Monday, 12 July 2010

A first for Creag Mhor Croft

I thought I would share something with you all.
There is a first time for everything, after all the years of breeding cattle from father to son on Creag Mhor Croft never in the past has there ever been TWIN calves.
That is until this week, two beautiful Limousin bullocks.
We nearly only had one but for fate stepping in at the right time.
Rosie was heavy in calf, but did not look any fatter than usual, I brought her in last Tuesday as she never came in to the park with the others, so we decided to make sure she had the calf in easy reach just in case things went wrong as they sometimes can.
We kept her in for a day and night but let her into the park as she was not going to part with the baby under public scrutiny.
Any way she walked off onto the common grazing's on Wednesday morning, so things were going to progress shortly.
Anyway later in morning out popped a soggy Red wee boy, my hubby went to check everything was okay and took some nuts over for her.
We thought nothing of it and left her to bond with her new arrival, she licked him furiously cleaning him up.
Later on just before dusk, she decided to move down towards the old house with the rest of the heard.
We thought the little calf was quite hardy to manage down there with her.
We went to bed thinking everything was Rosie, "pardon the pun".
Next morning we did our usual duties, feeding animals and getting ready for work and so on.
Just as we were about to leave the house My hubby noticed the calf up by the fence.
But when he put the binoculars on Rosie down with the rest of the heard, he noticed that she had her calf.
So she must have had the second calf and walked away from it.
We gathered it up and took it down to her in the back of the Landrover.
She knew it was hers but was not keen to let it suck her, so we gathered both the calves up and put them both in the back of the Landrover and took them both back to the shed with mother following behind.
Once we got her into the shed my hubby cinched Rosie up so we could get the second calf on the teat to get a drink of milk.
Once he had a few goes at it he got the hang of it quite quickly.
We have kept them in for a few days to bond with one another but they all appear to be doing well fingers crossed.
We have not got a name for them as yet but that is no problem I'm sure we'll think of something.
Rosie and her new family.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Starting all over again.

Well we are flying through the year and as usual I am playing catch up.
Nearly at the end of another month and already preparing for the Winter.
For the past three months we have had little or no rain we have five burns that usually run water all of the time but as of today there are only two trickles one of which supplies the house & shed water, if it had not been for my husband installing a dam above the house a couple of months ago we would be totally dry.
The grass is not growing at all, the cows and sheep keep coming in every morning from the common grazing's just to get a drink from the bath we had installed at the back of the sheds with running water.
As I am typing this someone up above must have heard me because we have just had a humongous down pour for about two minutes, which has now subsided to a drizzle.
It will help the grass along for the animals at least.

A poor Blue tit just struck the living room window, I took it in and put it in a box with an old woolly hat to let it hopefully recover, he is sitting quiet at the moment, it must have given him one hell of a headache.

We started cutting the peat the first week in May, we moved over to the front of the house this year, in the old peat fields, where my husbands family and the next door neighbours used to cut years ago.

With the weather being so dry it has been amazing how quick the peat dried out, we built a stack which we did not really have to, we could have taken it in already, but the tourists on the train like to take pictures of the stacks so we did not like to disappoint them ; )
Anyway the peat will come in soon enough, the amount of peat that has been cut this year will be shared with a friend who gave us a hand to cut it and stack it.
There is enough to keep us going through the Winter anyway.
We have a few old trees to cut up and stack, funny preparing for Winter already when we are still in summer, but as the old story goes, the busy ants gathered early whilst the grass hopper played.

We ended up with a pet lamb from someone who could not look after it and a pet calf who's mother could not feed her.
The lamb was abandoned by his mother, we called him Fleck as he has little black fleck marks all over him, he is outside in the garden in a pen through the night because of the foxes, in the day he is in the field unless he sneaks in through the side gate into the garden.
The Cheviot's being the snobs they are will not let him mix with them, the wee lambs come down the field when Fleck is out to show him who is boss, as they are a lot bigger then him, but once he gets his horns I am sure he will be showing them who is boss, he is already starting to test his head out on the Jack Russell.
He is quite a smart wee cookie, if he gets in the garden, and the back door is open, especially when the midges are bad, (which they are at the moment I am sure they have flippin teeth,)
Anyway if he gets in the back door he goes behind it and slams it shut, then promptly plops himself on the floor behind the door I presume to keep the midges out, he is so comical when he does it.
I don't mind him lying there when the insects are bad, but he will have to get used to it because he is not taking up residence in the hall even though he does think he is a dog.
One of his other bad habits was discovered by accident, I could not understand how my washing kept landing up on the floor in the garden, then after I had just put a few items on the line and come back into the kitchen , I looked out of the window after spotting the washing bouncing up and down there was Fleck running the length of the washing line jumping in the air and head butting my washing off the line again.
He greets you in the morning, and he and the dogs greet me when I come home from work, you could not be bad to him, we had to ring his bits not only because I did not want him getting my sheep pregnant later, but it is supposed to make them less violent when they are older, we will see.

The calf was another matter, her mother Angela, had her out on the common grazing's she was very protective of her little girl, so we left her alone but kept going down to check on her, after a couple of days we noticed she was not getting enough milk, we tried to bring her in but she went wild and started to chase us away, we put the dog out to send the cows homeward and left them to make there way back, we went out for a couple of hours to give them time to come in, Angela was more likely to follow the cows in if no one was about, you have to be flyer than her if you want her to do something she does not want to do.
Anyway we came back home and there she was in the park, we shut the gates to keep the cows in and went to look for the calf in the park using the Land rover as she would charge at you if you got anywhere near the calf.
It took us a little time to find out where she had hidden the calf, there she was tucked up nice and tight in a ball in one one of the dry drains.
Once we found the calf we put the cows out Angela went along with them not realising we had found her calf she thought it was safely tucked up.
Once we got the cows out of the park and shut the gates to keep them out we went to get the calf.
She was as light as a feather when we lifted her into the back of the Landy, we took her to the shed, I had a colostrum dried milk sachet which I made up for her, but she would not suck the bottle, my husband put the stomach tube in to get something into her, she must have got something from Angela, but not enough to keep her alive if we had not intervened.
Later I got her an effydral tonic to give her a boost, she took it from the bottle hungrily.
The next morning I went into the shed half expecting her not to be up but there she was standing waiting to be fed.
So now she is getting bottle fed, but we are letting Angela in the park with her, just to keep the bond between them.
Angela goes out on an evening, then comes back in through the day to be with her calf.
Although when we were out for the afternoon on one occasion, someone very thoughtlessly left the field gate open and Angela took the calf out, we tried to get her back in but to no avail, it was getting dark and too dangerous to try as Angela was becoming hypertensive.
So we decided to get up earlier in the morning to get the calf back in to give her a feed.
At about 4.45am the next morning, I was woken by a moaning noise, I looked out of the bedroom window and there the wee calf who we named "Hope" was standing looking at me.
I rushed out to the shed with a bottle and she followed me in to get her feed, tragedy avoided.
Anyway she will not get out of the park again, she is doing well and growing all of the time.

In between all of this going on we had the Arisaig Road to the Isles Agricultural show.
Once again it was a beautiful day, it was just a pity there was not as many competitors in the commercial cattle lines this year as there used to be.
My husband was the only local competitor taking part, the other two competitors came from a lot further afield, although the Highland cow classes were well attended, as well as the sheep classes.
I managed a Reserve sheep champion, being beaten by a Suffolk this year.
The classes were well entered and the competition was close.
My husband managed a first in class.
It's a pity that the Agricultural show was not as well attended as in previous years, for some reason there are no locals attending even though there are plenty of cattle and sheep in the area.
If we do not take care we could lose something that is important to such a small community.
There are not many events through the year that people get to meet and catch up, change hints and tip or even just support something that is for both locals and tourists to enjoy.

Well that's me caught up for now, I hope everyone out there who reads my blog is happy and healthy.
"Don't chase the money chase life, it's for living"

PS the poor wee bird did not make it, I buried him in the garden.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Don't Quit

I would like to share something with you all that sums up some of the termoil we all have in our lives, when we think we are at our lowest then sometimes it is good to know someone cares.

A good friend gave me this on an embroydered card whilst I was ill and after I lost my father.
I do not know who wrote it, but I hope they do not mind me sharing it with you all, as sometimes we all need our spirits lifting at some point in our lives.
So here goes.
When things go wrong as they sometimes will.
When the road you're trudging seems up hill.
When the funds are low and the debts are high and you want to smile, but you have to sigh.
When care is pressing you down a bit.
Rest, if you must, but don't you ever quit.
Life is queer with it's twists and turns, as everyone of us sometimes learns.
Many a failure turns about when he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don't give up though the pace seems slow you may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out.
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt, and you never can tell how close you are, it may be near when it seems so far.
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit.
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.

Take a long deep breath and relax

What a beautiful day it has been today.
The Lambs are out playing Sandy and Craigy the two rams have made friends and are out in the park at the back of the shed.
The sheep are lying back in the sunshine and relaxing and we are taking a long deep breath and relaxing also today.
It is not often we get time to just take in the air and have great quiet day.
Usually we are running here there and everywhere.
My husband drove up to the black isle last night to deliver a trailer, he got back late on in the night, I had to drive to Fort William to collect some things from the feed store.
So we could have the rest o f the day to ourselves.
Dolly one of the older cows, had a calf last weekend, not the brightest tool in the box, I do not know what it is but some of these calves seem to be a lot harder work than they used to be, we seem to have to do everything for them.
Dolly's calf was born out on the Mointeach Mhor common grazing, she is a beautiful red Limousin heifer.
But the first night she just would not suck the teat, we had to stomach tube her just so she would get the colostrum from her mother, that was a battle as well.
Anyway Dolly has a large udder as she is half Frisian cow, so there is plenty of milk there.
Well the next day my husband had to take milk from Dolly to feed the calf again, this carried on for a couple of days, stomach tubing as she just would not suck, although yesterday she showed signs of having a go her self, even though it was a little suck with a tongue hanging out it make it hard for her to make a seal, if she would learn that the tongue is meant to stay in your head she might get on a bit quicker.
Last night my husband took some more milk of Dolly, I put it in a calf bottle, she struggled and struggled not to have the teat in her mouth.
I remember my father telling me that the best way to teach a calf to suck is to cover it's eyes with a blindfold, because when a calf sucks from mother it is in darkness under her belly.
But also when you put the teat in it's mouth make a seal around it's mouth with your fingers, A. to hold it's tongue inside it's mouth, and B. to make the tongue half moon to cause the calf to suck.
Well she started to get the hang of it, slowly but surely she sucked half the calf bottle.
So I let her out of the blindfold and guided her towards Dolly's udder, no she decided she was going to have none of it.
I decided to go and feed the sheep and leave her with mum for a while to decide what she wanted to do.
I came back around half an hour later and peeped in the door of the shed, there she was having a go herself.
Even though it was a little go at least she seems to have got the gist of what she is supposed to do to get her fed.
We will have to make sure she gets a good feed from the bottle of expressed milk until she gets the idea.
But as I said hard work when you have a lazy calf.
Molly's calf has come on in leaps and bounds, she is a really smart calf and knows how to get into the shed between the cows when they all come in, she then plonks herself down on a nice bed and that's her for the night.
Myran and Katy are still hanging on to their lambs, they have decided to be awkward and make me wait, they will chose the worst night and the earliest hour to have their lambs, I can garentee that.
Myran is the queen of sheba's granny, as I said before they have an air about them as though they are royalty and as such should be treated as though they are royalty.
Hopefully they should have lambs before the next weekend.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

All go way out West

Well it's been all go way out here on the West coast of beautiful but wild Scotland.
Thank you Kevan for your concern, which has prompted me to stop neglecting my duties and let you all know what we have been up to during this cold and bitter weather.
We have had quite a few additions to our now ever growing family.
Since I last posted we have had three new calves and up to today we have also had eleven lambs, with three sheep still to lamb.
The biggest surprise was Nelly our Gimmer she gave birth to triplets and is managing to feed them all with out any interference from me.
Although in the beginning I was giving them a little extra milk, they were not suited with me meddling.
You see Nelly has a false teat, but they all dive underneath her and grab what they think are all working milk dispensers, it is really comical watching them play pass the teat, but they seemed to have worked it out for themselves a sort of rota system.
Chirstie was the first to lamb, she had a single female a snob if ever there is such a thing in the sheep world, she is just like her granny Myran, struts round the pen like she is the queen of Sheba.
Chirstie managed without any help from us and her milk must be really good as the queen of sheba has had a couple of wee squeals with constipation.
Nelly was next to go I gave her a little help with the first lamb, she took to it straight away, I went around to the front shed to get the Iodine for the lambs navel, when I came back to the shed there was the second one popped out no bother, both little girls.
After a while we decided to go for a cup of tea to warm the cockles.
When we came back to the shed to admire Nelly's new offspring we were leaning over the gate talking back and forward then noticed a third head poking out from under Nelly's tummy.
How we did not notice in the first place was bewildering as he was as noisy as all of them put together.
So that was it for a couple of late night shifts, three girls one boy.
Then a couple of nights later Sharon and Poppit delivered twins in the early hours, Sharon had two girls, poppit had one of each.
Claire followed suit the next night with two girls also.
Teeny came around to the lambing shed last night of her own accord to let us know she was going to give birth.
She had a little girl too, late last night.
They are all doing well and noisy as anything.
They are developing their own personalities already.
Nelly's little boy has taken to lying on his mums back when she settles down, the only problem is, when she stands up he is not quick enough to get down and stands there on her back screaming like he is scared of heights.
After I numbered them all, ( lambs and mum are spray painted with the same number so they do not get mixed up whilst out in the field) some of them were allowed out yesterday for the first time.
The lambs were running around the field racing each other, jumping in the air and playing tig.
It was a beautiful day yesterday and today was dry but not as warm.
The weather has been really cold and hard on the animals, it has snowed and the ground has frozen. The animals have had to be fed a lot more to keep their energy levels up through the cold weather.
My husband has a lot of work, but cannot up until this past couple of weeks put a stob in the ground because it has been so hard, if he did put stobs in the ground whilst it is freezing, they would just slacken off when it thawed out which would make the fences very slack.
A couple of weeks ago we had a really dry spell which was good for a heath burning, there was plenty of them going on too whilst the opportunity was there, sometimes you cannot afford to hang around these things have to be done as soon as a window comes around, if you hesitate it could be weeks before the opportunity comes back around and then it might be to late.
The weather is so unpredictable, but this year there will be a lot of fresh grass on the common grazing's after the burning, hopefully.
The poor Deer are finding it hard too, they have come down from the hill looking for food.
Some of them look weak, I have noticed that they are fighting amongst themselves also, as they
are in competition for the same blade of grass.
There has been a lot of Deer strikes too on the main road as they search for food.
We had 28 of them cross over our field a few days ago to get to the common grazing.
The cows have been wondering about a lot looking for grass to, the harsh weather has slowed everything down, the grass is not coming yet.
The calves are all doing well, Molly had a beautiful calf she is the spitting double of her great granny, who was a rusty red and white Simmental called Marie Claire.
We have named her after her great granny, her father was a Simmental called Dernean Jacob, he has always, produced beautiful coloured and quick learning calves.
Molly being a first time mother was a little slow on the up take as to how to feed the calf.
We had to sinch her, which entails tying a rope around her middle just above the udder, to stop them kicking either you or the calf, but Molly decided to act like a bucking bronco, she soon settled down.
Nature is a wonderful thing sometimes, Molly's udder was so full it must have hurt, she would have been tender when the calf first sucked, but once the calf relieved her of some milk she calmed down and let her take her fill.
But she was not pleased in the beginning, once the calf had the idea the sinch was released, and away they went mother and baby bonded.
There has been lots of other things going on, but they are stories for later.
I will leave you with some pictures of Nelly and her triplets for you to see what I mean about your own bed.
The queen of Sheba, The proud dad Sandy and one of the heath burnings.

Sunday, 31 January 2010

BBBRRRrrrrrrr it's cold out here

Freachan & Cullan above Creag Mhor

Wee Wendy & Tougs

Cullan & Creag Mhor in the snow

Freachan washing Sandy & Craigy

BBBRRRrrrrrrrr it is cold out here, I don't know about you lot but my thermals have had some use this month, I know they are passion killers, but i would rather that than be vain and freeze to death.
Well we have had snow at last here, it had to come at some point as we have had very little up to now.
Freachan thinks it's great he loves it so much out doors, to him it is just a big playground of fun.
Cullan being older and wiser looks at him like he should grow up but more that he is cracked, alas poor Cullan he forgets he was exactly the same when he was little too.
Well we have been waiting for Beauty to have her baby she was due on the 28th Jan.
We sorted the cattle out this morning fed them and put them out for a drink, we kept Beauty in because we did not want her going away and having the calf on the sly, then decide not come back home with it, they do that hide them from you so you spend hours looking for them, it was to cold to be having a calf outside anyway.
My hubby checked her bones this morning and said they had moved her udder was solid too, so in she stayed.
Pal and Wee Wendy are still in, as Wee Wendy is a bit small to be out in the cold snow, we don't want her to go down with pneumonia.
So we cleaned the byres ready for the cattle coming back in later.
I was filling the feed buckets ready to go in the stalls for the evening, I went into the shed where Beauty was tied in the stall, with two buckets in my hands, I looked down and there was a head and two feet sticking out, by the time I put the two buckets in the adjacent stalls and turned around the calf had popped out behind mum.
It is a little girl jet black like her full sister Gemma, a quick learner too just like her sister, straight to the teat no messing.
We put them in the calving pen together so mum could give her a good lick to dry her off and bond properly.
They will stay in there until the calf is steady on her feet and knows who her mother is.
Calves sometimes can be a little fly too, they go down the line behind the cows and check to see if they can steal milk from someone else, they usually get a firm kick from the none to keen cow.
But new Born's have a stupid sense when they are born, and will go in to any stall to get a drink from an unsuspecting cow, it's not the calves fault it's just one teat look much like another, but they learn quickly after a few short sharp kicks.
Tougs our other calf is doing well too, he has started demanding his food, and will push you about if you do not give him anything before you feed everyone else, as you go in and out of the shed with hay he tries to catch you with his head.
Freachen our Jack Russell has opened a beauty salon of his own in the ram shed.
He has taken to sitting in between the two Ram pens on the hay, the Rams have learned that if they put their head up to the pen gates Freachen will give them a wash every morning, ears, nose and eyes, boy don't they look clean when he has finished.
Know there is a race for the first wash, Sandy demands he gets washed first by charging at the pen and just stopping short so Freachan pays attention to him, Craigy just stands up on the pen wall to dominate the space, so poor Freachan is stuck in between the two Rams not knowing who to do first.
It usually works out without to much of a to-do.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Water, Water, give me water

We have been in the grips of a really cold snap, fortunately we have not had the snow others have had, but it is still cold enough to freeze the do-da's off a proverbial brass monkey.
We lost our water about 10 days ago due to the cold weather, as some of you might know we are not on the water mains like many of our fellow human beings, we get our water from the mountain behind the house, less fluoride or additives that way ; )

We have a very large water vat half way up the hill, which is a beggar to keep climbing up to when the water goes of for something stupid like a bit of bracken stuck down the main infill pipe to the vat from the burn.
But it keeps you fit.
Anyway with it being so cold the ground has been frozen solid, and I could actually walk on the ice all the way up our burn outside the house, never been able to do this for years, the ice was about 3" thick in places.
Every time I burst a hole through it to get water for the animals because the byre water supply was off to, I had to burst the ice again in the afternoon because it froze over so quickly.
Anyway we have a 62mm plastic hose that runs from the vat on the hillside under the train track underpass, then it is dug under ground about 3 feet down to the house.
About 20 feet from the house the hose changes to a 3/4" bore, at a Y piece that supplies water to the byre and the house, this is where it appeared to freeze and cut off our supply.
Well the byre water came back on after about 6 days the house water supply was a different matter.
In the end my husband had to go out on Saturday with a punch bar that he uses for fencing and try to break the ground up around the smaller hose.
After much huffing and puffing he managed to get daylight to the hose, another hour later and banging of the pipe, also pouring hot water and salt solution down the pipe, a low groan and gurgling noise was heard to come from way down the pipe, all of a sudden the water came blasting out with shards of ice being pushed out from the pressure of the water.
Once the air was out of the pipe he reconnected it and hey presto we had water again.
The tank in the attic void was filling nicely, once it was full the hot water was put on, I for one was sick of having what they call a sink wash, I needed a long soak in a hot tub ahhh.
One thing to remember hubby dear, don't turn off the cold water tap over night again when it's freezing outside if you want to keep the water to the house ; )

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Pictures as Promised

A few pictures as promised earlier.

1. Pal first time mum and baby Wee Wendy.
2. Wee Wendy one day old.
3. Little Cracker Freachan pinching a present from under the Christmas tree.
4. Freachan waiting for his treat.
5. Cullan wanting his dinner.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Walking on Thin Ice

I am beginning to think that I am being tested by someone above.
My life is like an adventure or thriller novel which ever way you want to look at it, I seem to have more than my fare share of near misses and catastrophes, I think someone else should take the lead for a short while and give me a rest.
Why I hear you ask?
As some of you may know we are in the grip of a cold Winter, luckily we have not had as much snow as the rest of the country, perhaps that's because we are sheltered by Creag Mhor or because we are at sea level, what ever the reason we seem to have had more Black Ice and flash freezing than anything else.
Well to start this from the beginning, yesterday my husband was away for the day, collecting cattle feed, it was quite a cold day but not as cold as today, I started to fill the buckets for the cattle coming in in the afternoon, I thought I would bring them in a little earlier as the clouds looked rather threatening in the sky.
So away I went across the Mointeach Mhor to bring them in, it was easy to walk down as everything is frozen solid including the peat bogs which you usually have to walk around.
As I got closer to the heard, one of the cows Rosie was on the other side of the river hooting and mo-owing, I looked around the heard and realised Rosie's calf was not amongst the calves, I ran towards the river which is frozen solid, about 3" of ice thick in places.
There was Rosie's calf Ruby, on the other side of the iced over river bank, she must have crossed over to be with mum and broke through the ice, but the bank was to high for her to climb out.
She was trying to get up the ever higher bank which was covered in gorse and heather making it very difficult for her to get a grip.
When she came to rest her head was perched on the ice that's all I could see, if she slipped off the ice she might have gone under and not been able to get back out.
I thought the best thing to do was to try and guide her back down a little way to a lower side of the bank, I knew I might be in for a wetting crossing the ice to help her, so I took of my big jacket, for two reasons, one to stop me sinking with the weight of it wet and two to have something dry to come home in just in case.
Well the just in case was right, as I crossed the iced over river, Ruby began to dance about, she caused the ice to fracture, then all of a sudden a four foot square piece gave away and tipped up in the air, I slipped off and into the water, what was worse was I did not realise it was so deep, I went up to my neck in the freezing water, I could only just touch the bottom, the gasp that I let out must have been heard in Glasgow.
Now in a way I know this might sound strange, but I expected it to be really cold, as years ago I used to do a lot of coastal Scuba Diving so I knew how cold it could be, but it was the shock of it and not being able to get a proper footing that worried me.
Anyway I give myself a second to collect my thoughts and decided what to do, I waded up to Ruby who was now calm she must have sensed I was in to help her, I grabbed her tail and pulled her around in a half circle to face her towards the lower bank, she was only being held up by the ice, as she could not touch the bottom at all, she was now wading in the water, and everything depended on her having the strength to pull herself up, the dogs were barking and whining, Rosie was really agitated be now, and I was absolutely freezing.
Well Ruby did it she scrambled her front half up and I shoved her from behind the rest of the way, she got up and ran to mum without a thank you or glance back to see if I was okay, that's gratitude for you.
Well I was so cold I had a bit of a time getting back on to the ice where I fell in, I was once told that if you fall into and iced over pond always try to get out where you went in as it carried your weight up until the point of entry so it was 99% guaranteed to hold your weight on the way out.
Well I managed to slide up onto the ice and roll over to the bank back where I came from, all the while the dogs were going mad.
I got onto the bank, freezing and shacking with the cold and shock, I stripped of my jumper and shirt and put on my jacket, my wellingtons which were more of a hindrance than a help under water were full, and I had a nightmare trying to get them off with the suction, I tipped out the water and put them back on.
I ran for home my teeth were knocking together so violently I thought they might push them back into my gums.
I managed to get home, and stripped off the wet and freezing clothing, the towel and coal fire where a blessing.
I found it hard to sleep last night with flash backs of the days events, I was also in agony, I have bruising covering the back of both my legs, from my bum to the back of my Knees.
But these will heal, the calf Ruby is well, she got a good rub down too, and a penicillin, just to make sure she does not go down with anything nasty.
As a result yes I was walking on thin ice and lost one of my nine lives, but all's well that end's well.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Upcoming Agricultural Events

For those of you who may be interested I have listings of some upcoming Agricultural Events.
These events need your support as more and more of them are disappearing due to one thing or another.
So if you have time on your hands then maybe you would be interested to see how much work and preparation goes into these events, not only by animal handlers and exhibitors like us, but behind the scenes too.
There is something for everyone and it makes a great day out for the family, the kids will get to see animals they never thought they would see close up.
Anyway that's enough of that, the listed shows are events my husband and I have visited ourselves or exhibited our livestock at over the years.
You never know you may bump into us at one of the Agricultural Shows.
If you want me to list any you know of in your area, then send me an email and I will see what I can do. I will list Event/Date and contact number.

Northumberland County Tynedale Park Corbridge 31 May 2010 Tel 01434 604216
Road To The Isles Show Camasdarach Arisaig 12 June 2010 Tel 01687 450655
Royal Highland Show Ingleston Edinburgh 24-27 June 2010 Tel 0131 3356212
The Great Yorkshire Show Harrogate 13-15 July 2010 Tel 01423 546231
Cumberland County Show Carlisle Racecourse 17 July 2010 Tel 01697 747397
Tiree Agricultural Society Show Rural Centre Isle of Tiree 23 July 2010 Tel 01879 220321
Sutherland Show The Links Dornoch Sutherland 24 July 2010 Tel 01862 810162
Biggar Show The Showfield Biggar 24 July 2010 Tel 01899 810262
Nairn Show Kinnude Farm Auldearn 31 July 2010 Tel 01309 641121
Turriff Show The Showfield The Haughs Turriff 1-2 August 2010 Tel 01888 568830
Black Isle Show Mannsfield Showground Muir of Ord 4-5 August 2010 Tel 01463 870870
Lorn Show Near Oban 7 August 2010 Tel 01631 770228
Grantown Show Heathfield Park Grantown on Spey 12 August 2010 Tel 01343 555113
Orkney Show Bignold Park Kirkwall Orkney 14 August 2010 Tel 01856 771441
Appin Show Stalker Croft Appin Date TBC Tel 01631 730365
Lochaber Show Torlund Home Farm Near Fort William Date TBC Tel 01397 708508
Christmas Classic Thainstone Centre Inverurie 29-30 November 2010 Tel 01467 623786

I look forward to seeing you there.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Catch up and a Happy New Year

Firstly I would like to wish my faithful followers a Peaceful and Prosperous 2010.
I have not published for a little while as those of you who follow will know, I have had a rubbish 2009.
My father is still very much in my everyday thoughts, not just because of this time of year but also because he would have been 70 years old on the 4th of January.
My illness is still hanging on and is getting to me, my fuse is a little shorter than it was before, because the specialists cannot seem to ease my problem.
But this year I have to move on one step at a time to get on top of all these soul destroying problems.

We had a quiet Christmas, not through choice I might add.
The snow started on Friday 18th December, we had a flurry of snow which persisted through the night.
Then after that we had snow on and off but not huge amounts like they had down south or in the North of Scotland.
But the problem became worse when we had low temperatures, this caused the dirt track to become an ice rink.
So luckily we did the Christmas food shopping in Fort William.
Because the weather was so unpredictable we decided to stay at home, there was nothing needed that was so important to risk life and limb for on the road.

We are having to let the cows out of the byre one at a time because it is so slippery under foot, once they get out on to the common grazing's they wander off for the day, the sun in the afternoon is melting the snow out there so they are finding something to pick at.
Once they come back in they get a good feed and a warm bed.
The young calves were fluke and mite dosed today, I must say they were really mild tempered, what a difference there is between calves weened in the winter and calves weened in the summer.
Winter calves are in the shed through the night so they get used to you being around them and will let you stroke them.
Summer calves are out on the common grazing's all of the time and do not have the human interaction so are a bit more fiery when you try to do anything with them.
So that is the calves in for the duration now once they are weened from mother.
The mothers are all in calve and some of them are due imminently.
One of the heifers "Pal" is due right now so we are up through the night checking her to make sure all is well.
The old crofters used to say that the cow will sometimes go into labour when the moon is at it's fullest, but Pal is still hanging in there.

Our sheep now nine of them are all in lamb, Sandy the Cheviot ram went out at the beginning of November and has worked well, lots of Green markings on rumps that's the main thing, so we should be expecting babies around about 1st April, (no it's not an April fool).

We lost poor old Snowy the big White Charolais this year, she went out on the common grazing's with the others in the morning and never came back in the evening, we went out to look for her and there she was, at first we thought she was a sleep, but she was not old age comes to us all we can never escape it.
She was one of my husbands father's last original cows, we both had a soft spot for her, she is missed even now, her great grand daughter "Pal" inherited her stall and she fills it just as much as Snowy did.
Lets hope she follows in her great grandmothers footsteps.
Penny one of our other heifers gave birth to a little boy a couple of months ago, not that he is so little, he is also Snowy's great grandson, he is a beautiful fawn coloured Charolais and we named him Tougs.
He is soft natured like granny, and full of mischief, nosey too.
When I get the camera down-loaded I will post pictures.

It will soon be time to take the tree down, it is beautiful, a traditional fat six footer
I will miss it this year, as it is one of the nicest trees I have had for a long time.
We are all snug this evening in front of a Peat burning open fire, as we have been through the Christmas holidays.
All that hard work in the spring has come to some use, Peat has a beautiful aroma when you go out into the night air, it reminds you of so many things from your child hood.

My New Year resolution is to keep blogging more frequently than I did last year.
Anyway I will close for now, wishing you all a Happy New Year and pop in anytime to find out what we are up to.