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, 18 May 2011

Ruby the Tiger leaps into action.....

I have found the perfect solution to getting teenage son up and out of bed in the morning. ‘Ruby the Tiger springs into action’.

Ruby gets up bright and early and ventures out of her kennel and into the farmhouse for an hour or so each morning where she takes delight in winding up youngest before school. Her antics involve a predictable routine of running off with the school shoes and hiding them, trying desperately to share breakfast with her, and if all else fails, pulling the pony tail out of youngest’s hair with those ever snapping little jaws of hers.

The girls packed off to school, the happy farmer and I went in search of Charlie hen’s nest. Feathers all rumpled Charlie flew onto the arm of the bench this morning and proceeded to squawk at high volume to announce to all and sundry the arrival of a new egg. I still am at a loss as to why hens like to alert everyone to the fact that they have just laid an egg; surely it cannot be a good thing when predators, such as Mist the sheep dog, are lurking close by. Anyhow her distress signals were a most welcome sound to us as sure enough we found, neatly stored in a snug nest of long grass behind the vegetable propagator, a nest of twenty or so eggs all waiting to be mixed into the next batch of fresh baking for the pottery tea room.

Not wanting to advertise Charlie’s nest to the pup, Ruby was left in the farmhouse to her own devices whilst we were retrieving our ‘treasures’. Teenage son, who is on study leave just now, was deep in the land of slumber when he was awoken by the howling and yowling of an anxious pup, who thought she had been left home alone. Now teenagers can be pretty grumpy when awoken abruptly like this and a quick bark of ‘RUBY’, hailed from the depths of his ‘pit’, I mean bedroom, alerted one excited pup to the fact that she was not  alone at all. She bounded up those stairs like a tornado, sprang at a rate of knots through the door, leapt several feet through the air, and landed with a clumsy splat on top of teenage son. Here she proceeded to cover his face in huge ‘slurpy’ big licks. Son was up, out of bed, and downstairs in an instant, with one smiling pair of jaws, belonging to a certain pup, clamped firmly to the leg of his jeans .

Luckily Ruby hadn’t been for her walk through sheep poo field this morning.

Until next time….

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

'Sheep Poo Field'

Ruby is settling in well to life on the farm.

She seemed to have read the puppy manual from cover to cover before her arrival and until yesterday she had been the ‘almost’ perfect pup. Of course I may be ever so slightly biased here and have had my rose tinted specs firmly pegged on the end of my nose, naturally, but she has been doing really well.

I decided the other day to introduce Ruby to her lead and take her on the short walk to school, doing my ‘bag lady’ duty, as I carried all the school paraphernalia for youngest as she cycled off into the distance.

Ruby was the picture of perfection. She walked beautifully to heel, head proud and tail in the air. No pulling, no hindering, she kept perfect pace, and just snuggled in tightly to my heel as the ferry traffic hurtled past. School bag and packed lunch delivered I decided to walk Ruby back through the happy farmer’s field to introduce her to the sheep and lambs and let her have a run off the lead.

As she scrabbled through the gate you could actually see a huge grin spread across her chops, so excited was she by the contents of that field. She did not however even blink at the sheep, appeared not even to have noticed them. No, from the moment she entered that field her nose was glued firmly to the grass as she ‘hoovered’ up every piece of sheep poo she could manage to get between her jaws. It was a case of so much poo and so little time, as I shouted, she shovelled and rolled, delighting in the smelly fragrance, covering herself as thickly as possible in the gooey poo. So engrossed was she, that when she came nose to nose with a sleeping lamb it took her completely by surprise and she bolted in the opposite direction. The lamb jumped up and joined in the game, chasing after Ruby, bleating away. The lamb’s mother was not too impressed and began stamping the ground in a threatening manner, calling to the lamb, and the next thing I knew Ruby and I were both being chased by one lamb and a very angry sheep.

The happy farmer was highly entertained to see his wife and her dog getting chased across the field by a sheep and a lamb. Being a farmer's wife, I get it wrong every time when it comes to anything to do with farm animals, from bulls, cows, piglets, sheep and now lambs, I have been chased by them all. One of these days I will learn not to run, and one of these days Ruby will learn not to roll in and eat sheep poo….maybe.

Until next time…

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

The happy farmer's wife turned into an egg....

The blog has been getting neglected.
Ruby has sprouted.

The extension is now complete upstairs and the final hurdles downstairs are being ‘jumped’. The happy farmer has spent many hours loosening and easing huge boulders from their resting place of several hundred years, in order to make an opening between our existing kitchen and the extension into the old stables. It is heavy duty, hard manual labour and he has succeeded in making a right mess of my kitchen in the process and I have succeeded in biting my tongue (not an easy task when everything has been covered in thick dust and my nest has become completely unsettled).
Visitors have come and gone during the process, easing the pain, with plenty of giggles and sociable evenings along the way, and adding to the guddle and the muddle that goes with the chaos of a nearly finished building project and a kitchen full of endless mouths to feed. The cooking was taken out of my hands and I was thoroughly spoilt.

 Lambs popped out on an hourly basis in the fields and the happy farmer managed to squeeze in the lambing rounds in between building houses. The lambing team grew on a daily basis, and the trailer behind the quad bike was soon squashed full of children. The happy farmer was highly entertained at the youngsters’ attitude when the trailer was needed on an SOS mission to transport a sheep and her newly born offspring home to the barn and the young clan were told they would need to use an alternative method of transport to get themselves home, i.e. their legs. They were not a happy bunch, but a few fields later and they were all smiles by the time they reached the farmhouse kitchen.
The new pottery shop and tea room opened in the old byre and the happy farmer’s wife got caught up in loading kilns and serving cake stands oozing with home baking and freshly cut sandwiches to the visitors.
Marmite, the Highland heifer, continues her frequent visits to the local distillery village touting for business, and has even made special roadside appearances for the passing tourists’ cameras. She is hoping to attract more customers for the happy farmer’s wife.
Meantime the happy farmer’s wife turned into an egg….for Easter.
Until next time....