Christmas trees and tinsel (and their crofting equivalents)

While the festive season comes to a close, the tune ‘O Christmas Tree’  comes to mind while gazing at the back of our pick-up. Although our ‘plastic’ tree is red and decorated with green ratchet straps rather than tinsel, I can say ours came about as of necessity and not any cultural pressure.

A wee trip into church today turned into a white knuckle ride on the first mile and a half to reach the council road as control of the vehicle was lost at two points as it slid towards the ditch (don’t think little gutter at the side of the road but more of the drop at Niagra Falls). A ditch where the neighbour’s tractor spent several weeks after being taken too close for the view (to be fair, he was ploughing snow at the time which makes it very hard to judge edges when everything is under two feet of snow). I however, could visibly see the drop to the flowing water below as the pick-up cozied up to the edge and decided that the snow chains were a must to make the trip home. Snow chains that I have never used nor have I ever seen snow chains on a vehicle.

Upon reaching church, talent scouting was in order and with the help of two of the men, had seen the task completed. However, one of the men (another Crofter) pointed out that Icould improve it further by putting weight in the back. After swinging by his place and securing in six sheep energy buckets, off we head home with our festive green and red in the back (we being the Mini Crofter, his Aunt and myself…the Crofter is as usual away).E7C5B9B7-51D3-4872-9B8B-9E021E37BD86

At the end of the road out came the tinsel chains (whoever makes snow chains must have a sense of humour making the inner connectors red and green). While putting them on I did mutter that no car better come down the road in summer tyres with all the effort we were doing. And yes, I was in a dress and boots, but leather brown boots are easy swapped and any clothing can be worn with waterproof trousers.

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So, the ride home was more of a slow cruise than a white knuckle ride. I finally have some festive decorations that I will take down/return once the ice clears and I will continue always throwing in my wellies and waterproofs on a trip regardless of where I’m going.

Now, how many uses can I make out of an energy bucket in 2018?

Crofting Tiger Mum

Thought Tiger Mums were over ambitious? Just wait till you meet the Crofting Mum, similar but not in the same category as the aspiring Beethoven/Genius type.

That’s right, it’s December and Mini Crofter has been put into a t-shirt to help toughen him up for the Crofter coming home and turning off the heat.

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While he shows potential in bouldering and climbing overhangs from the age of 10 months, his mother puts down no crash mats (life can be painful boy, learn it young) and makes him do it in tights (hey, if you’re the next Billy Elliot you’ll need to learn to pirouette in tights). Now, at what age can he be given the responsibility of checking the coolant and emptying radiators in tractors…?

He is picking up the basics of foraging (rice cakes from the floor are obviously tastier than the table varieties and are much more edible than the hay or chicken muck Mum traipsed in).

No, my ambition is not that he climbs Everest, just does he have the potential for crofting (sometimes seem very similar although I have no Serpa and I have no champagne bottle to enjoy at the end of the day).

Ahh, the poor boy; rural, over ambitious mother! If only he had a TV or a mother who could score a point on Radio 2’s Pop Master…

(N.B., I do realise that most people have already figured out my sense of humour although I now anticipate Social Workers at my door tomorrow, which is fine, I’d like to shift the calves and sheep to the rough field and could do with a hand. If anyone would like to report me can you tell them to pitch up with wellies…?

Wrapping

While other people wrap up presents at this time of year, what am I wrapping? A Massey Ferguson 565!

Not because it’s a present but to make sure the cold weather tonight doesn’t damage the engine!?! Oh why was the coolant not checked…???
On a side note, it’s very hard wrapping tractors with a 10 month old in a sling. Just in case that info was of use to the average Josie Bloggs…Good to learn from your own crofting mistakes. Better yet to learn from other crofters.

Working in a winter wonderland

As the gentle flakes begin to fall, the mini crofter snoozing quietly on the decking, the gentle mooing from the byre, the rising smoke on a cold morning…and with the black smoke from the tractor comes the smell of burning rubber as I jump ship before getting and hay to the cows.

So the tractor is abandoned to look all Christmassy in the snow. The thought of heaving wee bales isn’t so bad compared to sitting in a smoking tractor (hopefully it is just a fever and not a cardiac arrest in motor terms).

Being a crofting wifie means being an expert in many things. Basics in tractors yes, smoking tractors no, I leave that job to the Crofter. Three days till he is due home. It’s going to be a long three days. Until then it will be tossing wee bales.

Storms

Has the Crofting Wifie turned into the Really Hardy Wifie or was today’s storm scaled down to ‘a wee breeze from the West with a dusting of snow’? After looking at several weather forecasts I was prepared for power cuts and saying goodbye to anything I had not fastened down. Well, maybe not goodbye, but a ‘we shall meet again’ as it usually ends up down at our closest neighbours…

So while the storm that has been named meandered about and the mini crofter took his usual nap outside (no ratchet straps required today for the buggy), I decided to make use of the time while the weather ‘wasnae bad’ and worked out in the chicken pen (aka swomp). This involved a mallet and putting in several new open drains to try and improve one area of it for although the ducks love it, the chickens have never showed any ability of evolving into water creatures. The chicken pen is only there to provide a refuge for the poultry from sheep and cows. That’s right, we take bullying seriously and although fenced, it’s the equivalent of having an island in the Carribean all to yourself and 12 other birds, although no beach, little sun, a wee bit less heat, but you do get personalised storms.

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