Saturday, 19 May 2007

A King is Born

Well Miran finally did it, she had her lamb, a little boy the first boy lamb to be born on Creag Mhor Croft.
As you know we are commercial cattle breeders normally, but we took a liking to sheep when I had a couple of pet lambs to rear.
So we ended up with three beautiful pure Hill Cheviot's named Miran, Sharon & Claire.
Sharon had her first lamb a female called teeny, Claire had twin lambs called Poppet & Babs.
Miran had a little boy and we thought it only fitting to call him Creag Mhor Creagy for short.
We had to give a hand to help him into the world as he was so large, his mother was very large so we expected twins but she only had Creagy, both doing really well.
She went into labour in the morning a week last Tuesday, she struggled for a while, we thought it was best to let her have a go herself as nature intended, but after a short while it became obvious that she was not dilating enough to get him out.
So we got the nursing pen ready and put her in.
She was as good as gold, my husband held her and I managed to get my fingers inside to put a small pulling rope around his feet.
We managed to get his feet and nose out but it was a struggle to get his head out.
Once his head was out he popped like a cork out of a bottle, I caught his back legs and give him a little swing to get the mucus from his mouth and nose, as soon as he bleated I knew he was going to be okay.
We laid him in front of Miran and she licked him wildly and made comforting noises all the while.
They all answer to their names and bleat back to you when you call them, they are so entertaining you could watch them all day running around and skipping here and there.
Creagy has decided lately that it is much more comfortable to lay on his mothers back than on the ground, I will try and get a picture later to show because as soon as I approach them he jumps down, but I will prevail as it would be one for the scrap book as they say.
The lambs all have their own personalities already, Babs likes to climb on things, Poppet likes to run and jump about and be the fastest runner as she appears to race the others up and down the field, Teeny is a little shy like her mother Sharon, Creagy is wanting to be boss.
They all come in on an evening, the lambs have not spent a night out yet, we have a few foxes in the area, so we don't leave them out not until they can fend for themselves anyway.
When they are in the pen it is like a frenzied free for all each lamb darting under any mother and sucking which ever teat is available at the moment, that is until the mother realises it is not her lamb sucking, then she walks away, Creagy has been left standing in mid suck with his mouth in a pursed position on many an occasion, it is quite a comical sight to see, but he goes straight back and has another go.
What determination.

Creag Mhor

Saturday, 5 May 2007

Sowing The Seeds

Well what can I say, after all my moaning the other week about cold and rain, the weather has surpassed it's self.
We have been basking in glorious sunshine for a few weeks now.
It does the soul good to get those rays after a long dull winter.
You know the feeling when you suddenly notice that the trees are greener the flowers are popping up bringing marvelous colour and scented smells everywhere.
I heard the Cuckoo for the first time this year a week last Saturday, nice to hear him back again.
We have been busy on the Croft this is the time to sow the grass seed and fertilise the ground.
There is plenty of fertiliser to go around I can tell you, especially after the cows have wintered in doors.
We have been having a few problems with our old Massey Ferguson 565, she just seemed to groan and die, so a lot of the work spreading fertiliser, grass seed and such has been manual labour until we can get old faithful going again.
I thought about offering a mechanic a free weeks holiday in our caravan if they could repair it, but my husband said that would be silly, I thought there was no harm in it as they used to barter for everything in the old days, some people still do, never mind it was just a thought.
Anyway we could not miss the window of opportunity where the weather is concerned, so it was all hands to the seed bags pardon the pun.
I must say I did not mind it to much even though it was a long few days of hard slog for us.
It put me in mind of when I was a little girl, my father used to do the same thing.
Then the whole community used to help one another, the women wound make doorstep sandwiches and scones, my auntie was good at making ginger beer, that is something I always remember the taste of ginger beer is totally unique, there is an art to making it and a lot of patience is required, the children would run around causing mayhem laughing and playing, but it was all good fun like a great family picnic, neighbours and friends together.
I remember watching the farm workers walking up and down the fields behind the old hay bailer, building the bails up into haystacks. The summers then seemed to last forever long and hot ah for those lazy hazy days.
Now it is all fend for yourself or be damned.
Anyway I digress, we managed to get the grass seed out the fields will be a lush green before you know it.
The lambs and calves are enjoying the long warm days, the lambs are quite comical they rush about everywhere and jump around, I wish I had that much energy sometimes.
We are still waiting for one of the sheep (Miran) to have here lambs, she must have been shy of the ram, or maybe she didn't like the look of him, never mind he got there in the end!!
We docked the lambs tails last week, I have never docked a lamb tail and I can tell you I felt so sorry for them, I cringed when I had to do it, but it had to be done, it was either that or the rubber ring, which I think is really cruel as that is enduring pain for weeks until the end drops off. At least they will not get caught up in anything now or be prone to infections because they snagged it.
I must say they didn't seem to bother to much about it, I inspect their tails everyday just to make sure the fly's have not infected them.
We called them Poppet because she is always popping up and down, she is not sure if she wants to lie down or stand up, Teeny because she is the smallest and Babs after a good friend of ours who used to baby sit my pet sheep Katie when we went away for the day.
Katie was a pet lamb I hand reared, she died last year, she has been in my thoughts a lot lately, she would follow me everywhere she was like one of the dogs, every time I turned around there she was beside me, she would look up at me and make a small grr kind of noise, just to let me know she was still there.
The calves are all doing well, our big Charolais (Snowy) who is bigger than your average bull I might add, has still not let go of her calf, she is about 10 days late now, sometimes they go with the full moon, that is what they say anyway, I have maybe had the odd one's that have given birth through the night of a full moon, perhaps it is a coincidence, or maybe they are right, I have yet to be convinced.