Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Uncut patches

The Devil's bit scabious are still flowering beautifully although some of them are beginning to go over now. The view north from the Black Park, on my way down to the Haunn field (above).

Unfortunately Coco has been really ill so I have been sitting with her, rather than out in the beautiful weather we have had recently.  Now the weather is changing, the wind is rising, the clouds are forming and I don't think the forecast Aurora for later tonight will be visible from here because it has completely clouded over.

Coco is better than she was, but she is still not out of the woods.

In to the Haunn field and the face of silvery light from the Tiree direction!  The light catching on the wetland area was beautiful reflecting the silvers from the sea light.

The patches of the field that we left are still looking beautiful.  There is so much colour once you look in.

You never know what you might find in amongst the flowers.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Speaning the lambs

A long day for Farmer and J from Dervaig today. They started just after 8am and they had an hour's worth of work left to do when I made them some tea at 6.30.

Tomorrow is another lamb sale in Oban, so today the Blackies were in the fank.  Lambs and ewes are separated first.  Our neighbours ewes and lambs are taken out at the same time!  The 95 best ewe lambs were taken off and penned separately - future breeding ewes.  The wedder (male) lambs are all sold, but they have to be graded.  We can only take 60 in one go, so the top draw (the best 60) were pulled out and all the rest will go with the eild (barren) ewes and cast (those we no longer need) ewes in to the big field below the house.  We will sell them at a later date.  Everything was treated except the 60 being sold. They were ear tagged.  So A LOT was done.

It was beautifully sunny, but the wind was blowing up dust in the yard, so not the most comfortable conditions for them to work in.

The ewes we are keeping get let back to the hill. The lambs are noisy, calling frantically for their mothers.  They will quieten down when it gets dark.

Swimmingly. Not.

The cable laying vessel has been busy in the bay for the last couple of days, and Farmer has been puzzling about the method, as at times the sea looks as if the sea bed is being churned up, with a sandy slick around the boat.

Today there has been no sign of it, but it is Sunday.

The baling was all going really well. Until the main drive roller split in half (rusted through) and blew out the wall of the baler.  It is not economic to mend it.   Thankfully a kind neighbouring farmer came to our rescue on Saturday morning and baled the last bit of the Haunn field for us.  He will also come and bale for us in September and there is talk of coming to an arrangement next year too - whereby we do some work for him near by in exchange.

Daughter and I went to the black sands at Kilninian yesterday and spent some time with the little boy cousins.  We had the beach to ourselves and it was a beautiful afternoon.   Lots of boy time spent building dams and chasing about.

Farmer was busy getting ready for gathering on Sunday.  Sunday morning dawned so bright and clear. Totally wonderful in fact.  We took the dogs up to the Sitheans.  The heather is looking very colourful. 

Farmer went off to round up some straying ewes and lambs while I followed the old turf dyke back down to the lochan.

J and J came over to help gather this afternoon, I was at the Producers Market in Dervaig, and Daughter was having more cousin time on the beach.  Tomorrow they will sort the lambs as Farmer is taking a load to market again on Tuesday.  

The sunset tonight was magical, but I was having an evening off from the camera, which I now slightly regret! 

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Cutting the Coronation Meadow

The grass on the farm has grown so well this year that Farmer decided to make silage in the Coronation Meadow again, in order to get the best of the nutrition from the field, and to best look after the wild flowers.   We have kept livestock out of the field to allow the flowers to set seed and this means that the grass is quite long!

If we were to let the cows in to the field now they would trample most of the grass - rendering it wasted.  So making silage will take the grass off the field, create better growing conditions for next years flowers and as it is still only August, there will be some fresh grass for the cows later in the month! A win win situation.

However some areas of the field are still flowering.  So Farmer has been selectively cutting the field, allowing the areas of Tufted vetch to finish and set seed before he comes back to cut it. 

We had a man from Butterfly Conservation Scotland here yesterday surveying again for Marsh Fritillary butterflies.   Farmer enjoyed a chat with him and reported back that he had been surprised by the abundant bio-diversity at Treshnish.  Regretfully he didn't find any evidence of MFs but he said all the decorations were up for the party but the guests hadnt arrived yet!   We await with bated breath.  Apparently MFs have reached Tiree this summer having not been seen there for years, so perhaps some will blow over this way on the north westerly winds...

Farmer is cutting lots of small areas of the Coronation Meadow, but leaving swathes with Birds Foot Trefoil and Knapweed uncut.  The cows will enjoy these areas when we finally let them through the gate to graze to their hearts content!

With the rowing up done Farmer can take the implement off the back of the tractor and trundle home for Treshnish beef, home grown potatoes and salad.  Perfect!
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