Wellymance

How does the Crofting Wifie spend a day with the Crofter while Mini Crofter Free? Take the livestock trailer to Dingwall Mart for the Rare breed sale to go shopping. Not poultry shopping, that’s a walk in, walk out situation at the moment for me (pregnancy can heighten nose sensitivity and for whatever reason for me, the chickens have been an avoid or baulk situation).

No, we were looking for sheep. I had been looking into different breeds to see what was suitable for our terroir and environment as well as what might suit as a dual purpose breed (wool and meat, not just one). So Jacob and Shetland were on my list. Not for breeding, just to trial how the two of us get on on the croft. Which led to a problem. I wanted wedders to ensure I had no risk of lambing. And what was mostly at the sale? Ram lambs. Uncastrated males. Now, I can see leaving some whole if they show good breed potential. But this limited our buying options (note to all rare breed owners, expect more for your money on wedders than ram lambs, it doesn’t cost much to ring your boys, well, the boys in the field…).

So our shopping trip got us a few of both breeds. Some do look remarkably similar to our neighbours’ zwartbles, just a smaller version (one way to agitate them, make them think you’re copying them or about to start active competition!). Which we’re not, and I’m sure they will have seen the size of our new ones to know that wouldn’t be the case.

The new sheep have been kept separate to ensure they are all healthy before joining our currant sheep. Today they all got a wee check up and pedicure if required. Easy enough to get them in with a bucket. Small enough to man handle. Well behaved Mini Crofter on the shed step so I can still see him. But, bending over to check and trim sheep feet doesn’t take too long before you remember you have a Micro Crofter yet to be born and bending over for a length of time is a) uncomfortable and b) creates heartburn. So the task had to be handed over to the Crofter while the Mini Crofter was taught about ‘purple spray’, the just-in-case medicinal spray of a bad foot. Not sure what other parents teach toddlers but he was getting the hang of holding it and passing it if required (aye son, you could be a theatre nurse too). But at least he’s learning to work together.

Wellymance, that quality time spent together, whether at the mart or holding onto sheep, where wellies are required. Which, before you get the wrong impression, I have a strong dislike of words getting combined: Brexit, cockerpoo (aka a cross breed). However, feel like I’m out of the loop if I don’t come up with my own so there’s my crofting version. I’m just off to find a hot water bottle for my back muscles though…

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