Sunday, 18 March 2012

End the week on a high note

Clearing up seems to be one of Farmer's perpetual jobs. This week it was round our house. We now have 'lawn; where there was rubble. Here is Jan enjoying the novelty of sitting on grass where there once was only rubble.

Signs of spring, in montbretia shoots catching the late afternoon sun. The hens love this part of the farmyard, they spend alot of time dusting themselves and use the fully grown montbretia for shade later in the summer. They have been pecking at the shoots too.

The new chip, whilst wonderfully uniform and absent of slithers (and therefore unscheduled stoppages/blockages), does not flow as readily has the old chip. I have probably said this already, but it means Farmer has to climb in and shovel. Not good for the back.

The sliding roof motor rusted through so now the roof has to be wound back manually. It is still better than having doors on the roof which have to be lifted rather than slid, as they would not be able to be opened when it is windy. You can see the water sitting in the sliding roof section - we need to stop walking on it as it has bowed! So Phil is going to come and build a walkway along the side. You learn from experience I guess!

The traditional white paint on the exterior of the house, and cottages, inevitably goes green after a while, and every 6 or 7 years the house and all the white cottages need painting. Farmer decided this year that as he has Jamie looking after the sheep (supposedly saving his post-op back) he would look after the painting himself. First thing is pressure washing the green - hence Farmer in full waterproofs on a sunny day. It looked so good once he had done it, we now think we can hold off the painting for another year.

All but one cow has calved now, but there is still lots of tending to do. All the calves have to be eartagged and the numbers recorded.

In late afternoon Farmer 'beds the cows up' (fresh straw) and 'forks in the silage' (moves the left over silage from earlier away from the centre of the feed passage so the cows can reach it). These phrases are etched in my winter psyche. I hear them every day, and the winter in that respect would not be the same with out them. However housing the cows in doors, as we have done ever since we built the sheds in 1999, is proving tough on Farmer's back and we are having to look at alternatives.

Another gorgeous calf!

It is touching watching cows interacting with each other. The dun cow was giving the black one a good ear lick.

The sun has been out all weekend, and we all feel the better for it. The last few nights people have been looking out for the Northern Lights. I was up late after Farmer and Daughter had gone to bed 2 nights ago - the sky was fantastically starry, with Jupiter and Venus so clear and bright. A band of cloud hugged the skyline obscuring Coll, so dark against the accumulated glow of the millions of stars. A green glow rose above this cloud, so strong and not the usual starlit sky colour and hue. A partial Northern Lights then? It has to be said I was not popular the next day, as I did not think to wake anyone else up to look at its beauty.

The old and the new. The sleigh has seen better days and is riddled with woodworm now, but acts as a good marker for Rob when he is reversing the tractor and trailer on wood chip delivery days.

Clothes drying in the sun, with Shieling in the background. The cottages are getting their pre season 'deep clean' in between bookings.


A first celandine - for me anyway. Lovely to see. Curlews calling today. Lovely to hear.

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