Friday, 26 October 2012

Winter has arrived !

Winter has arrived ... this is the view from the barn this morning, we are being battered by hail and snow showers.  The wind is a cold northerly one and its times like this when you are thankful for the barns and all the hard work in the summer in readiness for the winter.

This was a sunnier day last week the cat decided to follow me on my evening walk with the dogs.  He is causing a bit of a stir with the girls and babies.  The babies are all well and growing up fast.  It won;t be that long until weaning time comes round.  I have been busy catching up on some toe nail trimming last week.  The next job on the list is the routine worming which I hope to be doing shortly.

The Mud Monsters !!  Niggy, Noggy and Norka now have a purpose fenced paddock all to their selves... this is their space and they can do what ever they want to do with it .... which means rutting !!  making lots of muddy holes !! Having a great piggy time.  I am pleased to have this job done as it means that the piggies are now out and about, enjoying some freedom.  Creating havoc in their own space !

Haggis and Dougal tucking into their haylage .... I think that most of the jobs have been crossed off the 'to do list' ..... just got to get knitting now.  I have lots of lovely yarn to use.  This is one of the nicer jobs ... sitting knitting infront of a nice cosy fire !! 

And finally ..... this is a view of my haylage.  The first bale in the photo is this years haylage.  It has turned out lovely again.  The other bales are of last years hay.  The haylage is working out great.  I can honestly say this was a good move.  I had debated about doing haylage for a couple of years until I decided to give it a go last year. 
The alpacas just love it !  The bales smell so sweet and are a lovely golden green colour.  I thinks its the way forward for us here.  I am lucky that I can make my own haylage, as not many people seem to do it.  The alpacas just love it, both the boys and the girls have a big bale each in their barns to help themselves when they come in on an evening.
The horses are rationed the haylage as they would just stand and eat it all .... and end up with colic.  I am really pleased with the way it has turned out.  I think its safe to say we all prefer it.  The haylage has more nutrients and is higher in feed value than the hay, it also does not have any dust spores in it.  This makes it a much nicer option that the hay, especially for one of my horses who has a dust allergy. 
Apart from that ... it only takes 3 days from start to finish to do ..... and with our weather .. that has to be a good thing !

Monday, 15 October 2012

Big Boys .... Birthdays !

This blog is mainly to answer Dave's question, from Apple Vale Alpacas.  Regarding how old the Highland Cows are. 
Haggis is 16 yrs old ...he was born on the 1st Jan 1996.  I have owned Haggis since he was 3.  He was destined to go where many sadly end up..... however for Haggis I bought him as a pet and that's the way he will stay until the end, the farmer guy who bought the herd had to take him as the people who were selling them would not separate the group.  The saving grace for Haggis was, he was too old to be sent away .... as he had passed the 32 month age limit .... and I came along and fell in love with him .... we have shared plenty of happy and sad times together !

Dougal is 10 yrs old, he was born on the 2nd November 2002....  I purchased Dougal to be a companion for Haggis.  I have owned Dougal since he was approx 5 months old. 
Both of these boys will stay with me for as long as they are destined to be on this planet.... I have no intentions of parting with them .... even after all this time, I still look at them with admiration. 
This place just wouldn't be the same without them, I love to look over the field and see them grazing happily or lying down enjoying their surroundings.
When Dougal was sedated on Friday, I had a lovely up close cuddle with him.  I gave him a lovely ear tickle ....and really enjoyed being able to stroke his head and nose.  He is feeling much happier today, keeping a healthy distance between us .... he is happy for me to be approx 4ft away from him, just close enough for him to have his evening bucket.
For me they sum up the spirit of Scotland, roaming amongst the mountains....their strength and majesty is really quite unique. 

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Back where they should be !

Today I have moved the cows back into their field.  I kept a very close eye on Dougal all evening, he slept most of the night, he only got up twice in 8 hours to go to the toilet.  Then straight after he went and lay back down. 

Both of the cows moved back up into their field this morning, I decided that it was best for them to go out.  It was a lovely day. I think that Haggis stood up for the whole time they were in the barn.  I think he didn't want to lie down in the barn because he is old and sometimes takes a bit of time to stand.

However, as soon as they had got into their field, both of them had a good long drink then straight for a lie down.  Here are the cows up at the top of the field.  Haggis was enjoying the rest and Dougal was keeping a safe distance !

I am very pleased that this job has been done.  I love my Highland Cows, but you have to respect their strength and size, both boys are a fabulous sight to see.  Even the vet commented on the span of their horns and how impressive they are. 
Yesterday during the quest to dart Dougal.  Haggis stuck to him like glue, he stood side by side with him and would not leave him.  After he was darted, the sedation began to work, Dougal went and lie down, Haggis went over to him and put his horns under Dougals to force him back up he virtually lifted Dougal back onto his feet.  This stopped Dougal from going to sleep.  If  I hadn't seen it for myself, I wouldn't have believed it.  After that Haggis remained side by side with his pal, as if to protect him ..... animals do have a very close bond, we should never under estimate their affection for eachother.
Haggis kept a very close vigil on his friend all night.  He didn't seem to eat much at all.  I think this was because Dougal was sleeping and Haggis wasn't going to eat without his friend. 
Tonight both boys are back where they should be .... free to graze and roam in their field as usual.....
I am much happier and I know in a couple of days Dougal will feel the benefit !

Friday, 12 October 2012

Success .... Sleeping like a Baby !!!!

Yipeeeeeeee .... we have accomplished our task today !
Today was 'D' Day .... it was time to try once again to get Dougal's feet trimmed.  The task all started yesterday afternoon, I had to prepare the barn ready for the two Highland Cows to come in for the night.  Some readers will remember that our first attempt failed.... over a year ago.

This is Haggis at the front and Dougal at the rear, it was Dougal who needed his feet trimmed.  After preparing the barn with lots of straw, putting bales along the divide between the area where the alpacas come in.  It was a case of waiting for the right time to go and try and get the boys to come in.  We had a lovely day yesterday and the cows were lying down most of the day.  I had to wait until 4pm until Dougal eventually got up.  I was hoping to walk them down the field and onto the track, then lead then in through the wooden barn, where we have exteneded the barn, into the big barn.  The cows moved great better than we had all expected.  The key is to 'ask' then to move enough, without pushing then and stressing them.  Causing them to panic and get stressed.

This is the boys waiting for the vet to come this afternoon.  The Medi-Dart worked a treat.  It was my job to go in and dart Dougal, to sedate him enough so that we could get his feet trimmed.  Dougal is a kind cow, however he is flighty and very suspicious of people.  Its hard to believe that when he was a baby, he was halter trained.  The key task was to keep calm and quiet.  We loaded the medicine and this was the moment of truth !

I cannot thank Deveron Vets enough.  This is a quick photo opportunity with Douglas & Dougal.  Douglas did a fantastic job and we have successfully managed to get the job done.  We were all worried and pre-occupied last night, knowing what was in store for today. 

The photos are not good, but this is the job in progress..... this must be the most stressful pedicure, it has taken ages for us to eventually manage to get Dougal's feet trimmed.  This was the last and probably the most worrying task  for everyone, to be completed

Dougal has slept for 4 hours !!  I have spent most of the day and night in the barn keeping a close eye on him.  The recommended dose for an animal this size is 15ml.  This was given using the crossbow & Medi-Dart.  I manged to dart Dougal without any problems, the dart gun worked a treat and I was very relieved that it had all gone well. 
However, for some reason, the amount did not do the trick, it definitely sedated him.  But not enough to actually put him to sleep.  The vet decided that because this amount had not done the trick,  we had to revise the situation.  Douglas decided to give him another dose of sedation.  This is something which is normally not done, however there are exceptions to the rule and Dougal obviously was one of them !

The Medi-Dart has done its job and was a good investment.  I was really happy how it performed this time, as you can imagine, we were really disappointed when we failed in out first attempt.

And finally ..... Sleeping Beauty !  Here is Dougal .... none the worse for his experience and hopefully he will be tap dancing his way back out into the field ..... some time over the weekend.
The weather is horrendous up here tonight, so the 'big boys' are staying in the barn until I am happy that Dougal has fully recovered and is back to his usual self !  I will know this by the fact that I won't be able to get near him !!
What a great relief ..... another job .... well done ... and we are all much happier tonight !

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Drive & Ambition...Some Have Some Haven't !!

Sometimes in life, you need a bit of drive and ambition !!  This was the task that we have been concentrating on.  It has taken approx 25 ton of gravel and we have been very busy this week.  The first load of gravel was delivered on Wednesday last week and we are now finished....

Ruby has worked well this week it was her job to spread the gravel, this is the first load ready to be spread.... we have managed to gravel round the porch, all the steps to the garden are now finished off and we have edged around the garden room and I now have a very nice gravel path....

The steps leading up to the garden, two done one to go !

This is the start of the pathway around the garden room.... being prepared.  I have laid some weed resistant membrane around the steps, path and porch to help stop the weeds from coming up.

Getting there... this is the first load, just waiting for the rain to come and wash it in.... funny how when you are waiting for never comes, we have had a lovely sunny week.  Which is just as well, as the place was a bit of a mess at first.

Tesco's home delivery !  taken to a new level.... well if you can't beat them ...join them !  We briefly had our wheel barrow stolen ....

The boys going out one lovely sunny morning earlier this week ....

Ruby and me .... spreading the second load !  Its all done now and I have managed to finish off the divides in my log store ... which will stop the logs falling down.  Oh that reminds me ... another job on the list...the log store is quite bare.....time to fill it up before the winter comes...
We are having a day off tomorrow.... its the calm before the storm..... we have another date with the vet and Dougal ........wish us luck !!
This job has been waiting to be done for years ... I think its safe to say ...this job is now well and truly crossed off the 'to do list'.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Finishing Touches ....

We have had a lovely day today.  Time to complete the finishing touches ... and what a relief  !

We made and hung the door on Saturday.  Today it was time to trim the top and secure a good strong bolt to hold it tight during those winter gales !!  We have been busy concreting the extra posts in place, putting the fascia board on the outside.  This has taken most of the day.  We are very relieved  to get this job finished.

Ruby had a load of gravel on to make up the concrete.  We also had a few little furry helpers....on the job. You can just see the alpaca boys out grazing in the distance.

Me and my barn .... just taking in all the photo shot... we have built all of this over time.  The hay bales are in the farthest section of the wooden barn.... when you stand back and have a look at the whole size of the barn .... its really quite massive !!
It will make the winter much more enjoyable here ... I'm sure.
I am very grateful for all the help from my mam and dad, to get this job done. I'm chuffed with the finished  result.