Journal Entry #19

15/05/02

    I woke up earlier today so I could catch the bus to the sheep farm.  It has been misty-like all day and somewhat windy with very grey clouds.  The buses were 30 minutes late!  Finally we got going around 9:30am toward Loch Lomond.  We went to a town called "Luss" right off Loch Lomond.  Loch Lomond could be seen (the water looked grayish white -- reflection of clouds) and it is very huge with multiple islands.  This is the first time I've seen Loch Lomond (we might have seen it a couple of weekends ago, but weren't sure). 

     The bus dropped us off at the base of a hill.  We had picked up the shepherd on the way up to the hill.  We were told to change into our waterproofs -- thank goodness I had brought my waterproof pants and wellies instead of my coveralls.  I sure wished I had brought my waterproof jacket though (however, it's not breathable and it's gross when you start sweating and it's all trapped in).  Then we walked up the entire big hill!  I'm talking 100s if not 1000s of feet.  It was HORRIBLE...I guess it's good training for me though.  I certainly was out of breath.  We stopped once or twice on the way up for the shepherd to talk to us (mostly boring stuff about what type of grass and fencing).  The sheep and lambs steered clear from us all.  At least I was closer to the front of the class on the way up and wasn't one of the "dragging behind gang".  The terrain was uneven, with big bunches of moss in some areas and rushes too.  There were also little streams here and there that you had to hop over, and much of the grass was saturated and muddy (you could get your boot stuck). 

     Once we reached the top, it was all worth it.  The view of Loch Lomond even on a cloudy misty day is beautiful, plus green fields and hills all around (even a "glen").  It felt like you were on top of a mountain looking down.  We got a talk from the shepherd about everything to do with sheep as we rested (rather boring).  Finally we walked down the hill (still in the forward direction) to the farm below.  It was much easier going down, but you had to be careful of the uneven grass and not break your leg/ankle.  At the bottom, 2 ewes with lambs (how cute!) and several beef cattle were flushed forward by our on-going parade.  It became even muddier at the base of the hill and there were more watery-mud (boggy?) areas.  I wished I had brought a camera to take pictures of this beautiful place.

     First we peeked into a shed full of beef calves.  Lastly we entered a lambing shed where many ewes were penned with their newborn lambs.  We got a final talk and were allowed to go back to the buses (which were now located just down the street from the farm).  At the buses, we changed footwear and out of our waterproofs.  It took only about half an hour to get home.

     I spoke with Professor Fishwick about dairying at Cochno Farm.  He said they are "looking forward to having me" and that I would be staying in a large flat inside the Cochno Estate.  It is self-catered, but he said that he or someone else would gladly give me a ride to get groceries or whatever.  I am to bring bedding too, like my sleeping bag (there is no bed linen or duvet).  Even a washing machine is available.  Apparently, Professor Fishwick stays in a flat above where mine will be and someone named "Carol" will be in the flat next-door.  They milk the cows maybe 3 times per day, but not early in the morning.  I might have to clean pens and such, but the cows will be out on grass at that time.  I will learn to milk them (fun?) by the end of the week.

     I might also be able to do lambing at Cochno Farm next year!  That's great. 

     So now I'm home at 3pm and am finishing up my computer stuff (you know, the e-mail, crossword and jigsaw puzzles, and forums).  Then I will turn the computer off and really study.  I did some studying last night -- partway through body fluids in physiology.  I did some investigating and found that dinner will be inedible tonight (again).  So I might have to have pizza -- I had it exactly 1 week ago for the same reason.  I only have about 6 pounds on me, so I hope this will be enough.

     My room got cleaned today.  It's nice!  I will have to do my own cleaning next year, but I think if I put myself on a schedule it'll be OK.  Like vacuum, change linen, and clean bathroom and kitchen every Saturday.  It will be a shared job too.  I like having a clean place to live in.

     It's been a good day so far.  I hope it continues that way.  However, last week my cat Kasper was taken to the animal hospital (where I used to work) for a biopsy of a tiny mass in the corner of his eye (the entire mass was removed).  The biopsy results came back last night as "hemangiosarcoma".  I read up about it and found that it is one of the most aggressive types of cancers because it can quickly metastasize (spread).  Kasper has been in the back of my mind all day today.  I hope that his cancer has not spread.  Kasper is a 15-year old white domestic shorthair cat.  He has had a long life and his blood has helped over 30 other cats (he used to be a blood donor at the hospital).


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