Thursday, 22 December 2011


 The Crofter sits out of the rain [and tries to smile ]

 Sue looks out at the rain

David is still smiling, despite the rain

I took myself off down to The Crofter this morning - getting wet in the process. It's raining here somewhat. Has been for days. 

Mum Crofter [aka Sue] was doing things in the kitchen and gazing out of the window while Dad Crofter [aka David] waited for me to take his picture in the feed room. Meanwhile Mr Grumpy [aka The Crofter Paul] sat on his temporary throne, forced a smile and asked me to hurry up. I did.

Tis been a fine year at The Croft, and The Crofter and parents would like to wish everyone who reads this a very happy Christmas and a wonderful 2012. [and also mention they have a spare turkey oven ready if anyone wants a really fresh one ! ]

Thursday, 15 December 2011


You don't have to go to Spain to see people dancing with bulls. Up here in North Tolsta on a particularly wet and windy day, The Crofter decided it was time to move the four coows from over there [pointing just behind my head] to down there. 'There' in this case being his croft. The coows were not too keen on the move - especially the bit then they had to walk down t'road. The bus coming past didn't help, neither did the dustbin lorry. Mr Crofter Sir was getting a tad anxious as were the coows who retreated to the lower field.

It was a little later I heard the familiar rattle of The Crofter's tractor coming up the road. I put on my waterproofs and shot down the field to record the action. It seems the idea was to load the recalcitrant beasts into the big trailer and tow them home. First a holding pen had to constructed using hurdles and rope. The beasts lured in with a morsel of food and then trapped there before the layout of the pen changed to enable The Crofter to get the coows into the trailer. Two went in without too much hassle but Hyacinth had other ideas. She really was naughty, repeatedly flicking her horns at him in a  most un-lady-like manner and then charging The Crofter who fended her off with a hurdle and an over-confident 'Ole! or two. All the time Esme ran hither and thither creating more havoc. Eventually Esme had got rather pufffed out and retreated the relative warmth of the trailer while The Crofter, The Crofter's pater and I wrestled with Hyacinth, taking care not to lose and arm or an eye. We won in the end and the coows are now ensconced on the croft down t'road.

These are the snaps from this day.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011


 View from the Croft

 The Crofter comes back from feeding the coows

 .. then stops to shut the gate [as I'm taking a snap ! ]

All Orthodox for the winter.

I hardly recognised the chap. All booted and suited and looking like a lost Greek Orthodox priest on a quad out to see his flock - or something. It was cold. And it was snowing at the time. The coows needed some nosh as the snow covered their usual fare. So a roll of silage was quickly put into the trailer, attached the quad and taken to the other croft field. 

The Crofter had apparently adopted his winter plumage - which, as it happens I think really suits him. The snow has gone now replaced by wind and rain, and more rain. The croft fields are wet. Very wet. The Crofter spent one wet afternoon extracting his beloved Yangtze Maosetungson tractor from a deep wet hole in the field after the surface gave way tipping the thing at 45 degrees and almost swallowing it whole. A great deal of sweat and tears and not a few 'botherations' passed before Donald Four Tractors came to the rescue with one of many machines and towed The Crofter to hard ground. Such is the life of the North Tolsta Crofter.

With Christmas coming, plans were afoot to erect a huge inflatable Father Christmas on the roof. Only, Lewis Crofters didn't have one!

Please note; Island Crofter are nothing to do with this here blog - even though they purloined our title. No doubt they are a fine company all the same

Monday, 28 November 2011


Despite the inclement weather that's continuing seeminly endlessly at the moment, The Crofter still has his animals to keep in order. So that means a trudge up the road some days in the howling rain and wind to give some supplementary feed to his ever-hungry coows. I'm sure they appreciate his efforts

Monday, 21 November 2011


The Crofter makes his weary way home.


It's all about Esme; Esme was found lurking in the next door croft to the one she was meant to be in and I found The Crofter trying to coax her back through a gate to the right croft. Of course Esme was having none of it. I joined in the fun trying to help The Crofter to herd the beastess through the gate. After a while of running hither and thither, I decided to have a look to see where Esme had got through the fence. I toddled off to the bottom of the croft in question with The Crofter coming along too. Just as we arrived near the bottom field, the sound of galloping hooves caught us up and soon Esme was clambering back over the old drooping fence of her own accord. No doubt she had enough fun for the day. The Crofter and I dragged ouselves back up the croft making good the gate and going home exhausted.

Sunday, 13 November 2011


The Crofter

The Crofter has been a happy chappie of late - despite being on his own for two weeks while his parents were living it up in England. I shot this snap with new restored to health Kowa 6 [it's an old film camera is photography is not your thing :-) ] .

The guinea pigs now have new winter quarters after some fortuitous ferreting about in the village skip revealed a suitable donor piece of furniture.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Thursday, 3 November 2011


Late sunshine

Apologies for the overload of colour but I found The Crofter in unseasonably good fettle on my visit today. The sun was shining and a part-disassembled digger thing littered the 'lawn'. A couple of wary-looking turkeys appeared particularly shiny as they strutted about the place - pre-basted as it happens with escaped hydraulic oil that blasted uncontrollably from a hose when The Crofter undid the wrong thing. There seemed to be a lot of the oil everywhere now I think back! Still, The Crofter was happy.

Many thanks to Mr Windy for using his up-market scanning device for getting rid of the sheep-dip marks on the negs.

Thursday, 27 October 2011


 You see, the Chinese tractor does work!

Eh? Down the field and up. How's that for reliability?

Although it's hard to believe at the moment, the sun did shine earlier in the year. Can't remember exactly which day it was but I captured it on film. The Crofter and his Dad mowing the grass to feed to the cooows;

Monday, 17 October 2011



Mr Heath

Meet Mr Heath. AKA Teddy. The new ram actually may not be named Teddy but since The Crofter told me about him before i went on holiday I've clean forgotten. And if you think I'm popping off down the road to ask him again in this weather, you have got to be joking!

Teddy - or whoever he is, was on The Croft last year too meeting the lovely Hebridean girls and producing some right odd looking mongrels. The sheeps are bigger than before though - which may please The Crofter and the abattoir but less so their mums.

Thursday, 13 October 2011


 The Crofter is OK.

 Lucy is looking good [on one side]

CJ has been re-packed

Yes, yes, I haven't posted for a few days. Don't panic; The Crofter is doing just fine creating the usual havoc down on the Croft, moving piles of sh*te from here to there, building more hutches for the animals whilst all the time keeping the money coming by making teeth. Someone has to do it; I did it once for 20 years and that's enough for anyone!

Well, I've been on holiday, frying myself in Italy in the absurdly hot sun after a brief unwellness. That's my excuse for getting behind. I shall do my best to catch up soon. 

Wednesday, 21 September 2011


They've been busy. Busy doing this and that - making more chicken runs and everything. Before the bad weather apparently. Well, they are too late. It's horrible weather at the moment - even if I did catch a moment of sun as Dad Crofter lurched around passing bits of wood to the Crofter who was planning the next phase of hen-based housing.

Saturday, 27 August 2011


Midges Eh? Who invented them? Someone who is an arthropodologist [probably] and a nasty one at that. The little beasts are prone to make life a misery and The Crofter family are no exception. Here we see Dad Crofter [most likely] modelling the latest anti-midge fashion item.

On a related note, I asked a  chum who used to be in the SAS [some sort of Army based boy scouts] about whether they really did use Avon Skin so soft as reported in various places. "No" he said firmly, I used and still use ********* . So there you are! 

The Crofter smears a little cow muck behind his ears - possibly!

Friday, 26 August 2011


 The Crofter.

The Crofter has had a lot on his mind lately what with this and that although, not much of the other. Committee things have been busy but the animals don't seem to care.
 The 1961 mechanically sound Massey

Murdo's Massey Ferguson still lays where it broke down waiting for a 'bit' to make it work again.

 The Cucumber

The Crofter's veg crop is doing just fine at the moment although I'm not sure it will pass EU regs ! Yes, it is a cucumber.

 The Crofter's machine

The Crofter's tractor is working and it was doing fine service mowing the grass in the next doors croft while his coows shouted at us next door. I broke a rule and mucked in to give the beasts some cut grass in the hope that the coows would shut up and not bring on the tinnitus. They did. For a little while anyway.
 The Crofter's [exiled] Shetland Coows wondering why the tractor is actually working
The Crofter and the village weighing thing

The young sheeps are getting bigger every day so The Crofter borrowed the village weighing stocks to see if the sheeps were big enough to send to market. I whispered in the sheeps ears to stop eating so much to save their little lives. It will come to no good..

Monday, 22 August 2011


The Crofter is keeping busy. Whilst the weather has gone a tad damp and the nights are drawing in, at least The Crofter has the silage all sorted and Murdo [no, the other one] has got his 'mechanically sound' 1961 Massy Ferguson Tractor going again after it stopped not to go again for a while after Murdo told me how good and reliable it was. Apparently it was the water pump - or something.

 The Crofter looking to see if the Land-rover still has an engine.

 Donald four tractors mowing the 'lawn' on the next croft.

Donald-Four-Tractors has been featuring from time to time and I found him mowing the croft next door for some reason. He's a happy chappie and helped me bring our peats home - and Roy of the Moors' peats too.

 Donald Four Tractors

Dad Crofter and a quandary

Whilst Donald has four tractors [ or perhaps more currently ] and Murdo [no, the other one] has two, The Crofter has only the one - rather like Hector. Only the Crofter's machine is a tad temperamental and Dad has had to do the bad cop, good cop ruse on it to get it going. But I can now inform you that, at the time of writing it is going - yay!

Thursday, 11 August 2011


I could hear the racket from my darkroom. Rattle, tattle rattle tattle it went on. Sounded like the rioters had arrived in North Tolsta on a phalanx of tractors. But no, it was Hector Murdo, Murdo & Co playing at twirling the silage for The Crofter's coows in the winter.

I found two old Massey Fergusons chuntering away on the plot next to The Croft with a couple of interesting looking machines behind them. The silage bales, all rolled and netted were them wrapped expertly by some contraption that twirled and twisted till the stuff was encased in blue plastic. Sadly, the days of oblong bales wrapped in bailer twine seem to have disappeared in this neck of the woods. [although there are few trees here either!].

 Murdo [No, the other one] arrives from his sick-bed in his 1961 Massey Ferguson

 The Crofter dances with a silage bale as two MF look on

 Rolling your own

 Hector wondering what's for tea

 Murdo tickles the silage bale into submission

 North Tolsta men and Yorkshire Crofter :-)

Yes, we know it's not your best tractor.

Hector's tropical hat gets an outing. And how lovely it looks too.

Hector, looking like he was just back from his plantation in the tropics was operating the twirling machine, Murdo was moving stuff from here to there while The Crofter supervised and moved stuff from there to over there. Oh, and along comes Murdo [no, the other one!] from his sick-bed with his ancient Massey - " It's a 1961 model and mechanically sound" I was told but by the look of the bodywork, it's a virtual wreck. At least I knew he wasn't talking about himself as he has a bad back at the moment and can only grimace a smile from his seat. Still, it's only Murdo's [No, the other one] second or maybe third best tractor so I'm told. Giving Donald Four Tractors a run for his money no doubt.

Please let me know if you are following this blog. Feel free to leave a comment.