Tag Archives: highland cattle

Frustrating Times and Fun on the Farm

17 Dec

It’s looking like the arm ailment might be a long job. Certainly not an overnight fix anyway. Bugger.

I’ve seen a physio, am doing the exercises recommended to stretch the tendons, resting the arm as much as possible and applying a little massage now and then. With an over-use/RSI type injury, that I apparently have, that’s the way it is. And Google agrees, so it must be true.

The left hand/arm is being employed as often as possible/when I remember and I’m managing to keep working/on top of things (sort of) albeit in a cack-handed kind of fashion. Very frustrating. There’s much I need and want to be doing but it is all taking so much longer than normal, if I attempt it at all. I will have to be patient. Hmmm.

On the up-side, the grill has started to behave again just as mysteriously as it stopped so I am all cheesed up instead of cheesed off and negotiations re the damage to my car seem to be going well. I’ll say no more on that just now – don’t want to jinx it.

Lucky for me, John is here working on the farm so can help with the heavy and awkward stuff. I’m getting better at accepting help these days but I’d much prefer to be able to just get on with it, in my own time/under my own steam/my way.

Enough of my woes, I’m sure you are much more interested in what’s going on down on the funny farm, so let me introduce you to some of the animals that John is getting to know and feeding pictures of to me.

The Highlands are bred for showing and win many, many prizes; show after show, year on year. The farm office is full of rosettes.

They are treated as pets (and with much respect) and all have a name. As have all the other animals, which we are gradually learning.

Here’s Callum…


A much sought after and multi prize-winning bull, a very handsome, naughty and ferocious beast. Check out that evil eye!

Here again with Fredrica who was named after Dianne’s father as born the year he died…IMG_20141203_130955

And farm owner, Marlene, with one of Stansted’s finest on finals in the background.

Back home is Ben…IMG_20141202_112142

IMG_20141202_112138With mother and daughter team, Dianne and Chloe -17 yrs old and a super kid – great girls both.

And here is Carina…IMG_20141203_112558

Careening around. John must have nerves of steel to stand in front of her with nothing but a camera. I’d have been long gone!  And not even a hint of camera shake.

And two young bulls, Denzil and Dylan, lending a head…IMG_20141202_134643

While Marlene decrees it will fit in there…IMG_20141202_134632

And of course it does. Nothing wrong with Marlene’s judgement.

Back off Carina, I’m driving says Zola…IMG_20141203_112629

Know your place – my horns are bigger than yours.

It’s pretty wet and muddy around here just now…IMG_20141203_132753

But the dinkey donkeys don’t seem to mind.

They come and visit sometimes…003But only because they want to eat my garden…001

They don’t fool me.

But if there’s just one picture that captures Fun on the Farm, for me this is it…IMG_20141203_130917

But it’s all smiles on this farm…IMG_20141203_123453

Even when ankle deep in pig shit. Not sure of this baby Highland’s name.

Ten heifers have been grazing at the Thorley Wash nature reserve over the summer and these now have to be transported back here. They fetched the first two yesterday – quite an operation – and I’ll be covering the highlights here soon.

I’ll have to do a separate post on the dogs. There’s so many of them – again, all named – that even Marlene has lost count. They have been known to growl a bit and nip an ankle of the unwary here and there, and can certainly make a racket at feeding time but, on the whole, we get along fine.

John has the right idea and walks around with a pocketful of dog treats. No flies (or teeth marks) on him.

But here’s Marlene’s constant companion, Dolly…IMG_20141212_163122

Cue for a song surely: Well hello Dolly, looking swell Dolly – enough already.

I may have mentioned the mud, which almost scuppered this chappie…011

As he manoeuvred…009

And soon became stuck…001

Men and old machines to the rescue then…008

And with chains, not so gentle persuasion, a little know-how and much expert (?) supervision…006

Eventually delivered its cargo to the slipway where this feller took over…012

What a big un!

The 70ft widebeam was successfully lifted in…014

And soon after chugged its way downstream, passing Hobo on the way to wherever it was going.

STOP PRESS: I have just picked up a cheque re the accident damage so am now a few hundred quid better off/a bit less into the overdraft than when I started this post. That has to be good.

And the car won’t be going to hospital for bumper amputation, prosthetic attachment and posh paintwork. Instead will live on to fight another day, looking more and more the fearsome farm vehicle she has morphed into, and sporting her battle scars with pride and personality.

We are both in the wars it seems but will get through these tough times together.Woman Driving A

New Life, Neighbours and News

11 Aug

BB has new neighbours. Just across the river.

Five black fluffy moorhen chicks…003

A delight to watch.

And as they grow older and bolder, they come a whole lot closer to my boat…014 015 016 018 019 020 022 023

Which is great.

They even venture onto my ‘lawn’ now…001 002 004 007 008 010

Tempted by scraps.

Mum even gets up the tree…004

Stealing food from the little birds…001 004 005

Who normally dine here.

I never knew that moorhens could climb trees. We live and learn.

Against all the odds, the moorhen five has survived intact, to date, I’m pleased to say.

We’ve done our bit by throwing bread on the water (or the lawn), which one or both parents make a dash for then feed to their young…001

Beak to beak.

Sometimes the fish beat them to it…002 003 004 006 007 008

But a delight to watch whatever. Well, it keeps me off the streets.

And there really is no place I’d rather be.

Another new neighbour…IMG_20140709_113437

Peter, a thoroughly nice chap, is doing up an old Broads cruiser, which he aims to sell on when finished. He’ll be looking for a narrowboat next. Good man.

Some of the old neighbours are getting a little naughty – escaping and giving me the fright of my life the other morning as I stepped off the boat. Not what I was expecting to see…001 003

Mooching right by my jetty.

John saved the day though, chasing them away…002 004

Otherwise I’d have had to phone work with, possibly, the most implausible excuse for lateness/absence ever.

Notice how the camera shake disappears as the Highlands do likewise.

Now this sighting had me puzzled for a while…013

Is it a bird…?001

Is it a plane…?002

No, I think it’s…012

The John…!011

He’s been hacking back the willows and feeding the goats…009

Who love it…008

As do the horses…007

And now of course they love the John.

He got the call the other day when the goats escaped. All he had to do was wave some willow and walk in the direction they needed to go and they followed him, right back home. Pied Piper or what…?

You need to know – or I need to tell you – that I do get out sometimes. Maybe not enough though.

John and I accompanied a friend into the big city last week to look up the house where his grandfather had lived.

We frittered a whole £11 each on a day’s travel pass, which gave us unlimited travel to, from and around the city for the day. I thought that was excellent, given that from here to Stansted (a stone’s throw) on the train is £12!!

Anyway, we found the street in Islington…GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

But, sadly, the house is no more. Swallowed up by the City of London University but we think the house would have been about here…GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

A most enjoyable day though, culminating in a visit to a pub…GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

By the canal wouldn’t you know…002

Regents Canal, to be precise, one on which John and BB have cruised Hobo a couple of times now. Nice.

Just can’t stay away from the water – or the pub for that matter.

Here’s one of John and friend – also a John so we call him Shirley…001

Only because that’s his surname you understand. My two handsome escorts for the day.

As I’ve been writing the weather has been busy…004001_stitch

Storm’s a’brewing.

And as you know, I’m easily distracted – especially if it involves moody skies, thunder and lightning, rain, high winds, blue skies and sunshine. Well, today we’ve had the lot, about in that order.

Speaking of distractions…


This is right outside my window, the one right in front of my chair. I didn’t think they’d ever get this brave but sometimes it’s good to be wrong.

I’m still waiting for the woodpeckers to arrive here. They’re about, I’ve seen them on the wing, but so far they haven’t stopped by here. Perhaps they like a different sort of food – wood maybe. Will have to experiment.

So who spotted this in the background of one of the earlier shots…?011

Clever John has made a sawhorse, which he is putting to good use making lots of Morso Squirrel sized nuggets ready for colder times. I’m busy stacking this to dry out. Word is this can take a couple of years but I doubt it’ll hang around that long. Besides, these are small logs – weeny ones – so won’t take as long. Well that’s my story.

Lucky for me, I had some prepared earlier. Yes, I had to light the little stove last night – just a little fire to take off the chill. Maybe it was yesterday’s storms but it seems to be degrees cooler – today too – please don’t tell me it’s autumn already.

Anyway, it did the trick and warmed up Hobo nicely. Just the job.

I hope to be able to write more of the little boat soon. It’s coming along, bit by bit, and John is devising and making some pretty neat storage solutions. But there’s never enough time is there?

We are also part way through re-working Hobo’s engine room – a job we’ve talked about so often. The woodwork (cupboards etc) has always been a bit wonky and just removing a couple of screws saw the whole lot collapse. But that’s a good thing. We can set about implementing our long awaited plans for smarter storage – start afresh with a better idea.

The stern gland greaser and bilge pump switch are both inaccessible so will be moved and the 12 volt wiring and fusebox need work – lots of work – by way of a damn good tidy. Good housekeeping really.

I’ve been threatening forever to clean and paint all those black holes one finds in engine rooms with white/silver in order to light up the space and make it more usable. It will also make it easier to find those things one inevitably drops in said awkward places.

Now  the floorboards are up and the whole room has been emptied of clutter (a task in itself) I have no excuse and tomorrow and Wednesday are my days off so looks like I could be busy.

I’ll try and get some before and after shots, which might make a little more sense of what I’m on about here and, you never know, you might find some of it useful.

I’m thinking…100_1161

Again. I do hate to feel cold.