In September/October of 2014, my 2 sons and i spent a month in Scotland. Travel light is my mantra – above is my wardrobe for the month. With the exception of key pieces, ie the new Ecco walking shoes ( have never spent so much on shoes, but arthritis and old age are requiring me to make investment in quality shoes now) and the 100% Shetland wool ponch we had made from our own wool, the remaining total investment was about $40, including the suitcase. Since then, i’ve given away the old style suitcase (it’s wheels were too close together and it was a fight to keep it from toppling over on uneven surfaces) and purchased a new one with four wheels. Looking forward to trying it out on the upcoming trip to Scandinavia – leaving tuesday and meeting my daughter in Copenhagen.
“We alway try to get something out of each day. Even if it’s enjoying a cheap lunch together in a nice little cafe or a walk in the park. Something simple that makes you smile and leaves an imprint on the memory. Life’s short. Sometimes far shorter than you expect. ”
On Wednesday the weather man got it wrong. Not one of those spectacular wrongs where he promises sunshine and along comes a hail storm to strip the skin off your face, or a hurricaine to blow your roof off, but he was pretty confident of rain and our plans for a fun afternoon outdoors with the Wee White Dug looked set to be doomed.
Hell bent on making the most of our precious free time together despite the forecast Mr G and the wee dug collected me from the office at midday. After a quick conflab we decided to head to East Lothian for lunch and a rainy walk on one of the many beautiful beaches in the area. We chose Gullane for lunch and Seacliff for our beach walk.
Lunch was at a dug friendly favourite of ours, The Clubhouse in Gullane. The food is always excellent and the…
Just finished pregnancy checking a few cows, including my recip (recipient) cows. Remember that 10 cows were implanted with Aberdeen-Angus embryos on the 24th and 25th of September. The verdict: of the ten, six are bred! That is 60%! Which is so exciting. It sounds like a low percentage, but consider that these embryos were collected and frozen in Scotland on 17 March 2015, then shipped frozen in August to Los Angeles, passed through customs, then on to GENEX in Billings, Montana continuing to Trans-Ova in Chillicothe, MO. Then thawed and implanted. That’s a LOT of room for error.
These cows are scheduled to calve about 25 June 2016. A lot can happen between now and then and even at calving and during the calf’s growing years. So the risk continues.
Suffice it to say, i may have the most colourful recip cows in the county!
Big ranch outfits often do timed AI, but we’ve never done this, so quite the experiment for us. There is a lot of time and cattle handling involved which translates, of course, to more labor costs. Time will tell if all this is really worth it. We have hired a professional AI technicial to insert the CIDRS and do the AI (artificial insemination).
18 August – Mustered the cows and replacements heifers for CIDR placement to begin at 7am along with a Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) vaccination. Doug, the technician had a flat tire so was running about 30 minutes late. Not a problem. The cows sorted nicely and went through the chute with no problems. We managed a pace of 67 cows per hour for a total of 3 1/2 hours from start of CIDR insertion to being finished. Sorting of course, was started an hour earlier. Weather was perfectly cloudy, cool, with rain starting after we finished!.
25 August – Mustered the cows and replacements heifers in again at 4:30 removal of the CIDRS in the cows which also received the lutalyse shot\. Sorted off the replacement heifers and held in corral overnight. A little warm starting here in the afternoon, but not too bad. about 82F, but began to cool off quickly. We were finished by 7:30p.
26 August – Removal of CIDRS in heifers at 7am. Also received a shot of lutalyse. Had a couple of calves to doctor, then let the whole mob down into the timber.
27 August – 6pm – went to muster the cows into the small lot by corral. RIck had already unrolled 4 bales of good hay, but the cows had found their way out of the timber. Took until 7:30 to get them in! Note to self: Leave the cows in the small lot with high quality hay rather than turning them out and having difficulty getting them back in. My thoughts are that they are really tired of getting poked and prodded, so were quite reluctant to move back towards the corral and with all the hormones raging at this point, they are pretty distracted.
We finished about 12;30 pm and had AI’d 210 animals in five hours. If I get 55% of the cows bred to Red Eddard, that’d be industry standard. As expensive as this whole process is, I hope for better – only time will tell. The cows have all been inseminated with Red Eddard, a red Aberdeen Angus that was collected at Cogent and has been sold by Dunlouise Angus to another farmer.
28 August – morning start at 7am with the cows; the heifers were held until last so that the timing is right for best chance of successful AI and conception for each group. Cows should be AI’d 60-66 hours after CIDR removal and heifers about 54-60 hours. Both receiving a second Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) shot. A bit late getting started. Cows were, not surprisingly, reluctant to go into the corral, but at last they made it. We started about 7:30 am again. Everything went very well today, however, and we finished about 12:30pm.
I made my final selection of cows to use for embryo transplant work
and only ended up with 17 for 10 embryos. Hopefully, enough cows will be in standing heat this coming week and none fall out for other reasons, so that each of 10 embryos will have a new home inside a momma’s womb. AND remain viable.
ET cows were hauled home and now I spend time each day, all day checking for standing heat and writing down the time and the cow’s ear tag number. All cows will be hauled to Trans-Ova in Chillicothe, MO on the 4th of September for ET. HOPE, HOPE, HOPE i get some live calves out of those embryos. It’s SO expensive.
Dallas and I dewormed the sheep in the late afternoon – had just done it 20 days ago, but sheep were dying! I found out that the previous owner of these sheep had already put his own flock on an 18 day deworming schedule. Add this to the growing list of reasons why i’m selling off the sheep – more work, more expense, more loss.
In a small bowl stir together the milk, olive, oil, sugar, warm water, and yeast. Stir to dissolve yeast and let sit about 10 minutes then pour into a large mixer bowl.
Whisk the eggs in a small bowl and add all but 1 tbsp. to the liquid ingredients, reserving the extra for brushing the bun tops. Mix in flour, salt, and garlic with paddle attachment until incorporated and then change to a dough hook. Mix with dough hook on medium speed for about 3 to 4 minutes, as needed, to make a smooth, moist dough. Knead until smooth. Place in a large greased bowl, cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.
Punch down and divde dough into 6 pieces. Roll into balls and let rest 10 minutes covered with a towel. With a well-floured rolling pin, roll balls into 4-inch rounds. Place on a greased baking sheet. Cover lightly with a towel and let rise until almost doubled.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F.
In a small bowl, whisk remaining egg together with 1/2 tbsp water. Brush the tops of the buns lightly with egg wash, sprinkle lightly with coarse ground salt and place in overn.
Bake about 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool buns on a rack.
That’s the recipe, but i usually make 8 buns with this recipe since they are rather large. They also need to be eaten fresh or they tend to become crumbly. I use lovely Hebridean Sea Salt flakes harvested from the shores of the remote Scottish Hebridean Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides, Scotland.
“Scotland is a pretty country. The roads are so winding that they seem designed to ensure a maximally scenic experience, and the fields are greener than in most other places by orders of magnitude. They are also pleasantly irregular, having been parceled off in an age before right angles, and are separated by fences hewed out of rock or long and commendably trim hedges. A knight in armor on horseback would look less out of place on a Scottish road than a car does. But what would look most natural of all is a golf cart. The entire country is a vision of the golfing afterlife, with epic stretches of fairway and rough, and the odd clump of forest for texture. Fields stretch out to the horizon, covering the rises in the land the way a taut blanket covers an uprise of toes. Looking skyward, you have the feeling that the hand of God might plunge through the cloud cover to stroke all that dewy pasture like an old woman patting a cat.”