A Day in the Life o a Buchan Fairmer
by: Watt, Philip
Sax thirty an my alarm gings aff. It's weel throw April, lambin time. Doon
the stairs I gyang, shove on ma wellies an hurry across the close tae the
shed that's a temporary maternity quarter fur the lambin stock. A quick
luik roon tae see if aathing's richt, then a teet at ony new born lambs an
their mithers. I gie a quick dabbie o peint on the faimlies I'm sure are
richt matched up, syne I hish them intae pens at the side o the shed.
Usually the mither will follae me if I pick up her lambies an haud them near
at grun level. If I canna tryst them, then the yowes will hae tae be catched
an merched tae the pen. I check the yowes eidder fur milk, an see if the
young craiturs are able tae sook their mither. Efter a quick luik roon the rest
o the pens, if aa's weel I makk fur the hoose an ma brakkfaist.
Efter brakkfaist, it it's dry abeen, I'll let oot the expectin mithers an caa them
tae the girse park tae graze. They ken the road, an apairt frae tryin tae steal
tit bits in the yaird they're seen crowdin roon the trochs shovin tae get at
the sheep nuts that I shakk oot fur them. Efter the nuts are etten, they
wanner ower fur a lick o blaik traicle, or ging doon tae the burn fur a drink.
Durin the day, they wanner roon the park luikin fur girse, or ett draff
(spent grain frae the distillery) keepit in a muckle tattie box, or they nibble
hey stored in the feeder.
Neist,back at the hoose, I feed the sheep in the pens. Each een gets a pail
o watter an sheep feed, some fresh beddin an a wisp o hey. It's noo time fur
a cuppie o tae an a five meenit squint at the Press an Journal. Syne I get oot
an auld tractor wi a tattie box convertit inno a transport box an luik roon
the park tae see if ony yowes are lambin.Ma faithfu collie dug sits in the
cab ready tae catch ony yowe that's in difficulty.
Ae yowe his hid a lambie an she's busy lickin it dry. I back the tractor close
tae the yowe, let doon the box on the grun an pick up the new-born lambie,
trystin the yowe inno the box. Eence the door's shut, the box is raised by
the tractor lift an awa hame we ging tae the lambin pen tae see if she'll hae
mair lambs, an tae check her eidder . She his anither weakly lambie, an sae
I takk some coo's colostrum frae the deep freeze. Eence this magic drink
is meltit an at bleed heat, I'll pit it inno the lambie's stammache wi a feedin tube.
Bi noo it's dennertime...a fine plate o mince an tatties, follaed bi a seat an a luik at the papers. Efter denner, it's time fur anither turn aroon the park tae see if onything's happenin. If aathin's quaet in the park, I'll ging intae the tattie shed an help pick ony orra tatties aff the tattie dresser, as anely the best are fit fur sale tae England as seed tatties. The tattie inspector arrives tae inspect fit's bin dressed. If he's pleased wi them he stamps the labels wi the official seal o approval. We'll news aboot tatties in general, an mine in particular. The tattie squad cairry on till aboot five o clock afore gaun intae the byre tae feed the beasts wi bruised barley an sileage.
I feed the yowes in the pens an bed the shed wi strae ready tae takk the yowes
in fur the nicht. Efter teatime, I'll takk in the yowes an help ony that's lambin. Eence inside, they scrape amangst the beddin luikin fur barley an lie doon in
the comfort o a dry shed. A whylie at the fireside beckons, afore I luik oot aboot ten o clock tae see if aathing's fine, an feed ony weakly lambies wi either the tube or the bottle. Anither seat at the fire, syne a wee whylie watchin the TV news until eleven thirty. I pit on ma sheen again fur a last luik roon, an if nae yowes are lambin, it's aff tae bed at midnicht.