Spring Lambs

It is all about the lambs just now, been flat out as soon as the first lamb appeared on the 30th March. Now we have 10 and a few still to appear but with very little grass and weather that would try you, days have been pretty fast in passing.

Stalking The Hens

Stalking The Hens

The first lamb woke us up with his bawling outside Rona Lodge early on the 30th March then after that they came thick and fast.

No 1

No 1

A male of course, but a good lamb all the same. We got them into the garden which doubles as a pen so that we can keep an eye on them, they are there for 24 hours and then let out into the field in front of the house.

Day Care Centre

Day Care Centre

The week before had been busy with Spring work continuing, the cottages had visitors and the weather had been up and down. Rural Designs our architects wanted a report on the water supply so measurements were required to check on capacity.

The Water Supply

The Water Supply

Then a report on the filtration, which is much better than the original three filters in the genny shed (to save them freezing), we will be putting together a newer system for the new house for sure. But with a peaty supply the system has its challenges.

Water Treatment!!

Water Treatment!!

Mark, Nicola and Clive were coming on the Saturday so we had a little more furniture to get into the Skyescape house, the big Velux is getting a lot of use just now, it is as well that it is there otherwise everything we put upstairs would need to be dismantled.

Furniture Removal

Furniture Removal

More spring work back at Rona Lodge where we are getting all the Rona produce into one place for the summer season, it all takes time.

The Shop Takes Shape

The Shop Takes Shape

Time is pretty short at this time and the last thing I needed was a large cut on the JCB rear tyre, if I went to Dry Harbour with it it would puncture for sure, so a patch was required and a patch in the road. I was not willing to chance it so nothing else for it but to resort to the wheelbarrow and spade, turned out I was probably quicker with this set up rather than the JCB. Half an hour was all I needed, the big stones in the road came away pretty easily.

Punctured

Punctured

With all the properties on Rona there is always something breaking or getting worn, our house is always last to get things sorted, the tap in the kitchen was in danger of bursting the feed pipes it was so slack, nothing for it on Sunday morning but to get down to it, but surprisingly it went well and was quickly sorted out. Another tick in the list.

Leaky Tap

Leaky Tap

Our cottage guests were all returnees, Clive and Mark were going to give us a hand to count the deer mid week and were over to help with the sheep on the Monday.

Behind You

Behind You

Always looking to take advantage of a helping hand I got the boys to hold up the new loft timbers in the shed outside, a long job became a very quick job and an answer to the problem of storage.

Above You

Above You

That night (Monday) we had Nick, Barbara and the kids who were in Escape over to celebrate their Silver wedding anniversary and our first, it was a really lovely night.

Nick and Barbara

Nick and Barbara

Wednesday, Wayne Margo and Iain arrived and we took advantage of the boat to take us up to the North end to start walking the length of Rona, almost everyone came and we enjoyed good weather just until the late afternoon when a few showers dampened us down.

Deer Count

Deer Count

We totaled up the numbers on the Wednesday night and it was looking good, the forecast was good for the Thursday covering the South end from Dry Harbour.

Good Weather For It

Good Weather For It

It was ideal for walking and it was a long tiring walk that day, the deer were thin on the ground, Wayne found a hot spot of cast antlers but that was all the antlers we found. It was late afternoon before we finished, I was disappointed with the count and then on the last stretch we doubled our numbers when 25 deer were spotted all at once, amazing how they can hide.

Enjoying a welcome Drink

Enjoying a welcome Drink

A beer at the end of the day was very welcome and we enjoyed a celebratory (anniversary) meal of Yogi’s seafood and Rona venison that night.

Anniversary Courtesay of Yogi

Anniversary Courtesay of Yogi

Day 2 Antler Find

Day 2 Antler Find

Deer Report to follow.

Getting Tired, the Deer Counters

Getting Tired, the Deer Counters

Friday, the wind got up, the rain poured and we had to get the smallest three lambs into the shed, the forecast was as predicted miserable and with a few very small lambs it was a good call to pen them up for 24 hours and next day we could let them out.

In The Weather Shelter

In The Weather Shelter

Of course three ewes and three lambs are not going to just walk into the shed so after an hours rodeo we finally managed to catch the last ewe and head home, wet, in fact soaked but relieved to have got the job done.

The Sheepdogs

The Sheepdogs

Saturday was a much calmer day, everyone was heading off and the sun came out for their trip to Portree, we headed up to the Lodge to take stock after the boat sailed, we had a couple of hours reading the papers and checking the mail.

All Away-A Quiet Island Again

All Away-A Quiet Island Again

I had help with the JCB tyre taking the tube out and setting it up for repair before the guys left which was good, another tyre and tube had arrived in the mail so I thought I would fix the JCB rear and change the one that had just arrived. I then had a think and did as much as I could but thought best to leave the new patch for 24 hours just so it would give a good seal

Punctures

Punctures

Back to the house and it was time to let the latest lambs out, a bit of sun makes all the difference to them.

The Creche

The Creche

Over to Dry Harbour to sort out the cottages and admire Nicola’s flower arranging.

Nicola's Art Project

Nicola’s Art Project

There had been a really heavy cold shower when we were at Dry Harbour and when we got back one of the ewes had had a lamb which looked pretty weak, sure enough the mother had very little milk and the lamb was very wet and cold, quickly we got some milk into the lamb but I’m thinking it did not get much Colostrum from the mother. We have been feeding it since.

There is Always One Feeder

There is Always One Feeder(the hat is a bit odd!!!)

Next day the tyre was sorted and back of the JCB, the wheelbarrow was kitted out too.

Extreme Punctures

Extreme Punctures

With no grass to speak of we had to let the ewes and lambs out of the field, the deer were coming in down by the shore which was annoying, seeing them eating the grass there and around the bunkhouse. The only problem was that there was no fence to stop  the sheep  heading over into the forest and I had not topped and tailed them yet, The fence I had been planning for years was quickly put up and by lunch it was done and dusted.

Emergency Fence

Emergency Fence

A long morning and the fence was there, the sheep were out and they quickly set about bit of grass along the shore.

Quickly Finished

Quickly Finished

L mentioned one of the ewes had been missing at the feed so in the afternoon we decided to go out behind Rona Lodge to have a look for it, as it may have been having difficulties lambing. As I was heading up with the fencing tools I spotted the missing ewe right at the top of the hill above where the new house site is, easy enough to get them in but disappointing to loose yet another pair of specs’!!

Missing Ewe and Lamb

Missing Ewe and Lamb

For the rest of the day I was reliant on old specs’ as I did not want to loose my very new and expensive set I just bought in Inverness but that did not stop me getting the ‘shop’ (I use that term loosely) finished, I don’t think the stags head were too much off the level.

The Shop Almost There

The Shop Almost There

Monday last week came, lots to do and much better to look at the forecast and see it had improved for the week. It was giving drier weather but out of the North, so cooler.

A Welcome Spring Morning

A Welcome Spring Morning

We had a visit from the Factor and James who did a lot of the building work years ago, we had a look at the house site and quite by chance I came across the missing specs’ just where I had captured the lamb a few days before. Good result, now I can see again.

The Visit

The Visit

Hugh had come over too and we have a plan to start the road into the new site in May, so lots to do in the next few weeks in preparation. Lots of discussion.

Catching The Feeder

Catching The Feeder

The days at the moment are very sheep orientated, even with the few we have here it is just as time consuming. We bought 6 gimmers/young ewes from Skye last year but unfortunately all they have done is gravitate to the cliffs and look over to Valtos from when they came. There is a bit of grass on the cliffs which no doubt attracts them, but sadly a few of them have ended up trapped and because it is very dangerous we have not managed to get them back and they have fallen into the sea, so sad but there is not a lot we can do. Even after getting one back a few weeks later it was back on the cliffs. But this week I managed to get two home and they are safely in the field where we hope they will thrive and stop acting like lemmings.

Spring Sun on a Wet Day

Spring Sun on a Wet Day

It is not all doom and gloom, the lambs are racing about and at this time of the year that is great fun to see.

Kennel Converstion

Kennel Conversion

L’s hens have colonised the old kennel so a few alterations are required, the end of the week saw a new door with a window which totally confused them, they obviously don’t understand glass!!

Hurry Up With The New Door

Hurry Up With The New Door

In the meantime they are trying to get into the house at any opportunity, leaving their calling card wherever they go.

Room With a View

Room With a View

But by early next week we should have it finished and a new painted nesting box fitted.

Playtime

Playtime

I’m writing this on Sunday afternoon and the sun is out, the lambs are bouncing about, the hens are lying in the sun, time for a look outside I think.

Let Me Out

Let Me Out

 

 

 

 

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About Bill Cowie

I've been living on the island since April 2002, alone for the first 5 years, my partner L joined me in 2007. We manage the Island for a Danish family who bought the Island in the early 90's. Their hopes for the Island are to make it self sufficient supporting its inhabitants and that is where we come in. We look after the stock, 3 holiday cottages, machinery, boat and of course the visitors. It is pretty challenging but it is a beautiful place to live and work, we love it and strangely enough we love it even more in the depths of winter when all is quiet apart from the gales and rain. We do a bit of fishing, stock work, stalking deer and loads of other stuff. We have good support from lots of people whom we have met over the years and have become involved in the Island. Too many to mention here but keep an eye on the blog, they'll be there for sure in the future.
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