Wednesday, 18 January 2017

A bit of a disaster

Two weeks already since my last blog!

Last week the fields returned to the usual stocking density as finally all the ewes are back on the hill, the oldest ewes were kept back to get some extra food, and J's cows went to their winter grazing near Dervaig!  The hoggs are still in the shed, and the Cheviots and Zwartbles are out near the Point.

Our old and surplus tups went to market yesterday, which all ended well but got quite complicated.  We put a note on the farming page on Facebook saying we could take tups to the sale for other people, as typically you might not have more than one or two, or five (in our case).  Bear in mind that the livestock trailer can fit a lot more than that in, so it made sense to fill our trailer up rather than everyone take their trailers with only one or two each.  We had quite a few responses and were looking at a full trailer.

Then last Friday I drove to Craignure in the 4x4 we use for pulling the trailer, with terrible sounds coming from under the bonnet and getting louder and louder - so much so that I ended up calling the RAC!  It was 'recovered' to MacKays Garage in Tobermory and I got a lift home from a neighbour..

Farmer has an ostrich tendency when it comes to funny noises in cars and was clearly thinking that I had made it all up. However the next morning the garage confirmed we needed a new wheel bearing on the right side.  Phew!  However... it wasn't going to be ready until after the tup sale.   So Farmer had to call in a favour and borrow someone else's pickup!   I think he rather enjoyed it, very comfortable and no rattles or funny noises either.   He came home with feed blocks for the sheep and a mattress for a neighbour.  (Luckily it was very well wrapped up as it travelled home in the back of the trailer which a few hours before had been full of sheep).   By the time he had got home, emptied the trailer, fed the sheep, moved the mattress into the dry and finally returned the pickup, it was gone 10 o'clock... a long day!

Thousands of very worn By-the-Wind Sailors have washed up on Calgary Beach.  We went to look for them, and found very faded, nearly white (having lost all their blue) examples in the seaweed.

Goose neck barnacles clinging to a driftwood log. 

Whilst Farmer was in Oban, I was walking Nyje for the first time, with the four other dogs.   I kept him on a lead a lot of the time but he is very biddable, just very, very over enthusiastic!

I was really sorry to see a dead hare beside the track down below the house.  It had been killed by a raptor, the innards had been carefully removed and his eyes pecked out.  The rest of his body was untouched.  I hate to see a dead hare.   I know it is nature but they are one of my favourites, and since I started letting Coco out in to the garden without a lead on, I don't see them nearly so often - they know to keep away from dogs roaming free.

A disaster along the beautiful old track that takes you down to the shore beyond Haunn. A huge section of the cliff above has fallen and blocked the track.  We don't know how we will move some of them, and whilst being possible to clamber past on foot, at the moment it is not possible to get the quad bike past, so we will have to come up with a solution for moving the ones that have landed on the track itself. 

The view looking the other way was much more appealing..

It seems like we are in the middle of a battlefield with icy cold winds coming from the north one day blasting us with hail stones the size of golf balls and the next it is dank and warm, and the island is cloaked in a dreich mist.  It seems like ages since we had any Aurora to speak of, I forget most nights to check the forecast at the moment... hoping for some crystal clear skies soon though!!

We walked down by the Ensay Burn on Sunday.  It was misty but I decided I quite like the mist, as it alters what we can see in the landscape, so we notice things closer in, without being distracted by the larger view.  There were bones of a dead deer in the little burn that comes down from the farmhouse, I don't know how it died, and this huge tree trunk has washed up on the rocky beach.

In other news the hens are beginning to lay again, and it was noticeably lighter at 5pm today than it has been for months, so perhaps we will start to feel that spring is not too far away.  I think we need a bit more cold weather though before then.. but I am being careful what we wish for. 

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