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.