Sunday, 27 April 2008

What a difference

What a difference the long days make.
We have been basking in sunshine for the past three weeks, and it has been great for the soul.
We have had a new calf born since my last visit she is a pure white Charolais cross, her mother diamond is doing well, we called her new baby Trudy, her father is Thrumpton Unstopable.
We are waiting for Annie to calve any day now.
The cattle are starting to stay out over night on the odd occasion but still coming in on a morning for breakfast.
The rain has done so must damage this year and the grass is slow to grow.
We are not the only people suffering from grass shortage it is happening all over the country, farmers and crofters alike are feeling the pinch of the purse strings with the amount of feed we are still having to buy in to keep the animals going until the grass takes off.
We are doing our best to help the grass on a little, last weekend we spent two days spreading manure out one one of the six acre fields, by hand, the ground is still pretty soft so Tractors are no good as it will make a mess of the ground.
We have a small quad which we attached the harrows to, this spreads the manure more evenly, I must admit what a difference it made to the ground just with the harrows.
(Harrows for those of you who do not know are like a bed of steel pieces linked to one another that have spikes sticking out underneath, when you drag them along behind you they deep rack the ground helping the manure/fertiliser to impregnate the ground)
Anyway we spread the manure, Harrowed the field now we have to keep the cattle off which proves difficult sometimes, if you leave a gate open they are in he park, how they know the gate is open him upstairs only knows as they seem to have a built in radar attached that says go home and cause chaos.
Well if we keep them out we have done our part and all we have to do is sit back and watch the grass grow fingers crossed.
We decided to use the manure on the fields this year as like many others artificial fertiliser has become far to expensive to use, some farmer on the East coast are using straw on the fields instead.
So for the past couple of weeks while the weather has been with us we have been working like beavers to get as much manure out as possible, it's a pity we cannot get the roller out yet but the ground will not take it.
Oh while I remember we decided to call Myran's little lamb Chirsty, she is such a little bundle of joy as they all are, Wee Rabbie and Katie come to me when I shout their names, they love to get a tickle under the chin be fussed over on a night before they settle down for the night.
Unlike Craigy, who has decided that I am to get a butt up the bottom when he cannot get his own way, unfortunately he will have to go to a new home after the shows are finished this year, or else he may get amongst the young hog lambs (his sisters) and breed with them.
He is up to mischief all of the time, if the garden gate is left open he is in and starts feasting on my flower beds.
Yesterday we hand clipped the three mother sheep, this was a military exercises on it's own, Myran is not to hard to clip as she will stand on the head halter she is to big anyway to get a good grip of, Claire was easier to do as the fleece was coming to the rise as they say which means she was ready to shear, Sharon as usual had to be awkward, fighting every move, and flinching and jumping at the sound of the shears clicking, I might add that not a drop of blood was drawn or skin caught in the shears, so what she was flinching for was beyond me, because every time she did flinch I jumped too because I thought I caught her skin.
Not only a trauma for her but for me also.
Anyway I am suffering from a stiff hand today after all that fighting, pulling, pushing and clipping, I am glad I only have a hand full of sheep, next year we will have to invest in an electric clipper, then what will Sharon do?
Next weekend we plan to shear the hoggs and Craigy, that will be fun and games, they will all need their hoofs trimming as well.
So lets hope it goes with out to much of a drama.
Below are pictures of Diamonds calf Trudy, also Boris Diamond's calf from Last year.

Big Brother Boris & Trudy & Diamond

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Myran is a mum

Well Myran had her lamb, she gave birth on Friday evening about 8.30pm on the 11th April to a little girl.
We are still debating on a name for her, but she is all there and beautiful too.
The other four lambs are running around like nutters, they give us great joy when we go into the byre.
They are always running around and jumping everywhere so exited.
The weather has not been kind to some lambs this year, I have seen the odd ones dotted about on the way to Fort William that have died, probably due to the weather or the hooded crows.
We have been seeing reports on the television of Ravens taking the lambs eyes and tongue before they are even out of the mother, the Ravens have even taken the mothers eyes out whilst laying down in labour.
I feel sorry for the people who own the sheep as this is yet another hardship they are having to endure, as the sheep and lambs are having to be put down humanly.
I think how fortunate our little flock is to be kept in through the night whilst they are small so the foxes and birds do not take them.
Although since Saturday we have been having some glorious weather, lets hope it hangs around for a while.
We put Sharon and Claire out with their twin lambs on Saturday for the first time, the lambs where making such a racket, going out into the big wide world must have been something of a shock to them, all that open space for miles around, one of the little ewes I called Katie was making such a din she kept running back and forward first along the road to her mum Claire then back to me at the byre, she was not sure if she should be in or out and could not make her mind up.
Well she settled down after a short while and the four of them started springing about in the field and jumping over the burn at the other end.
They raced each other up and down the field, it was great to see them all healthy and running about, I could sit and watch them all day.
I have called Claire's Lambs Katie and Rabbie, Sharon's are named Nelly and Raff, as I said we are still thinking of a name for Myran's lamb.
I took some photographs which I promise to post later once I get a few of Myran's wee lamb.
We have been busy clearing the byres out, the cows are gradually staying out through the night, they must be finding something to eat on the Mointeach Mhor, they are still coming in on the morning for their breakfast of supplements, grass is not enough just yet.
So we have managed to clear out and wash down the big shed, all by hand, we have been spreading the dung on the fields by hand too as the ground is to soft for the tractor as yet.
Myran will stay in until her little pride and joy is a bit stronger.
We were surprised when she popped out as she should no signs of going into labour earlier on when we went in to feed her.
We went back over to the byre after tea just to check all was well for the night before settling down ourselves, my husband went into the byre I was sorting something out in the back byre, when I heard him shouting, I went around to see what was happening, and there she was our little gem, my husband said Myran was pushed against the wall and the wee one was half in and half out of mum, my husband gave her a helping hand and let mum do the rest, Myran was so proud licking and making low hum noises all the time.
I snipped her cord put Iodine on her "belly button" just to make sure she did not get any infections.
But all is well in the lamb shed thank goodness, we are waiting for a couple of calves to be born hopefully I might have some news this weekend.
Craigy and the ewe hogs are all fine, and have quietened down since the new arrivals appeared.
It will soon be time to clip their wool and trim their hoofs, that is a job I do not look forward to.
Lets hope we have a long mild summer this year the land needs a rest from all this rain we have had through the winter.