1 September Rain Rain and More Rain
2 September Red Sky At Night - Shepherd's Delight (and arable farmer's delight)
3 September Combining at last
A month later than usual the combines are at last working in Perthshire.
4 September Remy is a Sheep Dog
This morning I had to move the lawn mower brigade before I let the young dogs out and in a rash moment decided Remy could do this job no problem.
And of course he could manage it perfectly well.
So well in fact, we did it again!
5 September Lots of lambs
Today I was contracting with the place I lambed in May. 800 lambs were sent down from their Estate up North and we had to dose them for worms and apply pour on to prevent fly strike. They also sent about 200 cast ewes down which needed the same treatment and shifted onto good grazing. Cast ewes from a hill will usually be 6 years old, having lambed for 5 years. If they are correct in the mouth and udder, then they can be sold to an inbye farm with better ground and lamb for a few more years with no problems.
First lot of ewes onto some nice grass. Mist took these ewes along the tracks for about a mile. She has only moved sheep this way a few times but it doesn't take her long to know where the sheep will try and go the wrong way, and she covers it without commands.
Next lot of ewes had to go through a nice green field to get to their new home.
I left Mist keeping them in the field while I went past them to turn them up the track.
Mist bringing them out the field.
And up the track
Into their field.
6 September Another Pain
Today we were back at Trapain (rhymes with bane of my life) looking for a lame shetland.
Found the Hebrideans easily enough they are where they always are, on the summit. Good girls!
I think the Hebs really like living on Trapain and have not caused me any problems! In fact I am so pleased with their behaviour I am considering increasing the Heb flock and decreasing the pesky Shetlands!
I have decided to buy some Hebridean ewe lambs instead of my heavy duty texel crosses at home. I have introduced a sheep handling element to the training days and the Hebrideans will be easier to handle by novices than a 100kg texel gimmer!
9th September An announcement
Next training day is on the 14th of September. There is a place available email me for more info.
14th September Training Day
Today we were blessed with the most fabulous weather we've seen for weeks. Bright sunshine and blue skies all day for the training day. I must say I am extremely lucky and every training day so far has had good weather. The day was a great success with all the dogs and handlers showing good improvement. All of them passed their beginner sheep dog handling certificate too. Well done to all who attended.
The next training day will be on the 28th of September. Please email me for more info.
I got some photos of baby Remy the other day. They haven't scanned too well but it shows what a cute little baby he was! I showed all the other dogs and they of course thought he looked very funny. Remy wasn't impressed but hey at least he wasn't in the bath!
Hmm I recognise that superior expression!
18th September More training
Jo came for lessons this week and is now starting to go to the left as well as the right. I was starting to think we'd never make this progress with her as she was so one sided. However she is really coming on now. There is a lot to like about her, very obedient and biddable, so once she gets over this mental block about the left side she will be practically trained for farm work.
I am also over the moon with how Mop is coming on. At the moment I am putting her on her sides and teaching her to stop on her feet. I really wanted to use stop as a command, but of course it rhymes with Mop so I can't! I am just using stand instead. She is a fast learner and very keen to do the right thing which makes training her a pleasure.
Lucy is coming on well and I am working on her inside flanks and driving at the moment. She isn't terribly keen to flank between me and the sheep, so I am tricking her into it rather than making it an issue. Her driving is coming on well.
Below is a little clip of Tilly the Cleverest Cairn in the world doing her new party trick! She taught herself to open the door and my Dad taught her to do it on command. She is a bit perplexed when it falls off it's hinges but I am sure given time she'll work out how to put it back on! Double left click on the image to see it play.
19th September What a pair
No, we would never eat sheep poo!
Evie at 4.5 months
Nia at 4.5 months.
24th September Mum knows best
Today we met up with Tarn's (Chance x Ffion) owner for a walk. Helen is doing a brilliant job of training him and he behaved impeccably. He has lovely manners and his sisters (above!) could do with learning a few things from him.
The only criticism I could have of him is his rediculously long tail! He does live with two GSDs so is perhaps trying to emulate them. Ffi's litter to Spot had very long tails and I had blamed him for them, but since Ffi and Chance have average tails I am surprised Tarn has a horse tail!lol
See! Ffi's tail is completely normal!
I'm going to get you Tarn!
25th September Busy day for Mist Ffi and Me!
Today we were doing our own sheep first thing and getting to a contract job for 10am, which meant a 6am start. No problems with our sheep thankfully, and we were on time (wonders will never cease). Today's job was gathering hill Cheviot lambs who were just speaned a few weeks ago. This was the first gather since they were seperated from their mothers and is always very hard work for the dogs. Lambs without their Mum's for guidance will mill around, go in circles, break off in a million directions, and very occasionally, go in the direction you want them to. After a lot of work on a hot day we got them all where we wanted them. We were crovecting and dosing them. Mist and Ffi worked their socks off and even Lucy had a little go on them. It was a lot to ask of her since they are awfully hard to work with, but she did pretty well.
After that it was exam time for me! Due to the EU bringing in legislation (yes really!) we now have to do a Transport of Animals Certificate if we want to shift livestock on a journey longer than 40 miles. I did mine tonight and I am pleased to report, I passed. I got one question wrong because it was in Kilometres and not miles and I couldn't convert it!. As far as I know, we are still working with miles in this country so why there wasn't a conversion I don't know. Anyway, an expensive and fairly pointless exercise for yet another bit of paper.
26th September At the sea side
We have shifted 42 shetland and texel cross lambs to one of our reserves on the coast. Included in that number is 6 old ewes who are supposed to keep them in check. This reserve was very under grazed over a long period of time and we are getting it back into shape after 5 years of work with the sheep. Initially we only grazed it in the winter however we have grazed it carefully in the summer as well and have seen an excellent improvement in the number of wild flowers. When we first grazed it the dead grass was shoulder height and heavily matted under foot. These conditions are no good for less competitive wild flowers. Now the sheep have opened all of this up and the site is looking brilliant.
Hard at work
The large rock you can see on the far right of this photo was used for bombing practice during the second world war when the nearby airfield was in commission. Luckily they just used flour bombs!
These sheep will stay here probably until the spring, unless of course they decide to take a little walk round the coast when the tide is out...
Some good news today, Elsie has been scanned with "at least 6 pups", hmm and to think I once doubted Chance's fertility!
27th September Still combining
I am feeling increasingly sorry for my neighbours - they still haven't got the harvest in. Tonight for the third night in a row they are combining and baling. They aren't the only ones either, there are still a lot of crops standing in Perthshire.
28th September A successful day
Another training day and another big improvement in all the dogs. That's the way I like it! The weather was scorching, as it always appears to be when I have a training day :-)
The next training day will be on October the 11th.