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.

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