Winter prep

After all yesterday’s work, I had a slightly easier day of it today.

There wasn’t much to do with the sheep, just move one flock to a different field, as I didn’t have time to do that yesterday (and I couldn’t be bothered) so I had a bit of a long lie! Much needed!

Now that winter is here, the sheep will require some additional feeding, as the grass obviously isn’t as plentiful as it is during the summer. So this week, I bought half a tonne of feed for the sheep. I usually give them that feed as it comes but I acquired probably around another half tonne of barley/maize/beet pulp a few weeks ago, so I’ll mix all that together and bulk out the feed. The half tonne won’t last long, especially if we get snow.

I cleaned out the wee shed in at my own house and took a few bags of feeding stuff in so that it would be handy. I mixed 3/4 bags into the barrel as well.

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Half a tonne is 20 x 25kg bags. I took 5 in to mine, along with another 5 or 6 of barley, beet pulp and maize. Transporting it in the pickup usually leads to some spillages or some sneaking out of the bags, but I thought of an ingenious way of cleaning it up – throw in some chickens!

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Having done all that, I had to collect some hay that I’d ordered of a guy in Ness that gets a lorry-load delivered from the mainland each year. Myself and my dad went down, me with the pickup and him with the van. Could have taken a trailer but it was raining and no point getting the hay wet when we could take it all in two trips.

We got the hay from Dr DJ Murray, local doctor and character, who has his two loyal guards keeping an eye on the hay!

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These are his dogs, Nell (left) and her daughter Moy on the right. For the sheepdog enthusiasts amongst you, Nell came from Stuart Grant, near Ullapool, who was in this year’s Scotland team.

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With the flat-top on, the pickup will only hold 3 bales. No use really, so I need to get a canopy for it, as soon as I can afford it!

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So two quick trips (Swainbost is about a mile from us) and the hay was in our barn.

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We’re covering it with a tarpaulin because we have a lot of starlings that fly in and out of the barn and may make a mess of it. Dad on the phone, as per usual! Oh yes, and the tractor is now in the barn for the winter.

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Like I said, this hay came from the mainland. It is high quality stuff but I can’t help but think that we buy too much of it in from the mainland, why can’t/don’t we produce more of our own on-island? We have more than enough land, just don’t utilise it to maximum benefit!

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