Monday, 12 May 2014

Not always obvious

It is not perhaps obvious at times that this is still a farming blog.  A place to share what has been happening on the farm, what the Farmer has been up to.  But things do change. I find my preferences in how I use websites has changed recently, I am reluctant to read long wordy blogs any more, so it is probably inevitable that this has changed how I post on this blog.  I tend to favour photographs over words, though I do still enjoy the writing. And I do still view this blog as the farming blog, though sometimes other aspects of life here take over the farm subject.

I do apologise for the reams of photographs at times, probably too many in each post but it is only my enthusiasm for sharing the place that makes it difficult sometimes to edit the number down!  

Farmer is the main story today though, as he is preparing to sell 3 cows and their calves tomorrow.  It has been a long time in the planning.  Since our local animal haulier retired a few years ago, it has been getting more difficult to find a way of getting small numbers of animals to the market.  Our other island haulier will only take a full load which is between 230-240 lambs.  For one thing, we had no livestock trailer big enough to take more than 25-30 lambs and secondly, we didn't have a vehicle with the ability to pull anything bigger.  

Over the winter we managed to find a 10 year old 4x4 and recently we took possession of a second hand livestock trailer which should carry 60 lambs or 5 or 6 cows.   It means now that Farmer is not reliant on anyone else to take his animals to market, and it means he does not have to put all his lambs through one sale (unless he wants to) any more.   You can imagine the frustration of filling a lorry with ALL your lambs and finding that the sale you have chosen to go to is a lousy one.  You can't bring the lambs home again because the lorry has already left and anyway, it would double your costs so you stand in the ring feeling powerless watching all your lambs sell for a pittance.  

At least now, Farmer can pick and choose which sales he goes to, and select different types of lambs for different sales.  It will mean a lot more labour on his part, but we hope it will reward in other ways. 

There is a feeling of apprehension in the farmhouse.    We have one cow left on the farm out of the original Aberdeen Angus heifers we bought in 1996 from near Huntly (that is another story..) Apart from the 4 bought in heifers and the new bull, all the others have been born here, and have lived as a herd, a unit, all these years.  3 of our cows are going to market with their calves tomorrow.  They have been in a different field from the others for the last 10 days.  Today Farmer took them up to the cattle building in preparation for loading them tomorrow morning.   

On top of all that Pebble, our marmalade farm cat, died today.  He had arrived here in the summer of 1996, a tiny orange bundle, named by Farmer's young nieces who gave him to us.   He had lived outside all his life, and to a good age. But there does feel like a gap in the farmyard this evening.  (I will find a better photograph of him and upload it soon)

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