Monday, 25 September 2017

Autumn equinox

The grass (can't really call it a lawn!) in the farmhouse garden is peppered with curled up leaves lightly blown from the trees as a mild equinoctial wind blows.  The motled surface of the sea is strewn with small breaking white horse waves. It doesn't look rough but I am sure it is!  It is cloudy but bright.  A good autumn day!

Our lamb sales are over but a lot of farmers are still taking their trailers over to Oban with regular qualities of lambs.  I am not sure anyone gets any better at the lottery that is guessing the market price, it varies from week to week, and seems dependant on whether or not the buyers turn up in number or not.   The weather can have an effect - as traditionally the west coast store lamb is bought by east coast farmers to go onto their harvested or silaged fields for the winter.  If the harvest or silage is delayed then the farmers dont have anywhere to put a new batch of lambs.

I got lucky last Sunday!  I was hoping to catch the Aurora borealis on camera, but the forecast was weak and I wasn't really expecting one... however..... I caught a meteor instead!  I shared the photograph with the Facebook page Aurora Research Scotland as I was't sure what it was to begin with.  It was confirmed that it was indeed a meteor and its green colour shows it was high in copper. Suffice it to say, I was well pleased!!

Farmer has been 'topping' the fields.  This cleans up the ungrazed grasses and encourages a late growth.  In some of the fields we can already see they have greened up giving a fresh bite for the sheep and Jamie's cows.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Long journeys and autumn discounts!

This umbellifer has appeared beside one of the bird feeders.  It is Wild carrot.

It is the time of year for lamb sales.  This year Farmer has done the same as he did last year - where he booked a lorry to take the bulk of our male lambs all in one go.  In previous years he has taken the livestock trailer over with 60 or so lambs, but this is very time consuming as it takes several weeks to get through selling them all.  So last Tuesday the 29th our wedder (male) lambs all went off to Oban to be sold.   We were not as pleased as last year with the prices, which was an average of £4 a lamb down.   And we made a new record - by selling one lamb for £2.  (Bear in mind, it costs about £3 to get the lamb to market in the lorry and about £4 in medicines so there is a loss in there...)

Aurora spotting season has started.  Here is my first (very faint) tick, a faint one fighting with the light from Shieling outside light!  I couldn't see anything with the naked eye.

The late summer growth in the garden was buzzing with bees, loving the comfrey in particular which we have in huge clumps.

The Herdwicks have been in the field around Shian and Duill for the last week or so.  They are sharing it with our ewe lambs (the hoggs).  They are so noticeably friendly compared to the Blackface - who leg it in the opposite direction when they see you!

I ventured down to Croig to collect some crab from the local fisherman.  It was beautiful down there, so still and quiet.

The Devil's bit scabious are thriving this summer.  I have never seen so many.

Sadly I think it is only a matter of time before the swallows take off on their long journey to Africa.  The air is noisy from their gathering song and flight.  Such a wonderful sound of summer, but bittersweet to hear it now, and now that they will be off any minute.  This year it seems like there are more swallows, certainly, than last year.

We still have some spaces in October and are offering a £50 discount on a week booking or £150 off a two week booking taken during October or November.  Please contact us for details. 

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