Monday, 21 January 2019

A new month, a new year

Farmer got ahead of himself after New Year and had the sheep through the fank and back to the hill quite quickly.   This involves bringing all the sheep in from the fields where they have been over the 6 weeks of the middle winter.  The tups are taken off, and the ewes given a health check, complete with a drench and a mineral bolus (slow release tablet).  The soil here is deficient in magnesium selenium and copper so we have been giving them a bolus every year for a long time, and they are stronger for it. 

In the shed Farmer is continuing to feed the hoggs (last year's female lambs/next year's new breeding females).  In the last few days he has been sorting the extras out, and selecting the ones he wants to sell at Tuesday's sale in Oban.  

We also sell the older tups at this time of year.  Sometimes we swop with a neighbour but this year they are going to market.   The remaining tups are in the field beside Shian and Duill - they hang around the gate waiting for a man with a bag (the feed bag), and once they have had their daily ration they wander off to the extremities of the field grazing.  

Weather wise the year so far has had some lovely calm days, so still and quiet -and then some pretty wild ones.  No snow yet but there is snow forecast tonight, so time will tell.  

The Snowdrops are flowering beautifully in the farmhouse garden. 

The cloudy nights don't make spotting the Aurora Borealis very easy.  But actually it is not just the weather - there just hasn't been as much activity this winter as in previous winters, and they haven't been as strong.  Still - the moon is just as bright, and the stars and Milky Way are magical. 

The new year did not get off to a good start for wildlife, with the tragic live stranding of a Cuvier's Beaked Whale.  These are deep water whales and not often seen close to shore.    It was nacropsied by scientists from SMASS and found to have died as a result of parasitic nematodes.  Tragic.  The Coastguard were involved in protecting the body before it was covered up as they are considered toxic.   By the time I heard about it, it had already been covered up.  

Last night/this morning there was a full lunar eclipse and the internet this morning is filled with glorious photographs of blood red moons and eclipsed shapes of moon going into the shadow of the earth.  Sadly we had cloud, so I managed only a photograph from the back door of the super moon as it rose in the early evening. 

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