Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Another new addition to the croft...

Introducing daughter of Daisy.  Daisy was a cross-cheviot who came to us via friends in Bunavonneader.  She had been abandoned by her mum and when her adopted mum moved to the mainland, we welcomed Daisy into our flock.  Last year Daisy was the last to lamb and sadly her lamb died at a couple of months old from an infected tick bite. This year she is the third to lamb and her daughter looks to be almost completely cheviot. 

Daisy looks to be caring for her lamb very well.  The picture above shows the lamb at about 5 minutes old.  What a wee cutie!!

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Reasons To Be Cheerful - one and two......!

Right on time, Mr Stork made a special delivery to Croft 37 yesterday evening. Not one, but two lambs.  Charlie the Cheviot Ram has made his mark on the flock.
Mother and lambs both thriving.

Well, here on  Scalpay even the rocks have horns!

Actually, it's Mr 4-horn lurking behind a rock.  He thinks we can't see him!

The Postie brought a surprise package last week......

Yes, my new Ashford Country Spinner has arrived.  It was simple to assemble, and I gave it a good polish with linseed oil.

With my usual lack of planning, I forgot to take a full length photo of the spinner.  But here's a shot of the bobbin almost full of chunky Wensleydale destined for Teoshandspuns at Broadford, Isle of Skye.  The bobbin on top of the spinner is an Ashford jumbo bobbin - just to give you an idea of the scale of it all.
It took a bit of practice to get it going, and for a while I just couldn't see how on earth it would work, but now its really comfortable and you really can get 1kg off one bobbin.  I recommend the Country Spinner to anyone else making chunkies.

Monday, 14 March 2011

How Can We Help?

Our thoughts go out to those homeless and bereaved in the north of Japan. 
If you are affected, or wish to help, the British Red Cross has started a relief fund.  Donations can be made at: http://www.redcross.org.uk/
Thank you.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Great News for Scalpay

Yesterday, the keys of the new Buth Scalpaigh community shop were handed over to the project steering committee.  This is the culmination of much hard work by the committee aided ably by Harris Development Ltd.
But this is just the start - now there will be a management committee needed, renovations to be carried out, operating plans to be formulated, staff training, product sourcing etc. etc.
Speaking as a small business owner, having to spend four or so hours per week travelling to Stornoway for shopping, along with the associated costs of travel (£1.43 for unleaded; £1.49 for diesel just now) will make it very worthwhile for me to patronise the new shop.
Not quite sure when it will open, but watch this space.  Also, google "Buth Scalpaigh" for news reports, or see the blog link on the right hand side.

This photo shamelessly lifted from Ken MacDonald & Co website:  http://www.kenmacdonaldproperties.co.uk/properties_detail.php?prop_id=85 a leading estate and property agent for the Western Isles.  Tel: 01851 704 040

Snowing, cold and very windy today.  Spending the day picking Wensleydale fleeces ready for the arrival of my new Ashford Country Spinner which is hopefully en route from P & M Woolcrafts. 

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Lost and Found

For todays' blog I am resurrecting my "Hen of the Day" feature.  Below is a photo of a mystery hen who has joined our merry bunch.  She is completely black and has a rosebud comb and a big sail-tail.  She is in very good condition and looks to be a fully mature hen.  We first noticed her yesterday at feeding time because she was not part of the usual rough-and-tumble feeding frenzy, rather she was standing on the outskirts looking a bit lost.
After a night in the byre with the rest, she is still around and we can't find out where she's come from.  None of the neighbours have black hens.  What a mystery!  If anyone has any information about this hen, please let us know.  We are more than happy to re-patriate her, or we can keep her.

Another new addition to the poultry gang is the naked neck chick who went down the road to our neighbour as "Duchess" and yesterday returned to us as "Duke"!!  He is a fine fellow - half buff-orpington and half golden naked neck.  Our other two naked neck cockerels are getting on a bit so Duke can take up the slack when the time comes.

Things have been a bit hectic on the croft over the past couple of weeks.  We have had a big outbreak of "pink-eye" amongst the flock.  This is a nasty inflammatory condition of the eyes that cause a cataract like growth to form over the lens and the affected sheep become blind for a while.  The treatment is an eye ointment containing an antibiotic which has to be applied to affected eyes every couple of days, and which reduces the inflammation.  Most sheep recover within a week or two.  However, a peripheral problem with this condition is that because the sheep can't see she can't find her food by herself, and this is not a good thing to happen just before lambing.  It is also a very contagious condition and passes from sheep to sheep mainly following bad weather during clustering round the feeding trough and hay net.  Thankfully nearly all the sheep are now on the road to recovery.  One of last years' lambs looks like she may be blind so will need a lot of care for the rest of her life.   Whilst its always good to have births and good news on the blog, we do need to reflect that here on the croft we are not immune to the problems that beset other farmers in other parts of the country.  It's been a wretched winter for us - heavy losses due to the weather conditions.  Spring can't come soon enough and we all have our fingers crossed for some good weather to get the grass growing and give the new lambs a fresh start when they start to arrive at the end of the month.