Sunday 12 February 2012

A week in February

We're into the middle of February already................ Eek! Where is the time going? Shep hasn't been idling, at least not this past week. Here follows a photographic diary of the past week.
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It started by gathering some sheep ready for scanning the following day. They were gathered a day early and held close to the sheep pens as the weather forecast was threatening snow, as indeed it was doing as Moss turned these sheep and headed them closer to home. That was last Saturday.

Sunday saw Shep assisting at a couple of scannings.
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The first scanning of the day was helping a friend out,someone who has just taken the step up from shepherd to farmer. The first time for them to scan their own sheep and good results were the order of the day. The scan man hid in his tent, couldn't blame him, a covering of snow and -8 recorded first thing had us all wishing we could climb in there with him.

The weather conditions found Moss and I jumping in with the scan man, hitching a lift to the second job, the sheep I'd brought closer to home the day previous. The farmer later reunited me with my motor when scanning and dosing had been completed, by which time the treacherous road conditions had given and car and I had an uneventful journey home.

There was little snow of mention but frost held out all week. Night temperatures varied from -10 to as warm as -2 over the duration of the week, far more fortunate than those further south whom experienced -16, Brrr... bet that was cold!
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I had a few days in the company of these Galloway cows earlier in the week, I see quite a bit of them at the moment, they have been receiving a bite of cake (hard feed) and are keen to follow the bike around, as I was patching some fences in the vicinity where they live they seemed forever hopeful that they would receive more than one feed in the day. Intrigued every time the bike was moved to a different stretch of fence, was this a sign of more food??
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Going by the circumference of this one it doesn't look like they need any more food, in all fairness to her these cattle are only a few weeks off calving so they probably have an excuse to look portly.
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Then there was the moon, blimey! It wasn't half bright, t'was like driving into the sun in the dark. I was away out bye when I took this, a late finish with the fencing then a desire to find out what a police car had been up to saw me arriving home very late, and I may add none the wiser.

A dead end farm road in the middle of nowhere sees a police car on it, now my attempt to leave my job of fencing and hit the road before the police car returned failed and said car sailed past. Which I thought was a tad ill mannered. After all, out in the middle of no where on private property isn't the usual place to see the police, they are meant to be observant so surely ought to have seen me and quad, 2 dogs with 20 cattle following us heading towards the road. Well I thought they would have noticed but obviously they saw no reason to stop and have a crack and let me know what they were playing at.
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Not to worry, thanks to the police car I had time to appreciate the beauty of the moon that night.
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As the week went on this was a common sight.
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There was ice everywhere.
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Even the wettest of bike tracks appeared to be well frozen, this may look like puddles of water but in fact it is frozen solid, which made me decide to do a job I never relish. I had a list of possible jobs, the fencing was done for the time being, another on the list was to head out to the neighbours hill, that unfenced march between one farm and another meant sheep will have wandered over onto ground which they do not belong, as it was hard and frosty I decided to be a good bairn (child) and head out to send them back onto their own ground. I've often mentioned on these postings that I do not enjoy this particular task but it needs to be done. The neighbours ground is ungrazed heather, very rough, steep, undulating and just scary at times. However, I concluded that due to the hardness of the frost at least I wouldn't be able to bog the quad bike, I might get stuck by some other means but I couldn't possibly bog it. Could I?
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How many swear words do you possess in your vocabulary?? Chances are I tried them all and added a few new ones to the list. How could I possibly bog the b****y bike??? What a prat!!

Bikes work by means of a thumb throttle, which means one hand has to be able to reach and use the throttle leaving only one arm to do the lifting and pushing. Well I lifted and pushed 'til I had no energy left to swear and still the b****y bike was stuck. I wasn't carrying the gizmo, that satellite tracking thingy, not that it would have helped as the batteries are done in it, and anyhow, it is for an emergency, not for a prattish act like this. Fortunately I had had sense to carry my mobile 'phone and eventually walked into an area which had reception.

Mobile 'phone reception is not a strong point in Tarset, you're more likely not to have reception than have it but there are odd pockets, one of which I walked upon. A weak signal tho' which cut me off twice. My first call went like this "Hi! just me here, are you busy? just wondered coz need help..."
Oh! that didn't go to well!
Second call went along the lines of " Will cut to the chase, am away out bye am stuck and need......"
Oh dear! I was starting to worry that the recipient of the calls might be beginning to worry.
Finally all was sorted and a quad was heading my way from away down the valley to pull me out of my predicament and as to "where will we find you" I replied that I would be walked away in by the time they arrived - but only just I may add, they either drove like a madman or else I dawdled.

My 'phone a friend did the job and bike was extricated, although not as easily as I had imagined, there was still a fair bit of lifting and grunting necessitated - now you would think I would learn wouldn't you?? We had a crack and I found out what the police had been up to, a new bobby on the beat had looked at a map and decided to acquaint himself with ground he didn't know, 'tis good to know but I still think he could have stopped and let me know that he was just being nosey, but there you go, who am I to question the manners of the police?

I never did succeed in heading out to that ground I never relish visiting, the day had flown by after all the excitement of rendering the bike immobile for a duration. The following day saw freezing rain, an unpleasant phenomena which saw Shep decide to baton the hatches down and knuckle down to some book work, the years accounts are at least now up to date, thanks to freezing rain.
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The week was rounded off with a warm job, a job which will hopefully see us warm next winter too. The tail end of some hurricane in the summer kindly toppled this tree over, it won't be enough to keep the home fires burning all next winter, especially as it has two households to feed but it will be a help.
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My job is that of mad axe woman, unfortunately the chainsaw had had a couple of days head start on me so for all my best endeavours I felt like I wasn't really getting anywhere fast. I ought to have been out gathering but due to the temperature lifting the weather was giving us hill fog making visibility too poor for gathering the hill sheep in, so mad axe woman it was.

A week in February, another week gone by. A week in which I saw many foxes, an ermine stoat, a very cold looking kestrel, many buzzards, ravens, and other birdy things including a pair of crossbills, a cropped and long distance shot of one which I will end this posting with.
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Dafad said...

Yo Shep,
you and that quad need to become better pals!! Methinks you need to speak nicely to it and make up your differences, then mebee he will behave better. tee-hee!!

Tarset Shepherd said...

Umm...... Haven't ever tried talking nicely to it, mebbes that is the problem. Less swearing and more compassion needed!!