Friday, 28 November 2008

As time goes by

Where have I been?
As time goes by between each entry, I realise I am not as selective with my time as I should be.
For one reason or another things always seem to get in the way.
I hate the dark mornings as nothing can be accomplished until there is some sort of day light.
For us it is a little harder in the Winter hours, I leave for Fort William every morning at 7:00am and do not return until 6:00pm so my week days are taken up with a full time job outside "Crofting Life".
My husband sets too with the byre when I leave,the animals have to be fed and cleaned out and that takes up a lot of the morning for him.
Once the animals are turned out he goes out to his work, luckily he is a self employed fencer so he can pick and choose his hours, but at this time of year everyone is thinking of Christmas so work is a little shy, especially now with the "Credit Crunch" everyone is tightening their belts.
What have we been doing over the past month?
We have ha a lot of problems getting the cows in calf this year, for one reason or another they keep coming back into season, hence we had to take two of them to market as it is some time since one of them produced a calf.
Jinny and Bella, they were taken up to Fort William the night before the sale as we had two bullock calves that were going to the sale the next day also.
Bella has the luck of the devil, they were housed in a pen with other cattle one of which was a Highlander, they must have ha a spat during the night as Bella had her tag torn from her ear, it was pointed out that she could not be sold because she had no tag, after a minor dispute with the official we told him she would return home with us.
So Bella through no fault of her own had a reprieve, it is hard to let go of them as they are such friendly animals, part of the family and they all have their own habits, Bella is good as a substitute leader she takes the others way out on the Mointeach Mhor, she has always had the wander lust in her.
Jinny was a little harder to bare, I helped bring her into the world, she had her stubborn ways about her, she was also very fiery but I hated parting with her.
She lost a calf when she was seven months pregnant, we tried her with AI'S and the bull but she must have gone wrong inside, so she had to go.
I could not go into the ringside and watch my baby going under the hammer, I knew she would be going straight to the abattoir.
Such a waste of a beautiful animal, Bella came home and never spoke to us for days, she must have know her card was marked, well she will get one more chance as she has always been good at holding the bull in the past.
We have spent a lot of time over the past couple of months cleaning out the large drains they have not been done for a few years so it was time they had a flush.
We have kept the cattle off the in bye land this year as they make such a mess of the fields in the winter, so we are letting the ground have a rest, I must say the fields are looking the best they have in a long while, hopefully next season there will be plenty of lush grass for the cattle to graze.
We managed to find a main leader water pipe under the big field, we opened it up and cleaned it out, we also found a lot of the chains to the leader also, this in it's self was a great job done, especially with the rain we have been getting, the fields are not flooding touch wood.
The old tractor went away she gave up the ghost and decided not to go, someone who likes doing them up made an offer for her, so away she went, hopefully he will get a lot of pleasure out of bringing her back to her former glory.
We seem to have a lot of heifer calves this year more than usual, but Dolly came up trumps again this week and gave birth to a beautiful chocolate brown and white Simmental boy, he is a hardy little creator, straight on to the teat no messing hence no pun intended Thomas "Hardy", Tom Tom for short.
My husband went into the byre an there he was sitting up looking at him as if to say "who are you disturbing my sleep", well it's the first thing a man does isn't it, lifts the calves leg to see what he has a boy or girl ; ) not that it matters much nowadays, the subsidise have all changed, but the habit hasn't.
The sheep have a new boyfriend, we decided to put the ram out a little later this year, but as yet I have seen no signs of any luv between them.
I am quite surprised how mild it appears to be, the cattle did not come in until last weekend, they have been in at the end of September before now, they are still wandering about on the Mointeach Mhor, Bella bless her has her uses, but they are coming home in the evening to be in the nice cosy shed on their nice comfortable beds.
Well I cannot sit around here all day, I have a byre to re-illuminate, the outside needs some more lighting so I bust strike whilst the iron is hot and the weather is calm.

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