Monday, July 13, 2015

This is the season of local and County agricultural shows. The poor weather we have had has made it a very tough year for island cattle farmers in the far north of Scotland, in particular. They have been extraordinarily affected. Some are facing ruin.   Animals were unable to graze in fields that became quagmires; stocks of hay, which are used for winter feed and if necessary, to supplement pasture feeding, were used up.  The stock was sent off for early sale at large losses. Sheep farming fared better. I have not heard whether the island shows will take place this year.

The mainland shows are in full swing, even though different showing sites have had to be organised at short notice. For one local show, for example, the W.I,  Industrial, and flower show tents were to be found in school yards.  A few large barns were commandeered for livestock.  The usual show ground fields are sodden and  were deemed unsuitable.  My neighbours sent some of their sheep to the show.

Preparing animals for any show involves a careful beauty therapy grooming process. Preparation spans  about a week. The neighbours' barn becomes a beauty parlour for the duration with the farmhands being  beauty therapists. It is obvious that a number of sheep really like it, as once finished, they queue just outside the door, keeping an eye on the 'client' currently being done; then, when that one trots out, they  leap back in hoping for another session!

At the local show last weekend, the neighbours got an 'Overall Champion' award with a gimmer. That's a young ewe between its first and second year shearing, not yet put to lamb. The Supreme Champion Of The Show award went to a cockerel.

Did I mis-hear?  I waved my elbows up and down in an attempted imitation of a flapping bird, " You mean one of those?" Flapping elbows continuing. There was vigorous nodding followed by an  emphatic "Yes". 

'I thought they had their own exclusive showing arrangements'..... "You'd think so.... about three years ago.......the Supreme Champion Of The Show was a duck".

The County Show is next....


Anonymous said...

What an amusing image - sheep trying to get back into their beauty parlour! Well, we all like a bit of titivation now and again ;) But I'm sorry to hear how badly cattle farmers have been affected. Some will have to go out of business, I fear.

And - a cockerel? Now I've heard it all!

Anonymous said...

It's a shame when such shows are affected by the weather, especially when the ground is a quagmire. Flighty xx

Snowbird said...

I am laughing to think a cockerel stole the show, and that a duck had actually won in the past!!!
And to think sheep enjoy being pampered....whatever next!
It's a real shame about your weather, I think of you when I see the weather forecast, it certainly has been a bleak year!xxx

ZACL said...

Hearing it all, Gilly, was much as I thought as well. I'm glad though, that all the beauty preparations on the sheep paid off.

ZACL said...

Hi Mr F,

The rearranging of sites for a show, meant no gate monies were taken, a loss of about £1000. With the fragmentation, fewer visitors would have gone to the whole affair, in turn affecting traders too. Really, there were quite a lot of knock-on affects. The villagers immediately location around the alternative places, were busier than usual and enjoyed the buzz.


ZACL said...

Pleased you got a giggle Snowbird. I tried wearing sandals with bare feet today. It was a bit too chilly and my tootsies curled up. My compromise was wearing a pair of trainer socks with the sandals.

Apart from a light rainy period this morning - about 1.5hrs - it was bright most of the day, though fresh. The warmest part of today, and I do mean warm, was for an hour at about 6pm!!

On occasion a well made up sheep or two in show pens have allowed me to pat them, tickle them behind their ears and whisper sweet nothings to them, while their companions curiously watched. I have drawn a line at communing with pink wool coated ones, I thought they were a bit OTT. xxx

Snowbird said...

Oh gosh...laughing out loud at the thought of you having to wear socks with sandals....your weather has certainly been grim...hoping all your new plantings are's to the perennials coming back next year!xxx

ZACL said...

Thanks for your thoughts. Sandals on again today and a skirt with contrasting blouse. Let's see how long for. Time to peg out washing....