Wednesday, 31 July 2013

The last walk and sunset of July.

A walk at 6 in the evening into the 'New Field' to look at how much grass there was and also to look for Grass of Parnassus.  Every summer we wonder if we might be able to cut this field for silage, but it never grows very tall, so every summer we decide not to.  The wild flowers are interesting though, as there are lots of differing habitats within the fence.  Damper areas with bog myrtle, bearded willow, meadow sweet, bog asphodel in amongst the clover thick grasses and drier flowers such as lady's bedstraw, ling heather, harebell and the lovely elegant Grass of Parnassus which is no grass at all.  

On hearing Farmer's voice, the cattle gathered by the gate thinking they might get moved into a new field - even though there is plenty of grass where they are.

There was not a breath of wind, the sea was still, and the air silent.  Bees were enjoying the wild honeysuckle, some growing on a rocky outcrop, safe from grazers.

Bladder campion is going over now, their drying pods making tulip like silhouettes, as the rocks on which they grow are drying out from lack of rain.

In a damper corner, a slug enjoys the harebell.

And on another rock-top, the left over limpet shell from a sea-bird's dinner, surrounded by lady's bedstraw.

The bog cotton seed is spreading across the field too, catching on the willow and Devil's Bit Scabious.

The Ragwort has found a safe place to grow.  Difficult to get at this lot to stop it going to seed.

And later... another wonderful sunset.

Bog Orchids and bracken bashing

Jamie came over to give Farmer a hand to put the cattle through the crush, so they could get a fly and tick repellent treatment.  Farmer can do this on his own, but it is always easier to have someone else to help.

Farmer was bracken cutting when Jamie arrived.  This is a never ending job. We are still waiting for the helicopter to turn up to spray some more bracken for us. 

This bullock was one of the first through the crush.

Here the next in line is approaching the head of the crush. Her head will be locked into position so that Jamie can apply the repellent in 2 places on her back.

Prasad took me up on to the hill above the lochan to show me the tiny Bog Orchid.  They are so beautiful and really very small.

One evening we cycled at Croig.

And caught the sunset on the way home.

One of the jobs needing to be finished off is clearing up the wool, after shearing.  The bags need to be sown up and labelled.  The belly wool is bagged separately from the fleeces, and the brown Zwartble wool is also separated - we fear it will be considered worthless by the Wool Marketing Board.

It is lovely to see the hill changing colour as the heather flowers.

Clover is beginning to die off now, but there is still plenty of colour in the verge and on the hill. 

Monday, 29 July 2013

Sunsets and swims

There have been a few relaxed moments swimming at Calgary this week. It has been hot and the sea refreshing. Even I have swum, first time in years.. A few evenings ago Farmer was taken to the Cairns of Coll, which looked amazing from the photographs I saw. It was such a still and calm night.  They swam with seals.

We had to drop in at Pennygown Farm near Salen to get James's phone number (oops think we recycled the Red phone Book). It is time to start arranging transport for taking the lambs to market later in August or early September.  Selling lambs is always a lottery. Do you sell early before the price falls, or do you hope that it will go up as the season goes on.  Apparently the lamb price is going down at the moment - this usually happens just as the west coast start preparing to sell their lambs, or so it seems.

The cows moved up from Scoma to beside the house last afternoon, as tomorrow a bullock will be going to the slaughterhouse. Always a difficult time, when the reality of eating meat becomes emotive, and farming seems hypocritical.  But the fact of the matter is that Farmer does care about his animals, despite rearing them for the food chain. 

The new bull seems to look after the herd now.  There is a sense of him looking to see where everyone else is.  When they were put in the field by the house with access into this one opposite the cattle shed, they ranged all the way round the boundary of their space before settling down.   Getting a sense of the territory and finding their water supply, before going back to the importance of eating.

Down at Haunn, the Field Gentian have come out. 

And the yarrow, so pink.

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