Sunday, September 30, 2012

My Birthday and other things

The 23rd was my birthday.  I spent it on George Island. Just Christopher and I.  I had a lovely day. Christopher cooked me my favourite lunch.    He  also made and iced a birthday cake for me.  I also got some lovely birthday presents. In case you are interested in the presents that someone who lives on an island receives I will tell you a few of them.  From Christopher I got a beautiful set of western gear for my miniature ponies.  The ponies will be tamed properly in the next year or two.  Obviously we will not be able to ride them but we now have little Hollie who in the not to distant future will be able to.  As Christopher said when I opened it "I probably chose it with Hollie a little bit in mind".  I think when you look at the photo that you will probably agree.  I also got the complete collection of Catherine Cookson DVDs.  We are not big DVD watchers but because we still have no tele on George it is either watch them or nothing.  I also got a lovely funky colourful photo frame from Christopher with grandma and me wrote on it.  From gorgeous little Hollie I got my first ever nanny mug and a box of chocolates.  From Shaun and Tanya I received a lovely silver photo frame with a picture of Christopher, Hollie and I and a carved wooden box.  The box was a special request.   I wanted something proper to keep all the treasure that I have collected from the wreck of the Isobella in.  Tiphanie was in Punta Arenas, Chile at the time of my birthday and as yet I haven't received a gift from her but I will because she never forgets. I also got  presents from my mum and my mother and father in law.
On the islands or the Falklands in general it is goose egging time.  The geese are laying and we have been out several times collecting them.  We will collect eggs for eating now and extra ones to put in pickle.  We are also asked to collect them for several people in town. Geese will keep laying if you keep robbing them and there are that many of them that they are a pest. They eat grass like it is going out of fashion and we could do with a lot less of them.  Christopher's mum and dad have been out with us for a long weekend collecting eggs to.
It is also the start of lambing and we saw our first lamb 2 days ago.  The official lambing date for here is the 4th but we are now seeing a few early borns, often these are twins.  Unfortunately we have had heavy rain today so that is not a good start.
Today we had a helicopter day visit.  These are folks that come out from the military base at MPA.  Generally they are families or military that are wanting to see the seals and penguins.  Today we had 2 families.  They are delivered by helicopter which leaves them on the islands for several hours and then comes back later in the day to pick them up.  Christopher always does guided tours of the wildlife to keep the disturbance to a minimum.  The visitors pay £10.00 per adult and £5.00 per child.
Well that's enough for today.  Next time I will update on the work that was carried out over the winter on the islands.

Monday, September 3, 2012


It's not often we have visitors but when we do they seem to arrive altogether.  On the 31st we had a small contingent of 2 para visit Barren Island and George Island.  We have come to the conclusion that we are not very observant.  The helicopter dropped them off on Barren in the morning and picked them up at 3 in the afternoon to bring them over onto George Island.  We did not hear the helicopter until it was coming in to land here.  It is difficult to imagine how we did not hear it as Barren is only a stones throw away. They were a really nice bunch.  These days you hardly get any infantry that were born before the Falklands conflict.  This group was no different with the oldest of the patrol being only 2 years old during the conflict.  2 para stayed with us for the night and used the shearing shed for shelter, cooking and sleeping.
On the 1st we had a visit from a shore party from HMS Clyde.  We were hoping she would come in close but she stayed a long way off shore and continued to steam up and down while the shore party were here.  The party consisted of 4 individuals, 3 men and 1 women.  The 2 para patrol consisted of 9 men.
On the farm we started to gather the ewes in to crutch them ready for lambing.  It has been a good season with regards to keeping the rams in and we had no escapees on either here or Speedwell so we are confident about when the first lambs are due.  Our first lambs on George are due on the 1st October with the last being due 6 weeks later.  As usual nothing ever goes to plan.  This year the ewes are in excellent condition, over weight and very heavy in lamb.  Despite going out and allowing them to start coming home at their own pace we had 4 die in quick succession.  The first one we opened up to find she was carrying twins.  The decision was made to abandon the gather.  It's great that the ewes are in such good condition coming out of the winter.  There are several reasons for this.  The first being an extremely mild winter with very few frosts the second being the poor lambing last year due to the bad weather we had during the lambing period last season.  With so many ewes losing their lambs last season they ran dry throughout the summer allowing them to bump up their fat reserves.
Those of you who read my blog regularly will recall that I went to Stanley to work for the FIC, West Store for 3 months.  Over the 3 months I ended up learning 3 new jobs.  The first was a nice little job it involved ordering up replenishment stock and basically goods receiving it into the West Store when it arrived.  There were a few parts of the job that I wasn't shown as I was only doing it for 6 weeks.  I would class it as equivalent to a school leavers job.  It was a busy little job but easy to learn and get to grips with.  After 6 weeks I moved out off that job to work as stock controller to cover for the original stock controller who was going on holiday.  We only had a 3 day handover but it is one of those jobs that you cant really teach somebody anyway.  The stock takes were scheduled pretty much for 1 every day.  I started off with a couple that went extremely well and felt quite confident but it wasn't always like that.  Some of the stock takes were difficult.  I had difficulties finding some of the products if they were stored in the stockrooms which are old and rambling.  If I was lucky the girls that helped me with the counts would know where to find everything but sometimes even they didn't know where to find what I was looking for and sometimes of course items were just plain missing.  In these cases I had to trawl back through all the data on the computer trying to find out what had happened to it.  All in all it was a challenging job which I was still learning right up until I finished.  It's a job where you have to learn to think outside the box and I was still very much learning to doing that.
The third job I took on was offered to me as an extra.  It was considerably better paid and the very basic description was it's just putting a few invoices on for the fishing agency.  It was a much, much bigger job then that and I ended up some days working a 12 hour day.  I would start my stock control job at 6:45am and work until 3:30 then drive down to the FIC bottom office and work until 6 or 7pm.  My initial reaction to the job was I can do that I already use Sage accounts.  I knew it would be different because I use a small business package and they use a big business package.  The biggest problem with the job was there was no handover at all, the previous person had already left.  The invoicing was way behind and it was not just a simple case of drawing up an invoice. The invoices had to be grouped together for the different ships from the fishing fleet that operate in the Falklands fishing zones.  It was a nightmare.  In fact after the first evening of trying to sort out invoices I went home and thought I'm never going to sleep again.  I'm not that easily daunted but I just thought I don't need this.  I just felt there was already that much work already there that was already way behind that I couldn't see myself getting my head above water.  I am a pretty decisive person so I went in the next evening and said the jobs not for me.  That should have been that but I then had a call asking if the work was brought up to date and if the invoices were presented sorted and in the ships folder ready for invoicing would I have another go.  Always a sucker for a bit off extra money against my better judgement I said yes.  That was fine, the invoicing was brought up to date by someone else who had also been doing it on a part time basis and the work started arriving in folders ready for invoicing.  Simple you would think. No, not really.  Some services provided to the fishing fleet had commission to be added some didn't.  There was no one their that actually knew.  Don't get me wrong there were people there that tried to help me and could help me with some aspects of the job but no-one that had actually done the job in it's entirety.  The work would arrive in fits and starts.  I went from one day feeling pretty smug because I felt I had caught everything up and was even finding time to get down to the more minor things like filing and then coming in the next evening to find 56 different ships files on the desk. These files can have anything from 1 invoice that needs entering up to probably in the region of 20. Even this would have been okay but in the first instance each ships invoices has to be entered onto a control sheet on excel, from the control sheet they would then go onto the sage system.  After the invoice was drawn up the suppliers that needed paying would then have to be entered onto the purchase ledger.  It was a big job.  Six weeks was no were long enough to learn it and because there was no one to teach it it was a bit of a suck it and see.  When I finished at the end of July I was just starting to get stuff back that was incorrect.  It was bound to happen but it makes you feel incompetent through no real fault of your own. I know that I was not the only one that it had happened to as I had spent the first  hour of my first evening doing credit notes to correct errors from the previous occupant of what was a very hot seat.  All in all I think it is a job that would be quite enjoyable if you had the time to learn it properly although I think it would always be quite challenging.  I went through days of quite enjoying it to ones where I was thoroughly pissed off.  The one thing I got out of that job and the stock controller job was that I would like to do a course to learn to use excel properly.  So that was my 3 months winter work in Stanley.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Message in a bottle

After 12 years of looking I have finally found a message in a bottle.  This afternoon we were out in the vehicle on George Island looking at the tussac that has been planted this winter and the Yorkshire fog that was planted last spring when we noticed two plastic bottles tied together.  Despite suffering from sore knees at the moment I was first out of the vehicle as I could see there was a message inside.  It was a bit dissappointing to find that the bottle only contained a name Boris Alejandro Valencia .B., Chilote a hotmail address and the words Carrero G/P II.  It would have been nice if it had had an actual message.  Never mind I have sent off to the hotmail address and we are now waiting to see if we get a reply.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Meet Hollie Louise May

Meet my lovely granddaughter Hollie Louise May.  Born 4:26am 17th August 2012 weighing 7lb 10oz's.  Mum and baby are both very well.  This is not the best photo of me as I had a little bit of help when I was born and it has made my head a little longer then it should be but I am still beautiful.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Well its been a while since I blogged but I have got news to share.  If you have been reading my blog for a while then you will remember me saying that Phil Vickery was coming to the Falklands.  Well he is here and I have just been talking to Carol Phillips at Hope Cottage and Phil Vickery is going there for lunch tomorrow.  Carol has been asked to cook a stew.  Now stew may seem quite a plain meal to some but when it is made with lamb and fresh veg straight from the garden it is very very tasty.  I think Carols daughter in law Shula is also helping with the meal.  Carol is more then a little nervous, wouldn't we all be. 
While I am on here I may as well up date you on what I have been up to.  I have been working in Stanley for just over a week now.  It is a nice little job.  Nice and easy and doesn't require as much brain strain to learn as the one I did last year.  I am covering for maternity leave and I started work a week ago Monday and finish at the end of July.  This year my job is to type up the orders to replenish the stock in the west store.  I print out the order sheets then the girls and boys on the shop floor fill them in. I then process the order and send it through to the warehouse.  Once the stock arrives at the shop I then goods receive the items.  Like I say it is a nice easy job.  I will do this job for about 6 weeks then the stock controller goes on holiday and I will move into that job.  I have helped with stock control when I worked in the warehouse last year and it is quite a taxing job and will probably cause a bit of brain strain.  I think it will be quite difficult for the first week or two as we do not have a hand over period.  Thankfully there will be someone else in the office who can do the job so I will have help at hand for when I need it, which will be quite a lot to start with I think.
Out on the island Christopher has at last got back to working on the crab factory.  Its a shame we didn't know Phil Vickery was here because Christopher has just done a crab haul and he has a fair amount in a holding pot.  The crab we have in the Falklands is lovely and sweet and I'm sure he would have enjoyed cooking with it.
Christopher and Shaun have also been busy on all three islands putting the rams out to the ewes ready for this years lamb drop.  They have also started lining up the first of the fences that are going up this winter.  Once the fence is lined up and the materials are all out at the fence line Shaun will go onto contract rates to put it up.
Well got to go.  Work tomorrow. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

George Island

We came down to George late Tuesday.  There is a lot of wind about at the moment and we have to be constantly checking the windplot grib files when we want to move to find a suitable weather window.  All the wool is now away from Speedwell and we are now down on George to get the Barren wool away and the remainder of the George bales away.  We are also sending our last 280 lambs and mutton to the abattoir.
Yesterday Christopher gathered all the sheep in on the island and we drafted off the sheep for the abattoir.  The weather is really starting to break now and we found ourselves sheltering against the water tanks to keep out of the hail.  The animals drafted really well which helped on such a crappy day.  We cant complain  we have had a fantastic summer.  After the animals go on the boat tomorrow we will only have approx. 100 ewes to take across to Barren to make the flock back up on there.  We brought 2 pens full of ewes down on the boat with us that are destined for the abattoir to save the Concordia Bay having to work both islands.  Mainly because Shaun is still not back at Speedwell and we had no one to work the boat up there.  Christopher also went across and collect the 8 bales of wool from Barren to make it a bit quicker when Concordia Bay arrives.  The Concordia Bay normally only does livestock movement or cargo but because we do not have too many sheep to go they have agreed to do both.  This is not possible if we are sending 600 plus because the animals are protected by animal welfare and are not allowed to exceed a certain number of hours in transit.  The transit time starts from the time the first animal is loaded until the time the last one is unloaded at the abattoir.  If we were to send cargo and a large number of animals together there would be a chance they would exceed their time limit although this would be unlikely.
Taken from on top of the wheelhouse.  It was higher then it looked and I couldn't bring myself to stand up when I got up there.

Navigation lights in the dusk

Theo at the end of George jetty.

Ewes going up the gangway onto the jetty.

Pen full of ewes.

Honestly it wasn't me digging holes in the yard.

Would I lie?
As soon as the boat leaves tomorrow we will be leaving also to go to Stanley.  In Stanley we will core test the wool so that we can get the micron and yield results back as soon as possible.  The wool samples will be sent to New Zealand for testing.  I have lotted the wool into 5 different lots for coring. They are A,B,C,A/B Sandy and C Sandy.  All our oddments, bellies, stain, necks and pieces have been sold in their greasy state and these will not be tested.  We have already booked a container to send the wool away in and we hope to have it away from the Falklands by the end of April.  We can send 26 ton of wool away in one container but to do this we will have to have some of our wool double dumped.  I think this will still leave us with about 6 bales of wool that we will not be able to get away this season.  To be cost effective you need to fill the 40 ft container to capacity.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Time to spill the beans.

With the last of the wool off to Stanley and the last of the animals off to the abattoir next week this season is as good as over.  Daylight isn't coming in until 7am and although we are still having mild weather it is getting colder.  Its time to reflect on the season which Christopher and I both agree is probably the hardest season in 20 odd years that we have both done.  It should have been the easiest one ever as we had an employee for the first time ever.  Plans were made before the season started.  Shaun wanted himself and Christopher to shear all the sheep instead of getting contractors in.  Mainly because this allowed him to boost his own wage by coming off wage and going onto contractors rates.  This still saved us money as obviously Christopher was to shear for the love of it and we would not have to pay overheads to Shaun.  It all looked good.  Tanya was to be the rousie and I would roll, class and store the wool.  What could go wrong.  Well Shaun and Tanya also had another plan that we didn't know about.  They had decided to start a family.  November saw us shearing the hogs on George Island which are the only sheep we shear before Christmas.  Christmas eve we were told the very exciting news that we were going to be grandparents.  That's were the rest of the plan went completely out the window.  Over the Christmas break we had the fire on George that took several weeks to get under control and which saw Christopher and Shaun absolutely worn out from firefighting.  With Tanya only been 9 weeks pregnant at that time this prevented her from wool carrying as both Tanya and Shaun were desperate that she should get to the relatively safe 12 weeks when the chances of a miscarriage become less likely.  So that is how we ended up with me being rousie, rolling the wool, classing the wool and stowing it.  Over the weeks one of the most popular songs on the radio seemed to be "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger".  There were points when I thought it would kill me but we made it.  Luckily for the last shearing we were able to get in a shearer and a rousie so that made life easier.  Today Tanya is 5 months pregnant and we are very excited to be expecting our first grandchild on about the 18th August and it is going to be a little girl.  Tanya is keeping well the house in Stanley is starting to fill up with baby things and they are both very excited as are we.
The George Island fire taken out of the window of the Islander aircraft on New Years Eve.

The father to be shearing one of our largest rams on Barren Island (January 2013)

The mum to be practising with Connor Joe her cousins baby.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Who broke the fence?

This week has seen us still at Speedwell.  Christopher started the week with the straggle gather of Twin Ponds.  Must have been a good gather the first time as there were only 4 sheep in there.  He then gathered Top Twin Ponds and brought all the sheep into the settlement.  This camp has had the Twin Ponds ewes in to give their own camp Twin Ponds a months rest.  These sheep were brought into the settlement.
Tuesday Christopher left at 9:30 am to gather the South End.  I left at 10:30 in the rover with the dogs.  The South End now has this years lamb drop in it and the shearling ewes.  They will now all over winter in this camp.  We had to bring them in again as we still have a small amount of lambs to go to the abattoir.  The lambs were contrary and although they didn't really cause any problems you had to be on their case.  They were not keen to march and stopped at every opportunity. They pretended that they had never seen a gate and stood in the gateway rather then going through it.  We eventually arrived back at the settlement at 2pm.  A slow gather and drive.  I was really pleased when they headed straight into the pen.  The front end then did a quick swirl and before we knew it they were all heading back out the gate.  Not really a problem just annoying.  Christopher was getting pretty pissed with them.  This is were sometimes you should practise what you preach.  Christopher does not complain about Shaun very much at all but all season he has growled at Shaun and to me about Shaun forcing the sheep at the gates.  More then once I have heard "he pushes them to hard at the gate, he's going to have the fence down" and the trouble is he's never seen what happens when you force them at the gate".  Well Shaun still hasn't seen what happens when you force them at the gate but we now have three broken posts were Christopher forced 1,400 sheep into the pens.   At the end of the day its frustrating for everyone because you then have to make temporary repairs before you can start drafting.  Oh well we shouldn't hear too much about forcing sheep for a while.
Wednesday saw us drafting all day.  Christopher also went out and did a straggle gather of the South End.  He assured me it had been a good gather, not as good as he thought as he arrived back at the settlement with another 80.  Oops.  So that should be the last of the gathering and drafting for this season.  The flocks are sorted the fences are repaired so everything should stay where it is put.
The last of the sheep to go to the abattoir are now in at the settlement and we are going to take them down to George on our own boat to go on the Concordia Bay from there.  This week was only the second time that the pens have been really wet and I have needed boots.  Well we all know what happened to my lovely Fat Boy Bombers.  What was I drafting in, a pair of size 8 rigger boots, not so comfy when you only take a four.
In the house I have been painting the back porch. The ceiling and walls have both had two coats of paint each and tomorrow I will get the first coat on the skirting.  So that's our week. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

A look at the last few days.

22nd March and we are still in Stanley.  I have been working on the farm accounts and this afternoon we went and bought our groceries for Speedwell.  I am unorganised as usual with a partial shopping list for Speedwell but no list for George at all.  It no longer bothers me if I run out of anything unless it is salt which I just can't live without.
Also got offered a job today.  I had decided that I was not going to come to Stanley and work for the winter this year but I do like the kerching of pennies going into my  bank account.  The job is only for 3 months from the beginning of May until the end of July.  This is very tempting because we will have finished all the sheep work on the islands but it would still give me time to do some decorating in the George and Speedwell houses before I came in.  I would also have August/September  to work on the houses before the sheep work starts in earnest next season.  Tempted, very tempted.  The job this year would be with FIC the same company that I have worked for in the winter for the last 4 years or so.  My job this winter would include putting newly received stock onto the computer, opening new stock, some stock taking and I guess general office duties.  At the moment I am waiting to hear back about the wage and I will then make a decision on whether to take the job or not.
23rd March and still in Stanley.  Still not doing anything in particular.  Christopher has been a bit busier.  A brake pipe went on my Mitsubishi so he changed that this morning so that I could take my mother out this afternoon.  He also changed the headlights on the Strada.  The reflectors  were all rusty and they were just not putting enough light out.  The Strada is not really used in Stanley but with the days now getting shorter we are either leaving Stanley in the dark or arriving in Stanley in the dark so something had to be done about them.  All the groceries are now packed up and the rucksacks are ready so we will be out of here early tomorrow.
Left Stanley at 7am and arrived on Speedwell at midday.  A crappy sort of day no wind but horribly drizzly and damp.  We both took the rest of the day off.
Gentoo Penguins with chicks and King Cormorants with chicks

The sea crate.

Christopher demonstrating the swinging fence in the sea crate.
Today Christopher has spent the day pressing.  All the fleece wool is about finished but there are still bellies, neck, stain and pieces to be pressed up.  We are running into a bit of a problem at the moment as the Concordia Bay is due up here to clear all the wool from Speedwell, George and Barren on the 3rd April.  This is proving a bit of a headache because the squid season has been exceptional and Shaun has now been stevedoring for over three weeks and there is no sign of him coming back out yet.  We can work George and Barren on the same day but we cannot beat the Concordia Bay up here to work here as well.  I can't stay here and roll the bales out as they are all 200 kilos plus. There is just far too many for me to roll from the bale shed and down onto the jetty.  Not only do we have to sort this problem out but Concordia Bay then comes back on the 7th to clear all the rest of the animals for this season to the abattoir from both Speedwell and George Island.  What a headache.  We are loath to ask Shaun to come out because he makes very good money when he is stevedoring.  This afternoon we went down to the sea crate between the Sand Grass and Twin Ponds to check if the fancy new swinging fence was still standing.  It must be about a month since we put it in and we have had some really rough weather.  It is still there and looking good at the moment.
Finally for today.  Prince William  has been and gone.  It was great having the prince in the Falklands.  Although he didn't do any official appearances a lot of people did get to meet him. He visited the shops and even had an evening out in the pubs in Stanley. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Stuck in Stanley

Well we have now been in Stanley for 8 days.  We came across to go to the ram sale at Saladero.  Having made the decision to change our flock back to Polwarth because we can't get the genetics we need to continue with the Samm and Dohne we went to the sale with the intention of purchasing 10 shearling rams.  Christopher had trawled through the catalogue of 90 plus potential animals and selected his top 10 specimens.  The animals were selected on what we consider to be the most desirable traits that we wish to see in our animals.  The Samms that we have been using have done a fantastic job of putting body size across our animals on Speedwell but have disappointed us by decreasing in wool weight significantly.  We were expecting a drop but it has been bigger then expected.   They also have a fairly low fat cover and we were unable to source any genetics with more then 3mm of fat.  It appears that this is not enough for our climate.  Anyway getting back to the desirable traits.  The top 10 were selected first for body weight. 50 kilos plus as a 2 year old.  This was closely followed by clean wool weight.  All the top 10 clipped 3 kilos plus of clean wool. The final significant selection criteria was micron. The range for micron was between 18.0 and 22.0.  Finally on the sale day all the animals were assessed visually.  My job at the sale was to bid for these animals.  The bidding system is a helmsmen system.  For those who do not know this system I will explain it.  All 90 plus animals are put up on a board simultaneously.  All the shearling rams had a reserve price of £65.00.  The first half hour  is  a very intense period as every one bids on all the animals on the board at the same time.  Each bidder has a number and you write down your bid which is then passed to the board.  Your bid is then wrote on the board with your bidder number so that everyone can see.  I found it really difficult keeping a track on our top 10 as I had to keep trawling through the board to see if I had been outbid. Over the first half hour the board changed constantly on all 10 animals.  Up until the last 5 minutes of the sale I managed to keep hold of all 10 animals.  Then  the manager of Goose Green farm said that I had all his top four animals and that he was going to keep bidding until he got one.  The one he had decided that he was going to keep bidding on until he got it was our number 10.  I decided to let him have it.  The sale concludes when no more bids are put on any of the animals for 2 minutes.  All in all a pleasing result which saw us leaving the sale with 9 out of the 10 chosen rams and £1,100  poorer.
The last week has seen day after day of wind.  This has not been the only reason for us being stuck in Stanley.  Christopher hurt his back the day we came over.  Christopher and bad backs is nothing unusual but this was unusual because he was in extreme pain.  I predicted this episode when I saw him lift the dinghy trailer up to hook it onto the Strada.  The Strada was slightly too far back and instead of getting me to get in the vehicle and move it forward slightly he was not only holding up the boat trailer which is no flimsy lightweight job but also pushing the Strada forward with the rest of his body to get the eye of the trailer onto the hook of the Strada. Stupid!!!!  This has meant that he has just not been fit enough to take us home.  The biggest obstacle being that Theo has heavy duty moorings at both George Is. and Speedwell Is. as they have to hold her in the foulest of weather.  The riding chain is so heavy that I am unable to pull it up.  Christopher was sure he would be able to pull them up but I was certain that it would just aggravate his back even further.  So here we are still in Stanley. Christopher's back is 90% better but there does not look like there is going to be a weather window to get back onto Speedwell until Saturday.  Today we were supposed to be getting the last of our animals for this season of both Speedwell and George on to  Concordia  Bay for the abattoir but this has had to be cancelled.  These animals cannot be moved now until the 7th April which is a bit of a pain but just couldn't be avoided.
Finally for today.  I came across a new blog written by a lady currently living in the Falklands.  An interesting blog well worth a read.  It is interesting to see how we are perceived.  Also interesting to see how we are all clumped together as being adverse to contractors.  I for one realise that there are positions where we need to have contractors. I can't see that ever changing.  We are never going to produce enough doctors, teachers etc.  In time I hope to see my daughter filling a position in her field which is currently predominantly staffed with contract officers.  Not because she is a Falkland Islander and has priority over jobs (or because I don't like contractors) but because she is qualified to do the job.  Tiphanie left the islands at 16 to spend 2 years at college, followed by 3 years at university.  She then returned home for a year to gain experience working in her field as a marine biologist. On completion of  her year she returned to university to complete a  master degree.  Tiphanie has not had to be encouraged to come home.  She made her career decision at the age of 16 in a field where she knew there was a lack of locally qualified individuals.  It is not true to say just because you are a Falkland Islander you get first dibs at all the jobs.  You have to have the qualifications required to fulfill the criteria of the job and if we have individuals with the qualifications and experience required for a specific job then yes I think we should be employing them.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Eliza Providence Durie

Was Eliza Providence Durie who was born on Speedwell Island after being ship wrecked on the island from the ship the Isabella in February 1812 the first baby to be born in the Falklands?

Friday, March 9, 2012

A super fast turn around

Back on Speedwell.  Started drafting on George Island at 7:30 am and had the job done and dusted by 2 pm.  The sheep were rather manic.  The first draft was a 3 way draft. Wether lambs, cast and odds to the left.  Flock ewes under the age of 7 straight ahead and ewe lambs to the right.   At the end of the first draft we counted the ewe lambs and turned them out.  For the second draft we brought the ewes under the age of 7 back around and did a two way draft taking shearling ewes of to the right, these are the replacement ewes going into the breeding flock to replace this years cast, the 7 year olds.  This was to get a count of the remaining flock ewes and to also get a count of the shearling ewes to make sure we have enough ewes under the age of 7 to make up the breeding flock of  1,150.  Very pleased that we do have enough so we will not have to run any aged ewes on George Island.  The flock ewes and the shearlings were then turned back out to their camp.  The third draft was a three way draft.  Wether lambs for the abattoir to the right, cast ewes for the abattoir straight ahead and cast ewes to make up the Barren flock and odds to the left. Then the wether lambs were counted out.  The fourth draft was a two way draft to take of the cast for the Barren flock which just left us with cast ewes too poor for the abattoir, about 12, wether lambs not fat enough for the abattoir, about 8.  If there were any amount of wether lambs not fit for the abattoir we would normally take them up to Speedwell to over winter but such a small amount will be left on George.  The 12 cast ewes not fit for the abattoir will be used up over the winter as dogs meat.  Now we have done the stock take we can book the wether lambs and cast ewes into the abattoir to go as soon as possible.
It was a good days drafting the sheep rattled through the pens.  One was so enthusiastic it came thundering up the race,took a giant leap to clear the drafting gates rather then go through them and heads collided as it caught Christopher just above his eye and knocked him clean off the gates.


I have just noticed when I glanced at my profile that it says I live in the Falkland Islands then in brackets (Island Malvinas).  I would never, ever put that.  How has it got there!!!!! It will be changed.

George Island

Christopher and I came down to George Island yesterday morning.  For the first time this season I put my padded trousers on the boat in anticipation of being cold but for so late in the summer it was a lovely day and even out on the sea it was pleasantly warm.  I spent the majority of the trip sitting outside on one of the large buoys which wedges nicely between the wheelhouse and the bulwarks making a nice comfy slightly bouncy seat.  I was hoping I might see the Sei whales as I had seen them coming down through Eagle passage when I looked out the window at Speedwell a couple of days ago but they were no where to be seen.  The lack of whales from made up for by large numbers of cormorants, albatross and giant petrels.
We are running on a bit of a tight schedule at the moment and have came down to George to do our annual animal stock take and sort the number of animals available to go to the abattoir.  We need to draft all the sheep on the island to take of  the cast ewes, these are all the ewes that have now reached 7 years old.  We also need to go through all the lambs, we will keep 300 of the very best ewe lambs as replacement for the flock.  All the remaining lambs will go to the abattoir before the end of the month, condition permitting as will the 7 year old ewes again condition permitting.  We arrived here just after 2pm had a quick snack and Christopher went straight out on his bike to do the first gather.  These sheep are already home and in the pens and he is away on his second.  I have been unable to go because the Mitsubishi has a puncture.  The schedule is a bit tight because we have the rest of this seasons animals going from Speedwell on Tuesday so we have to get back there in time to gather two camps in and brand and de-tag those animals.  Even after Tuesday the schedule still stays tight as we are going to the ram sale at Saladero on Friday. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

It's been a year!!!!

Its just over a year since I started my blog.  I'm not sure why I actually started it, I think I was bored and looking for something to do.  Why a blog, I'm not sure, I can't even keep a diary.  Several times over the year I have thought of giving it up.  Then someone would leave a comment or I would be in Stanley and I would meet someone who would say its time you updated your blog.  So here I am a year later  with 25 followers, yes 25, and 81 followers through Twitter.  In a way it has become a useful tool for me and I guess in some respects it has become the diary that in 24 years I never managed to keep.  Can I keep it going another year we will see.
Its also a year since we employed Shaun.  Looking back I don't think we ever made a conscious decision to employ Shaun.  It was more the other way around, Shaun decided that he was coming home to work.  I was unsure if we could truly afford to employ him.  A year later the results are out and yes we can afford to employ him.  It has been a great decision, he is hard working, conscientious and reliable.  With the outbreak of the fire again on George Island he has found himself in the position of having to gather and bring sheep in from the large camps on Speedwell by himself .  Him and Bex with the aid of Christopher's most experienced dog Elle have risen to the challenge.  Sometimes it has taken two attempts to complete the challenge but he always gets there in the end.  Him and Tanya are now in Stanley for a couple of weeks because it is squidding season.  It was agreed when we employed him that he would still be able to go squidding.  This takes him away for about a month in March and then about a month in August.  The March one is a bit of a pain as we are still busy but it is good money and allows him to boost his income considerably.
Last but not least Tiphanie is back in Stanley.  She went out observing on a vessel in the fishing fleet  for what she thought was a two week stint and eventually got back into Stanley seven weeks later.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Treasure + gardens

Yesterday Christopher and I went for a spin down to New Town Providence looking for treasure of the Isabella.  Her cargo included wine, seal skins and mother of pearl.  We had never looked for the mother of pearl before but Shaun and Tanya had been down to the site the week before and found some which prompted us to go and look.  It was a sunny  day and within minutes of stepping onto the stony beach I saw something glistening in the sun.  My first piece of mother of pearl.  Within half and hour we had probably found about 20 pieces between us.  Not bad since the ship was wrecked 200 years ago this year.  I also found another two pieces of blue patterned pottery.

Mother of Pearl
More of the blue patterned pottery
In the garden the potatoes are starting to die off ready for digging.  It has been very frustrating with the Robins digging down and taking so many of the potatoes that some roots are literally empty when you dig them up.  Christopher came to the decision that although they had not died off it would be better to dig them early then keep on losing them to the birds.  It appears that although this has stopped the Robins having them the skins are still too delicate and in places where it has rubbed off the potatoes are going soft.  It seems to be a non win situation.  On a more positive side the potatoes that are still in the garden are a good size and are yielding fairly well.  Any suggestions on deterring the Robins would be greatly appreciated.  The situation would not be so bad if they only ate the ones that are showing on the surface but they are literally digging right down to the roots.

One of the potato plots
White turnips, carrots, parsnip, swede, beetroot, onions and  lettuce.
The remains of a Robins feast.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Falkland Islander in Shearing world championship Semi final!!!!

So exciting the Falkland Islands have a shearer in the semi final of the World Championships Shearing competition in Masterton, New Zealand.  We have two shearers representing us and two wool handlers.  In the shearing competition we have Lee Molkenbur and Evan Jones.  The boys have so far came fifth in the team shear and we are eagerly waiting for Evan to compete in the semi final of the individual shearing.  The girls Vikki Lee and Sammi Hirtle also did an awesome job in the team event for wool handling and came third (IN THE WORLD).  How cool is that.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Have you ever seen a human catapault?

Following on from my story of the bogging last week I thought I should tell you about another incident that happened on the same day.
We were down on the beach at the crates.  I was sitting on a gabion filled with rock pretty much just watching and getting bits and pieces from the vehicles that Christopher needed for the job.  Christopher was standing on top of a rock filled gabion from a previous attempt at sheep proofing the beach.  He had decided to drive a galvanised steel standard down through the original gabion and then down into the beach.  The gabion had flattened out considerably and he was about 2 feet above the beach.  Using a sledgehammer he drove the standard down through until it was securely driven down into the rocky beach.  He gave the standard a tug and said to me does it seem firm enough?  It was firm and barely moved.  Obviously my assurances were not enough and he went around the other side of the gabion and gave the standard an almighty jerk just to check.  Next thing he is flying through the air, standard clasped between both hands.  It looked like he had been fired off the top of the gabion.  It looked hilarious, there was no sound, his legs didn't move and his hands were still firmly clasping the standard.  Next thing he is flat on his back on the rocky beach.   In some respects it was his  lucky day as the beach had a really thick layering of kelp to break his fall.  The standard had snapped like a carrot.  Uncontrollable laughter.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sometimes I am so stupid!!!!!

Life on Speedwell goes on.  With shearing nearly finished Christopher has moved on to some urgent fencing repairs to try and keep the sheep in their right camps.  Shaun and I have been in the shearing shed on and off most days shearing.  Last week Christopher headed down to the Twin Ponds/Sand Grass boundary to work on the sea crates that have washed out.  The sea crate boundaries are a pain in the butt as they are open to the full force of the south Atlantic ocean and wash out frequently and it is not a small job to re-built.  Anyway Shaun had an idea that it would be better to have a free hanging fence that the force of the sea could push open.  Its quite hard to explain what I mean.  Christopher thought it was a good idea and took the rover and compressor down to drill down into the beach to try and put a more secure foundation in down at the low tide mark.  Unfortunately on the way down he decided to drive through a dried out pond which wasn't quite as dry as it looked and bogged the rover.  Yesterday we both went down in the Mitsubishi to pull the rover out.  It didn't look that bogged and I thought it would come out quite easy.  We put a rope on and I was given instructions to drive out to the end and take up the strain in 1st gear.  This I did and with the Mitsubishi  spinning and the land rover spinning and not a track on any of the tyres to share between them we went no where.  New instructions were issued, back off put the Mitsubishi in 2nd drive faster to the end of the rope and try and jerk me out.  Nothing, the rope snapped.  Christopher dug out a bit from under the wheels and we half heatedly put a few bits of wood under them because it really looked like it should come out easily.  Reluctantly I offered to drive the land rover.  I don't like driving a vehicle that is being towed in case the rope breaks and springs back and breaks the windscreen.  Assurances are given that the rope is not nylon and will not spring if it breaks.  I know this is our best chance of getting out as Christopher will be much more aggressive in second and the jerk will be a jerk.  New instructions are issued, put the land rover in 1st and when I whistle keep your revs on and let the wheels start to spin.  To start with you can't hear the whistle.  First try, slow gentle approach nothing, second approach fast run out for a jerk.  Rope breaks but like he says it doesn't spring.  Luckily we have a very long rope which is actually for lowering the turbine.   Christopher reattaches the now shorter rope and changes to a different angle for the tow.  He has now abandoned trying in 1st and goes straight for second. This time the land rover spinning and jerking moves about 2 feet.  1 wheel comes out on top and its looking good for the next try.  Now somewhere here I decided that maybe I was in 3rd and I decided that maybe 1st is left a bit more.  Ah yes there is another gear over to the left.  Off Christopher goes again, nothing, we don't even move a smidgen. A bit more digging and a few more half hearted boards and we try again.  Nothing again.  If anything the back wheels are getting more and more bogged and not only that but the compressor that wasn't bogged and which we hadn't unhitched was also getting bogged. Although light we decided to take it off to make the pull a bit lighter.  I get back in the land rover and a little voice is saying are you sure you wasn't in reverse.  The little voice says a little louder I think you was in reverse last time.  "Hang on Christopher I'm not quite ready".  I put the land rover into the gear hard to the left put on some revs and gently let the clutch out, um the back wheels are spinning backwards.  I then put it back into the original gear that I had decided was probably 3rd, no it was 1st.  I laugh to myself put it back in 1st and shout I'm ready.  Yeah a couple of good jerks a bit more skidding and I am out.  In fits of  laughter I get out and say no wonder you couldn't get me out we have been playing tug of war, I've been in reverse.  Christopher just shakes his head and I chuckle about it for the rest of the day and there was still more chuckling to come but  I have to do some work so will have to come back to it.
You may wonder why I didn't look at the gear stick to check.  Well that would be because I spent about 20 minutes trying to get the mitsubishi into reverse when we first got it to eventually work out that the gear knob on the stick didn't belong to a Mitsubishi.  On the land rover reverse is hard to left and forward on the mitsubushi is is hard to the right and back.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Photos - Tug, barge & LCVP


Christopher ready to drive the Eager Beaver of the LCVP onto the beach.
Will try and put pictures of tug and barge on tomorrow as the internet will not up-load photos properly tonight.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A tug, a barge and a LCVP

It's taken 2 years, yes 2 years but finally courtesy of the MOD Christopher now has the Eager Beaver on George Island and Shaun has his Surf on Speedwell.  It was a close run thing.  If you remember the first date set to bring the machinery out was November, then December.  These dates came and went and in the end I gave up writing about it because I thought it was never going to happen.  Yesterday morning the MOD and FIG were still struggling to get insurances and disclaimers in place for the vehicles to leave Mare Harbour in the evening.  I've got to say when I got a phone call at approx. 10:30am saying our government had to have all the paperwork sorted by 11:30am and there were still obstacles in the way I thought its just not going to happen again.  Then finally we got word it was sorted and the tug would be leaving Mare Harbour at 1:00am and be at Speedwell for 7:30am.  9:30am arrived and I got a ring from Lynn in Stanley who has been working hard on getting the project off the ground asking how it was going.  Sorry Lynn its not here.  Approx. 11.00am the tug came around the point with the barge in tow.  20 minutes later the LCVP was lifted off the barge and finally Shaun's Surf was on its way to the beach.  The LCVP was awesome and came right up and dropped her bow ramp on the beach.  Two minutes later Shaun drove his Surf off, one happy bunny.  By 12:10pm the tug, barge and LCVP were on there way to George Island to drop off the Eager Beaver.  The Port troop boys were great and it was all very successful.  Of course I took my camera down especially to take photos and the battery was flat.  I will borrow some of Shaun's over the next couple of days to show you.  So that was the highlight of the week for sure.  It has taken a long time to happen and I'm sure only happened this time because of the people who have become involved in it over the last 3 months.  On our side 3 people have worked really hard on trying to get it off the ground.  Those people being Lynn Brownlee, Steve Dent and Simon ????.    Thank you.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Fire fighting AGAIN & the Hennesey Probe

Life on the George Island group is still busy, busy, busy.  Since arriving back on George Island we have finished shearing the ewes.  One island down two to go.
On the 5th we went over to Barren and started shearing on there.  We have about 100 left to shear on there.  We left George at about 6:30 for Barren.  We have to take pretty much everything with us for shearing so it takes a while to get organised.  Yesterday we took over 2 motorbikes, a portable generator, a press lid, bale bags, wood to fix some of the gratings, a snack to last all day and even a radio.  Christopher and Shaun left straight away to gather in the ewes and lambs.  I cleaned the shearing shed while they were away as all the little birds roost in there and the floor was covered in bird droppings and feathers.  The men were away about an hour gathering then we drafted the lambs of from the ewes and put the first 100 in the shearing shed. After a quick sandwich we started shearing eventually getting back to George at 6:40pm,  We would have got more shorn but both shear motors refused to work.  This required them both having a bit of TLC which held us up for a good hour.  It was pleasing to find that there were 300 lambs still alive and thriving.  This is 1 more then we actually lamb marked this is because we had about 3 escapees on lamb marking day that were still running around with long tails.  It was blowing about 35 knots when we left Barren to come home.  We all got soaked going out to Theo in the dingy.  The lambs on Barren are enormous and ready to go to the abattoir now.  They are booked to go in next week.
The 6th seen Christopher and Shaun fire fighting again as the very windy weather broke the fire out on George Island.  They spent all day fire fighting.
The 7th saw them back on Barren shearing, without me.  An even windier morning saw me get out of bed, look out the window and say "is it going to get any worse then this".  Christopher's non committal reply was its not going to get any better.  Fortunately they only had 100 sheep left to shear and then press up the wool.  They were home by 5:30 only to find the fire had blown sparks into a previously unlit area approx. 50 metres away from the main area.  Two hours later after more hard firefighting they came in for the night.
So it hasn't been the best couple of days.  The day deteriorated even more with the arrival of our old season lamb results.  Christopher had been quite apprehensive about this because in previous years all animals have been graded visually.  This year a Hennesey probe has been introduced, this is of course very accurate and measures the depth of fat at the 12th rib.  Good you might think!!!!  Now I have seen Christopher two years ago so despondent about the condition of his old season lamb that he has actually held them back for a month to gain condition.   This year he was all singing all dancing with comments such as "I think they are probably the best we have ever sent".  Well no Christopher according to the Hennesey probe they are by far the worst you have ever sent.  To understand what I am saying you need to know that a grade 2 is acceptable but a grade 3L, 3H is preferable and brings in the most money.  In 2009 we sent 30.7% grade 2 and 60.2% grade 3L,3H.  In 2010 frustratingly I have only saved the cover page and the paper copies are in Stanley. I am certain the results were similar however or we would remember them for sure. In 2011 we sent 27% grade 2 and 70% grade 3L, 3H.  In 2012, our all singing, all dancing old season lamb went grade 2, 85.4% and grade 3, 11%!!!!  It has been a dry season and the abattoir reckon the animals are just not as good because of it. It is true that the season has been dry and Christopher himself was concerned about it early in the season but by the time him and Shaun shore them in November he was already confident that they were in good condition.  The other suggestion was that maybe the visual graders had been generous in there grading over the years.  This is possible and in our view probably the correct answer.  Oh well just another trying day in the life of farming.
To finish on a lighter note.  Christopher pressed up a bale of wool on Barren and went to put the cap on.  He turned to Shaun and said damn the bag has went down inside the box.  No Christopher you forgot to put a bag in.
The 8th saw me, Shaun and Tanya dropped of at Speedwell to start shearing a flock of ewes.  Christopher then went over to Flores Harbour to collect a drum of petrol that we purchased from our nearest neighbour, North Arm farm.  The management on the farm are the best and always help.  This is the third drum of petrol that we have used firefighting and it is turning into quite a pricey turnout.  Eileen the managers wife also went to the store and collected up some groceries for him.  Christopher has sweets, I hope he doesn't eat them all before I see him again.  This is the first time I have stayed in the house on Speedwell by myself and I was a little apprehensive.  Shaun and Tanya are up the green but they are not close, its not like having a next store neighbour and there are no lights across the green.  I was quite prepared for my night/nights by myself as I now have a tele in the bedroom.  The plan was if I was nervous I could put the tele on.  Best plans never work.  The umpteenth thunder and lightening storm of the summer.  Yet another lightening strike, no tele, no radio and Shaun has no telephone so I cant ring him if I get scared.  Oh well going to be a tired, grumpy individual by the time Christopher comes up.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Sheep away and a bit of shearing

Concordia Bay came today and took away our first load of sheep of the season.  Today we sent away 539  yearlings and 56 new season lamb.  The stock looks in good condition and we are hopeful for some good results from them.  It is a treat to have Shaun working for us as I didn't have to help mouth the yearling lambs for teeth.  I have never come across a sheep that will willingly open its mouth to have its teeth looked at yet.  I have went into the shed in previous years knowing that there are 900 odd yearlings in there and that everyone has to have it's teeth looked at and in the process of catching it, trying to hold it still and open its mouth  it is going to grind its hoof into my feet. 
So life on Speedwell is still pretty busy.  In the last couple of days Twin Ponds has been gathered and drafted and the majority of  lambs taken off.  They are now weaned and in their own camp.  The Sand Grass has also been gathered, drafted and the lambs weaned.  The Top of Twin Ponds has also been gathered.  The majority of the shearling ewes were in there and they are now in the paddocks ready for shearing.  Shaun and I did a couple of hours this afternoon.  Christopher was away fixing a fence so he only shore for the last half hour.  Hopefully we will finish the shearlings on Sunday.
Yesterday Bremen visited Barren Island again.  It was a lovely day. We were not down at George so we didn't get to met them but the expedition leaders were all there on her first visit in December so we were happy enough with them going ashore by themselves. 
The plan is to leave here on the 30th to go down to George because the Hanseatic is visiting Barren on the 31st.  She has not been to us for several years so Christopher wants to re-new contact with them again.  While we are down there we will finish the shearing on George and also shear the Barren ewes.
We asked FIGAS if they had a plane in the area could they fly over George and look at the fire.  This they did for us.  The pilot said there was very little smoke apart from a patch in the middle that was still burning.  We were aware this piece was still burning but we are pretty confident that it can not get out through the fringe.  Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Buying oil shares and selling wool

Well I am in Stanley for a couple of days.  I have an appointment with the visiting orthopedic specialist to discuss my reoccurring sciatica.  At the moment it is absolutely fine and you would never know that I have a problem.  I can probably guess the outcome, lose weight and take plenty of exercise.
In the last couple of days we have forward sold our 2011/2012 wool clip.  It has been difficult to decide whether to sell or hold on.  Wool is apparently now more expensive then cotton and there are differing views on whether wool will continue to boom or bust.  In the end we felt we had received good offers well above last year and we should sell.  On the new wool market report today some microns had dropped by 20p a kilo so at the moment we feel we have done the right thing.  Our motto is not to grieve if it does continue to rise and be happy with the decision we made.
With confirmed offers on our entire wool clip I gave into Christopher and let him buy  £1,000.00 worth of Borders and Southern oil shares.  He has been wanting to buy more shares for ages but I am pretty cautious with our money and wanted to make sure that financially we were in an okay position before putting more money into a risky business.
On Speedwell Christopher and Shaun  gathered in our old season lamb.  We have 530 ready to go to the abattoir on the 26th/27th.  Unfortunately we had just over 100 that have teeth in wear and can no longer go as old season.  These 100 will now be sold as mutton later in the season, this is a shame because they will bring in a lot less money.   The old season are in very good condition and very well grown. We have also picked out the biggest and best 350 old season ewes as replacement for the ewe flocks.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A Heath Robinson turnout

Tractor with new and improved radiator.
I'm not sure why its called a Heath Robinson but that is what we call a botch up job.  Christopher and Shaun have been out firefighting before breakfast every day.  They have been using the Mitsubishi to tow a sleigh with a water container on it but it is too heavy for the vehicle and is going to knacker it completely.  Hence the need for another solution.  The tractor has had a knackered radiator for a long time but was okay for short periods of time but wasn't up to the job of towing the sleigh for any length of time.  Yesterday they decided they would fit a household radiator to it.  Its not ideal and will not work properly like the tractor one but they are hopeful it will do a full days fire fighting today.   Christopher had never looked on line for spares for the tractor because it is so old and obsolete he expected the spares to be horrendously expensive.  Surprise, surprise they are cheap.  New radiator and arms on order tomorrow.

Update on how the Heath Robinson job performed later.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Tanya wants fish and Bex

It's very rare but Christopher and Shaun have had the weekend off to get over their weeks fire fighting.  Christopher has something wrong with his shoulder.  It appears to be dis-locating when he lifts his arm but popping back into place by itself.  He woke me up at least 5 times last night moaning in pain.  The last 2 times the moaning  would be followed with a loud crack.  Once it cracked it would be okay until it happened again. We think it is something to do with dragging the hose pipes along with them over his shoulder.

We have been down to check on the fire both days and they have dug out a couple of banks that are smouldering. They intend to spend a couple of hours on it tomorrow tending to a couple of areas that are still hot.  90% of it is now out.

Yesterday we all went out to the new tussac plantation to see how it is looking.  There is an amazing amount of new bogs that have started from seed.  Tussac is supposed to be quite hard to grow from seed but I guess conditions over the last couple of years have been just right.  We also went to look at the Yorkshire fog that was put in last year.  The results of this were variable but it was a trial to see which areas  the Yorkshire fog would grow in.  We will use the information from the trial and put a lot more in this autumn but in a more structured programme.

Today Christopher and I went to look at the Sea Lion pups up at Deception Island.  After dinner we all decided to go fishing as Tanya wanted some fish to eat.  We went down to one of the creeks which up until today did not have a name.  Today we decided to call it Mullet Creek because it always has Mullet in it.  Christopher and Shaun took a net out and in 3 trawls caught 31 kilos of mullet and a few smelt.  The deeper out in the creek they went the bigger the mullet that they caught.
Bex back to full fitness

Today's catch of mullet

The mullet from the third trawl

Shaun getting a piggy back across the creek as he forgot his waders.

Pulling in the net.

Add caption
Bex came home with all the dogs on Friday.  She is fully recovered and careering around the green at 90 miles an hour, you would never know that she has had a broken pelvis.

Friday, January 6, 2012


The day before yesterday I decided I should try and change the title of my blog Island Farming in the Falkland Islands.  When I chose the title I didn't realise it was too long and would be automatically shortened.  That wouldn't be so bad but the shortened title is minginthefalklandislands which is easily read as minging, a rather unflattering title which also gives no idea of what the blog is about.  Anyway I did change it and then got Tanya to look for it on her i-pad.  Changing it didn't work, when she found the blog it said it had been removed.  It took me at least half an hour to find the place where I had changed the title and change it back.  I guess I will have to stay as minginthefalklands.
Too hot for comfort

Re-housing of mother/father and 2 chicks.  Its not pretty but they bite hard.
Tanya and I are home alone on the island today.  Christopher and Shaun left at 7am to take the Jeff and Gene over to Flores Harbour.  They then hitched a lift into Stanley with them.  They are now on their way back and we expect them home at about 9:30pm.  It has been a lazy, lazy day.  We have caught up on a bit of washing but other then that we have done nothing.
I have put on the last couple of pictures of the fire for the time being.  These photos were taken by Gene.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Fire fighting and wool results

Another day fire fighting for the boys.  A productive day which resulted in the entire fire area now having a fringe that has been extinguished.  There are still hot spots on the edges which will have to be attended to and extinguished and I think Christopher and Shaun will be fire fighting on a small scale for several weeks.  There are now large areas in the centre that are now totally out.  Tomorrow Christopher and Shaun will take Jeff and Gene (not Jed as I have been calling him) and the majority of the equipment back to the mainland.  Christopher and Shaun are going to go into Stanley with them to pick up their vehicles, the dogs and everything else that we had collected up to come out.  They will have to be back tomorrow night because Concordia Bay arrives the next day to take our hog wool away.  We have also had to get another drum of petrol out to run the pump just in case we should need to use it again.  Over the last week we have had 2 pumps in use with 800 metres of hose.  It is thanks to the hard work of everyone that has been involved that the fire is now under control. 
Our plans for the first part of January have now went completely out the window.  The plan for the first two weeks was to finish the crab processing room. Obviously we would be stupid to leave here while there are still hot spots in the fire.  The new plan is to now stay and shear the 300 ewes on Barren and start the ewes on here.  It is a bit early to start here as the ewes still only have 11 months wool on them but that's the way the cookie crumbles.
Gene in the background, Jeff in the foreground.

Rescued but with severely burnt feet.

A rescued baby covered in dust. Now re-housed in a new burrow.
We also got our results for our hog wool on Speedwell back.  Despite my very negative feelings about the weight and the quality of the wool.  It has come back with the cleanest yield ever of 64.7% and 22 micron which is half a micron finer then last year.  It also had a very respectable VM of 0.2   What to do, what to do?  Now to offer it to the buyers and see what they come up with.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Still fire fighting, a lesson on water saving and a visit from Clyde

Another day over and for the men a real hard days fire fighting.  Today was windy with dust so thick that conditions were nearly beyond working in.  Because the conditions were so harsh  they knocked off at 7pm.  The section of the  fire they are now fighting to contain is in very deep peat and home to a fair amount of Jackass.  Although progress is still being made it is very slow.
Having extra people on the island who need baths every night is also putting a strain on our fresh water supply.  Regular readers will know that our fresh water supply is rain water collected of the house and shearing shed roofs.  This is ample when there is just the 2 of us or even four for short periods of time but having 6 in the house is obviously using substantially more water.  Today Tanya decided that she should instruct Jed on toilet flushing.  The toilet is a little temperamental, it has a plunger that you pull up to flush and sometimes it does not fall right down to the base again.  This means that the toilet will keep letting water run into the bowl.  Overnight the supply tank for the toilet had again emptied meaning the water had been running through.  Tanya instructed on the art of using the welding rod which fits conveniently into a hole in the top of the cistern to push the plunger in and stop water being wasted.  A bit embarrassing really but Tanya didn't mind.  I think she would sooner give an embarrassing toilet demo then give up her baths because of a water shortage.
Yesterday when Christopher, Shaun and Tanya went up to Speedwell to get petrol Tanya found a Xmas box and a letter from HMS Clyde.  The letter said that they had been ashore on Speedwell. They had left a gift box with playing cards, fridge magnets and bits and pieces.  The letter had an e-mail address asking that we contact them when we were back home as they would like to do a visit when we were on the island.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

January 2rd and 3rd still Fire Fighting

Yesterday was a successful day fire fighting.  The men got a good sized fringe out right the way up the side of the fire nearest to the house.  Although the fire is unable to reach the house I can walk out to the nearest point of it in 10 minutes.  Yesterday I walked up and down the area that is extinguished looking for hot spots and digging them out.  I guess I dug out about 20 small areas that would have broke out again.
Bungy, Christopher & Shaun

Christopher and Shaun
Today our volunteer fire fighters had to go back to Stanley to their jobs.  Jock and Bungy left on FIGAS, they have been fantastic, working from 6:30am to 8:00pm each day. They have been replaced with 2 full time fire fighters, Jed and Jeffrey, they arrived on the plane that Bungy and Jock flew out on.  This afternoon Christopher, Shaun and Tanya are away in Theo to get more petrol for the pumps from Speedwell.  Christopher wanted to get up at stupid o'clock to go and get it but Shaun thought he was too tired and decided they should both go then one could take the boat up and the other bring it back.  They could then both grab an extra hour and a half sleep.  They left at 4:30pm and hope to be back by 8:00pm.  Jed and Jeffrey have continued fire fighting by themselves.  I haven't been out today.  I was so tired I couldn't stir myself to walk out.  The area they are working in now is very deep and rather then just a fringe the whole area needs to be put out otherwise it will just reignite as it burrows in through the peat.  It is a great shame because there is no doubt that most of the areas that have been burnt out will now blow away.  In some areas it was only approx. 6 inches down to the rock and it has burnt right down to it. In the autumn we will try rolling and re-seeding the area but we are not hopeful that we will get any vegetation back.  Some of the fringe has been put out with salt water so that will not help the cause.  It is a case of sacrifice some to save the rest.
Christopher rescued another three penguins today, two on them had singed feathers but they seemed okay.