This morning while having finished giving the mini crofter his breakfast and I was about to try and polish off the rest of my cold toast I noticed, beyond the byre, something was different…Binoculars out and behold, the ring feeder was up ended. Having just put a new bale out less than 24 hours earlier I was desperate to save as much hay as possible before the cows embarked on using it for exfoliating their hooves. Cue: bundle mini crofter into buggy, pull on wellies, and off we go. What greeted us was a set up by the organisers of ‘Tough Mudder’. A tightrope walk between the mud/slurry bath on one side and electric fence on the other with a very delicate line of solid earth in between to get to the feeder. It had then be placed (deliberately I’m sure, by one or more of the cows) into the mud bath. The type of mud that causes you to sink into a vacuum forcing yoga moves to be performed. The ring feeder then needed to be manoeuvred through the mud to align before heaving it back up and over the remaining hay without hitting the fence. Hay that has now been spread by ravenous cows. The electric line needed braved once again to finally cross to the finish line (field gate).
Or so I thought. Except I’d given the cows several buckets of cow nuts to keep them away from the hay while attempting the rescue mission. Not a bucket each, but a few. The hierarchy of the cow herd had obviously been put to the test and the buckets were now scattered at various points by cows adamant that any other bucket must have food. Our bull and matriarch were sniffing out any nuts that may have been spilt while the rest looked like they were playing musical chairs, desperate to end up with a bucket. Since it was very windy, no one will have overheard my conversation with the cows to explain that their buckets really were empty, shaking them upside down as I tried to redeem them and avoid a stampede. All to be completed within the time frame of a contented mini crofter.
Not all jobs on the croft are the equivalent to Tough Mudder, I’ll be honest. However, we don’t tend to have to set the place up as an obstacle course, the livestock/weather lead the way. It can be a bit more expensive for us than just entering a race, but, if anyone wants a shot (aka help out), I wouldn’t charge you.
Medal for completion: Wellies that give off a fragrant ‘farmyard’ aroma for the next 8 hours…
Knowing that I have to manage the croft on my own while Tim is at work means we have slowly set it up to be as manageable as possible for one pair of hands (albeit, a pair of hands and a mini crofter now in tow). This is fine until the sickness bug hits! When you want the bed to drop anchor as you feel the rough seas tossing you about. When you wish the grass was as green as you. And you realise the mini crofter will be awake in only a few hours. The impending doom of dawn awaits…
This is when you phone a friend (alright, whatsApp, I hate phones), lots of friends, and a distress signal gets aired on Facebook. The chicken coop was something I really struggled with while pregnant and the thought of the smell of it is the same when feeling positively ill. I had no plans to even venture near. Ha, stuff them (not literally, they are on flubevet), I thought. At least the cows and sheep will manage for a day. My main concern was the mini crofter. I have no idea how other single parents manage to be sick while still looking after a dependent. Me? I brought in the cavalry. Mini crofter was shipped off for the weekend and today, neighbours came up to feed the animals.
So, maybe not the most interesting of news but it does show us our friends who volunteer themselves and are willing to help (Marion, Niall, Ali, Catriona, David, Lesley, the names could go on). For them, and their families, Tim and I are much indebted to, for without them, the circus (sorry, croft), wouldn’t function. The ‘community’ is still alive and well and willing to help.
Tonight, the sea is calm, the waves have stopped, and the mini crofter seems to be having the time of his life with the MacDonald family in Banff. Just remember son, don’t get too use to that way of life, if you want to go swimming when you get home, there’s a wee loch just down the road…
If Polaris could make buggies, as in baby buggies, not golfing buggies, I would be more than willing to test it for them. It may be a niche market but I think there are enough babies in agriculture who would benefit.
And yes, I nicked the picture from a family photo. Why? It has cows, that’s why. And, they’re a good quality bunch down there (the relatives with the business that is, I have no idea about the cows). So, want a Polaris? Just go visit them at Facebook: Wm WM Rose & Sons Ltd or www.wmrose.co.uk
After the crofter gave the cows a bale before going to work I was pleasantly surprised at how long it was lasting. Upon closer inspection I discovered the ring feeder had been pushed up against the fence…and the electric wire. Nothing like electrical currents putting you off your dinner. However, it didn’t take them long to head back to the feeder once I managed to push it back.
Meet the meat! Our cattle have returned and would like a new home.
Both beasts were matured to just under 30 months, all meat is vacuum packed. Cuts include:
Steaks: Ribeye, Fillet, Sirloin, Rump, Round.
Roasts: Topside, Silverside, Salmon cut, Brisket, Pot roast.
Diced, burgers, sausages, minced.