Wednesday, 31 March 2010


Junior Spartacus II and mum Hyacinth
"Who is Spartacus?"
Moo, said the little calf. Which means 'me' in cow language.
Junior Spartacus II arrived early this morning and mother Hyacinth and calf are doing just fine. Even if The Crofter had to whip out smartish in the driving snow this morning to nail up some more protection for the little thing.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010


Hyacinth awaits
Beinn gets bored waiting for Clocks to finish gassing and heads off. Again.
Junior Diogenes II is doing well.

The cold spell sweeping the island at present has not cheered up Junior Diogenes II at all. He's not used to such conditions and is staying close to mum in the byre at present. Hyacinth, on the other hand has been venturing out a bit and it looks like she may produce her kidlings in the next day or two. Herdsman Clocks and the The Great Beinn call by from time to time to check progress and to impart any helpful advice required.

weather; very cold and breezy

Thursday, 25 March 2010


Junior Diogenes II
He’s a boy, He’s a boy
And he looks lovely.
Takes after his mother really although he has his dad's ears. When I mean his dad, I mean the bull - not the crofter. Although now you mention it........

He is named; Junior Diogenes II. Actually, I put the Diogenes bit in myself since I feel it suits him.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010


This might be Tinga. Or not!
Tinga is a mum!
I am pleased to announce the birth of a calf to Tinga this afternoon. Mum and calf are doing well - although Mr Crofter isn't too keen on finding out what flavour the calf is since Tinga is being somewhat protective and Mr Crofter doesn't want to lose his vitals ! Should have more info in the morn.
No idea what the calf is going to be called. Any suggestions?

Monday, 22 March 2010


"What next?"

The calfs have not appeared yet and it seems the mothers-to-be are content to wait a little, sitting in the newly straw-ed byre taking sun and whatever feed The Crofter sees fit to give - which isn't a great deal at the moment I'm informed. And for a very good reason - for the benefit of the coows health.
Meanwhile Mr Crofter waits and makes teeth to pay for the new animals to be and to keep people happy with new-found smiles. Mr Crofter is great at that job too [I know; I suffered in that profession for 20 years] - and sold his dental laboratory in England to pay for the croft here.

Oh, and the dumper's brakes are almost fixed. A new brake drum and pipes have been attached by Dad and The Crofter and Tuesday may well see brake fluid bled through the system. Who knows? It may all be working again with much singing and dancing about no doubt.

weather; nice turning wet

Saturday, 20 March 2010


The Crofter

I'm not long back from a walk on the road to/from nowhere where I bumped into our councillor Mr Maciver who was collecting his sheep ready for lambing. Walked all the way from Ness too. I was most impressed. I like Mr Maciver I must say - using shanks' pony instead of a quad is a definite plus in my books.

Then The Crofter popped in for a cup of tea and a perusing of the pictures I've been taking over the past few weeks and have been appearing on here - along with some pseudo-information. No doubt I will be taking snaps again as the coows calf the sheeps lamb and the veg wilt.
The sun is shining but Mr Crofter has not done the brakes on the dumper - although the parts are off the thing and awaiting pipes so that it all can be put together again.

weather; Lovely.

Please feel free to leave comments on this blog. They are all read.

Friday, 19 March 2010


The dumper truck still has not brakes but, they are now on the mend. Mr Crofter worked hard in the cold wind that is affecting the island at the moment.
I might add here that Mr Crofter was made chairman of the village shop committee last night. Eh? How did that happen?

Thursday, 18 March 2010


The Tired Crofter - darkroom print. Eh!

The Crofter is knackered. What with the Hebridean sheeps now back on the croft prior to the lambing, the coows stalking around waiting for their imminent days of calving, the chickens and ducks proudly enjoying their new homes and the turkey hassling everyone who comes within humping distance of him, The Crofter is running out of steam. And not helped by today's dismantling of the brakes [or what purported to be brakes ] on the croft's dumper truck. So efficient had the brakes been that it didn't seem to matter that one of the brake pipes had been broken off and all the fluid drained away. I had been wondering why Dad Crofter pulled faces when driving the thing.

And now, at the local village meeting this evening, The Crofter, he of the North Tolsta Grazing Committee has been elected onto the Village Shop Committee where no doubt he will insist on them stocking sheep nuts, dumper truck spares or something.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010


The site of the former peat pile. [born and bred villagers do peat stacks -delicately stacked with straight sides and herringbone patterns. Incomers just chuck em down in a pile ! ]
Guinea Pigs. I think they are 'Jemima' and 'Lord Nelson'.

Wandering down to The Crofter's abode this morning I was struck by the question of why Mr Crofter Sir, he of the North Tolsta Grazings Committee, keeps Guinea Pigs. Lots of them. Well, lots of them now anyway. They are after all his most prolific breeders - whether he likes it or not; why he does he not eat them? The chickens, ducks, sheeps, carrots and cows all go that way. And they do eat guinea pigs elsewhere. I've seen them myself for sale for meat in Bolivian markets. I did suggest the notion to Mr Crofter but I was met with a stony wall of silence - which I think means - "shut up" - or words to that effect.

The peat pile is getting a bit low. Well, the winter has been cold and Mum Crofter does like her son's house to be warm for him. My pal William from another part of the island has already been out cutting the turf so that, when the dryer weather arrives it will be easier to lift the turf off and begin the peat cutting. Mr Crofter does his rather later than most. Although that may change this year if he is to stay warm and get the oven warmed up for a bit of cooking. Guinea Pig scratchings anyone?

weather; dampish

Sunday, 14 March 2010


This morning
Happy Birthday Mr Crofter, Happy Birthday to you.

Friday, 12 March 2010


With the weather getting warmer, its about time Mr Crofter got on with his planting of seeds and the like. So, after a fine evening last night, the seeds were extracted from the files, the fibre pots located and filled with dirt stuff.
It's a lovely time of year, enhanced by the warm sun streaming through the window, when all is possible. I have a similar notion with loading film into a camera - you never know when you might snap a masterpiece and trap a bit of history onto the emulsion.
Anyway, Mr Crofter, still the only Englishman on the North Tolsta Grazing committee, planted cabbages by the gazillion, peas and beans and popped them into the poly-tunnel with an air of positive expectation for the summer ahead.


There it is; the gate all nicely installed part-way up/down the croft. The fence is just about to be put up too - and I can report it is now fully functional and the sheeps are looking at it with disdain. As they do.

Thursday, 11 March 2010


The 'caber' is removed from its previous growing spot.

I'm not sure Mr Crofter has quite grasped Highland Games protocol. I noticed his total mishandling of the caber the other day [emphasis on 'a' -say "ahh"- in cabar ]. I didn't even know he was in training for the Lewis Highland Games as it happens.
Anyway, Mr Crofter has his birthday early next week so I kept my council as he manhandled this caber up the croft and planted it in the ground - without any fertilizer either - but with stones. He must know what he is doing I suppose. It was moved from towards the bottom of the croft where it had been holding up a gate to where its needed to keep the coows from trashing the bottom field as well as the top one with their hoofs. The lovely leetle lambletts when they arrive will populate the bottom field with their mums.
Weather; damp.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010


It's that time of year when Mr Crofter can get a few jobs done round the croft just before the lambs start arriving and Piggy comes home. There's plenty to do as well - what with the new hen-house, relocating the pig-home, watching the footie and putting the equipment back together after the ravages of the winter.
The tipper has been moved! Took a few goes to get her fired up and moved with the tipper part full of rain water too. I did suggest moving the ducks to that area, burying the tipper so the ducks would have a better pond, but that didn't go down so well.

Sunday, 7 March 2010


Its a family affair.


As I noted earlier, the hen-homes have been rebuilt thanks to a consolidated effort by the Crofters. Mum directing affairs, Dad doing as he is told and Mr Crofter thinking he is directing affirs. And, the job got done and all looks spick and span.

Meanwhile, in between running all over the place, drinking mugs of tea, pulling one's foot out of the mud and making teeth, two chickens have been dispatched and await Dad crofter to 'sort them out' - what ever that means. I didn't stop to find out.

Thursday, 4 March 2010


Mr Crofter surveying the wrinkled iron

Pullus reps consult

The new homes and contented occupant

Oh deari me; at least the view is nice.

Pullus, the union of all good chickens had been gathering and discussing housing issues recently. The late Junior - the ex-bullock - had, in his yoof, been a rampaging oaf at times causing havoc among the superbly designed neo-le Corbusier chicken houses at the bottom of the croft. Fences had been leant on, roofs had been over-licked causing rain and snow to enter if the wind was in the wrong direction. There was nothing for it and a point had to be made to Mr Crofter. Laying was stopped and it wasn't too long before Mr Crofter got the point - no boiled egg for breaki just didn't seem right.

So, Mr Crofter and Dad Crofter rummaged around in the red van/shed and found a few sheets of wrinkled iron [or whatever its called], collected a few metres of wood and in no time the new chicken homes were springing up on the croft - wind proof, water-proof, cow-proof and with a fantastic view across the Minch.
Amazing what a bit of Union power can do.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010


The posts may have been a tad slow of late as I'm not quite back in the swing of things since my England trip and now looking after dogs for a day or two.

Rest assured, Mr Crofter is doing fine - as are Dad & Mum Crofter.