Friday, 7 November 2014
Thursday, 17 April 2014
Perhaps its time for the ring to go.
Here's a photo of the offending piece of cattle jewellery.
Saturday, 7 December 2013
Sunday, 28 July 2013
Jay, our Beardie collie, had to be put down last week and it is not so easy as I thought to come terms with her demise. I mean, she was the only dog in the house, with a bed by the kitchen door so she is instantly missed each and every morning. But this will fade in time, of course.
It was her time and she had a good life so, so long Jay and thanks for all the good times and for the company.
Tuesday, 25 June 2013
Saturday, 23 February 2013
The heifers were penned, pushed into a livestock trailer and driven to the next field. Of course they were not happy at this separation from the rest of the herd and made a fair bit of noise so as their displeasure would be noted. But I was immune to this tactic and assumed they would settle down soon enough.
This morning, much to my surprise, the blighters were along with the rest of the herd having obviously escaped from 'over the wall'. Now this will not do at all, as they are growing fast and our new bull may fancy a bit of underage procreation.
Friday, 4 January 2013
Wednesday, 19 December 2012
Monday, 30 April 2012
Good thing, though, he went to a fantastic new home at Arnisdale, near Glenelg. New cows to serve and new people to feed him. Such is life.
So long Iain, and thanks for all the calves.
Monday, 20 February 2012
But the issue was only slightly annoying and I left the little blighter in peace, for a while. Then one day I took a notion to return the sheep to where it belonged, summoned the trusty Spike who swiftly cornered the little beast in a corner and I made a grab. Finding it slight and light I just lifted it over the fence and thought 'job done' and went home for a munch of homemade fruitloaf.
Next day, as is my want, after feeding the beasts came a stroll with the dogs down the Mill road to the shore. Much to my chagrin and annoyance what was back in the field happily munching, but the little sheep with the one horn. A change of strategy was called for, obviously. But the day was too nice and the dogs needed their walkies. Tomorrow for the interloper.
The dogs romped on the shore, chasing birds and looking for buried treasure in the form of bones or in the case of Lola, interesting shells. And on the way back their day was even more enlivened by the sight of a stray sheep on the Mill road. The sheep panicked, the dogs gave chase and they all went round in circles at great speed with me shouting at the dogs to let go. The sheep headed for the shore and escaped and that is one of the reasons sheep should be kept firmly in fields, behind stout fences! Sheep and dogs don't mix, unless the dogs are working.
The incident was forgotten but the little sheep with the one horn was certainly not. Next day I took the quad and Spike the dog and duly cornered the sheep again. This time I hoisted it onto the back of the quad and holding the sheep with one hand and steering with the other, took it to another of our neighbour's fields and let it go. Goodbye little nusiance sheepie and problem solved.
A few days later, both the aformentioned sheep turned up at the gate of another of our fields, exactly at the spot where I was feeding the heifers. They had obviously came along the shore and managed to breach the fence there.
For three or four days it was a battle of wits. The sheep dashing in trying eat the heifers food and me waving arms to chase them away. I even tried feeding them, to keep them busy while the heifers got fed, to no avail. One would leave its feed and circle around the heifer's food and then go back for the remains of its own. Tricky devil.
There was no alternative. I took Lola and Spike on a sheep chasing mission. The dogs jumped out of the Land Rover, saw the sheep, I gave the command and the sheep with great haste headed back to the shore. For good measure I chased them far along the shore in the direction of where they should be.
But they came back two days later. So persistent! And the dogs gave chase again and fingers crossed, that will be the last I see of them. Wouldn't like to bet on it, though.
Friday, 10 February 2012
In other words, who cares what colour the cow is as long as she is in proportion.
At calving time in the early years we would be slightly disappointed if the calf was male, for some reason thinking heifer calves best. Not so now. Once you have your optimum fold number and don't need replacements then you get more bucks from your efforts from bullocks. Fact of life.
The Highlander, apart from being more photogenic than other breeds of cattle, is part of the larger grouping of cattle bred primarily for beef. It stands to reason therefore that a good proportion of heifers will also end up as beef or the planet would soon be overrun by them.
That is why as a breeder you get immense satisfaction when your lovingly reared heifers are sold to continue the line in some other part of the country or indeed some other part of the world.
To return to the question of colour, what I really like about our little fold of six breeding cows, Iain the bull and their followers, is that we have one black cow, one white, one yellow, one red and two dun. As for their followers, we have one not so little white bull (son of Iain), three white heifer two year olds, one red three year old heifer and five little calves of varying colours from last year.
The moral being the more colour the merrier as long as the quality is there.
Thursday, 24 November 2011
Terrible storm outside. Wind howling and rain lashing since mid morning.
Television on the blink owing to sat dish unable to take the strain. A few puffs above 'normal' and pixels are us. However, can still get the BBC IPlayer using a broadband dongle. And, the radio still works and there are plenty of logs for the fire. Reading a good book as well.
The dogs in their kennels have started howling in competition with the wind! Must go and see.
Sunday, 21 August 2011
We came back and she started chewing on the rabbit. I left her to it and went into the house, leaving the back door open.
About 10 minutes later Lola strolled in the back door and promptly vomited a load of rabbit guts onto the floor of the Utility room.
(Image of Spike and Lola)
I cleaned up and took her and Jay outside. I then let Spike out of his kennel hoping he would dispose of the rest of the rabbit. But Lola was on guard and growled at him.
Some people drove down the Mill lane and started to take photos of the cows and calves, getting a bit excited in the process and making noise. The dogs all started barking and running about. Spike saw his chance, grabbed the rabbit and expertly began the demolishing process.
Then the latest B&Bers (Spanish again) came and all hell broke loose, with Spike trying to bark with a bloody rabbit leg in his mouth and, to add to the pot, the neighbours from across the road came with their dogs and then a torrential rain shower flowed from the sky and we all got soaked.
The moral of the story?
Never underestimate a dog named Spike.
Tuesday, 8 March 2011
As I went to feed the cattle, the younger beasts stared with startled looks, before bolting off. The bull gave me a funny look as well and I kept well away from him.
Seems my cattle anyway, have a dislike of bright custard yellow. Such is life.
Monday, 14 February 2011
Anyway, the heifer has quite a large spread of horns and she was my main concern as I had to cross an expanse of field with their cobs to reach the feeding tables and she is most keen to get first bite. So, I took my eye off of the bullock.
Finding myself caught in a position between the two beasts, to my surprise, the bullock jumped into the air and kicked out with one of his back legs, just scraping my chest at heart height. Had the blow connected properly, most likely I would have been seriously injured.
As it happens, just some bruising and a bit of pain in the chest. Memo to me. Shoot the bullock and get rid of the heifer.
Anyone want to buy a feisty Highland heifer? Only jesting. She stays and will calm down eventually.
The land is slowly awakening with new life and the best time of year approacheth. In the words of the great Canadian prophet, Mr L Cohen, hallelujah indeed.
And now the sales pitch: 1 yearling pedigree Highland Bull (white) and a selection of yearling Highland heifers 3 white and 1 dun. Praise be.
Thursday, 13 January 2011
Monday, 16 August 2010
There is something special about mushrooms which brings out the curious in me. I like to seek them out and have a good peek. So many varieties of colour, form and size to stare at. And always the question at the back of the mind is this one or that one deadly poisonous?
This time last year we had one dog, Jay, for working the sheep. A year later and we have three. Jay, Lola still with the mind of a pup although she has grown full size and Spike, bought in June as a fully trained working dog.
Among the many things I never expected in life, one of them is to be cast in the role of pack leader. Spike is a Border Collie from the Borders or very near there. The 'Borders' for those not in the know, is what we call the border region between Scotland and England.
I had a wonderful time going to collect Spike. The first holiday from Skye in a good while and appreciated the break from the confines of Kingsburgh and the croft.
Apart from all that, we now have six new calves, four white, one red and one dun in the ratio of four female and two male. And, not forgetting the lambs, eighteen of the little blighters. If Lola had her way we would have none as she would kill the lot, but that's for another story.
Wednesday, 28 April 2010
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Jay (dog) just bit me on the end of the nose when I was drying her in the kitchen. She must have hurt the pad on her foot and I gave the area a too vigorous a rub. Memo to myself, shoot Jay. Would need to borrow a real rifle so perhaps I wont bother. Lost a bullock to a rifle bullet. Vet had to put the poor creature out of its misery. It had damaged a leg and then managed to find its way into the only bog on the croft. No way we could get it out.
And then a dog killed two of the lambs (twins) on Sunday. Must have been a dog as they were ok in the morning and mangled in the afternoon. What can you do, as they say up here, but carry on regardless.