened during this very intense year, although there are a few things missing, like the electrics in the stable, the lane and drains being dug at the moment, the poly-tunnels we bought and the pigs in their real teen age size. Which is pretty huge. Enjoy! If you are reading through one of those silly ipads without flash support go here: Link

Thursday, 11 July 2013


Long post! a bit more technical than usual. After all this blog was supposed to be a small holding blog and not a private diary!

I think the sheep well deserve the first technical post.


I always thought that sheep were the most fascinating and versatile domesticated animal on earth. Domestication and then selection of sheep into the vast array of breeds that homo sapiens has produced throughout the millennia is an example to all other domesticated species.

To my knowledge, sheep is the only domesticated mammal that has been selected for three different scopes: meat, milk and wool. The wool aspect in fact is very peculiar. There are examples of mammals domesticated for wool or fine fibre production and meat at the same time, like rabbits and alpacas (although alpaca is not really reared for its meat) or other examples like the bovine, selected for dairy and meat productions. But the sheep is unique in its selection towards three separate attitudes.

The sheep is unique in something else too. It is the only mammal bred for fine fibre production in which selection produced a single coat. Most mammals with a fur have a coat that is composed by an outer coat (hair) and what is mostly referred to as under coat, composed by much finer fibers (dawn). The most prominent example is the Cashmere goat, whose super expensive fiber, produced in the order of a few hundred grams per head, is combed or, more traditionally, picked from the bushes. Cashmere is an under coat.

Basically hair follicles are divided into primary and secondary hair follicles. My PhD supervisor was excellent in his hair biology :) Every primary follicle, producing thick hair, is surrounded by a bunch of tiny, thin, secondary follicles.

But in sheep you basically have a bunch of follicles where you cannot distinguish between primary and secondary anymore, at least not from their diameter, but only from the presence of other anatomical features (sebaceous gland).

Alpacas are going towards that situation too but they are still not there. Or rather, they were probably there before the conquest, or much closer.
Anywhoo, aren’t sheep amazing? :)

So there are sheep selected for meat like the bergamasca

and the suffolk,

but also sheep selected for wool like the merino

and finally sheep selected for dairy production like the Sarda,

the Comisana,

and the Lacaune!

and the East Friesian of course! (and many many others)

Dairy sheep and the use of milk from sheep are surely common in southern Europe and the Mediterranean area, with France, Spain, Italy and Greece, but surely all the Balkans and the middle east too, having plenty of history, breeds and cheese to offer.

In northern Europe dairy breeds are virtually non existent and therefore the traditions that come with them. The only example is in all truth the famous and infamous East Friesian. It is still a mystery to me what such a sheep is doing up there :)

Traditionally they were kept in small flocks with plenty of care and good management to provide milk for the household without the need to have a much larger animal like a cow. This (the intense care) has allowed very intense genetic selection towards a main trait: the quantity of milk. Unfortunately, like it always happens with very intense, mono-directional selection, you end up losing bits and bobs on the way. The result is a sheep that surely will provide you with more milk per head than any other breed on the planet, but has the nutritional needs of a bison and the resistance and toughness of an infant.

I might be exaggerating, but the contrast to other dairy breeds is profound, I can assure you.

Another trait that you usually end up with when selection is so strong is tameness. In fact they are usually very tame animals and this sure is a “pro” for the small holder who is just setting up his/her farm.
So the 4 amazing specimens in my possession are not exactly the kind of breed you’d look for if you want to be sustainable in your farming... But it is the only female dairy genetics that you can source in Ireland at present and that’s the reason I got them.

Another bad reason to have pure blood friesians for us is that we want to process our milk to make cheese and when selection is so intense towards quantity you end up losing in quality. In fact friesian milk has lower solids than the milk from other dairy breeds and it’s pointless to get 100 liters when you could get the same solids (and therefore cheese) with 70, especially considering at what price that extra 30 comes, in terms of extra management, feed and veterinary care...

One positive thing about friesians though, is that if breeding pure friesians is not a good idea, crossing them with other dairy breeds or non dairy breeds gives excellent results:

The F1 crosses, by a phenomenon called the hybrid vigor, will produce above the average of the two parents. This effect is lost with the following generations, but the point is that the genetic gain obtained by crossing with friesians is out of doubt great, gaining usually in quantity without losing in quality.
And this is why I was very excited when I came across a lady in Carlow, just by chance, who had lacaune. She was not selling hoggets or ewes but she’d give me a ram. I wasn’t so sure yet back then but after a few months down the road with the four ladies I was more and more convinced about the choice...
One could object that the Friesians are seemingly delicate because of the poor pastures that I’m using now and sure they could do better on the nicer land, but yet not quite as good as lacaune crosses or pure breed lacaune and at the end of the day it just does not make sense to have friesians if your target is sustainability, it’s like driving a ferrari on a country lane.

Concluding, the plan is to use lacaune rams through the next years and to retain the hoggets, slowly increasing the amount of lacaune blood in the flock, if ever in need to bring back some friesland blood I’d use a friesian ram on a small subset of sheep and possibly a year later use the resulting male F1 offspring to service the rest of the flock. That would inject instantly an average of 25% of friesian blood in the coming offspring.
Another alternative would be to use some Zwartbles genes, but that would not go towards quantity but rather towards an increase in offspring size, without losing much at all on milk production.


Tuesday, 25 June 2013


Here are Whizzie's new chicks! The Speckled hen went broody and gave Whizzie this nice present :)

Friday, 21 June 2013

Not much to say really...

Well, the second pecorino has been cut open and I liked it very much, Tom and Kevin did too and our neighbors are simply crazy about the ricotta. The second time I tried mozzarella it was a lot better but it is really difficult to keep, its shelf life being very short. I make it for fun tho, just for the pizza Saturdays.
The blue looked very interesting when I put it in the cellar, my sheep gorgonzola could be a big surprise.
The milking stand has been redesigned and improved for simpler and easier use. I should post some pics but let's say that now the sheep simply jump on it, the whole milking experience has improved a lot for them and I, and possibly for P when she'll be milking in August. I'm going to enjoy some time off. I surely need it, I look like a relic.
I have been busy for the past 3 or 4 days trying to fix the floor of my mobile home which was about to collapse. Mission accomplished but what a pain in the butt. If I were a bit larger I wouldn't have been able to crawl under it :(
And finally, for something completely different, here are some pics of my friend the hare!

Sunday, 9 June 2013


Jeez. I forgot about the midges. Because last summer was so humongously shit, we didn't get many midges. But this late blooming spring has brought them back altogether (with the ones from last year too it seems!). As it happens, milking falls right within the time of highest midges activity. This means that my face is covered with bytes. And my wrists. Also part of my arse, my shirt is too short!
This morning I was awaken at 6.30, not by the usual sound of my alarm, but rather by the four sheep bleating VERY LOUDLY right behind my wonderfully sound insulated window of the mobile home. What was wrong with them? Were they just playing a bad prank on me? I could swear I saw one of them smiling devilishly... but no. Their faces, legs and udders had changed colour, they were black with midges!

Anyway, on a different note, cheesemaking goes on. No midges in the cheese yet. I did try one blue and I might try another one in a couple of weeks, but mainly it's still pecorino and ricotta because I feel that the recipe is right. I have a confession to make, I did open the first tiny pecorino I made and I ate it all. It was good, very good. Considering that it was young (below 4 weeks) I was very impressed.
I should post pics but every time I come up to the old house for the cheese I forget my camera and I still don't have one of those fancy smart phones. I promise some more pics. Enjoy the video of the happy ram, sorry about the annoying music in the background.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013


Well the workload has increased sensibly since I've started milking the 4 sheep. The lambs and Mr Fecker are almost care-free and I only need to re-fence them with the electric netting every so many days.
I basically milk 8 liters per day and process therefore 16 liters every other day. The mobile home seems to cope with all this cheese making and is still pretty tidy, but surely it's not easy to eat 5 Kg of cheese every other day :) Well, actually most of it keeps piling up in the old house (pecorini to age). Still no proper aging facilities, so I'm using my old modified fridge as a cellar and plastic containers. I'm pretty happy with the cheese/ricotta duo, although the ricotta is the only one we tasted and frankly it is amazing. The pecorini look good but we'll see how they score at the taste bud test.
The ladies have transformed themselves into munching machines and to be honest the amount of grass on the fields at our disposal is not great. The spring is late and temps have been really low for the time of the year but today it's warm and we'll be in the 20s celsius for the next 7 days! :)
I have also tried mozzarella, failed miserably on attempt number one and succeeded satisfactorily the second time around. I would like to try a blue tomorrow.

On the milking side again, surprisingly the best sheepy is Selvaggia, she has the prettiest and better shaped udder among them all and stands still forever while I milk her, one wonders if she stands paralyzed in fear but I believe she's actually very cool, strangely enough.

As the title says, thank god for the piggies, lots of whey and cheese for them from my experiments, if Whizzie didn't have them I'd have a very fat dog by now. 11 liters of whey every other day are just fine for the 2 pigs but it would have been a pain if I had to dispose of it otherwise.
off to milking in a while, more soon.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Sheep shearing and weaning.

Spring seems to have finally kicked in, although I shouldn't say it too loud. Sure for Italian standards the maximum temperatures are still a joke, but not so much if you go around in a 6 Kg wool jumper and you cant take it off.
It was time to shear the sheep and I was a bit worried about it because I never did it before and surely not with hand clippers! It did go alright though. I did Boss first, she is always very cooperative and it took me 1 hour and a half, would you believe it? The poor thing was about to die of shock. After I released she lied down for an hour or so to recover and I did the same. The other ones went a lot quicker and I managed to get good fleeces out of them, in one piece and clean.
In the meantime I have also weaned all the lambs in two different rounds. The last one went in the day before yesterday. P had prepared these lovely bras for them to help weaning without having to separate them from their mothers (they can't suck), but in the end I ended up separating them for 2 reasons, the first one is that the stable is a lot less busy, the second is that Little Fecker has some company and he's very happy about it (check the picture at the end!).
Finally, I have been making cheese! I have tried of course the Pecorino and ricotta duo, it took me a while but I think I got it straight in the end. The pigs are very happy with the whey. Tonight I'm going to try mozzarella and in a couple of days I'll try a bigger pecorino. So much happening, so little time.

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Thursday, 9 May 2013

I missed you Cheese!

I haven't made much cheese, and surely not hard ones, in ages! So this are the five liters I milked in the last 2 days. I actually miked more than 5 liters but Boss kept kicking like mad for the first day. So there you go, a tiny Pecorino!
On another note, on day 2 the weaned lambs were already absolutely fine and dandy and eating grass like if there was no tomorrow!
Back to work now! The piggies are going to enjoy the whey!

Monday, 6 May 2013

Things you'd never think you'll be saying.

Image from:

There is a jazz festival in a nearby village, not so near actually, but still within a reasonable drive. So we went the other day and there are a couple of friends that are staying over. Tom is sleeping at mine and I'd never thought that a conversation in the morning would contain the words: "Morning Tom! did you sleep well? Sorry about the ram in the garden".
Little Fecker has been enjoying the grass of the White Trash site and taking walks in the morning. The problem is that he keeps calling you whenever you are indoors or away :)
A bit disturbing if you had a late night and would like a "sleep in". Poor Tom.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Lambs 1 - Jonzie 0

That is the result of our first match. I tried the other day to separate the lambs, the 4 bigger ones, from their mums because it's time to wean them and to start milking! Well, those cheeky little things are excellent escapees! It was pretty easy to get the mums up the hill and keep the lambs behind. I then loaded them into the van and brought them in the field down the mobile home site, which from now on will be called the "kennel field". All fine. They made a lot of noise of course and called for their mothers but it was all to be expected. What I was not expecting was the determination they put into their escape. They first tried through a small gap in one of the doors and I promptly fixed it. Catching the one that had escaped was more tricky and involved a bit of stalking and a jaguar jump that saw me landing on my chest with all my weight. That hurt. I need a Shepherd's crook.
Then they tried to squeeze under the fence and managed alright! I was shaving then, and saw them getting out one by one from my toilet. The scene that ensued could have been in a comedy movie, with Jonzie running around in his long-johns and shaving cream on his face, crocs at his feet in the dry Irish weather trying to figure out what to do. There was nothing to do. Jonzie you fool! In the blink of an eye they rejoined their mothers plowing through the electrified netting with much commotion. In the whole process they all lost their ear-tags. Now their ears look like they escaped from a butcher shop.
So there, lambs 1 - Jonzie 0, although a 4-0 would probably be more appropriate.

Friday, 3 May 2013

This, that and the other.

Wow, t'was a busy week this one! For those who asked in the comments (I am sorry I never get to reply), Moro is a dear friend from Italy and he has been the first one to visit me here in Ireland. He was very well impressed with the farm and the things we achieved so far, took hilarious pictures of me running after some not-collaborating sheep (I will never post them) and managed to do quite a bit of site seeing. All of this in great, warm and sunny weather. Lucky bastard. Many thanks to Tom who showed us around in Cork! It was very nice of him and we had a great time.
Laura also visited and she took back Cleo. It was nice to have Cleo around again, first two weeks were paradise, then they started to fall into their old patterns and it became more difficult. The important thing is that Cleo is very happy to be back with Laura, as soon as she came back she was a different dog!

Luckily the grass has started to grow, it was a late spring this year and I was a bit worried because I lost half of the last bale of haylage because of mold. Tomorrow I'll separate the first 4 lambs and bring them to some nice young grass. They have been eating grass for the past 2 weeks and some creep feed through the creep feeder I made (which almost killed one of them!).
The milking stand is almost ready and so I believe in a few days I'll be starting to make some cheese!
Little Fecker has been enjoying the grass of the mobile home site for the past few days and seeing him out of the window fills me with happiness. I love the ram, he has a very sweet character (so far) and walks with you happily on the leash. I have to keep him tied to a post because I fear he'll take off after the ladies but he's happy with the arrangement and being on grass must be enough for him.
We are also getting a quote for the lane which is in terrible condition after the winter rains, and we are also getting an electric connection and a loft for the stable.
I managed to cut and stack a load of oak wood for next winter just before the rain started and tomorrow I will move the three bales of concrete block still lying in the stable, weather permitting.
So I feel like I've done plenty but not enough and there is still plenty to be done as usual. Off with my evening beer now and, if the connection is good enough, an episode of "Murder she wrote"! Yes I admit, I am a sucker for Jessica Fletcher.

Check out this album!

Sunday, 21 April 2013


Hey little wolf! As promised, here is a little video of Peps getting shot, but don't worry he won't die!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Alcatraz is ready

So there, I finished Alcatraz today. The boy is not going to escape anymore, maybe.
I also set up Selvaggia on her own because the two lambs are super tiny! I was a bit worried yesterday but they seem getting better and stronger. Well done Selvaggia!
On a different note, Moro is going to visit on the 25th April and I am going to drag him to a cheese conference on the 26th. I hope the weather will have improved by then, there is so much wetness that the sheep have been indoor for the past week or so.
Pray the Irish weather God and do your sun dance for us!


Monday, 8 April 2013

Another two female lambs!

Remember the hogget I wasn't sure if was pregnant at all? Well, in the last two weeks it had become clear that she was but I still was not sure if she had twins or not, she really was still quite small. And she all surprised us today with two tiny but beautiful girls, both vital and sucking :) the smaller one weighs only 2.5 kg and the "big one" only 3. I had noticed that she was pacing and being a bit uncomfortable, so I left her inside and within 15 minutes she had popped them both out. What a surprise Selvaggia! The wild one is now being a lovely mum. Here are the pics:


Sunday, 7 April 2013

Little Fecker

So the Little Fella, renamed by Whizzie Little Fecker, is quite a handful. He really does not like to be on his own. I did manage last night to put him in his dedicated space but he simply jumped over the pallet during the night. So there, back to square one. I got some timber yesterday and tomorrow I'll sort something out for him. After the Guantanamo site for the chickens I fear we'll have to come up with an Alcatraz for Little Fecker.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Tragedy avoided

Last Saturday I went with Chiara to pick up a young ram in Carlow. I got him at a good price from a breeder of Lacaune who also makes cheese. Well, the little fella was very well behaved and pretty chilled out during the long trip back and he also seemed to adapt to his new place. I had put him where the sheep were first. Then the poor thing had a close encounter with the dogs and got pretty scared. The day after, as soon as he saw Peps, he took off and jumped like a wild animal the 5ft fence and took for the hill. Off he was. Gone, never to be seen in the next 2 days and nights. We went around the whole place and spoke to neighbors etc etc. Then this morning I spotted him on top of the hill above the stable, he was looking at me. I locked the dogs and went up with a bucket and some feed. Although he came closer, he never followed me. So I got back and got the sheep in the upper field and he of course came down because he couldn't resist the appeal of those sexy sheep :) and after some introductions he was in the fence with them. At night he came back with them and slept with them. Tonight I managed somehow to put him into his dedicated space in the big stable. He's a lively fella and he doesn't like to be alone...
In the meantime we also had another two lambs, one female and one male, which brings the total to 2 females and 2 males so far.
The Lacaune is a french dairy breed that is more similar to a Mediterranean one. Their production is smaller but the milk is richer. It is closer to the type of sheep we're looking for, low maintenance, smaller and with better milk. I'm very curious to see how the F1 crosses will perform.
Enjoy the pics

Tuesday, 26 March 2013


So Laura, P. and Mr Linux got to see two lams just during their short visit! Isn't that great?

Sunday, 10 March 2013

New shed

Oh dear! I've been a BAD blogger! Bad blogger! In my defence I have to say that my ac/DC inverter broke down and access to internet was not as easy as usual. Also, there has been quite a bit of work trying to sort out the sheep in the new stable. I had to fence off a bit of the stable and get water, hay rack and trough ready for them.
I'm quite satisfied with the job, the sheep enjoy their new house very much although bringing them inside the first time was a bit of a challenge :)
They are getting pretty big, all of them apart from selvaggia who is pretty tiny and probably not pregnant :( Georgina is turning into a total bitch while stronza and boss are the sweetest sheep on hearth.

Next jobs down the road:
1) electric connection!!! finally!!
2) reed bed for the grey waters of the mobile home
3) sort out the ram that is coming at the end of the month!

Friday, 15 February 2013

Afternoon off

Hi all, this morning I woke up feeling like shit. I think I am incubating some bug. I still went to shovel some shit at Sean's farm but left a bit earlier with his understanding. After all the first thing he said this morning when he saw me was "you look like shit Jonzie".
But I did watch "The life of Brian" for the first time in my life last night! I know! when I went back to the mobile home I couldn't start the fire, what a pussy eh?
Anyhoo, I gave up and went to bed and that probably did it for me.
The stable is almost done. John the builder will come on Monday to finish off the last bit of sheeting and the two perspects on the roof. The plastering is not top notch but hopefully will do what is supposed to do, keep out the water.
The ladies are doing great and going happily into their last 2 months of pregnancy.
Polls are open, what do you think we'll get? how many lambs? and how many females out of them? Take part in the polls on the sidebar and we'll get some cheese for the winners!!

Sunday, 10 February 2013

What ho!

Hallo friends and followers :)
It has been busy and my back hurts a bit. Thanks to Tom I got a job for a few hours per day in a dairy farm. It's through the "relief milking" scheme but I just do relief shit shoveling. At least I get milk off the farm and it gives excellent curds! first stracchino made today!
So the daily routine is a bit tighter, which is good because it's very easy to get lazy in this environment.
Today it's lovely and I have done nothing else but being inside the internetz.
As you can see from the pictures the stable looks a bit better. If the winds won't blow it away it should be ready in a couple of weeks.
The mobile home site is getting better and better and it's definitely cozy.
Sorry about the amount of sheep in the pics, I just cannot resist!

Wednesday, 23 January 2013


The sun rises pretty late, so it is possible for me to take a few pics every now and then.
Getting quotes for sliding door again because the previous guy has vanished. I could go and get him at his house but there's no point.

Saturday, 19 January 2013


Overwhelming is a nice English word, it doesn't really have an exact translation in Italian but describes very well a specific feeling. If I had to translate it in Italian I'd have to use several words or sentence like "Travolgente, oppressivo, mancanza di controllo, sensazione di sopraffazione".
There, it's the feeling I get when I have to think about or carry out too many tasks for my limited brain capacities.
At the moment I have to deal with:

  • The lack of a trailer to get haylage.
  • Looking for a trailer
  • The seriously low reserves of haylage.
  • Seriously low fire wood! 
  • A reed bed system for the mobile home and the waste pipes
  • A never ending construction of the stable
  • People that don't call back that should build the never ending stable
  • Various shit due to the change of residency 
  • Porch to be finished
  • Furniture in the porch going moldy
  • etc etc etcetera
But then in the end I love getting up in this wonderful place every day and plan the future.

Enjoy the video and sorry for the mess.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

She's gone.

Never to come back again. The last bit of Italian possession I had. My loyal and old Skoda Felicia could not come to Ireland with me, being a left hand wheel car.
It is a bit of a shock. After all, I had been driving it for the past 16 years, she was still fit and reliable, cheap to run and the only constant in my life since 1997.
During all these years many things have changed, among which: 9 homes/flats in 3 different countries, 3 dogs, several cats, 4 motorbikes, 2 other cars and 1 van, 6 partners, 2 bicycles and fuck knows what else. Plenty of memories with friends that are still with me and especially with one no longer on this hearth.
A meager 300 euro for a piece of life. Not that she was worth more than that, but still...
Bye bye Gigia.
Back to Ireland on Tuesday. Hope Peps hasn't bitten anyone ELSE.