Posie's Blog. Tales of island life on a hebridean hill farm

Posie's Blog. Tales of island life on a hebridean hill farm

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

The Maternity Wing turns into a Nursery...

The autumn is upon us and the Happy Farmer appears to be turning into one of those 'city gents' when it comes to the crucial nitty gritty of farming these days. His herd of Highland heifers are all heavily in calf, and yet he appears to be making  a habit of jetting off to the city just at the crucial moment.... avoiding the birth... and then jetting back in time for the celebrations.

The Happy Chappy from down the road has been doing a sterling job in his absence, as senior midwife in charge of the maternity wing, when he is not attending to any of his numerous other jobs.

Toffee Coffee, Marmite, and Treacle however were having none of it. Those girls managed to keep their legs well and truly crossed during the Happy Farmer's latest sojourn to the city, even though they appeared fit to burst before he left. They stubbornly waited until the stormiest night of the year, when the Happy Farmer was in residence, to produce their offspring and all were fit and well, in spite of the horrendous weather. However, on his morning rounds the Happy Farmer came across discord among the girls,'handbags' between the ladies, two of the heifers were boxing, a wee calf stuck in the middle. When the discontent among the girls showed no sign of easing, action was called for. The Happy Farmer called upon the Happy Chappy to help him move grumpy heifer and calf from the maternity wing to the nursery.

I was disappointed then, when, poised with camera in hand, to capture the shot of mother and calf obediently jogging to the nursery field, I got a photo of the Happy Farmer and  Happy Chappy looking extremely cheerful and relieved. Now I am well aware that 'cheerful' and 'farming' are not two words you would actually associate in the world of farming....and where were mother and baby??
Well, apparently the 'cheerfulness' was much to do with relief that Farmer and Chappy escaped with their lives i n tact when those girls turned their handbags on the visiting men and decided to charge at them for daring to suggest that mother and baby were ready to leave the maternity suite. The fantastic distraction of two farmers running for the hills appears to have stopped any in fighting among the girls. I was most impressed that the task of moving cow and calf from one field to the next had turned into such a challenge for the Happy Farmer, it included a happy jaunt around the field and back, with a bit of a fitness workout included, and those ladies refusing to give in to any demands placed upon them at such a delicate time in their lives.

This morning in the sunshine we could hear strange roaring coming from the direction of the Happy Chappy's house.....a rutting Happy Chappy or is it those stags on the neighbouring island? Autumn and all of its surprises are definitely unfolding...

Until next time...

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Bramble 'Houdini', the Party Pup.

Bramble the pup is now four months old and is proving herself to be a Houdini among pups.

She arrived on the farm as a totally unexpected surprise. Mist, the sheepdog, had kept her  midnight shenanigans with the amorous Labrador from down the road totally to herself, in fact she even concealed the whole pregnancy,  preferring to surprise us with a little black bundle snuggled in close one morning. This is how Bramble Berry Fletcher came to be.
The children were over joyed, a late birthday present from Mist proclaimed eldest, I was immediately smitten, the happy farmer not so convinced but he was easily cajoled along into welcoming the new black bundle into the clan.

This summer we celebrated one hundred years of the happy farmer's family  residing on the farm with a garden party that started at 4.00 in the afternoon  going  on until 4.00 the following morning. There were many bodies scattered around various corners of the farmhouse however they surprisingly all seemed to disperse just before the happy farmer's wife surfaced to a scene of obliteration as the farmhouse was somewhat unrecognisable among the strewn bottles, cans, discarded burgers, a sign of a very good party indeed.

I was rescued from the cleaning chores when various visitors arrived from the holiday cottages armed with goodies for a full cooked breakfast for anyone who could find their way to the Kitchen. The smell of bacon sizzling from the Aga is a sure way to waken the house.

The problem facing us before this big extravaganza was that Bramble up to this point had wandered freely around the garden all day and then in the evenings had taken herself off to snuggle up to Mist. Being ever so tiny I did worry that with so many friends and family coming along little Bramble could be trodden on, or eat something that would upset her delicate little tummy. Much nagging later and the happy farmer built a new enclosed kennel for Mist and Bramble, one which would keep visiting amorous Labrador s at 'paws' length, and one which would keep Mist and Bramble safe during the party. As people began to arrive and the BBQ was heating up little Bramble took one look and ever so gracefully toddled through the bars of her new kennel and joined the party...for the duration, so much for the happy farmer's new kennel.
Now at four months old, and nearly as big as her mother this little Houdini of a pup has learnt that if she wriggles and shimmies ever so gracefully she can still squeeze her ever so fat belly through those bars, so she spends her days wandering happily around the garden joining in any party that she happens upon.
Until next time...

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Bar-bugled with a Sore Spring hanger....

The island has been busy with visitors from all over the globe travelling here to sample all of the delights and charms this unique community has to offer, namely malt and magic, spectacular scenery and oodles of wildlife (happy farmer included, as well as a few of the other local worthies).

Even the 'dancing girls', the happy farmer's sister and cousin, sailed over for a repeat painting experience at the chateau down the road, one of the very few, very last remaining tin houses in Scotland.

You would think those ladies after their last experience of toiling away in the blistering sunshine, painting the exterior of the house, while their brother performed his acrobatic balancing acts from the high ladder, would have steered well clear of the island for a little while longer. However such is the island's charms they just could not keep away and having nothing left to paint, bar the interior of the house, they made another pilgrimage to their island home, laden with paint and brushes.

Those girls, in the words of an old farmer from bygone days, 'booted and revved those engines', which roughly translates to working their socks off all day, slapping away with the paint brushes, and then getting heavily refreshed, by way of tucking into a plentiful supply of 'refreshments', into the wee small hours. It made for a good recovery and prepared them for another day of hard slog. As I mentioned in a previous blog, the most entertaining part of this is that the happy farmer's sister will tell you that she has, to quote the old farmer again, 'run up many miles on the clock', as she is, nearly sixty years old, (which is a tad of an exaggeration, but she holds that it does make her look ever more youthful if she piles a 'few extra miles onto the clock', or years onto her youth!!).

We do miss the old farmer from up the road and his lovely use of language. In his eyes all people were motor engines, some had a 'good chassis', others were simply 'bugled', and if you were really bad, well you were 'bar-bugled', if you were limping then you had a sore 'spring hanger', and if you weren't right in the head, the gear box was failing.  Those girls' 'gear boxes were definitely failing' and their 'spring hangers' were mightily challenged by the end of their painting experience, so I was heartily entertained when the new tenant in the 'chateau' commented on the gleaming paint work. Luckily he is a painter and decorator to trade, and has very kindly offered to touch up the stripey walls.

Until next time...