Cuckoo Pictures

Despite hearing the call of the Cuckoo for many years, I had never actually seen one until today. I could hear it calling from the other side of the river and spotted it with the binoculars. Grabbed the camera, crossed the river (feet wet, who cares) and managed to get pretty close to it.





More Drenching

Last week, I drenched nearly all of my sheep. I had to leave a field of them, as I ran out of time, so I did them this week.

My brother Innes is home again, so he came to help me. He loves helping me!


This didnt take long, maybe 20 minutes, once we got them penned. That should be it until the sheep are shorn in a month or so.



My latest batch of chicks hatched around 11/12 April. They were 6 weeks old this week, and are now old enough to be moved outside. I did that yesterday, moving them into the pen myself and Murdo built in April.

I moved the chicks outside yesterday, their first taste of freedom!


These photos were taken before I put the netting across the top, so some hens (and cockerel) hopped in and joined them.


Seeing as only 5 of my own hatched, I was on the lookout for some more to add to my stock. I saw an advert for 17 chicks for sale from Newvalley Hens, so I snapped them up. I had bought hens, chicks and ducks off Martin & Angela before, so no qualms about doing so again.

I went over last night to pick them up.


17 Lohmann Brown hybrids – unsexed. 22 chicks in total and I’m hoping that I have around 12 hens from that. That would be a decent return.

They’re all together now, in the run. Hopefully there’ll will be no problems!


Helping with the peats

Tonight’s post is maybe going to be a wee bit more in depth than I first thought. I wasn’t going to make a big deal out of it, but several people have tweeted me in the last few days, asking me to blog about it.

One of the men in our village, Donnie, hasn’t been well recently and isn’t able to cut his peats, so a squad of us went out tonight to cut them for him.

Here is Donnie at the sheep dipping last October, he’s in the orange trousers and the green jacket.


6 of us went out tonight, with 3 taraisgeirs, and managed to get it all done in around 3 hours.

The banks hasn’t been turfed either, so it was all from scratch.


The time flew by, to be honest. Loads of stories being told but few are suitable for a PG audience!

We had, how can I put it, an eclectic mix of folk out tonight. 6 men, but with all their different hats we had 2 Harris Tweed weavers, a fishmonger, Guga Hunter, Yoga Instructor, tv presenter, BT engineer, crofters and a labourer. Multi-talented or what!!


Everyone is from North Dell, apart from Dods, who is from South Dell. I’m not sure what story Dods was telling us here, but I’m sure it was a funny one!


It didn’t take us long to get through everything, though. All done for a few weeks, before we have to lift them.


Now this brings me to the reason I’m writing this post; why do it?

The question is, why not? It’s a no-brainer for any sensible person.

A community isn’t something you can form by bringing together like-minded people, or holding a get together in a hall. It’s a lot more than that. It’s helping your neighbour without expecting anything in return, it’s biting your tongue when you know you’ve got to work together, it’s working together to a common goal. I don’t think it’s something you can manufacture at all.

I like to think it’s one thing we’re really good at in Ness, a lot to do with the fact that we have a strong identity as Niseachs and you’ll find a lot of us are proud to be from here.

I managed to find this picture from several years ago, I’m pretty sure Dods took the photo. It shows a much larger squad cutting the peats of a young family who lost their mother to a terminal illness several years ago. A picture speaks a thousand words.


A special day

Today marked one year since this blog started. What a year it’s been; full of ups and downs, which all added to the 50,000 views the blog received. I’m not going to mark it with anything special, just recap a typical easy Sunday.

It was a misty start to the day, but it soon cleared up and ended up being a cracker.


Once the mist disappeared, I decided to go for a walk with Bud. I went up to South Dell, from Traigh Dhail, a route I haven’t done in about 5/6 years. I took loads of pictures, which can be seen on the Air An Lot facebook page. Here is Traigh Dhail, looking north from the South Dell side.


Once we got home, we went to check the bottle-fed lambs. They’re growing quickly and looking good. The orf infection they had last week has cleared up completely and here is Lasarusina, sucking on my finger. There is a video of them playing with Bud on facebook (it’s easier to load & share videos there)


We also popped into the barn to check the chicks. Bud LOVES the chicks, he can’t keep his eyes off them!


So that’s it. Roll on the next year.


I drenched all my sheep today. It’s that time of year when the grass starts to grow and that brings with it some problems. This is when the sheep start to pick up internal parasites like worms and this can lead to problems like losing condition/weight – as well as having the spùt i.e. the runs! Prevention is better than cure, so they get drenched regularly.

I have the sheep split up into smaller flocks for grazing management, so I had to pen them all separately.


This was possibly the first time I’ve been able to do all of this on my own, as Bud is now at the level where he can help me. Still needs refining (as do I) but we got the sheep penned in no time. I now have a very sleepy dog tonight.


Some of the lambs are 6/7 weeks old now, so they got a drench as well. Try get big so quickly.


Once finished, the sheep are then delighted to be free again! That should see them through until shearing in 4-6 weeks.

Stuffed Buzzard

It’s almost time for me to pick up my stuffed Buzzard!

Back in December, I came across a young Buzzard that had been hit by a car. It didn’t have a mark on it, so I decided to get it stuffed. It’s been with the taxidermist since then – and now it is nearly finished! I’ll have it back in around 3 weeks, once it has dried and set.





Holidaying ducks

My new ducks have recently discovered that there is a river, Abhainn Chrois, around 200 metres from my house. They’ve been trekking down there every day for the past week or so and yesterday I decided to go down and watch them.

I could hear them from the house, so I knew exactly where they were.

Yes, I am calling them as I would call the chickens, but they usually come too when I call the hens.

There are only 7 here, the 8th is the injured one, and she is still wary of venturing far from the hen houses, where she can hide.


I wasn’t on my own, Bud was down too. The ducks drive him absolutely bananas when they call out to each other. He was keen to go after them here.


The river isn’t far away, you can see the top of my house here, from the bottom of the hill.


I almost stood on this mink trap as well. I knew it was there but hadn’t seen it before. I don’t think a mink has been trapped there recently, although they did catch a ferret there in the past 2/3 weeks.


And finally Bud had to have a wee dip, didn’t he?


Orf Infection

I’ve had an orf outbreak in the bottle fed lambs. I haven’t seen it for a few years but never seen it this bad. I noticed it a couple of days ago, but didn’t pay much attention, as I thought the lamb was just a wee bit vigorous when feeding from the bucket.

I looked at them more closely today and noticed it was orf! Fortunately my dad was in Stornoway, so picked up some treatment from the vet.

All 4 bottle-fed lambs are suffering, at various degrees. Hopefully it’ll clear up quite quickly now.

One good thing is that these lambs are separate from the rest of the flock, so it shouldn’t go any further.


Give us grass

Give Us Grass!

Today was the warmest day of the year and hopefully we’ll get some decent grass coming through now. It’s been terrible up until now; first due to the dry weather, and recently because of the cold.


This is a wee indication of how the grass COULD be, if the weather was warmer. There was an old fishing box covering this, acting like a greenhouse for the past few weeks. Long, green grass, perfect for producing milk. This should be all over the place, instead of one tiny patch.