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

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

Thursday, 10 May 2007

It Doesn't Just Rain, But It Pours.



The kitchen was full of men again today. The happy farmer was busy with a man from the RSPB, discussing his birds, not the blonde ones that turn up in open top sport’s cars at the pottery, no the feathered variety that frequent our fields during the summer months.

It all began a few years back; one summer’s evening, when we heard the distinct croaking of a corncrake coming from the fields. We all got really excited as it was the first time the happy farmer had heard the corncrake on the farm since his childhood. Now every summer the corncrake returns, with that distinctive call, as it cries out, looking to attract a mate. It cleverly echoes its voice off stones and rocks to disguise its actual hiding place. Corncrakes like areas thick with nettles; they provide early cover before the crops grow. So we have fenced areas to keep the sheep out and allow the grass and nettles to grow especially for corncrakes. The happy farmer is also considering cutting the crops of silage and hay after 15th August which would provide continued shelter for the birds during the summer months.

I disappeared off to get petrol and slug pellets, my vegetable patch cannot survive without them I am afraid. We have loads of slugs here, and I have tried sinking pots of beer into the ground, but still they demolished my plants, so I gave up on the eco friendly methods a few years back, unless anyone has any different tried and tested methods that discourage the ‘naughty sluggies from eating all the vegeboles in mummy’s garden’ as my youngest used to say?

Of course as I am stood at the petrol pump the heavens decide to open and I get absolutely drenched. I am a total novice when it comes to petrol pumps, I am not sure whether it is just petrol pumps in general or whether we have a particularly awkward one, but there seems to be a knack to getting just the right amount of pressure on the handle to get the petrol flowing. Needless to say I haven’t mastered that knack yet, in fact at one point I was busy admiring the garden flowers and plants for sale on the benches, listening to the hum of the petrol pump, happily getting soaked, when I looked at the meter and realised that actually none of the dials were moving, I wasn’t applying enough pressure and so it had all come to a halt, felt a complete twit, but did eventually manage to fill the tank, just as it stopped raining!

I spent the rest of the morning getting all of the plants I have grown from seed planted in the vegetable plot, I decided a wet morning would help them get established and save me watering them. I then raced up the hill with the dogs. I had just got back, peeled off my wet socks in order to wash my muddy grit covered feet when there was a knock at the door. I won’t even begin to worry about what they must have thought when I answered the door, bare grubby feet and wet running clothes. People always time their arrivals to perfection and of course the happy farmer had disappeared, leaving his mobile phone on the table as I discovered when I tried to contact him to let him know the structural engineer was here to discuss building warrants and so on and do a survey for the next part of his renovations. Anyway, bare feet or not I ushered him in for a cup of tea, hurriedly slipping on the happy farmer’s ever so big boots to go out to the ‘well’ to fill the kettle with spring water. I think the poor man must have heaved a huge sigh of relief when the farmer returned. I made a hasty exit.

There is big excitement on the horse front too. One of our contacts on the mainland looking out for a horse for eldest daughter has located what looks to be the perfect one for her, or so she tried to convince me as I watched a video of the horse show jumping and doing cross country, my heart in my mouth, trying not to pass on my fear as her eyes were lighting up at the very prospect of a horse that doesn’t need any coaxing to do a perfect jump.The happy farmer is flying away with her to meet this beautiful creature, it only costs the price of a small car….eek.

Until next time…

12 comments:

Eden said...

Posie, lovely to read your blog again. Am fascinated by the conrcrake, a bird of which I have never heard. What does its call sound like? I keep meaning to learn all the birds of Britain, but am woefully limited in my knowledge.

Suffolkmum said...

I haven't heard a corncrake in years!! I used to hear one on the farm of a family friend in northumberland. What is it with girls and horses - eek on the price. Good luck! (And I've done that with the petrol pump too!)

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

I'm not sure I would know a corncrake if I did hear it. Wow a horse - am all on the edge of my seat wondering if you will buy it.

Blossomcottage said...

Do tell me more about the horse when you can, I used to love looking for a new one for my children, we travelled miles and miles, to see what we thought would be a good one only to find it was complete rubbish anyway we ended up with some lovely ones and some great times..
Blossom

UN PEU LOUFOQUE said...

You are tlaking to teh woman who maanged to douse herself and the kind assistant with petrolatt eh local supermarket and nowrefuses like a babay to get her own so sends husband to do so! Very impressed at happy farmers ability to identify birds!

snailbeachshepherdess said...

I dont think I would know a corncrake if one got up and bit me - and there certainly weren't any in the Walsall area yesterday when we were queueing on the M6 to get to Ikea!!!

@themill said...

Catching up en masse again. Your farmer sounds just like mine. Our water smells like a public swimming pool sometimes so wish we had a spring. Don't miss the fighting over the pet lamb feeding one little bit and we had corncrakes appeared a couple of years ago. The Farmer is delighted even if it does mean he has to shoo them out of the way of the combine. He says they're not very bright!

@themill said...

Forgot to say, I couldn't grow a thing without slug pellets!

Faith said...

Its wonderful that birds are coming back to old sites. I don't know corncrakes but do hope you get them.

The green gardener has all sorts of things for slugs that may be worth a try, but don't blame you using pellets. I do when its unavoidable. Have you tried nematodes?

www.greengardener.co.uk

We just got our ladybird house from them. Ladybirds coming soon! (hope they like their house)

Milkmaid said...

Thank you for your Scottish version of n'er cast a clout
Problem with horsey girls, we solved ours a few years ago, when we borrowed a pony that tipped them off all ways, went back within 3 weeks saved heaps

mutterings and meanderings said...

Hello, thnaks for visiting my place.

Lovely to find another horsy blogger - apart from Ziggi at Testing...Testing, I haven't come across any others!

rilly super said...

errr M&M, what do you mean you don't know any horsey bloggers , uh humm...