The bare necessities.

The bees are back and they are buzzing in the trees (although, not making honey for me if we continue down the Disney’s sing-a-long to The Jungle Book).

Which is good. The bees that is; not the singing along with Baloo. For it was not that long ago we got hit with a cold snap, just after several of our orchard trees had blossomed. And yes, they can stand a little bit of cold but not massive amounts. So it was a bit of grit teeth and hope for the best.

However, not all the trees had burst forth in full colour as this week, the temperature has been hot. Which in turn has brought out a lot more flowers in our orchard. And some that had flowers before have got more.

So I’ll go back to dreaming of making apple pies from the bees pollinating the flowers, not honey. And on that theme I’m not having to search under rocks and plants to find fancy ants. There are more exotic looking insects then normal at the moment. But there is no chance I’ll be trying a few.

P.S. Hopefully no legal representative at Disney Limited is reading this to notice how much of their lyrics I borrowed.


Decalfinated: when your last cow of the year finally has her calf.

Yes, that is correct. She waited until the Crofter was away and popped it out. Typical as she has had a few sessions over the past two weeks of ‘ohh, that will be tonight, today, tomorrow’ and then has been the facing of a laughing cow as to my guessing.

Today, she not just waited for the Crofter to be away, but waited all morning while I had only the Micro Crofter. See, the Mini Crofter was away at a childminder’s (a very good one at that I might add; they often don’t get recognition for what they do and particularly dealing with so many children). Any how, Gilly waiting until I needed to be in be car and down the road to pick up the Mini Crofter before popping out the calf. Cows have a sixth sense to know when to pick their moments.

Now, it’s not the most stunning photo of the wee thing but I wasn’t hanging about for a photogenic newborn picture. I just needed proof I wasn’t making up excuses.

The de-calfed croft it now is. With snow forecast on its first night, I was looking forward to the next few days where much warmer weather is forecast. However, this first night has been rough. Not for the calf (as far as I know) but having two wee Crofters now wide awake. So, the croft may be decalfinated, but I’ll be needing the caffeine when the ‘sun’s up’ on the Mini Crofter’s clock and they are raring to go. Just hope the wee calf is too…

Dawn chorus

No, I do not have any cockerels to joyfully give a wake up call as I sit on the edge of the bed with a yawn and a big stretch. Nor do I have the sun always poking its rays over the hill, casting shadows with the trees.

What I do have is a Matriarchal cow who you can identify in your half slumber by her moos as she wakes you up at 5am! OK, what’s wrong now? Hmm, one cow still to calf, something wrong there? No other sounds? Head to the lookout points (aka windows) to spot the issue.

Yes, the Crofter got sent back to work yesterday so what happened the first morning of him being away? One calf getting itself into the fenced area around our drainage. How did it get in? No idea. Could it get out? No. Have they ever managed to get stuck there before? No. But today? Yes. Fab.

The Mini Crofter at the age of two is learning new words everyday; he can now say ‘daft muppet’.

Made of Stone.

Some people collect stamps, or cards, or fousty things in their veg drawer. Me? I collect stones. All sizes. But I’m picky. These aren’t just any stones, these are hand picked. Each one specially eye catching to the beholder. No, I don’t work for M and S. But I’m not lying. Each one is picked, pulled, or prised from a specific area (the space the pigs ploughed last year, the section of the chicken area that got ploughed). Each one has caught my eye saying, ‘Pick me, pick me’ in the stone variety version of Donkey from Shrek.

Little and often works best. And not focusing on the task itself of picking stones. But on what you’re planning on making with them gives the satisfaction (because really, picking stones is a lifetime job and fruitless, unlike the hobby of collecting fousty veg. No wait, that would be fungus, rather than fruitless if Ibtook that up…). Stone shifting is the daytime TV programme task on its 758th repeat. So where am I rolling my stones to? First space, the polytunnel. Yes, a bit odd but I’m doing a mini Calum (I am never going to hand make a road like him, but great book) and making a mini path (rather than a road) around the raised bed.

I have a wee ways to go. But Rome wasn’t built in a day. But I’m running out of stones.

Ride ‘em Cowboy.

With the bonnie weather, we’ve had a few days off. A wee trip to Urquhart Castle (man at the desk: “Where you from?” Me (with the Micro Crofter), “Other side of the loch”. Crofter follows about 20 mins later with the Mini Crofter. Man at desk: “Where you from?” Crofter, “Other side of the loch”. Man at desk, “You got someone else already here?” Hmm, yes. But that wasn’t premeditated as not all visitors have to travel far, we just don’t tend to get out much.

Latest ‘day off’: Ohh, let’s just ‘nip’ down to our local pub for lunch. Aye, on our bikes and our ‘local’ is 14 miles away. Maybe not the best way to build up gradually but best to always have a purpose (aka lunch) when doing these things. Which is fine, until you reach said local, and find it was an error on the website and they are closed for lunch. Thankfully one of the ladies who runs it was outside and offered us drinks. Yep, half pint of ale and I’ll be back on my bike pedalling home. Now, getting off the bike at the other end wasn’t easy but I always wanted to be a cowboy and I guess walking like one is the closest I’ll ever get to riding out cattle in the Midwest.

We’re going on a bear hunt.

Well Micro Crofter, your Mum recited this to your brother when he was your age. She thankfully had the sense (which, with so lacking in sleep at the time, was pretty good common sense), to sell off all breeding sheep stock for a few years.

Ode to the Shepherdess:

We’re going on a sheep hunt, we’re going to chase the wee ‘un’. We’re going on a ewe hunt, before she has her lamb.

Bear? What bear? This is Scotland the brave Crofting boy (think The Corries; land of t’ purple heather, land where the midgies gather), there’s nae bears. And besides, your mum has no time for the library at the moment so we’ll just enact the scenes if your pram could just detour the ewe from that gate and try not to roll into the electric fence…

Watching me, watching you.

So the cows decided it was pay back time. In and out of the house getting work done. Glance up from the kitchen sink to see our herd looking over the fence to the decking. Not in a row that they do to watch the neighbours’ TV through the kitchen window, but still all having a look.

See, during calving time they have to put up with me watching them post partum to ensure both mother and calf are well. Today, the Micro Crofter for parked outside for his morning nap. Sun shining (but covered I hasten to add), birds cheeping in the trees. So they all wanted to have a look; a good gawk at the Micro on the decking.

I wonder if they stood there, chewing the cud, thinking: that thing is tiny for three months old, has it eaten enough? How come it’s not on its feet yet? And all the other questions I ponder about calves.

And with that note, calf three is doing fine. It’ll be punted out with its mother tomorrow to join the rest. Although, I’m needing to start working on halter training (another great thing about having a QMS inspection, I got a tip on training cattle from a lady who does it with limousin bulls!). In all my spare time, that is. Now, if only I could gawk over the fence at her cows to watch…