All you need is…

Coffee (no idea who sang the song, but I think they made a mistake with the lyrics, it should have read coffee).

Good day on the croft? Coffee

Bad day? Coffee

Well rested night (fat chance, but I can dream in the short spaced window of sleep)? Coffee

Normal night’s sleep? Still coffee

Stressed? Coffee

Inspired? Coffee

Yes, I go through a fair amount of coffee. Shame we can’t grow our own considering crofting, cows, and children all seriously increased my coffee drinking. Last week was no exception.

So my well organised plan of getting most things sorted (after getting the news that the Crofter wouldn’t be home for another week), didn’t quite follow suit.

Sunday I had to quickly separate out an unwell cow from the byre.

Monday I was phoning the vet for advise.

Tuesday I was getting electric fencing up to provide a section if I needed to get her in quickly. And the livestock trailer was sorted for an emergency trip.

Wednesday she made a turn (did she hear me discussing the abottoir with the vet or was it that she remembered my threat at calving time that one more problem and she would be mince).

Thursday, well, she was better than she was but was still not sure what is or was wrong. She had by that point started making noises for her calf (don’t get too sympathetic, he’s 9 months old and nearly the same size as her and all mum’s deserve a break from feeding two). Which means she was definitely better if she now wanted him back, but that had stopped her resting and recuperating properly. Thankfully it didn’t last long.

Now, most organising had to be done over Micro Crofter’s lunchtime nap. However, if I had needed to take her to Grantown. I would have had to have been there for 9am. The Mini Crofter is soon to start nursery. Which starts at 8.45am. What am I going to do if it happens on a nursery day (Yes, Ms/Mr School Office Person; Mini C will be late, as we have to drop a cow off at the slaughterhouse…). In this day and age I wonder if I would be more in trouble for going to the abottoir than my son being late or missing school, but let’s not ponder that now. We’ll cross that livestock trailer when we get to it.

(NB, the tractor is never left running with him in it!).

Best laid schemes o’mice an’ men…

Yes, but that is where I then disagree with Mr Burns. For from there, he wrote ‘gang aft agley’. But who am I to beg to disagree with the honourable poet?

Now poetry is not my thing (surprise, surprise). It doesn’t help put food on the table, keep the tractor working or ensure the cows are happy bundles of joy. It doesn’t help find the keys I lost. I don’t understand why someone has to write four lines of words when they could say the same thing in four words. But I’m not here to get a backlash from all the haggis eaters on Burns Night. At least the man did identify that the best laid plans do often go to pot though.

The Crofter was initially due home yesterday. On Wednesday I got the heads up that my little mental count down for holding the fort which was down go two, had to go back up to 9 days. And with that news, sudden emergency prioritising planning was needed.

Now, an extra week is not necessarily the issue. Two Wee Crofters, 11 cows and a dog is all I have responsibility for at the moment. The sudden issue was the weather forecast. Juggling boys and cows has been getting slightly easier recently. What hasn’t been easy is dealing with what the weather has been throwing at us. No nine foot deep blizzards, sand storms or needing an ark. It’s the mild, blustery, near gale force winds, intermittent with colder, lighter breezes but having a very thin layer of ice, that has been making feeding the cows a precision act.

I get my forecasts from the Carrbridge Weather Man and so can often look like a serious curtain twitcher when checking for updates. The reason is this. To put hay into the cows, we have to open the top door. Which is quite big and at a height more attuned to doing pull ups; which makes it look like I would be better suited with a qualification as a trapeze artist and stunt woman on blustery days.

And the byre isn’t the only thing weather dependent. As Gilly and her calf are outside, they too need hay. Except if the weather turned wintery, the tractor doesn’t cope too well (and pulling tractors out is really a two person thing which I don’t have, so I try and avoid the potential misshape).

So with the news of needing to prepare for another week, all of the cows have been slowly getting sorted before the forecasted weather change. Yes, sorting cows would take half a day if I didn’t have two wee ‘uns. But with a near three year old, we can suddenly be delayed because of the wrong socks. With a one year old, naps govern how long the workload is. Half a day’s work has to take three. But at least from yesterday, all cows are sorted for the next several days. Extra supplies have been given.

So may the wind lash, the heaven’s open and the snow fall (as you would expect in winter). Let’s go raise a toast to the haggis singing bard.