Thursday, December 8, 2011

Around the croft


John is away on a cattle related course this week -so James and I are running the show. My goodness, I hadn't realised just how many chores that man does in a single morning.  Just as well is doesn't get light until around 9.15 am just now, and the livestock tend to stay indoors until then.


The hens are always waiting on the doorstep.  There are no foxes on the Island, so they are rarely shut in at night.  They have already had their breakfast, but they still fancy trying whatever the pigs are having. These ladies are not laying at all just now, due to the low light levels, but hopefully they will pick up again after the turn of the year. I miss the eggs a lot.  I think we will be adding a few extra to our flock soon too.


The pigs begin to squeal incessantly when they hear me rattling about at the feed bins.  They come right up to the fence like eager puppies and I have to throw little tidbits to them so that I can climb over without getting knocked over. They are churning up the ground very nicely, ready for my raised bed plan in the Spring.


Then it is down to the croft to see the cows.  There is still some grass in the fields for them to eat, but the snow has covered most of it, so they get a feed of the hay we made in the Summer.  They certainly seem to enjoy it - pulling out huge mouthfuls of the sweet smelling grasses. The cows are usually outside, but they have a little shelter which they are using more and more in this cold weather, so I give them some hay wherever they are and then go and put some fresh straw on the floor of their hut.



The snow is quickly melting in the mild weather today, leaving lots of churned up mud, difficult to walk through without sinking up to the top of my boots.  We are finding out just where we need to put some hard standing for next year.  This learning curve just keeps going up!


But I manage to squelch my way over to the growing shed and peer through the roof space.  The door is well barricaded to keep the cows out.  I am delighted to see the garlic poking it's green shoots out of the black earth. The spinach seems to have suffered a bit with the cold and snow, but it might come back again.



The sheep are in with our neighbour's flock right now, hopefully enjoying the ardent attentions of the ram.  They are kept with him for 2 cycles, just to be sure...  



Then back home - lunch, a bit of housework and then time to feed those piggies again as the sun sets at around 3 .15 pm. Make sure there is enough feed in the bins for the next morning, bring in the peats and kindling for the fire -


and sit down and have a wee coffee before starting fires and dinner and evening chores. The day just passes in a flash - just over 6 hours of daylight at the moment, but only a couple of weeks until the solstice.
xxx

31 comments:

  1. :) What an amazing life you are living. :)

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  2. Such pretty piggies! It all sounds like hard work but such joyful, rewarding hard work.

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  3. Beautiful ... and gosh how those pigs have grown!

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  4. There not little piggies any more are they! And that is a lot to cram into 6 hours. Hope you manage to get a bit of time to relax in front of your lovely peat fire.

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  5. Thank you for sharing your day... beautiful pictures! (so envious of the 'no foxes' bit)

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  6. Thanks for this glimpse into your routine. It must be so nice to have your "extended family" of animals. I hope your husband is enjoying his week, and that you will have a chance to put your feet up for a bit when he gets back.

    As I read through your post I too was thinking - only two weeks til the shortest day!

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  7. this sounds like such a perfect day.

    i'll have to remember your six hours of daylight when i'm grumpy about our eight or nine....;)

    to be truthful, though...i love the darkening days....

    xo

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  8. To us outsiders your life seems so idyllic. But, I`m sure it`s pretty hard work for you, most days. Enjoy your few moments of rest, whenever you can catch them.
    Will be thinking of you at Christmas.

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  9. wow busy busy, I was thinking of you early this morning as we have heard of hard weather conditions, hope you and your family are all well.x x x

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  10. Just 6 hours! But you make the best of every minute!! What a busy, busy life--but how fulfilling (mud and all!!!) I can just see you out in the mud--with your camera!!! Thanks for sharing your day with us.

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  11. Lovely photographs - oh how they bring back memories of our years in the Western Isles, although we didn't have any pigs on the croft! Thank you!

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  12. I really enjoy reading about life on the croft. Thank you.

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  13. I love all the photos of the animals, they look so relaxing :)

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  14. Only six hours of daylight? Wow! I didn't realize there was such a difference.
    I miss when my guy's are away and all the chores fall to me! Yes, these men of ours do a lot!
    I loved the tour around your place, it really is a lovely spot.
    I wish my chickens could roam free,but we just saw a coyote trying to sneak in the backway..tsk,tsk.
    Enjoy your coffee.

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  15. Those piggies are getting big! Glad you aren't having to chase them anymore and that they are earning their keep. Solstice is just around the corner with the return of the light. Not many hours for all the chores is right

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  16. That's a good patch of glaur you have in your field!
    A hardworking day, but it sounds more attractive than mine sitting in an office all day.

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  17. Dear Barefoot Crofter, I love you! :) ~B

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  18. Oh, that mud looks cooolllddd!!! Beautiful, atmospheric photos as always and I bet, come the end of the day, you are warm and cosy in front of your fire which is the best part of this season I think.

    I'm looking forward to solstice this year, I badly want to see the sun again as my days feel very short lately. Your photos always make me feel nice and cosy though. xxxxxxx

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  19. Agreed on the anti-mud hard standing. Where does all this mud come from?

    Thinking about you up there in the wind. Hope you're ok.

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  20. Lovely post and photos Jacqui. I see Chris wrote you have wind, so I will add my good and safe wishes to his!
    meggs.xx

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  21. A bit like Lilian Beckwith's The Hills Is Lonely! Your hens look great, and the belted Galloways, I think, look so healthy.

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  22. I'm in total admiration for all you do... don't know how you manage with so little daylight. I guess the trade off is fantastic scenery.

    sending much love San xx

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  23. Hope you're all safe after the storm and that John can get home without incident.

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  24. Thank you every one - it is pretty amazing indeed, and I am so grateful for the chance to live this way. hard work too but in such a good way.
    Erm - who said anything about pigs not escaping any more....?
    All safe after the storm, hopefully John will get home tonight. xxx

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  25. Lots of hard work there! You are very blessed to have no foxes on the island. We are surrounded by them, as well as wildcats and buzzards. Hens wouldn't stand a chance here, which is a shame as I'd love a clutch of them.

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  26. Thanks. Sometimes I feel a little overwhelmed with my farming chores - it's very nice to read about your completing yours with such grace.

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  27. busy busy!!
    keep safe in this wind

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  28. You make it sound romantic BUT it is hard slog! All that mud makes it twice as hard. Have a lovely imaginary, mug of coffee with me in hot north eastern Australia.

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  29. i admire your heartiness and willing spirit to get out there and accomplish all that in a day. i enjoy seeing your animals and learning a bit more about how it would be to live on a croft. (i always have a chuckle when i get to your blog and i see your festive toes ... your top panel of pictures is very reflective of this season).

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  30. i love visiting your place through your photos. Looks so beautiful. How lovely that your chickens can run free all the time. x

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  31. you are living my dream! so peaceful and lots of hard but meaningful work each day. I can not imaging having so little sun though. My 2 chickens are still laying, although sometimes only one of them will lay.

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