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

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

Saturday 11 November 2017

Domnhall Hamish and his ladies

Why is it that whenever the Happy Farmer makes an exit to the mainland all of the animals seem to  take it upon themselves to misbehave?

The first sighting was at daybreak, on the distant skyline, of something decidedly fluffy and black and quite distinctly on the wrong side of the fence, the road side of the fence to be precise, infact not just the ‘roadside’ but the very middle of the road. Binoculars poised, to ascertain if it was dog, horse, cow or sheep, it frustratingly skipped way, over the horizon and out of sight, but paused just long enough for me to see the escapee was Domnhall Hamish, eldest daughter’s new Hebridean tup.

Quick race to get dressed then and breakfast abandoned I leapt into the car in hot pursuit, only to find in my absence,  Domnhall Hamish had disappeared into a field in the distance, safely off the road,  so breakfast was back on the menu, followed by a quick sprint round the fields with the dogs.

Of course Domnhall Hamish wasn’t happy grazing in a huge field all alone. No, when he had artfully skipped over the drystone dyke of the fank to escape, earlier in the day, he had other plans on his mind. With his head full of romantic notions and several fields full of lipstick clad ladies waiting patiently Domnhall Hamish had decided he could delay no longer, romance was calling. While I was running with the dogs, he abandoned the field and was back on his little adventure. He was next identified going for a swift jog along the main road, holding up the traffic on his way.

Finally I managed to locate him and follow him back up the farm road in the car until he came to a halt outside the pottery, exhausted. He stood panting, his long black tongue hanging out, gasping, as I called to him and ran towards the hill gate, thankfully in his exhausted state he could just about manage to trot behind me. I was impressed at him following me, but also, as I am terrified of most animals, especially the farm variety, never having quite made the grade in farming life, I was relieved he couldn’t manage to run any quicker. I opened the gate and he obediently went trotting out across the hill. Result! Sheep are never usually so obedient, in the happy farmer's case they always give him two fingers and race off in the opposite direction. Maybe Domnhall Hamish realised he was being rewarded for his adventures by being released into a field full of hebridean sheep, a few days earlier than the Happy Farmer had planned and maybe I do make the grade in farming after all!

It was amusing a little while later then to see Domnhall Hamish promoted to super star status as the ladies crowded eagerly round him. He was causing quite a stir. However after his earlier marathon about the farm and village, he, on the other hand, looked thoroughly exhausted.

Until next time…..

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...