Thursday, 26 February 2015

A Point of view

Farmer was taking feed blocks out to the sheep on the Point this afternoon and I went with him.  It was glorious between the ferocious hail showers.  Farmer and Cap at different times did some vertigo defying cliff edge stuff.  It was very windy and wild and quite invigorating. 

Monday, 23 February 2015

Mustn't count the chickens before they hatch

Dan the scanner arrived at about 3pm.  Everyone who had come to help was there, waiting. The ewes were in their separate groupings, and the weather was not quite as bad as it had been forecast.

It all happens very fast in fact.

Waves this morning.

The ewes are either Empty (no lamb) Twin or Single.

Our scanning results were slightly down on last year, but better than we had expected given the poor weather the ewes and gimmers have had over the last few months.    Most of the Empties are gimmers, last years hoggs, who have perhaps not got to the weight they need to be in order to hold a pregnancy.   

It is still in sheep terms a long way until lambing and we must not count our chickens before they hatch. 

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Looking and booking ahead for 2016

We have just added the availability for 2016 to the booking system.  We don't normally plan the prices for the following year this early, but having had a few requests for 2016 already we decided to extend the booking period now.   If you think you would like to book for 2016, please have a look at the prices page of the website.   You can find the prices for 2016 by going into the booking process.  We haven't added a table of 2016 prices to the website yet! Please email if you have any questions.

Several more calves have been born this week, and all seem to be doing well.  When the weather is wild, you cannot help but feel they are better off indoors, and it is certainly easier for Farmer if there was a difficulty as it means you don't need to bring them in off the hill in all weathers.  The cattle shed was a big investment at the time, and we are very lucky to have it! 

Farmer went to the last of the three farming figures meetings on Thursday night in Craignure, which he found interesting again, not just the meeting itself and all that they discussed but the chat in the car on the way there and back, lift-sharing with 2 neighbours.

The forecast for the next few days is pretty wild, with brief intermissions.  I sent a message to Dan the scanner to warn him, in advance of him coming to scan our ewes, thinking that perhaps he would delay coming.  No chance! He will still be coming, whatever the weather...

So yesterday Farmer, with 2 young friends we had staying, went to gather the ewes from the hill.  All 3 dogs, Jamie and his 2 dogs, set off from the old Reudle schoolhouse road end.  The other J had already starting walking out from the farmhouse, and would have had a bit of a wait on the tops before they caught up and were positioned correctly to bring the sheep round.

Farmer was expecting it to be a slow gather, with the ewes being in lamb, but actually it went quite quickly, and our friends had to walk quite fast to keep up.  They are all safely in the park now, and await the arrival of the scanner tomorrow. 

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Chasing the lights - again

Last weekend I deserted Farmer and Daughter and headed off into the sunset snows of Iceland with 2 friends in the search of the Aurora Borealis.   It is a 2 hour flight from Glasgow to a relatively easy journey.  Would we be lucky this time?  The forecast was not good and our expectations were low.. which was probably just as well.

We had one very special day when the sun shone and the snow glistened and the views were spectacular - that day the temperatures went from -11 at lunchtime to +3 at dusk, with snow from glacier tops to beach level.  It will go down as a day to remember.   We drove north and west onto the Snaefellsness peninsular, right the way round its coastline, stopping to look at the Black church at Bodur, the rocky coastline, basalt columns and stayed the night in an old house which had been converted in to a small hotel at Stykkisholmur.  (my room was an attic garret under the eaves, tiny but comfy).

We had one very exciting day when the winds blew and the rains came, and didn't stop all day - we drove on ice roads, with the vehicle being hit (and blown) by the storm force winds. Bizarrely the snows all melted and the temperature hovered just above freezing most of the day.  Getting around was a bit of an adventure that day.

The next day we spent in Reykjavik, walking and exploring.  That night, we were told the chances were okay for seeing the northern lights so out we went on a tour.  All previous nights they had been cancelled because it was so unlikely.  We spent 6 hours out in a jeep thing with huge Arctic tyres, being driven at FULL speed on gravel roads through snow and blizzard conditions. And no, you can't see the northern lights through cloud/snow/blizzard.  We stopped for a cup of hot chocolate and a look at the rift between Europe and America.  It was quite fun to see it in torch light, with huge flakes of snow.  We drove back through further snow storms, and were HUGELY relieved to arrive alive back at the hotel!

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