WHERE DOES THE TIME GO?
I have been fortunate enough to get a sabbatical from my day job for the summer, meaning that I have been able to concentrate on getting the croft and the business to where I would like them to be. I thought this would mean a long, hot, lazy summer – boy was I wrong!
I’ve been as busy as I’ve ever been, and I’m not sure how I managed to do any of this, while working at the same time!
After the success of lambing, something had to give. Unfortunately, that was calving. Both my Highland heifers were with an Aberdeen Angus bull last autumn and only one of them ended up in- calf. It broke my heart to find that calf stillborn, one beautiful summer morning. I don’t think crofting had ever left me feeling as low as I did that day. I had been so excited about my first ever calf, and to find it dead was devastating. I felt for the heifer too, but she has recovered well and will be back to the bull shortly. I also had to BVD test the cattle for the first time since I got them. That was the first time I had handled them, which was quite a nervous experience!
As I write this, I am preparing to head south, to the neighbouring island of North Uist, where I am selling some weaner pigs and returning with a third Highland heifer. I’m looking forward to this and getting them back to the bull as quickly as I can.
Otherwise, things have gone quite well on the croft. We got the sheep shorn in early July, with myself and two neighbours helping each other. I always enjoy these days, as a lot of the croft work tends to be on your own, so communal working is always more entertaining.
There are always some extra hands around in the summer months too, with students home for their holidays, so my brother Innes and cousin James have been roped into helping out – sometimes they need a lot of persuading though.