Sunday, 3 March 2013

It's been a while

Well it's been a while.
As someone once said to me a while ago when enquiring about their health, their reply was "I'm above the ground". Well that's true, I am above the ground but time has slipped by so fast that I have hardly had any time to breath.
We had a hard year last year with the weather and animals etc.
I lost an uncle which hit me rather hard.
But I thought I would let you know I am still here especially my followers who have been asking after me.
I will have to clean up the picture gallery and add new photos instead.
I enjoyed reading the comments from you all and thank you for taking the time to read my pages.
I have news to post but will do this soon.
We are getting ready for our lambing, the sheep are heavily in lamb, I have nine Aberdeen Angus calves about 3 - 4 months old which I will also post pictures of.
There are new calves about to be born soon too.
But that is for next time.
Wishing you all kindest regards

Thursday, 1 September 2011

The nights are drawing in now

The nights are drawing in now.
It's been a while since my last visit, I have been busy for what seems like an eternity, I cannot believe it is September already.
Work commitments have kept my busier than usual, the company I work for is building a brand new Sawmill, so I am working longer hours away from home, as it takes an hour to get to work and an hour home again my time is limited on the croft, but that should soon change I hope.
Our summer seems to have been short this year, we had terrible rain in June it never seemed to end, the trouble with the rain is once it starts it forgets to stop.
There have been a lot of tourists in the area this year, we cannot capitalise on this industry as we live down a dirt track and people cannot get of the beaten track with some of the low profile cars that are on the market today.
Although the people we do meet on walks etc always say they love it down here for the peace and quite, not to mention the views that are so spectacular in the summer time especially.
We had cut a lot of peat for the winter fuel earlier in the year, and thought we were going to lose it because of the rain, but the sun came out for a couple of weeks so we managed to get it all home and stored.
We took the dogs down to the peat fields, but after an hour they got bored, they never went down again, they lay on the road and watched from a distance.
It is hard work cutting peat as you have to lay it all out flat on the ground to dry, it is a spectacular thing to see the peat field mounds covered in a blanket of drying peat.
When he peat gets a crust on it we then have to stand it up into little pyramid shaped mounds, so that it drys on the outside.
Once the peat is completely dry we either build it into a large peat stack for storage or bag it up and carry it home.
Because the weather has been unreliable we decided to carry it all home.
We do not have all the modern conveniences of quad bikes and the likes, everything is carried out of the peat field on our back.
My husband carried the majority of the peat out, I helped as much as I could, I am not weak by any means but it is back breaking work, so I did my fair share.
The feeling you get when it is all stored in the shed is quite exhilarating knowing you will have plenty of winter fuel to keep you warm through the winter months.
The little things are sometimes more pleasing and important than the big things that we all take for granted.
We have had 4 of calves since my last entry, there is one due immanently, so I have been on maternity watch.
The expectant mother is a first time calving Heifer named Helen, so we have to bring her in this week just to make sure she does not have any problems during calving.
We had to say good-bye to her mother Angela this year, it was heartbreaking sending her to market.
She was blind in her udder so even though she could have more calves she would not be able to feed them herself, that would be down to human intervention, which is what we did last year with her last calf Hope, who is doing well and will be kept to be the next generation.
It was a shame she had to go but sometimes we have to be hard even though it hurts to let them go, it was hard enough looking after Hope last year as her mother used to chase me when I went to feed her, because Angela thought I was stealing her baby away from her.
That's why she ended up with the nickname pshyco, because she had funny ideas about things.
I miss her in the field with the others, she was always on look out duty, any sign of something she considered to be out of the ordinary and she would take off for the hills with the rest of the heard, in particular when the vet came to visit she knew his vehicle when she saw it and would take off like a bat out of hell, that is unless you got her in before hand.
But she always knew there was something in the wind because you had interrupted her routine, so even when she was tied in the byre she would watch the door and skitter everywhere until you let her back out.
When we sold her at the market my heart sank as I knew she would not be long on this earth, something I never do is check the electronic movement data once the cattle have been sold, but on this occasion I did just to see if she had been kept, but Angela got three days after we sold her and was taken to the abattoir, I will not look at the electronic movement data again.
My babies will all be kept in my heart forever as I remember them.
She has left good breeding stock behind her so she will live on in them and I can see her in some of them in particular Hope, who would not have been here if it had not been for our perseverance and intervention.
She has turned out to be a credit to her mother.
I have only showed the sheep once this year due to a persistent back problem, I took them out to the last show of the season in Fort William last Saturday, they all behaved perfectly on the day.
I won overall North Country Cheviot with a 4 year old Ewe in milk, called Teeny.
She was sired by Balnakiel Snowman and her mother is Sharon, one of my founder Sheep.
It was the first time I have ever shown her, I spent two days dressing her and clipping her up and she turned out really well I was not expecting her to win, in fact I was not going to take her at first but I am glad I did now.
Anyway what do you think?

My rams have summered well in Morar, not far away from here.
Every time they see the car drive down the track they come running down to the gate to greet us.
Creag Mhor my first ever ram who is now 4 years old is over there along with Sandy and three of Sandy's offspring, Monty, Charlie & Rory.
Sandy's three sons will be sold in November for breeding rams.
They are so friendly and greet you like old friends, I will miss them when they go.
Monty is the bossy one, he pushes the others about when he wants your attention, he likes to be clapped.
We took him and Sandy to the show and Monty beat his father, he shows great potential already for a year and a half old.
We are starting to get ready for the winter coming in, sheds cleaned out bedding being stored and repairs being carried out ready for the animals coming in when the nights start to close in.
At the moment the cattle are enjoying the dry weather and are spending a lot of time out on the common grazing.
Something I thought was quite funny is they way people think about things, that happen on farms and crofts.
My husband was in the shed one evening and the midges were really biting bad, he had a Midge net on his head to protect him from the biting bugs.
A visitor came down past the shed, where some of the calves were standing outside the gate waiting to come in and get fed.
The visitor started to panic and tried to drive past the calves rather rapidly when she saw my husband come out of the shed.
He asked her to take care and slow down when she was going past.
The next day the visitor came back and stopped to speak to my husband, she apologised for her bad driving and explained that when she saw the man (my husband) with the Midge net on she thought he was from the abattoir or something and was there to slaughter the calves????
Why would people think that something like that would be carried out in the middle of nowhere and especially in front of an unsuspecting visitor.
It makes you wonder what people really think what happens on farms and crofts.
Maybe my little bits of information will educate some people how things really work, then again maybe not.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Well it's that time of year again!!!

Well it's is that time of year again.
Lambs have been popping out everywhere.
We put Sandy the dad out a couple of weeks early this year to catch Myran the matriarch first,
We have had 14 little packages so far 5 girls and 9 boys, 1 set of Triplets to Sharon one of our founder sheep she had two big boys and a dot of a girl who I called Dotty, what she lacks in size she makes up for in noise as she is the loudest of the lot.
We have had 4 sets of twins 6 boys and 2 girls, the rest have singles.
Myran going on past births usually has 1, but I think looking at the size of her she may have 2 this year.
She is lying in the sun in front of the house this afternoon, like lady muck.
I say sun what there is of it between showers that is.
Hopefully the rain will stay off for a while, as it is great entertainment watching the lambs gadding about the field racing back and forward to see who is the fastest.
They are such inquisitive little souls, I love watching them out of the kitchen window, I could stand there for hours watching them play, you know they are healthy when they are running about and playing.
It makes your heart burst with pride when I see new life come into the world, I love them all to pieces.
They are all showing off and have their own personalities.
I go into the shed in the evening and watch them all settle down, the Triplets snuggle up together in the corner whilst mum stands guard.
Some of the Twins sleep on mums back when she lies down, I found one in a pen that belonged to the next door pen, she must have been laid on her mums back and mum must have stood up and coped her over the gates into the next pen, boy her mum was mad and making such a racket because she was not with her.
The 3 Tup rams I kept back from last years crop are making a nuisance of themselves at the moment, everywhere you turn one of them is following you about, I think there dad encourages them as he is not much better himself.
They will be going away soon until later in the summer when they will leave to be sold for breeding.
Cheviot's are such beautiful faced sheep, they look at you with doleful eyes as though they are reading your mind.
Nelly is one of the smartest, if I shout her name she comes running to the fence for tit-bits, I
usually give her the carrot and turnip peels, she loves it, but a couple of the younger ones have twigged on to this also and they come running to the fence to try and get there before Nelly, they have no chance as she is fast on her feet and most of it is gone before they get there, she is like a hoover to watch.
The cows have been busy too, we have had another two calve since the new year, Miss prissy and Eddy.
Miss Prissy got her name because she walks on her tip toes like a lady la-de-da so hoity.
Eddy got his name because he is like Eddy the eagle he thinks he can jump the cattle grid, which he has tried to do on numerous occasions instead of using the gate like the rest of the heard.
Luckily the grid is more of a deterrent as it is not really deep so any animal that goes in it can scuttle out of it.
It is only there so people can go over it instead of getting out of the car to open the gate and drive through, it also stops people leaving the gate open and letting the cattle back in the park, which is what used to happen a lot in the past.
Then you would find cattle in the shed if a door was left open, or worst still in my garden eating every bit of greenery they can find.
The weather has been hit and miss so far, we have had a lot of rain over the past couple of weeks, but when it is dry it is beautiful, you can see things starting to bud, our crocus and daffodils have popped out and the blue bells are coming up now.
In March last year the heaths were burning in the night sky all around us, this year I have not seen one at all as yet as it has been to wet to burn anything.
I found a couple of ticks already on the Cullan our collie, horrid things, Freachan the Jack Russell loves to be in amongst it when you are trying to find ticks on the collie he is so nosey.
The cows have started to stay out on the odd night it has been mild, but they are still coming home in the morning, it has been a long hard winter I cannot believe it is April already, where is time going, one minute it is Christmas when you next blink Easter is nearly upon us.
Some times I wish I could stop the planet and get of the merry -go -round for a while, to sit back and smell the Roses.
But we all seem to have no time for anything that is important and held up by inconsequential bitty things that hold us back from doing what we desire, things that make the heart and soul feel good about, like enjoying the smells and sounds of nature, standing in the sun and watching the animals grazing and relaxing in the warm heat, and as I have been doing this morning watching the lambs run around the fields and playing.
Well nature moves on and the grass will soon burst into life, the heather will fill the air with it scent in the Scottish Highlands, and I have to go and clean the byre, I will leave you with some pictures I took this week.
Just as I finished inserting the pictures a hugh wind came up and the heavens opened, the mum's came running over to the shed with the babies for shelter, how's that for smart!!

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Alive & Kicking

Well I did not realise it has been so long since I last posted anything on my blog!!.
I had a computer problem for a while & with being busy all of the time it has made it a little difficult to juggle everything.
Firstly I would like to wish you all a belated Happy and Prosperous New Year, may all your hopes and dreams come true.
Secondly, I would like to thank all of you for being so patient, and thank those of you who have asked after me.
I am still alive and kicking or as someone once said, I'm still above the ground.
Since my last visit we have had a few new arrivals on the croft, the twins are both fine.
It was hard in the beginning as the youngest who we named Doddit had to be bottle fed to kick start him until he was strong enough to feed himself, we were also still bottle feeding Hope as her mother was unable to feed her because she had lost her milk.
So every feed time was a frenzy in the shed, impatient calves who are hungry don't understand wait, they charge at you and knock you flying in a mad rush to get the bottle first.
But now they are both fending for themselves.
Doddit is just as good as his brother Hoddit, it is hard to tell the difference between them, but they are both gentle calves.
We had two more heifers in October, Skye had her first calf which was a little girl we called her Kyle, she has a really bad temper like granny which is Effy the cow that put my husband in the river.
Bunnacaimbe had a little girl too, we called her Duchess, she is the spitting image of her mother, she also has a soft nature like her mother.
They all pal about together.
Pal our heifer had a little girl two weeks ago, we called her Pollyanna, she is a beautiful red colour, and so nosey.
Skye had her calf out on the common grazing's, she came in one day with the heard and my husband said she had had her calf and not brought it in with her.
We went out to look for it and chased Skye out to bring it back, we spent all day wandering about looking for it.
As dusk started to come in we found it, she jumped up from her hiding place and ran literally for the hills.
My husband chased after her, I brought the cows down to the bottom of the hill, so the calf would hopefully see them and join up with them.
Just before the calf came around the back of the hill where the cows were now grazing, she decided to make a run for it over the top of the hill and missed the heard altogether, by the time we got to the top of the hill she had vanished into thin air.
She must have laid down in the long undergrowth to hide herself.
By this time it was starting to get dark so we had to give up the search until the early hours of the morning.
Skye was standing out on the common grazing's where she left her calf the day before, we spent another two hours looking for the wee so and so.
My husband spotted her in amongst our neighbours cattle, we went to catch her, as the heard started to move off home over the bridge, she ran towards my husband who was waiting at the pass so to speak, she tried to make a jump for it and jumped clean into his arms.
After a bit of a fumble and rugby style tackle we managed to get her into the back of the landy.
We got her into the shed, whilst my husband went to get her mum, as she must have been hungry by now, I started to make the pen comfortable for them both, the little bisum charged clean at me pushing her head into my legs and grunting wildly like a grizzly bear.
I have never in my life ever had a calf do that, my husband said she is like her granny as two peas, mad as a hatter.
She has calmed down now, I suppose it must have been as much of a shock to her as it was to us.
After all she had not seen a human until we rolled up and tried to catch her.
I am waiting for my sheep to lamb, Sandy did well last year, I hope he has a repeat performance this year, he has been busy.
Craigy my other ram was on his holidays again in Newtonmore, he came back today, I missed him, he is a big softy really, he has made himself at home already, letting the young tup rams know he is back by bawling at them from the shed.
I just hope everything goes well and the lambs are all healthy, I hate to lose any of my babies, be it cow or sheep.
They all deserve to breath and run around, but nature can be so cruel sometimes, when you least expect it something comes along to pull you up with a sharp shock.
I cannot wait for the spring to come, I love to see the lambs running around and the smell of the flowers that start to bloom early.
Pictures Are
1 Hoddit & Doddit
2. Duchess
3. Hoddit & Doddit with mum Rosie
4. Mima Myrans Lamb taking in the sun last summer

Thank you for reading look forward to you popping in again.

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.