Saturday, 31 August 2013

Down on last year.

We sold the lambs on Tuesday. Some reached a fair price, the rest didn't.  Prices were down on last year and some pens of lambs did well but others prices were very poor for no apparent reason. We had more lambs to sell than last year, which was good, but it was depressing (to say the least) to see good lambs go for very little.  An average overall similar to the price we got in no new hat for the Farmer's wife this year.

On Wednesday, Prasad took me to look at the Broad Leaved Helleborine. I would never have found it on my own.  This plant was growing next to a fallen tree on the steepest bit of the wood, prone to landslides.

Another site nearby - the Birds Nest Orchid. It hasn't flowered this year - this is last year's flower.

Prasad showed me the root of another, and you could really see where the name comes from - its grassy root - in this blurred photograph.  No sign of a flower on this one, but a good example of the root.

Another Broad leaved Helleborine flowering near the Birds nest Orchid.

The chip store floor has been repaired now, and the marine ply we have used will hopefully last a lot longer than the original floor did!  The circular plate in the photograph below is the top of the mechanism that turns the 2 black 'arms' which push wood chip into the main feed auger and thence into the boiler.

A few lambs to go to the next sale in the field behind Shian and Duill. They wouldn't fit on the lorry on Tuesday.

Jamie came in to shear the roughies that had come in at the last gather.  14 of them! Farmer was a little embarrassed that they had missed them at shearing time, but I was pleased to 'find' them for the livestock records!

The heather is still flowering beautifully.

This pair of zwartble lambs came across the boundary cattle grid from Ensay. They looked so guilty! They have now been returned across the burn.

We are very pleased to have been chosen as one of 7 farms in Scotland to take part in a nutrient monitoring project. We don't know too much about it yet, but I am hoping it will give us a much better idea of the carbon footprint of the farming business and hopefully help us do things in a more sustainable way.

Monday, 26 August 2013

All in one basket

Tuesday 27th August. Lamb sales. All our lambs are being sold in one go. Hoping the price will, at worst, be a fair one.

With the lambing getting off to such a heart-breaking and difficult start, the dry months followed by weeks of cold weather, there was very little grass and then a lot of cold and wet days just as the lambs started to appear.  Hypothermia was a real issue and Farmer was, like many others, really worried about how things would go.  Thankfully, the weather improved and the summer has been a good one for the animals (and us humans!).

The heavy dew burned off and so the big gather began....

And off they went, with 4 dogs at their heels, so to speak.

Farmer always has to do some back gathering before the big gather, and then sometimes has to go out and pick up a few stragglers.

Today was one of those days. He finally finished as the sun was setting.

Then Monday morning, and time to sort through the flock, keep back the best ewe lambs for breeding from and sell the rest with the wedders. We need to fill the lorry to make it worthwhile.

Sometimes it is a real struggle to get the sheep into the big pen at the front of the cattle shed.  This lot had to be moved through another field.

Time for tea and biscuits mid morning.

Ewes and lambs waiting to be put through.

Overnight this ewe lamb will become a hogg. They change classification when the rest of the lambs are sold.  The lorry is arriving at 6am to take our lambs to Oban market.


and chosen.... to remain on Treshnish as the next year breeding ewes.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

A break in the weather.

Bracken is a pervasive successful plant. It loves Mull.  We have an ongoing battle to keep it at bay. In some places we don't always win that battle without help. We do try. Farmer spends days and weeks mowing.  We stopped being organic because we realised we needed to resort to using a helicopter to reach the inacessible hillsides and rocky outcrops that you could not take a machine.  We had booked a helicopter early in the year.  We expected them to appear mid July.  They finally appeared today.  There is talk that if you spray too late, you are wasting your money.  You can imagine how that feels as the days go by and the weather is either too wet or too windy for them to come.  Sunday was the cut off as the pilot was going to Australia to do a spraying contract down there.  Thankfully (we hope) the conditions were fine, once this morning's mist had burned off.

By early afternoon it was crystal clear.

Lamb sales next week. Farmer has to move the tups.  He puts them through the fank. Cap waits for instructions.  Jan is coming into season, and has gone a bit nutty so she is in her kennel.

Guests are seeing basking shark off the point. I go to look. I am not so lucky, but there is a lovely view to the islands and the Haunn cottages.

Burnet rose hips.

Golden rod.

 The Point was sprayed for bracken last year and it is wonderful what flowers are appearing now. It is quite a special habitat out there.

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