Christmas has been and gone (though our tree is still up) and the New Year bells have rung. The dark days of winter are upon us in a haze of damp days, windy days and sunny days too.
The tups are beginning to find their way back to the farm, making it clear to Farmer that their job is done, and they need some food! Farmer has been slowly bringing the different flocks closer to the farm so that he can give them a check over and some supplements before they go back to the hill. The next time they will be in is late February when we do the scanning.
We have had some invalids in the shed where the hoggs (last year's ewe lambs) are over-wintering. One of the new Herdwicks, bought at Cockermouth in October, has had pneumonia. I am pleased to report that she appears to be much better. For a couple of days we were worried that she might not recover, but she has. We had to go to the vet in Tobermory to pick up some extra medicines for her, on the snowy morning. Yesterday another hogg, this time a Blackface, seemed to have a vitamin deficiency - this causes them to tremble so she was taken out of the flock and given a vitamin booster and Farmer says she looks better this morning.
Farmer has a new helper (Daughter) who has been feeding the sheep every afternoon when she gets back from school - and this morning they are putting the Herdwick gimmers through the fank and taking the Herdwick tup out, as he should have served all the gimmers by now. They don't use the collies to move the Herdwicks - they use a feed bag!
The geese are a constant presence now, nibbling away at the grass we try and save for the sheep! Four geese are the equivalent to one sheep apparently, which makes them quite a pest.
We had a brief but lovely last walk of the year on Calgary beach. The tide was high so the waves seemed to have nowhere to go.
The lights in Tobermory are always lovely at this time of year.
And car headlights at Croig.
Some lovely mid winter sunrises. This is looking north so it is reflected light.
These moments of sunshine are so vital in cheering us up in the dark mid winter.
We had our last barbecue of the year - in the rain!
The island had a post Christmas pre New Year snow fall, but it didn't snow enough at Treshnish to make it white! There was a little in Dervaig and lots more at the lochs on the way to Tobermory.
A morning sky on the 31st.
And two hours in to the New Year... moonlight colours..
About 30 people took part in the Calgary Loony Dook. We got down there too late to see them all run in - most were out, dressed and ready to go home to the warm by the time we got there. Well done them!!!
The first full moon of the year is called a Wolf Moon. This one is also a Super moon. We have had some wonderful light moonlit nights in the last few days.
I persuaded Farmer to take a detour to Croig so I could photograph it in the moonlight. It was so still and quiet, with only the occasional nocturnal call of the Heron and the Oystercatcher. Quite magical!
Once the sheep work is done this week and the ewes are all back on the hill, Farmer will be busy trying to get the final stage of the borehole connection finished so the Treshnish Cottages and the farmhouse will finally have crystal clear water from an aquifer 70m below the surface! I am looking into roofing materials for East Cottage, as we are hoping to reroof it in February. As all three blackhouses were roofed at the same time 21 or 22 years ago, we expect to have to reroof West and Middle before long too!
My last photograph today is of Walter and Farmer waiting for the wood chip delivery before Christmas!