Saturday, 30 January 2010



It snowed - again. Its snowing now as it happens. But still life of the crofter goes on. Biker Crofter was out feeding the ducks and chickens while Crofter imself took the silage to the coows - Tinga, Hyacinth and ... and ... the other one. The island is lovely in this sort of snow - all fresh and bright white. The snow came over in waves and it was awfully cold and getting right through our clothing due to the brisk breeze. The coows are not too keen on this sort of weather but happier than some of the chickens as it happens.

Friday, 29 January 2010


Bad dude Biker Dad Crofter braves more snow and the cowpoo
Crofter becomes overwhelmed by tiredness and the aroma in the cow byre
I find The Crofter

The aroma reached me early in the day. Well, fairly early since I'd been in the darkroom, had a visit from another photographer and looked out on the falling snow before I ventured off down t'road. Then it hit me. That distinctive smell of cow poo stirred up by Crofter and Dad crofter clearing out the cow byre again. I found Mum Crofter hiding in the lounge resting her eyes and no doubt her nose as well. I was tempted to join her but, since I have wanted to snap The Workers, I had to brave the smell. I found Crofter sitting amid the 'stuff' having run out of energy temporarily and sheltering from the hail that was coming out of a sunshine lit sky. "Hello" I said, as you do. "Where's your shovel" came the reply, a reply that I conveniently didn't hear and commenced my snapping.
The snow started to fall again, the smell was getting to me and luckily I ran out of film, ran out of the croft and ran home. I bathed myself in Issey Miyake, drank four cups of camomile tea , meditated and got back to normal. I think.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010


"Ere, what sort of sheeps are you then"
Hyacinth gets her breakfast. I stay out of the way since the head-butting bull is in there too.

The Crofter is well. Or, well-ish I think. At least he smiled today. And didn't cough all over Hyacinth while giving her breakfast. That's must be a good sign and Hyacinth seemed pretty pleased about that too.
Dad crofter wandered up to the old village dairy today before the demolition commences so he could salvage some stock fencing that in all likelyhood would have got trashed. The dis-builders were already there but Dad Crofter gave them the eye and they let him get the stuff out. Or attempt to.
It doesn't suprise me that Dad Crofter gets his way. He used to be a biker. You know the sort, all black leather with fringes flaying off the arms, boots with metals bits, skull and crossbones on the back of the jacket and an over preponderance of oil. And his last steed was a Triumph Trophy - "that's the American model" he told me with a glint in his eye and a dreamy look as no doubt he recalled the days dispensing cheer and fear in equal measure around the lanes of Yorkshire. No doubt the American model was the one that worked - properly; without dropping oil everywhere it went and in a straight line and everything.
Its all back to normal down Crofters way which please me greatly.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010


The Crofter and I are indisposed due to the lurgy.

Full service to be restored soon.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Friday, 15 January 2010


The Crofter is better. His flu has subsided and he is smiling again. A bit.

Down at The Croft it was all go this morning even though the rain was intermittently lashing down, the snow having gone and the ground having turned into mud. Mr Crofter had already mixed up the feed when I got there. We whinged at each other. Dad crofter came in and whinged too a little bit - with a smile on his face - as he usually has.

The rain stopped and we all ventured out. Dad first feeding the ducks and turkeys in the garden and then off down the muddy croft to get more chickens and more ducks their breakfast . I didn't follow having been caught out before with the quagmire ground threatening to eat my wellie leaving me hopping around on one boot . Of course the Crofters have special wellies. They are yellow. Very fashionable round these parts.

Crofter man wanders off with his WheelLewis. An interesting contraption specially concocted to bring bales of silage in for the coows. Although at this point the coows - or at least one of the coows, the small male one since you ask, wagged his head severely and then fiented a charge sending me quickly dodging back across the garden, ducks and turkeys scattering hither and thither. It was, I might add, a moment that sent my heart thumping a tad. I know the coow was in the byre and I know there was a heavy metal feeding metal thing between us, but that's just not the point.

Dad crofter, back from the ducks and chickens down t'croft, conducted an interview with said coow and noting his feelings [apparently, I had strayed into his personal space] and decided against a disciplinary. I went home to half a bottle of vintage NightNurse.

Sunday, 10 January 2010


Querty; I mentioned him the other day having got into trouble. The trouble he got into was a fine battle out on the moor field after we had taken half the flock to join the other thirty thus putting two rams in the same field with the ewes and lambs.
Apparently, these big boys are ok together if, or shall I more accurately say, sometimes OK if the ewes are not in season, pregnant or the boys just too knackered after 'covering' the ewes. Now, while most of the ewes are pregnant and the lambs not in season yet, Querty and Big Boy seemed to sense there was something worth fighting for. Firstly Querty dug his big curly horns into BigBoys rump and then they squared up. A few paces back and a charge, heads crashing together with such a thump. Nothing sorted so they backed off more and charged. Then again the same getting further apart to run up with more force - eventually to about 50meters apart when charged full pelt at each other with Crofter, Mum & Dad and I holding our breath till they crashed together like dwarf stags, Big Boy falling down into a ditch with Querty thumping him and keeping him down. It was all a bit dramatic and frightening for me and we were wondering whether we would be taking an injured ram back across the moor to the croft that evening. The Crofter hopped over the fence and set off to see in BigBoy was ok. But before he got there BigBoy was up albeit a tad shakily and trying to keep out of Querty's way. Of course The Crofter gave them both a stern talking to before we left them to it.
I might add they were both fine in the morning with no physical damage discernible although BigBoy's pride was most obviously dented.

Friday, 8 January 2010


Sadly Young sore-lips passed away peacefully yesterday. The cold and his ailments finally got the better of him and we are all sad.
Sore-lips 2009-2010.

Thursday, 7 January 2010


Mum and Dad Crofter prepare for the moor.
Mum Crofter feeding the sheeps with North Tolsta in the background.

I'll have you know it was not just Mr Crofter and my goodself who battled out over t'moor to feed sheeps but Mum & Dad Crofter too. In fact, while Mr Crofter drove skillfully over the frozen wastes of the peat-track with me hanging on to my cameras beside him, Mum & Dad walked up over the moor. That's how keen they are!
Dad guided Mr Crofter over the dodgy bits of the moor and then humped the bales in and out of the Land-Rover. I'm not sure how Mr Crofter would cope without them!

Wednesday, 6 January 2010


'Jensen' Crofter walking the track prior to driving it.
Young Sore-lips recuperating
Jensen Crofter on his way over the peat-tracks.

Querky is out of solitary but into trouble straight away.
It's been an eventive day one way and another. The morning started well in bright sunshine and a balmy 3C that made the place light up like a late Christmas tree. I eventually caught up with Mr Crofter after I had returned from a slippery drive into town for work purposes and find him cooing over this little four-legged fella who Mr Crofter had to carry back from an adjacent croft.

Life is not always easy when you are sheeps. Since the ground is frozen from weeks of hard frost and snow, the ungulate in question must have made his lips sore trying to prise some rough grass from the solid earth. Then it all became too painful so he stopped eating and sat down. And became weak. Mr Crofter, yes, the very same one who is still on the grazing committee, came along to give the half-flock some feed. "Ah ha", said Mr Crofter, for he had noticed the sheeps lying on the ground. He scooped him up and brought the grateful fella back to the croft lawn where he was treated to some extra-special food and a touch of lip-salve [or something]to get him back to health. Sheeps was soooo very grateful. We left him snuggling up in the chicken coop sheltering from another dose of snow.

The it was up onto the edge of the headland by some peat-cuttings to the other half of the flock. Mr Crofter was in ecstasy as he drove his Land-Rover up those icy tracks, rocking this way and that, smiling broadly with a load of sweet silage aboard. And weren't those little sheeps on the hill pleased to see him? Yes they were. Only some of them had not seen silage before and were not sure whether to lie on or eat it. They got the idea in the end though. Then the hail came. Again.

Monday, 4 January 2010


"Oie. Crofter man. I'm in here on my own and everything. Can't I have that lovely little Ewe in here too?"
"Ah, that's what it looks like outside".