The crofting year drifts on - never ending in its cycle. All though we are heading towards the darkest days, Spring is already well ahead with its plans. The ram is in with the sheep - Tupping time as it is known here, and hopefully the results will be seen in April. We have moved the cattle up to the field beside the house - a nice slow amble up the hill in the low Winter sunlight.
They are soon settled in to their new place. Dexter cows are very hardy and they should winter out here quite easily. We have 5 cows in our little herd. Delia and Baby have been with us for a couple of years now, but we recently added three more. Celia and her calf, Gretel, and Fiona, who was originally called Madame, but was soon renamed by James to a more appropriate Scots name.
And here is the lovely Fiona. She is a beautiful, gentle soul and is due to calve at the end of December. In fact all the cows, except for little Gretel should hopefully be in calf. Celia had been running with another Dexter bull for a few months before she came to us, so hopefully by late Spring, we should see another addition. And Delia and Baby have been spending a lot of time with Gorgeous, our neighbour's Highland bull, so maybe in the Summer...
We have high hopes of milking Fiona once her calf has arrived, and are working towards setting up a place to do that. In the meantime, we have been getting her used to the idea. I think James could be just the right man for the job!
Things are still growing in our veg beds - lovely calendula lives up to its name and flowers all year.
Lots of brassicas - kale, Brussels sprouts and cabbage, and swede (rutabaga) as well as salads, leeks, carrots, chard and fennel. I am so pleased at how the raised beds have turned out. Hopefully the garden will feed us for a couple of months yet, and I am already starting to plan for next season.
Another of our neighbours dropped off a couple of large hay bales that had started to rot - what a great gift for a grower - and for hens too! They have now been spread over the empty beds as a winter mulch.
And so it goes - the daily round of stock checking, feeding, repairing, harvesting and Winter projects - and sometimes rounding up escaped sheep! As the daylight hours are shorter, so we have to hurry and complete the chores before darkness falls.
And then it is home for dinner, and the warmth of the peat fire.