Jonathan: Having completed all I could do for now making adjustments to fencing to keep in naughtly little lambs, and with the sunshine just a bit stronger than the biting NW wind, I decided to indulge in a bit of photography: nothing special, just clumps of sea-pinks clinging onto the battered rocks, buttercups flourishing in the streams, sheep grazing, view across to South Uist, when suddenly I noticed something dark moving down on the shore, amongst the rocks. Thinking it might be a seal I swung the camera round and … goodness me! … it’s one of our own Hebridean lambs, helping himself to seaweed. Yes, I know about North Ronaldsay ‘Seaweed’ sheep, but even they will prefer grass if given the chance. And I’ve heard that other sheep do eat seaweed if they feel in the need of the minerals. But this is the first time I’ve actually seen it. The continuing cold wet and windy weather – it’s the last day of May but feels like the last of April, at best! – means that the grass is still only growing slowly, so I’m still having to give the ewes sheep pellets. The ewes are eating for themselves and to produce milk for the lambs, so if they were really desperate (and judging from the condition of the grass and their behaviour they are not), then surely they too would be down on the shore eating seaweed. So for now I’m assuming that this lamb is just adventurous, trying out what’s good to eat and what is not. Hungry or adventurous? I think the latter.
Jonathan: Jiggered, that’s what I am. Complete new-build of the Hebridean Woolshed website has taken a huge amount of time, concentration, attention to detail, learning new things (mostly by trial and error it seems) and endless rounds of revisions and corrections. Sat at a computer for hours on end under such stress is not good for the mind, body or spirit, and indeed the state of my health right now proves the point. The weather doesn’t help: blanket cloud rolling from the horizon far across the Atlantic on an icy north-westerly wind that saps the heat and hope from the very soul. The poor sheep look at me in desperation: they’ve got their precious lambs to feed, and without light and warmth the grass simply isn’t growing: only the cost of animal feed is! For heaven’s sake this is not just May, it is very nearly June! By now the solar hot water system would normally be producing so much hot water we’d be having long hot showers morning and night just to use it up a bit, but instead we’re still lighting the wood-burning stove in the evenings. This is supposed to be the season of vitality and hope, and insteady we’re all of us just feeling competely jiggered.