Sunday, 20 February 2011

Calves, snowdrops, rubble and possible trouble

Snow drops in the farmhouse garden.

So much has been going on on the farm and in the farmhouse that it is quite difficult to think straight. Over the last few weeks the farmyard has been filled with different trades vans and delivery vans swooping in and out, feeding the farmhouse with building materials and builders' energies.

Farmer has been busy keeping up with winter feeding regimes: the cattle indoors, the hoggs in one field, the cheviot gimmers in another, and the tups in a field over by the Point.

And calving is well underway. 9 gorgeous healthy calves so far, and 6 cows still to calve. Three of our four home bred heifers have calved for the first time and without trouble! Sometimes they can be confused after the birth and not realise the calf is theirs. Alternatively they can assume someone else's calf is their own before they have actually calves themselves. Confusion in the cattle shed!

A little joke between builders and electricians.

In between checking that the cows are alright and the feeding regimes, Farmer is working as labourer for the builder brother team working in the farmhouse, wheelbarrows of rubble out, bringing materials in, sweeping up, taking out rotten beams, taking down ceilings, recycling whatever can be re-used. The original re-plumbing job has grown into rebuilding internal walls, rewiring, and goodness knows what else. And a deadline of April 2nd before we move out of Studio back into the house. Should be a fun few weeks.

The generation meter showing 2.3kW production around midday.

A week on and the PV panels are now registered, and the meter is running. Actually that is not quite true - the wind turbine has both Generation and Export Meter on it but the PV Panels only have a Generation Meter - the export to the grid is 'deemed' not measured by meter readings.

Toechtamhor sunshine in February - ready for half term guests.

Ongoing school issues mean that office work has gone awry recently. Closure proposals were halted on January 5th, but the new list of threatened schools is to be published this week. The amazing support locally for the school and the strong feeling that we had to DO something led to the formation of the Ulva School Community Association in January. Aims include actively supporting the school, writing a 20 year plan, encouraging sustainable development, increasing the number of affordable homes in the area... We have already embarked on a Housing Needs Survey, and 2 of us are off to a Rural Housing Conference in Dunkeld this week.

And the possible trouble? Jan, the collie we bought in the summer, is definitely pregnant! We think she will produce her litter at the beginning of March. So Farmer's Daughter is getting hopeful that we will keep a puppy...and that's going to be the trouble.
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