The North wind doth blow and Schiehallion is sporting a white bonnet this week as the first peck on the cheek of winter arrives.
Not that there can be much cause to grumble as it has been a very mild November.
In the last fortnight we have weaned the calves, and while I wasn’t pleased with them earlier in the year they seem to have mended and come off their mothers well grown and sappy. As usual for the following 48 hours there were cows everywhere paying no heed to fencing or highway.
All is well now though. The stots are nestled in golden straw and heifers are awaiting being folded on to fodder crop.
Cows were scanned last week and were well settled, with 4% empty and a good deal of them are more than 10 years old, so once again the wonderful Luing cow has delivered for us here at Dunalastair.
We also enjoyed a buoyant trade for our tups at Fort William. A bit like myself they weren’t fancy nor too well preened, but they were keen and lively in the ring and we enjoyed a good go.
As we busied ourselves to these tasks, the great and the good converged on Glasgow to partake in COP26 to try to find consensus on climate change.
I can’t help but be a little suspect at the extravagant nature of the whole thing; the motorcades, the security, the flights and other transport all seemed a wee bit OTT. And as the people in the designer suits did their thing inside, throngs of people feeling fed up and let down let their chagrin be known outside.
Agriculture must be part of the answer to these pressing issues, but it is naive to expect a politician to deliver any credible road map to a solution.
Indeed, consumer pressure will change things faster than any political will. If a product can espouse real green credentials then I believe it will be more sought after by well-informed consumers going forward.
Herein lies the challenge to our agricultural community. We are all good at preaching to the converted, but we must get our message out to the wider audience of the discerning Scottish consumers. That’s why engagement is so very important and I was delighted to see a delegation of young farmers at COP.
These youngsters must be applauded, as only through this kind of interaction do the right things happen. It is easy for us to feel kicked by elements of the media and the mighty keyboard warriors on the socials, but we must remember that we really do have an industry to be proud of throughout and we must rise to the challenge of meeting our detractors with cool measured responses tempered with facts and science.
I count myself lucky to have spent enjoyable time in the company of worthies far wiser than I, and always try to keep my lugs open for any imparted knowledge. One such gem recently was “God never forgives a missed opportunity”, so I dearly hope that something bears some fruit from the talks in Glasgow.
At the moment I am sporting a bit of an injury in the form of a damaged cruciate which has resulted in more quiet moments of reflection than usual.
On one such occasion recently I happened upon my first proud robin of the winter. He was as plump as a pudding and enjoying some hens’ feed I had spilled in the close, so I decided to ask him what he thought of the recent muster of high heid yins in Glasgow.
Nonchalantly he picked at a few peas of barley on the ground with his beak before he decided it was easier pickings just to hop into the pail and feast away to his heart’s content – at least one discerning consumer is already sold on the benefits of Scottish produce.