Thursday, 25 December 2014

Christmas morning on the Croft

Up sharpish to feed the donkeys. It's a magical time, a totally silent Christmas Day, with the gentle rhythm of  three donkeys chewing their hay:

Hay, Santa

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Oli booster

Ovelia Modale, better known as "Oli" needs a wee booster. His mum, Ballachulish has mastitis and so is only giving milk on one side. It's a messy business, feeding the wee one:

Mine's a pint


Friday, 12 December 2014

Ovelia modiale, nou nascut

Ballachulish has given birth to a new Ripollesa lamb, born yesterday :

I've named her Ovelia Modiale in honour of my brother-out-of-law, Jonathan Jarrett whose paper* on the use of cows, sheep and possibly pigs as monetary units in 10th century Catalonia is a must read. Our tiny new lamb (3.8kg at birth, so small) probably is not yet worth a modius of grain, but I'll love her all the same.

Unfortunately when I explained to the residents at the Croft that we were calling her "Ovelia Modiale" they all, er, laughed. So she's to be called "Oli" for short. 

Difficult to imagine this animal currency really working. Here's an early manuscript from Catalonia, cerca 975 AD: 

Shopkeeper: Thank you ma'am. That will be three Bovo soldare and half an Ovelia modiale.
Customer: Half an Ovelia modiale? Not sure I've got the change. Just a moment while I fetch an axe...

Bloody business, shopping.

*Bovo Soldare: A Sacred Cow of Spanish Economic History Re-evaluated, in Naismith, Rory, Martin Allen, and Elina Screen, eds. Early Medieval Monetary History: Studies in Memory of Mark Blackburn. Studies in Early Medieval Britain and Ireland. Farnham, Surrey, UK ; Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Company, 2014.

Monday, 8 December 2014

The Woods go Dung

Turning over a new leaf

 The forest here grows very thick, so we've put the donkeys to work reducing the woods to, er, manure.

The woods go dung

Donkeys are efficient, but ruthless. They will strip the bark off anything small enough, and chew their way through almost everything else.

Barking mad

Arran loves it.