Sunday, 15 June 2008

It's Show Time

Well it's that time of year again when we go through the paces of preparing the cattle and sheep for their annual outing to the Arisaig Road to the Isles Agricultural Show.

The first show of the year for us, so there is a lot of preparing to do before the big day.
The cattle were shaved on the Tuesday before the big day.
This involves shaving their faces and tail tops.
Clipping their underbelly and combing out their coats.
They were washed and groomed up on the Friday night, what a blessing that it was a mild day and there was no midges out to eat us or the calves.
We decided to take two Heifers both just over a year old, one Limousin cross named Penny and a Charolais cross named April.
They are both placid and easily handled, once they were all cleaned and dried they were penned in deep straw to keep them clean for the next days show.
The sheep on the other hand are a different matter.
We decided to take Myran a Cheviot Ewe, her Ram Craigy from last year, also her Ewe lamb Cirsty from this year.
We also took Claire's Ewe lamb Babs from last year.
They were all sheared a few weeks ago, to give this years coats a chance to come through.
Craigy was first on the block, he was trimmed up again to shape his fleece, his hoofs were clipped and he wash shampooed up with a bright white shampoo to make him look really white as Cheviot's should.
Myran and Babs were next with the same routine, I must say they were all well behaved, by now they are used to this routine as they have all been through it a couple of times.
Cirsty on the other hand was a little fighter, she hated getting a wash, we had a large trug bucket for her, I think I got wetter than she did.
But they all came out like little snowballs ; )
They were all dried up also and bedded down on thick straw to keep them clean.
Now being crofters you have to be inventive sometimes, we only have one cattle float which is not big enough to carry all of the animals so we manufactured the other trailer we have to make a sheep trailer to transport them to the show, if I might say it looked quite the thing and did the job really well.
My hubby unloaded the calves and penned them up, then gave me and hand to unload the sheep.
The classes for both cattle and sheep was very strong as is usual for the Arisaig show.
The cattle started first in the big ring and the Black face sheep in the smaller ring.
Whilst all this was going on my daughter and I set about touching up our sheep.
Whitening their legs and faces with a powder mix, to make them white and clean looking.
They are very patient animals and stood well for the finishing touches.
Mean while my husbands class was a strong class and he picked up a third and forth rosette for his efforts, he was beaten by a supreme beast.

Never mind there is always next year, it's the taking part that counts, without the entries there would be no show at all, these people come from miles around, with the price of fuel as it is and the fuel strike that is going on, I take my hat off to them all for turning out to make the day a special one.
My classes were also strong this year too.
Craigy my Ram was first out and beaten into second place by a beautiful Suffolk owned by a neighbouring crofter in Arisaig.
Both the Ewe lambs also picked up second places too.
Myran on the other hand went through all of her classes to win over all Sheep Champion again this year, she was up against a strong Black face Ewe in the final.
Myran is a great show off, she stands in the ring and strikes a pose and that's it, she takes it all in her stride and wonders what all the fuss is about and why all of these people are looking at her.
Well we were pleased as punch that she did it again, it is a great feeling to win something after all of the effort you put in to preparing the animals for a show.
She went into the ring for the overall show animal with a Highland Bullock also owned by a local to the area.
It took a long time for the judges to debate and choose a winner.
The Highland Bullock took the prize and a well deserved congratulations goes out to them.
We were very happy with what we had already won.
After all the fuss had died down, we took a walk around the show and had something to eat, it is a long day and unfortunately you cannot get away to have a walk around until you finished with the main events in the rings.
This years main ring attraction was a sheep dog demonstration, which was really entertaining, the dog handler had seven dogs working in the ring at the same time, quite a hard task to do with two dogs never mind seven and three puppies too.
There was speed ball events, and dog agility events, quad bike challenge and much more.
All in all a great day out for everyone.
The end of the day came and we loaded up and came home, we let the animals out for a feed and had an early night ourselves after all of the hard work we needed it.
Thank you to everyone who came up and congratulated us on our win, also to the many friends that came to support the show from far and wide, I am sorry I did not get around you all to spend some time with you all but will catch up with you all later.
Also a big thank you to my Husband and Daughter for all of their help.

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