Tuesday, 21 December 2010

White Treshnish, white Solstice

It is not often we can remember seeing Coll covered in snow, or Tiree for that matter. And not hanging onto the snow for so long.

Moonlight path across the sky bright line across the sea, between here and Arinagour. Early morning slight cloud obscuring the lunar eclipse but we did see part of it redden through the cloud. Farmer was further west out feeding the cows and he saw the full red disc.

All the cliches about sparkling snow, crunching underfoot. White fields lit up in the moon light. It is all true. It is all very beautiful but alot of extra hard work for the Farmer, making sure the animals are all okay, that there is water in the cattle building - still relying on the old tubs and large buckets to carry it in.

We spent an enjoyable few hours yesterday out on the Point wandering quietly around checking that the ewes and the tups were okay. This golden eagle sat on a rock and allowed me to get about 40 feet away before lifting off and flying past, only to drop down and sit on a more distant rock in the Haunn field.

It is important when there is snow on the ground to ensure the sheep have enough fodder. In the early stages of pregnancy the ewes can re-absorb the tiny foetus if the nutrition is not right, so it is important to make sure they are not too densely stocked if they are in the fields. The Point is actually quite a large area so gates already open in to the neighbouring fields they have alot of space. We watched Cheviot hoggs digging with their feet through the snow to get at the grass underneath in a field near us. On the Point there are alot of tufts poking through the snow and it would be easy to imagine that there was enough to keep them going, but Farmer decided to make sure they really do have enough and took out some hay. The bales are quite large, they make the tractor look pretty small.

Ulva School was closed Friday and Monday because of the snow - no one could get there, so the Christmas holidays have started early and the Parent Council meetings about the school closures are taking a break until the New Year.

The tracks of the hares in the snow have been amazing to see. Their 'footprint' so much larger than a rabbit, and there have been hare tracks around Shian and Duill, as well as across the Haunn field. And there is no hiding the tracks of a stag who has got into the natural re-generation woodland by the Ensay Burn. Huge hoof prints.

We wish you a Happy Christmas and a Healthy New Year.
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