Thursday, 10 September 2009

Blue Tongue Information

Yesterday I read an article in The Crofters a journal of the Scottish Crofting Foundation printed in Skye.
It was in connection with the Blue Tongue vaccination.

Alasdair MacMhaoirn is seeking information with regards to strange phenomenon's that have occurred in you animals that you believe may be as a result of the Blue Tongue vaccination.
With his kind permission I have copied his article below.
Heading effects of Blue Tongue vaccination.
Alasdair MacMhaoirn seeks more information.
From time to time there are reports in the news about alleged side effects related to the Blue Tongue vaccine.
In all cases these have been discounted by authorities, but still the stories persist.
Any perusal of the Internet will lead to numerous examples and one site in particular,, has some very interesting points; among them that our own midges may be different from foreign ones and our native breeds may have a resistance. Apparently all cases so far have involved imported animals.
My own interest began when I was speaking to a fellow Highland breeder who, for the first time, experienced unusual problems.
As he told me, he has been raising cattle for years in the same area, Easter Ross, and this past calving was the first time he encountered two unusual problems.
The first problem was that one of his calves had a malformation in the jaw.
The breeder said that he had never seen this before in his stock, so it is natural that he wondered why.
The other problem is called "brittle hoofs".
It was as if the calf's hoofs were to delicate to walk on.
Again, he had never encountered this problem before and wondered why it should suddenly arise.
In both cases, the only new factor was the administration of the Blue Tongue vaccination.
I mentioned the problems to a local vet who discounted them immediately.
However it occurred to me if possible indications of problems are ignored in the first instance, then there will never be an accurate record of possible side effects which may then be investigated.
For example, I believe that it is acknowledged that GP's under-report drug reactions within the yellow card system.
Consequently, I thought it might be interesting to invite readers to contact me if they suspect that the vaccine may be causing problems.
I'll collate what ever responses I get and see what can be made of the.
Names need not be mentioned if preferred.
Please let me know if you suspect any problems at:
or post to Alternatives 39 High Street, Tain, IV19 1AE.

I have reported a couple of instances myself, with in a month of the vaccine administration we lost a cow in calf, for no apparent reason, she dropped where she stood, no warning what so ever.
To this day it cannot be explained.
Smaller more insignificant but unusual, one of our calves who's parents were both black ended up with an unusual colour splash on her hind quarters, like a grey bleach splash on a totally black background.
A pure breed Cheviot also had the same thing across her rib cage but it was a dirty brown splash mark, like a negative of the calf's marking.
I know for a fact there are others out there that have had unusual problems also.
I think this is a worth while exercise of an independent kind, after all the ministry pooh pooh that their vaccine may be the reason for some of these problems, but until the information is gathered then how will you know that you may not be alone, there could be others that have suffered the same unusual occurrences for no apparent reason.
So no matter how small the phenomenon give Alasdair the information for him to collate.
Hopefully he will publish his findings in The Crofter.
Thank you for reading.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

I had to let go

I have not posted anything on here for a little while, as we had a tragedy in our family a short while ago and it is taking me a while to come to terms with it.
My illness has also hindered me from doing certain things as well, but grief is a hard thing to live with.
This is a personal tribute to my father.
He died on 12 July aged 69 after a short illness and we said good bye to him on 21st July when he was laid to rest.
My father had a hard working life, he started in the coal mining industry at the age of 15.
From there he moved into farming.
He loved the label Countryman because that's what he was, he liked nothing better than rolling his sleeves up and mucking in.
He always had his shirt sleeves up, that was a habit he never got out of even at the end.
He was brought up on the fells in a place called Tindale Tarn. (See attached link)
From there he moved around and settled in Calthwaite near Penrith.
He worked on a farm which had a large Frisian dairy heard, Black face sheep and as I recall from childhood memory a large selection on bulls which were chained to the ground in the fields.
I believe they could have been Charolais which were part of an AI centre.
Growing up there as a young child held a lot of fond memories for me.
One of which was crossing the fields from our home which was Rose Cottage in Low Plains, to our soon to be new home which was Lott Cottage, as our family was about to receive a new arrival imminently.
Dad said he would take me to help or hinder tidying up the new home for the flit.
At the time I would have been just over 4 years old, it was cold and wintry, late November early December time, the snow against me was quite deep, over my wellingtons anyway, my knees were chapped with the cold snow wetting through my dungarees.
My father had a firm and yet comforting warm grip of my small hand.
I felt at the time that I was doing a marathon, "why do parents insist on walking so fast when you have to do three paces to their every one"?
I remember starting to sob under my breath, (big girls don't cry at least not in public anyway), because I was so cold and tired with the trek over the snow covered fields.
My father looked down and I felt a tug on my hand as he swung me into the air and lifted me onto his shoulders, "there" he said "is that better now you can see what I see".
He said something that always stuck in my head, which comes to mind now and again, it was something like, Mums and Dads are learners too."We don't get a manual when we arrive on the planet on how to do things in our lives, but we have a journal at the end of our lives when we leave".
I took it to mean sorry for dragging you through the snow I forgot I was bigger than you ; )
But what ever his meaning it stuck with me.
We arrived at our destination, at was a large cottage with two bedrooms an outside privy, and a shed for animals which was situated under the back bedroom.
When he opened the door about five sheep came scampering out and nearly flattened my dad.
I asked if they were living there too, dad said they were about to be chucked out.
The floor in the house was flagstones covered in sheep droppings.
There was a pot sink in the vestibule as you walked through the front door a fireplace in the living room and that was all.
It was dark and damp, but soon to be our new home.
This was the start of many happy memories for me, I loved Lott Cottage and hated it when we eventually left years later.
My father was a great personality he filled a room with his stories and reminiscences from old.
He believed in telling the truth as no good ever came of telling lies, however hurtful the truth could be, lies they always come back to haunt you.
He brought us up to speak our minds, never to be afraid of doing so.
He was a strong character, but towards the end he became agitated because people were doing things for him when his mind said you do it has body would not let him, it broke our hearts to see him suffering in such a cruel way, a strong willed man reduced to a broken spirited shell.

He was always there for all of his little girls when ever we had a problem or we just needed to talk to him he was there to listen and offer what advise he could.
It's been a short time since I said good bye and I still have to stop myself from picking up the telephone to speak to him.
Life still goes on sometimes it sweeps you along like a raging river whether you like it or not.
The grief will always be there sometimes like a dense cloud cover sometimes like a small cloud.
But never far away.
I had to say good bye to Dad which was heart breaking to do I had to let go of his warm comforting hand for what seemed like the first time in my life.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

My Spoilt Brat

Well you better believe it Fraochan has turned in to a little brat ; )
He has taken over everything, even bossing cullan our collie dog about.
Even though he has been a great addition to our little family, he makes you smile even when you just look at him.
Fraochan has taken to sleeping between us in bed and if you do not make room for him he scratches your head until you do move to let him in.
He will not eat normal dog food he has decided that he will sit beneath the dinner table and bark until you give him something of yours from the plate.
He will dive into the dog dish when Cullen has finished eating everything and avidly scrape the sides of the bowl like he is starving, when you put something in the bowl for him he sniffs his nose at it and walks away. : (
He loves Malteser's and gets huffy if you come out of the shop without any in your pocket.
We found out he will attack you for an ice cream, the minute you get into the car with a cone in your hand he is on your knee trying to take a chunk out of the ice cream before you even get a taste of it.
He loves the bath but is not keen of the sea, I think he deliberately goes and gets dirty just so you can put him in the bath.
If he hears one of the Tornado planes shoot past over head he will come running in and jump on your knee for protection : 0
Mischief is his middle name, I can put something down and he will pick it up and run out into the garden with it, he has been caught burying his food in the garden as well as my socks.
Cullan has grown attached to him and very protective of the wee man.
He also runs along behind you and taps at the back of you ankles with his feet to pick him up, he likes to get a birds eye view of things rather than a view of tall grass only.
He makes us laugh out load sometimes, and it's hard to tell him off when he is naughty because he looks at you with those big brown eyes which would melt the hardest heart.
I have a screen saver with wee whiskey playing in the sea with cullan, I still miss him terribly and Fraochan will never replace him but he has filled a hurting heart.

Creag Mhor Caravan

I have added a link on the right hand side of this blog for our caravan. (See Creag Mhor Caravan) It gives an idea of the area that the van is situated.
I get many people ringing up and sending emails asking where we are and what it is like.
I do not mind explaining and going to the effort of letting them know we are not on the beach front.
They all appear to be exited and do not mind that we are not on the beach front in fact as they say it is just what they are looking for?
Well that is until I mention the fact that we live down what I call a dirt track, yes it is not a tarred road, but you do not need a pony and cart to get down the track either as someone once asked? a car is quite adequate I think ; )
So I decided to post a video of the caravan and part of the track it is not a great quality video but you should get the gist of it.
I have also posted a couple of pictures of the "dirt track" just for information below.
It is secluded and private, ideal for couples (although it will sleep six) who like peace and quiet away from the madding crowd.
The track goes all the way up to a place called Scammadale by Loch Morar.
It is a beautiful walk or maybe if you are energetic a bike ride.
There is great fishing in the area, and I have had many parties of anglers staying in the van, it is ideal for them to leave their fishing rods fully extended and left under the van without worrying about them getting damaged, lost or stolen.
Anyway see for yourselves, I am sure you will be more enlightened.

Monday, 22 June 2009


Well I appear to have been a bit remiss again?
I have had an illness I cannot seem to shake off.
It started with a very bad flu in February, and ever since then things have not been altogether right.
Things in my immune system did not go back to how they should, so since then I have been prodded and poked about by the doctors to try and get to the bottom of this cough which sounds like a hippos roar when he is in full charge if you know what I mean.
So I have not had the full lung power I should have, inhalers seem to have become a part of my life at the moment, lets hope not for ever, I feel a lot better that I first did, and hopefully I will be back at work with in the next week or so.
In the mean time I have had to stay away from animal foods, hay, straw, barley etc, even sprays such as deodorant can set of a chain reaction to misery.
So I have confined myself to outdoor things fresh air is the best cure so they say.
My husband and a friend have been busy cutting peat again this year whilst the weather is good, they went for it big style this year, we have a very large peat stack and a medium sized one that is still to finish.
Our Peat Stacks

The steam train crosses right behind our peat field, and every so often you can see a camera flash from the train, they must be taking photographs, as this is something you very rarely see on the mainland these days.
A couple of weeks ago the steam train went trundling past whilst we were beginning to stack the peat, my husband said that it was not going to make the bough of the hill to Arisaig Station, he was right, it had to come all the way back down the hill to build up steam to have another go.
We had a lot of people waving from the train and taking pictures, they probably thought we were nuts, or maybe some of them did not even have a clue what we were actually doing?
Anyway the train coincidentally driven by a cousin of my husbands, set off at a great pace, leaving behind him a fire on the track hillside, which tends to happen a lot in the hot weather, better for us if it happens on our side of the track as it burns the old bracken and heather away without us having to set the fires ourselves.
Anyway my husband said he was not going to make it again, and sure as anything here he came trundling back down the hill towards us, they stopped where the fire had started and some of the men piled off the train to put out the fire, whilst my hubby's cousin built up the steam on board the Jacobite ready for another go, mean while the natives on board the train were shouting out things like, "can we have a tow"? "do you take bed and breakfast" and such like, all good banter.
Once the fire was extinguished the Jacobite Steam Train was reversed down the track to the level crossing at the bottom of the hill.
Alec Iain my husbands cousin let off a loud whistle and the Jacobite Steam Train thundered into action she flew up the hill at a tremendous pace roaring all the way, she clanked and hissed past us in the peat field with great flutes of steam trailing behind her, there was no stopping her this time, Alec Iain saluted on the way past as she climbed the hill with great majesty, leaving behind her little pockets of fire on the banks of the railway track and a deadly silence after all the excitement.
Jacobite Steam Train behind our house.

Phew well she made it into the station after all the commotion, I bet the people on the train loved every minute of their train ride, it does not happen that often maybe two or three times a season when the weather is just right, the tracks become slippy with the heat and well you know the rest.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Stock Judging Event Torlundy Fort William

This is for the locals who read my blog and anyone else who may be in the area.
There will be a stock judging event in the auction mart at Tordundy this Friday 15th May 2009 at 7:00pm.
All those people who are interested please try to make an effort to go along and support it.
It is not often these events happen and they are getting less and less.
Local support and participation of these events is always needed or else we lose them.
Even if you have not got a clue or you have never clapped eyes on a sheep or cow, come along and have ago it is great fun even the kids would enjoy it.
A night out for all the family what more could you ask for?
Meet people old and new for a good old natter.
There is refreshments in the interval and raffle prizes to be won.
Nearly everyone goes home with something, even a big smile.
So come along and see what it's all about.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Look what I got

Awe look what I got.

His name is "fraochan" which is Gaelic for White Heather.
He is a 7 week old Jack Russell.
His colours are perfect, he has a little kink in his tail, he had his tail jammed in a door when he was a couple of weeks old.
After losing Whisky it has been a little hard for me to think of having another dog, but we really needed to jump in at the deep end because our collie Cullan was missing another dogs company.
He was looking unhappy when we were out and about with him, he was always looking for his pal.
He still sits by his grave on an evening in the garden, it was becoming heartbreaking watching him moon about.
So hence Fraoch, they both took to each other like ducks to water, and run around the garden like lunatics, not to mention the house, it is taking a bit of getting used to as Fraoch is small and follows you about everywhere, one minute he is over there next he is behind you feet, he moves like the wind.
We gave him Whisky's bed and he loves it, he dives in and digs around the edges hiding his dog biscuits is something else he has decided to do.
I suppose this comes from being part of a large litter, they are competitive for food.
Anyway we love him and so does Cullan that's the main thing.
He is so curious I introduced him the the sheep, he never batted an eye, that might be a good sign, he eats everything so he has to be watched all of the time.
He likes to lie down at the top of your head and curl up in a small ball.
He has such a good nature.
I will keep you posted with his exploits ; )

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

All go on the West Coast

Once again I am behind with everything, there is a lot more than meets the eye to keeping this blog up to date, sometimes there is to much to say and other times not a lot at all.
So I will fill you all in with the going's on here on our West Coast Croft.
Are you sitting comfortably?

Since Gemma was born we have had another two additions to our herd.
Both females one is a Simmental cross we called Helen, the other is an Aberdeen Angus cross she was born on Monday, as yet we have no name for her.
Helen is the rowan cow named Effy's offspring, she is a fiery little red thing with a white face, her father is Dernean Jacob.
Effy as usual popped her out with no help from us mortals what so ever.
The thing with Effy is she likes to let you know she is the boss, for all the thrashing of her head and snorting she is a bit of a coward really , but she is not to be trusted, once she smells fear in you that's it she's got you and she will chase you down and run over you if you let her.
Anyway she was tied in her stall to give birth, for two reasons our safety and just in case anything went wrong, as we would not be able to help her with the calf if she was loose.
Effy gave birth we checked the calf over, tagged her ears and put Iodine on her umbilical cord, so she did not get any infections.
Once she was all done we put her in the birthing pen, then released Effy so she could bond with her baby, once Effy was released we retreated out of the byre and waited for her to make her way in to the pen with the calf, once she was in the pen the we rushed in to secure the gate and that was her locked in, she snorted and took a run at the spars on the pen but other than that she was quite calm, she made such a fuss of Helen how proud she was all the time licking her an moowing at her, poor Helen kept getting knocked off her feet by her mum licking her so hard.

The next thing was to make sure Helen sucked her mum if she did not suck we were in bother as it would be impossible for us to go in the pen and help her out as Effy would attack you, after all how is she supposed to know you are only trying to help, so we stood for a long while watching and waiting with baited breath for Helen to do the deed.
We were saved little Helen stood up under mummy, after a bit of sucking at Effies leg and around about she managed to get on the teat, sucking furiously that was us both happy shook hands and walked away knowing everything was going to be alright.

In the middle of all this we have had to do the Blue tongue injections.
We did the first injection in March what a nightmare, once the cows know you are up to something they start skittering everywhere.
So we gave them a bucket in the stall and started with injecting big Snowy she was not to bad, once she finished her sweets (cow cobs) she was let out of the byre, we went down the line repeating the same process each time, Angela and Effy were the worst to do, they were kicking and bucking making a load guttural noise once they were done the cows were all put out on the the Mointeach Mhor to calm down, they get so worked up over a tiny little jab, I don't know what I am talking about I get the same way, it's the anticipation of it.
Next the sheep, that was fun, they were all in the next byre, trying to catch them is the hardest part, they run between your legs and take you off your feet, like little moving battering rams, each one was turned out of the byre after they were injected, thank heavens they only have to be done once, the cows on the other hand had to be done again in four weeks.
I had to take note of missing ear tags on the cows, as this is the time of year that they tend to loose them because of the feed rings, they must pull them out when they put their heads in the ring, some are torn out which I think must be really painful, others like the small round button tags seem to pull right through the ear, on this occasion we had at least twelve tags to replace, this can be quite costly every year but it has to be done or we get penalised by the government inspection agencies people if the cattle are missing any tags, so it is something that must be kept on top of as no excuses will be excepted.
So when the cattle had the second injection we had to tag the ones that had lost theirs, we also gave them their spot-on to keep the ticks at bay and a liver fluke dose to keep the worms and slug/snail larvae out of the cows liver etc.

We lost one of our in calf cows after the first blue tongue injection, she was due to calf in three weeks, it was Wendy the Black cow which always looked like she was malnourished.
She came in on the Saturday with the others and had her feed, there was nothing coming over her, I actually remember commenting to my husband that she looked really well like she was blooming, we were looking forward to seeing her calf as she always gave us a good one, well she never came in on Sunday morning with the others, my husband thought he could see her lying out on the hill on the Mointeach Mhor, he started to shout on her whilst looking through the binoculars but she did not move, I headed out to see what was wrong, just in case she had decided to go in to labour early, all the time I shouted on her but there was no response from her, as I drew closer to her I knew there was something wrong, I started to run up the hill, there she was poor wee Wendy flat out stone dead, no sign of a struggle or calving just laid out like she was asleep.
My husband could not come down to see her, she was his favorite of all the cows, he was heart broken and inconsolable as was I.
I sent my husband away and asked a friend to come over and give a hand to bury her.
We spent the best part of the day digging the resting place for poor Wendy and her unborn baby.
Once it was done we started to push and pull her toward the hole the final push was so traumatic for me, we had seemed to struggle for so long to get her into her resting place that the energy was sapped from us, I thought I could not go on anymore then just as she was on the lip of her resting place she seemed to sit up and take a last look around before she rolled over and laid out.
That was it for me, I broke down it was so emotional watching her sit up, digging and pulling took it out of me.
We covered her over and I said a prayer for her and the baby, I hope she rests in peace in the land of green fields and plenty.

Then nature took over and Joanna one of the Heifers gave birth the a tiny and I mean tiny Black Aberdeen Angus, I am not sure what happened to her but she has what can only be described as a White lightning strike flash across her bottom and down her back leg.
Joanna is a beautiful red colour and the father is Nightingale Quinton a Black Aberdeen Angus, so where the white came from is any ones guess, maybe it is a side effect from the blue tongue who knows, all I care about is that they are both fine and healthy, as yet we have no name for the tiny wee crater.
As yet we have no lambs, the first ram we hired did not seem to work so we exchanged him for an older ram that knew what it was for, hopefully we will hear the patter of little hooves shortly, we are keeping everything crossed.
Poor Rabbie, got a urinary infection, I had to call a neighbour who had had the same thing happen to one of their rams, they came over to do a minor surgery on poor Rabbie, which entailed snipping a tiny piece of his manhood off called the worm.
I can tell you he was not the only one that was relieved that night, he is doing well and no side effects, I would like to thank my neighbours for their help that night without which I would have surely lost my wee Rabbie.

The weather has been a bit hit and miss, over Easter it was really sunny, although there was a lot of high winds from the East, we lost quite a lot of our slates from the roof of the house so that was another job that had to be taken care of sooner rather than later, an expense you could do without but when nature throws a curve ball you have to run with it.

So at the moment the weather does not know what do do, blow a gale, rain or shine, it's about time it made it's mind up.
Anyway a couple of pictures of the wee pets ; )
Helen and as yet no name.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Introducing Gemma

This is Gemma she was born a fortnight ago.
Her mother is Beauty a Limousin cross who's father is Ronwick Iceman.
Gemma's father is an Aberdeen Angus called Nightingale Quinton.
Now for some reason she has come out a browny colour rather than black like her parents, but we will not hold that against her.
She is fine, fit and healthy that's the main thing.
Her mother loves her and hates her out of sight, she is Beauties first baby and she cannot get enough of her.
Gemma on the other hand loves nothing more than to run around the croft legs flying this way and that prancing up and down annoying the sheep and generally causing havoc.
She runs around at full pelt never walks, she slams the anchors on just at the last minute.
Now this is entertainment for her, but her poor mother is beside herself chasing about after her trying to keep her in check.
I think we will have our hands full with this one, she is so full of devilment, every time you open the byre door on a morning to feed the others if Gemma sees even a crack in the doorway she pushes her nose through and is out and off running into the other sheds out into the fields back around to the byre, all the while her mother is hooting and hollering for her.
Not a blind bit of notice does she take.
If she is not annoying the sheep she is chasing the dog, it's like watching a whirlwind or Tasmanian devil, she kicks her legs about like a prize bucking bronco.
It's good to see new life around the place again, it takes your mind of the sadder things that happen to us all at some point in our lives.
We are expecting another three calves over the next couple of weeks so lets hope they are all as mad as Gemma ; )

Natures awakening

Shelduck addition
Well the birds are out in abundance on the croft, and around about.
The top picture is of a buzzard of some kind, which had just caught a rabbit, I could not get any closer to him as he was a little weary, there are also two herons down on the common grazing's, they are here quiet often now, they are in the burns a lot of the time taking out the small fish that are swimming about.

The oyster catchers were down on Traigh beach the other morning just sitting enjoying a dry morning for a change.

The Red Bull Finch was sitting on the Landy just singing his heart out also enjoying the day.

The bottom picture is of a Buzzard watching for the Rabbits on the croft that seem to have taken over the hill behind our caravan.

I have also spotted a Barn owl in a particular place every other evening about the same time, but as yet I have not managed to get a good photograph of him as the light is not to good yet, maybe later.
We have the usual Robins, Wrens, Black birds and the noisy Chaffies.
But I am waiting for the Sand Martins to come back, I spotted a place on the common grazing's by the river that a colony of them were nesting in last year, hopefully I can get a few good photographs of them flying in and out of the sand banks this year.
The Cuckoo will be with us soon last year he appeared down here about the 18th April there have been three in the area on the mountain behind us, I do not think I will ever get a picture of them as they are so illusive.
The Corn Crake appears in the spring and there have been odd birds that as yet I have not been able to identify, one of my friends from school was a great bird watcher he would have known what they were in an instant, I remember when we were younger he memorised a British Bird book for a charity event at school, but he never got out of the habit and carried on learning everything he could about the bird population, each to their own.
I just love to here the dawn chorus in a morning it lets you know you are still alive and spring is about to burst out in glorious technicolour.
Shelduck or Tadorna comes from Celtic roots and means "pied waterfowl" he is an addition to the photographs I posted earlier, I manage to get a picture of him after trying for some time.
There has been three of them around the Traigh beach for a little while now, they are quite shy, but I persevered and waited I think it was worth the wait don't you?

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Pop Goes the Weasel

Well what a shock I got this morning.
I went into the shed to feed the sheep as usual, we have a large fish bin situated in the corner of the shed that we store feed in for the sheep.
As I went in the bin and scooped up some of the hay, I was scarred out of my whits by a loud shriek that came from the bin, I dropped the hay and shot back out from the side of the bin and watched in silence, all the while this shrieking noise was getting wilder, I could not as yet see anything but the hay was flying up and down where the creature that lurked within must have been running around underneath, probably just as frightened as I was.
The sheep by this time were running about and butting me because I had the audacity not to feed them after going in the bin for their breakfast.
So I had to go around to the shed to get breakfast for them, as I was not going in the bin again until I had a bit more light to see what the creature was.
The dog was running about the bin I had to chase him out just in case he jumped in the bin, after all by this time I had still not seen the creature so I was not going to chance him getting bitten by this invisible noise.
I put the sheep out a bit later and went back to the bin in the corner, by this time I was armed with the hay fork just for protection you understand, I prodded the hay a bit but nothing stired, so I thought it must have got out, but just as I was walking away, there was that shriek again.
I went back and peered over the side, and there he was, I am just assuming it is a he because it was complaining so much, and a female would not have been so stupid as to have fallen in the bin in the first place ; )
I rushed back to the house to get my camera so I could get a picture of him.
Well here he is.

I believe he is a weasel but if you know better let me know.
I have put a couple of planks in the bin to encourage him to climb out of the bin, I went back to check a little later but he is still in there, see I told you he is a boy he's got no smarts at all.
He is only young yet the piece of wood in the second picture is 4" wide so you can gauge his size from that.
Let's hope he gets out soon, old whiskey must have know he was about the place, as he was going mad a couple of weeks ago around the back of the sheep shed, there are some sheets of corrugated iron there, so whiskey must have smelt him under there.
Speaking of smelling, the bin will have to be fumigated as the little so and so has urinated all over it and it smells absolutely disgusting.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Black Friday struck our house

Our home will never be the same, Black Friday struck our house with a vengeance.
What started out as a normal day turn to a nightmare for us, that we will never forget.
I have not been well over the last few months, I have had some sort of viral infection with flu like symptoms since October last year on and off.
So I was at the Doctors having a consultation and looking at some of the results that have come back from the Lab but again have shown that there is something wrong but as yet it is unidentified.
After my appointment I went down on site where my hubby was working to fill him in on the Doctors findings so far.
He had the dogs with him and decided to go home for lunch, so I went to get somethings for a light lunch from the local shop.
On the way home I stopped at a neighbours to ask if they had seen the coal man, as he has been a bit illusive of late.
Anyway I set off down the track towards home, when just before I got to the gate at the bottom, my hubby came running around the corner shouting and screaming, I thought the cow with the new calf had got out or something, I wound the car window down and I went into a state of disbelief, slow motion, all the time, my hubby was saying he had run over our Jack Russell, I could not take it in, I thought I was dreaming.
I rushed home and there my poor wee crater was lying in his bed gasping for breath, dying before my eyes, I wanted to sweep him up in my arms and hug him but I could not do it for fear I would make him suffer more than he already was.
My hubby called the vet who asked us to take him nearly 35 miles into Fort William to put him down, I was not going to let my poor wee boy, suffer anymore than he had to, I called the local Doctor and asked him if he could put him to sleep for me.
The Doctor came over straight away and met my husband at the road end to do the deed.
He stayed with my husband for quite a while consoling him, our Whiskey would have been 14 years of age this week.
After the Canna trip and his accident he had never been right, he was stiff in his joints which slowed him down a bit, he was also getting a bit deaf and blind, but he was all there in everything else.
My Hubby still does not know how it all went out of control, the dogs usually get out of the car and run down the road to the gate, but Whiskey had not bothered to do this for a while, probably because he was so stiff in the legs, but on this occasion for some reason he decided to get out of the car and do the run.
My hubby got out of the car to open the gate and Whiskey was there christening the gate post as usual.
My hubby got back in the car and drove through the gate when he felt the car lift in the air slightly and Whiskey started to scream in agony.
He must have wandered over to the back tyre and pee on it, being as slow as he was he must not have been able to get out from under as quick as he used to and tragedy hit.
My hubby brought him home in the back of the car after the Doctor had put him to sleep.
I took him out of the car with his favourite blanket wrapped around him, I hugged him so hard and weeped for our loss, my hubby did the same, we have lost our baby, the big fella, Cullan did not know what to do, he is still grieving as we are as he misses his pal.
My hubby took them to the beach every morning for a long walk and a swim, Cullan, used to go in and fetch a toy from the sea, he would drop it on the way back in for Whiskey to carry back to the beach.
All the time Cullan was out getting the toy Whiskey would be barking with excitement waiting for Cullan to give him the toy.
We went to the beach on Monday the silence was deafening.
Cullan is still dropping the toy for Whiskey to collect up, it was so sole destroying and pitiful watching Cullan looking for the wee fella.
I cryed my heart out we all miss the little man who had a big heart and character.
He will be a hard act to follow, he had been all over the Highlands, Lowlands and Islands.
He had been to the top of Ben Nevis and walked over hills and glens that a lot of people have never ventured in their lives.
He had the courage of a Lion and would not concede defeat easily.
But he was our wee boy and will never be forgotten.
We buried him in his favourite spot in the garden, he used to lie in a particular place in the garden in the spring, as the sun came over the back of Creag Mhor it would shine in the garden and he would bask in it's warmth.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Nothings Gone with the Wind

Well would you credit it, the night I wrote the last blog entry we were forecast with severe weather warnings of winds up to 100 miles an hour in the Western Isles.
So we went out battling the already picking up wind and moved everything that was practically movable.
The trailers were moved over by the caravan as there is more shelter over there from the hillside.
The doors were battened down the cattle & sheep were indoors all snug.
The electric went off for a short while and the cows were mo-owing when all the byres went into darkness.
Once the lighting came back on they settled down, the young calf was frightened as he had not experienced anything like this so it was all new to him, he snuggled in with his mum for protection poor wee crater.
The thunder rumbled and banged over the top of the house at about 3:30am and the whole sky lit up, you could see everything in the virtual false daylight, the dogs were running about the house barking with fear, we put them in the bedroom with us, just to reassure them everything was going to be alright.
The wind did pick up but not as much as we thought it would, we have had worse in the past.
We lost a couple of slates from the roof but nothing major to speak of.
I went off in the car still in darkness the next morning and I was met by the cattle trailer in the middle of the road, it must have broken free of the tether, the wind pushed it about 20ft up the road before it came to a stop.
My husband came and pushed it of the road out of harms way, no damage though that's the main thing.
Anyway all the animals were okay no harm done, and everything is back to normal, except one of the lights on the side of the byre over the cattle crush, which we use when the AI man comes around seems to have blown to bits and come off the wall?
That's another job I will have to catch up with when the weather is more settled.
Electricity is my job, plumbing my husbands, so we seem to be able to cover most of the repairs between us, no need for outside contractors unless it is beyond us.
When you are working a croft or farm you have to be more self sufficient and be able to carry out some of the work yourself, or you will just be a constant dripping bucket, every penny as they say is a prisoner in this economic climate.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Missing in action

Well I've been missing in action for a little while, for some reason I have been neglecting my Blog.
Firstly I would like to wish all our friends old and new and those I am about to meet a Happy and Prosperous 2009 lets hope it's a good one.

I have had a few trials and tribulations already this year, so I hope it does not get any worse?
I lost my Tup Lamb Raff a couple of weeks ago. I do not know what was wrong with him.
He seemed to start of the previous week with a depression of some sort, he went off his food, first his sheep nuts then the hay, he was drinking water in large quantities.
He had all of his doses and I gave him sheep supplements to boost him up a bit and penicillin along with a Steroids from the vet.
But nothing would lift him, one of my friends suggested that he could have a copper deficiency.
So I tried Copper supplements, but nothing would lift him.
He died after a week of nursing and still no answers.
Rabbie his half brother and only other Tup missed his companion, he became very distressed when my husband took Raff out of the Byre, Rabbie has settled down a little but appears to have developed a habit of knocking over his water trough.
He loves to be scratched around the ears and would stand there all day letting you scratch him.
I love going in to the byre and seeing the greeting I get from my animals they are always happy to see you, not least because they know they are about to get fed.

Tom Tom my little calf is coming on in leaps and bounds and has become a bit of a pet or should I say pest.
He is a beautiful Rusty Brown and White patched calf, when the weather is a little better I will post a couple of pics.
He follows us around like a little dog and comes into the feed store, before you know it he has got his head in the fed bags helping himself to the tasty contents.
Then he starts to butt the hay bales and pulls bits out of them.
Once he has had enough he lies down on the loose hay and makes himself comfortable.
I said I will have to fit wheels to him as you have to push him everywhere.
He loves a scratch under the chin and a brush up but he absolutely hates the rain, as soon as the slightest shower comes over he runs for home and makes such a racket until you let him in.
If it is raining when we have to turn the cattle out of the Byre he digs his heels in and will not move out.
I am going to try and Halter him this weekend to see how he would walk for the shows this year.

Angela our Simmental is due any time now so Tom Tom will have a little friend to play about with.
We hope Angela has no problems this year as she lost her last calf, the calf seemed to start out okay but was not thriving and would not suck a all.

We are starting to organise everything for these Blue Tongue injections, I feel sorry for those people who have hundreds of animals to do it must be a logistical nightmare for them, not to mention very costly, not only do the cows have to be injected twice within three weeks but the sheep also have to get the injection once, all these people with sheep still on the hills will have a great task to make sure they get every animal in for this injection.
The worse thing is that once the seal is broken on the bottle it has to be used within eight hours so timing is critical.
Then we have to do it all over again in three weeks, then every year after until we are instructed by the higher powers that it is no longer necessary.
I think a lot of the smaller outfits will get rid of their stock as it is becoming harder and harder to justify the cost of keeping a few animals it is an expensive hobby.

We have had a run on ear tags also due to the feed ring in the winter, these tags are a lot flimsier that the used to be, it was not so bad when the cattle had to have one tag only, but now they have to have a tag in each ear, so they manage somehow to pull them out when they eat in the feed ring, it leaves some of the cattle with badly ripped ears, which must be rather like a women having her earring ripped from her ear. It must be very painful for them, then you have to put another replacement tag in for them to rip out AGAIN.

We have had an influx of Stags on the fields this Winter, they come down of Creag Mhor mountain behind us when the dusk falls, at the moment there is about twelve come down on to our fields, next door have about the same amount.
The new road that is being built from Loch Nan Uamh to Arisaig seems to have deprived them of their usual grazing haunts so they have found shelter on this side of the Mountain.

The weather has been really ferocious over this past couple of weeks, the wind is so strong, the hail stones cut to the bone when they hit you in the face and the rain is never ending.
We have had flash freezing where it has rained in buckets and then the temperature has dropped below zero and left about 3/4" of sheet ice on the road, we had to let the cattle out of the back Byre straight on to the field because they would fall over on the thick ice and could hurt them selves.

Roll on the summer, I cannot wait for the flowers to start blooming in the garden, the song birds to start busily building their nests and rearing their young, nature is a wonderful thing, whatever happens the seasons keep moving and mother nature offers us wonderful things to see.