Thursday, 26 April 2012

Absent with leave whilst lambing continues

I am guilty of abandoning the homestead during lambing. It was all arranged some time ago, with Farmer's full support and backing. Mobile phones mean that I have been kept in regular contact with Daughter and the trials of pet lambs being fostered on to new mums, but thankfully there are now 2 pet lambs to occupy the caring/looking after requirement of being a Farmer's Daughter.

I did manage to pick up a few useful farming/crofting tips whilst away to redeem myself - alternative uses of drainpipes and fenced fanks in corners of croft fields, feed your sheep so much they are easy to catch at lambing time as they will walk right up to you. Photographing tin sheds raised a few eyebrows and led to some interesting conversations. One or two photographs I didn't take, as I confess to being wary of barking dogs circling the car. I was told that Lewis collies don't bite! And I was frequently mobbed by sheep thinking I was going to feed them.

I have also been kept up to date with the exciting news that we have a pair of barn owls at Haunn. Prasad has good advice about keeping a distance so as not to disturb them.

It is my last night tonight, I get the ferry home tomorrow. I am in Castlebay, in a single hotel bedroom overlooking the dustbins, but it does seem to catch the internet signal so I am not complaining. Late afternoon, having spent most of the day in the car, I had 2 hours on my favourite beach, in full sun, watching gannets and terns. Bliss.

Stone enclosures, Isle of Lewis

Scarecrow (scarehen?), Isle of Lewis

Beachcombed rope fencing, Isle of Bernera

Tin shed detail, Isle of Harris

Stockinish harbour, Isle of Harris

Murdo MacLean & Sons, Stornoway

The Bays, Isle of Harris

Feeding station, Isle of Harris

Geocrab, Isle of Harris

Name the Band, Isle of Lewis

Use whatever you can find to fence the fank, Isle of Lewis

And the garden, Isle of Lewis

Near Tolsta, Isle of Lewis

'Isle of Rust' (Jonathon Meades)

Scarecrow, Isle of Great Bernera

More creative fencing, Isle of Lewis

A feeder, Isle of Lewis

More feeders, Isle of Lewis

Highland Lewis.

Another feeder, Bosta, Isle of Bernera

Last years peats, Isle of Lewis

Wall, Port Ness, Isle of Lewis

Monday, 16 April 2012

Life goes on though

We had to go to Bonar Bridge last week, so we left Fishnish on the 7.25am ferry. It was cold but it was beautiful and dry for most of the journey. Lovely to take that road from Drumnadrochit over the hills to Beauly. Saw a huge windfarm being erected on the hills above Bonar Bridge which was not there when we last went past, collecting Farmer from the Lochaline to Durness walk in 2010.

We encountered snow and sleet showers, with a dodgy windscreen wiper, stuck behind agricultural traffic on the A9. Daffodils, cherry blossom, tulips, lambs skipping - and wintery showers.

We enjoyed a better evening in Inverness (no wintery showers) with a walk along the river, a delicious meal, and a comfortable bed & breakfast. And we discovered the returned Three Graces and enjoyed a tweet or two with Matt Baker about them with a link to:

Back home. Last days of the school holidays. And some fundraising in support of courageous haircutting in Dervaig Village Hall - delicious baking, raffles, bric a brac, good craic.

Good weather for a walk along the beach at Calgary, although we didn't ourselves.

Good weather for air drying the laundry.

Good weather for a bit of gardening. Gooseberry bushes showing no ill effects from the pruning they received in the winter.

Some winter frost damage on ancient pots.

A birch tree that hitched a ride with some raspberry plants from the garden where I grew up in Angus. Shieling in the background.

The rhubarb suffering from lack of rain/watering.

Seedlings planted out in the Keder.

The Aracona cockerel has finally called his hens together in the one flock. Hoping that the guests are not woken by him as early as we are.

One of the highlights of the trip was Farmer being asked in a shop in Inverness if he was from Treshnish?! Imagine his surprise. The enquirer was Murdo, who writes a shepherding blog from the Isle of Lewis and we have been in contact by email at times. He had recognised Farmer from photographs on our blog!

I love the small world we live in, and how connections like this arise. It was really nice to meet Murdo, to put a face to his name, even though it was only for a moment as we had to rush to get to Lochaline for the ferry. Murdo's lambing on Lewis is over already, ours is about to start. Because of Farmer's back operation last year, and his subsequent dependency on others for help, we delayed our lambing date so that Jamie could do the lambing on another farm before ours started. In usual years, we would have started by now.

Sunday, 15 April 2012


Looking for voles.

Everyone living at Treshnish was shocked yesterday to lose Tig, victim of one of those tragic accidents that you cannot foresee or prevent.

As a pup on Calgary Beach. She always tried to get the ball from Cap.

'Miss Independent' - Tig with Cap and Jan.

Tig on her first ever holiday.

The photograph above shows Tig surveying the world from Heaval, the one mountain on the Isle of Barra. Her trip to Barra last summer was the only time she ever left Mull. She loved the beaches, but thought the Barra voles were in short supply. She was a free spirit with a huge character.

We will all miss her.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

A walk through the woods - facing facts

Sucessive storms and marauding red deer, who jump the burn and pick their path through terrain which is not fence-able, have ravaged the woods but as we found yesterday there are sunny moments in the darkness.

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