This Farming Life!

Date posted: Tuesday, 14th November 2017

Winter approaching fast!

The days are certainly much shorter now, with darkness closing in before 4pm. Yesterday, 13th November, was a very cold, snowy day, identical to the same date 2 years ago. The hills had more than a dusting of the white stuff, but only the high ones are white today.

 3 years ago today was a terrible day of rain after an already wet autumn, with rivers running high taking bridges away and flooding large area. Today couldn't be more different - a lovely, slightly chilly day with sunny spells, hope this continues for a while.

All the cattle are now housed for the winter, the last to come in this week were the in-calf heifers, due to calve around Christmas time. The cows are enjoying their dry bed of straw instead of the muddy fields they have been in lately. They should begin to calve just into the new year. When they were being blood tested 2 weeks ago they were scanned at the same time so that they are now in batches with similar calving dates. This year's spring calves have settled well into their winter and looking well.

We have entered 2 bullocks for the Winter Fair carcase competition in Stirling this week. They will go through tomorrow to be judged live then taken to be slaughtered and the carcases judged at the end of the week. The exhibitors are invited to lunch on Saturday before the prizegiving in the afternoon. There is also a strong sheep section and a chance to meet up with friends and like-minded people.

Next show will be the Christmas Classic at Thainstone Mart in 2 weeks time when we have 2 Limousin bulls entered. It is always a good day with a great show of livestock, so hope the bulls sell.

I mentioned the geese in the last blog - there are thousands of them now, every day, looking for good grazing. I hear other farmers having the same problem, getting worse year on year.  The winter crops will take a battering with them and of course the hares and deer. We have put out detterants so hopefully they will keep them on the move for a while.

Willie and Peter have been in demolishing mode this week to make way for the new. The very old wooden shed, 60 plus years old, had had a face lift 30 plus years ago cladding it with corrugated iron sheets and had been painted to match the other sheds many times.  The corrugated iron sheets are now neatly stacked on pallets waiting for the next use, and the old timber will certainly keep the home fires burning for a long time. The empty space looks much bigger but will soon look different again once the new contruction begins - more on this to come over the winter!

My birdie intruder was up to it's tricks again, marking it's territory, so to speak, but I think I have got the better of it simply by keeping windows tight shut! The squirrels in Caddam Wood have been very active lately, busy preparing for their winter. Annie the border terrier can't understand where the squirrels disappear to when she chases them, and they watch from above! We are so lucky to have only red squirrels here and plenty of them.

Sunday was, of course, Armistice Day, and as usual our service of remembrance and laying of wreaths was held at the war memorial. For the first time that I know of, it was a lay person that took the service, Major Ronnie Procter, Provost of Angus. It is always a time of  quiet reflection,  when reading the names of the young men who left our lovely glens , never to return.