A glimpse of the past

While digging out a new duck pond yesterday, Innes found an old horse shoe in the old ‘iodhlann’ behind the house. That’s 2 or 3 I’ve found over the last couple of years, a reminder that it was a different kind of horsepower that was used on the croft.

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The duck pond

I’ve also got an old set of what I think are horse-drawn hoe, that my grandfather used to use. They’ve been lying outside for a while so Innes is going to clean them up and paint them while he’s home.

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Interesting wee pieces for my new Air An Lot venture!

Lambing begins

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Yes, the day is finally here. My first lamb arrived in the middle of the most glorious weather we’ve had this year.

Today was my first early start to check the sheep, as the sheep weren’t due to start until today anyway. I’ve been keeping an eye on them, but this was my first time in before 6am.

Anyway, mid-morning I noticed one sheep on her own. She was due to be one of the first to lamb, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up, so I told myself it was just a coincidence.

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A couple of hours later, I was doing some work in the same field and all the sheep came out to see me. Except for one. She came out part of the way, then stopped, lay down and out popped the lamb. What a beauty.

A really nice ewe lamb. Definitely a keeper, if it develops as it should. Didn’t take long for it to get on it’s feet. Delighted!

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Blindness

So I’ve been away for a few days and I’m greeted on my return by 11 sheep suffering from ‘an duille’, when the eye goes kind of grey/opaque and the sheep goes temporarily blind (as long as she’s treated).

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This picture is one of the two sheep that are suffering the most, the others are only showing slight symptoms.

It’s not unusual, especially during wet weather. The problem is that it’s highly contagious, so it’s spread between sheep when they’re close together for feeding. I’ve had similar issues before, triggered by an eye which burst and spread infection, but this isn’t as bad.

I had to move the sheep to their lambing fields today, anyway, so I penned them while I was doing that. My father thought he spotted 4 with it, but I found another 7. They have been separated from the rest of the flock and will be treated with opticlox over the next few days.

I have no concerns about the sheep, they and their lambs will be fine. I hope.

Progress

I’ve been quite quiet on here in the past fortnight, mainly due to the fact that I haven’t been at home for the past 2 Saturdays. Last week I was in Inverness for the day, and I’m in Cambridge this weekend, visiting my brother Innes, with my brother Murdo. Here we are attending Charlton v Burnley yesterday, as part of our day out in London. It wasn’t a very good game….

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Last month, I made public my plans for Air An Lot 2.0. I have been working away on this, behind the scenes, and have secured grant funding from Comunn na Gaidhlig (CnaG) for 65% of the cost of a new, bilingual, website. This site/blog won’t be affected, as I enjoy having the vent for all my activities, but I will be incorporating it into the new site. I also need to finalise my application for grant assistance to CnaG for bilingual external signage.

That’s that side of things taken care of, but I’ve also put a lot more thought into what activities I will be offering. I have drawn up a list and costed them, but I’d be happy to hear suggestions anyone has, or any enquiries about attending. You can comment here, or private message the Air An Lot facebook page.

Back on the croft, there has been plenty of activity. The incubator has been switched on again, this time with some duck eggs. I hope to see some movement here around the 14th of April. I’m a wee bit worried, though, as I bought the eggs off the internet and the packaging was damaged. We’ll see what happens!

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The most exciting time of year is just days, maybe hours away. I’m expecting the first lambs over the next couple of days – I cannot wait. There are 3 Cheviots due to lamb this week, with the rest in the days after. I’ve felt a bit of stress recently, with my day-job and freelance work, but hopefully lambing will provide a good distraction – and plenty of physical stress!!

Busy weekend

I write this on Monday morning, as I prepare to head to Uist for a couple of days. I should be finishing packing my bag, but there is always something more interesting to do than that!

It is a gorgeous morning here, probably the best we’ve had so far this year. I’ve fed the sheep and made sure
the hens have enough food and water until I return on Wednesday. Mornings like this make it hard to go to work though

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It’s in stark contrast to the weather we had over the weekend; force 9 gales and showers. This was the forecast for Saturday

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That didn’t mean a day off though, I still had to feed all the animals, and I also had to move the sheep to fresh grazing.

I walked them down the road and also took them a fresh bale of hay. That’s 4 of my 6 bales gone already.

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The lambs also got a feed, along with a bale of silage. They love this stuff, smells so sweet too!

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Some of them take it a bit far though…..

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I’d better go pack my bag now…..