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Everything posted by Patzel

  1. it is the same "garbage" whereever you are, generally spoken they will in the end change timetables, they will alter routes and/or ports, they will increase the fares... if not for islanders then for tourists (less will come) or increase freight charges (goods cost more)... with the questionnaires they just hope (perhaps) for a little bit of brainstorming... if someone could suggest something what could increase revenue for the benefit of some never for the benefit of all... but "sadly" they will probably implement their changes nevertheless doesn't that remind me of our German health insurance und electricity costs? Thinking back when I lived in Stornoway ferry fares were higher than they are just now. This might lighten the load for islanders, it might also bring more tourists on the islands, but will an increase in the number of people using the ferries ever make up for the cut of fares? Since costs fot maintaining the ferries go up? In the end money will be missing here and there and the bill is presented on those who are depending on the ferries.
  2. nice pics! But it's some other species of thistles. That's how the milk thistle looks like: http://www.awl.ch/heilpflanzen/silybum_marianum/index.htm The plants can grow very big, up to my size (I am just 1.58m) and one has to cut off the ends of the very sharp tips underneath the blossom before feeding because they are like needles. But my horses also love all other sorts of thistles... Something else since we are just talking about "weeds": anyone growing topinambur (helianthus tuberosus)? This is really my favourite plant: the bulbs can be eaten raw, roasted or boiled by us, horses, goats and cows eat it raw. Blossom, stems and leaves can be eaten by the animals fresh or dried, the green stuff is great for chicken... Only problem: whereever you grow it there is always someone who also likes it... wild boar, mice, wild rabbits... so one might not harvest too many
  3. To read this on the Defra-Website makes my stomach crawl... However, in the right place, and where there is no risk to animal welfare, ragwort contributes to the biodiversity of the flora and fauna in our countryside. Where is the right place? Can then only be in the woods or in urban places... In Germany it is officially tolerated where it can do no harm. But not in areas with mainly agricultural use. This includes villages, beside roads etc. But it has still been used by the road maintenance depots for greening at the roadside. Obviously they didn't even know what they were doing until I told them. After handing out the leaflet of the authorities they planted something else. Because it is wide spread in our area it's probably only a question of time until we ourselves have problems. I started working together with our agricultural department, handing out leaflets (most people had problems to identify the plants), giving information and advise to collegue farmers... surprisingly farmers were very keen on advise. There was just one farmer undiscerning but after some others informed him if he was not acting now they would plough his meadows and there would then not be any silage for him this year... he changed his mind. Many people get ragwort mixed up with the harmless Wiesenpippau (don't know the Englisch word so botanically it's called Crepis Biennis) which is a pity because this is a good feed crop. Larger areas of ragwort are identified by the authorities when they controll grazings and other areas according to cross compliance regulations. @ Francis: So if I do move to Shetland I will have to join you fighting ragwort Abouts docks: I do have them on the hay meadows but not on the grazing areas. Reason might be that only on the meadows once a year manure is brought out there but not on the grazing. The seeds of docks pass through the cows more or less undigested... and our neighbours cows (it's their manure on our fields) get lots of docks in their silage, that might explain it. But the docks are not really a big problem, after a rainy day I just use this: http://www.servicehandel-bw.de/epages/61255333.sf/de_DE/?ViewAction=ViewProductDetailImage&ObjectPath=/Shops/61255333/Products/9591 Thistles: I have never seen the necessity of fighting them. This might be due to the fact, that they are not poisonous. Quite the contrary some species are very good for the liver (animals and humans). Our animals seem to know this because they all like the thistles (dried as well as fresh). They eat them root and branch. Milk thistle I do even grow an a small area because I need it as a remedy for a stallion who had atypical myopathy two years ago and since a liver problem. To buy the stuff at the chemist costs a fortune. Nettles: I do cut them with a scythe, let them dry in the sun afterwards and offer them for feeding. Horses and goats eat them, my cows won't (spoilt brats). Young fresh nettles can be used like lettuce or spinach, dried ones for a cup of tea.
  4. A minor or major problem in Shetland? Or none at all? If a problem how are you trying to solve it? Mechanically, with herbizides or...? Success? Here the level in the regions differ extremely. We ourselves are (still) in the lucky position of having none. A few km away there are grazings badly affected. How is the situation in Shetland?
  5. an ordinary sponge with some sand (from the beach) should do, that's how I used to get the mess cleaned
  6. well... I have just sent an email to the authorities asking about the next exams date... so if I am lucky and if we do succeed in relocating to Shetland there might be a residential farrier again on one of the remote islands part-time would suit me... why on earth did I ever get an office job? I should never have listened to my parents when I was young. Everything I was interested in (farming, horse care, cows...) I started when I was in my mid thirties. I can still hear my mum: oh child, you need a decent job in the office, so forget about your dreams, they won't last Well they did last
  7. most vets are not very good at hoof trimming anyway... due to a lack of experience. Well it isn't their main business, so one can understand it. One of my pony mares had laminitis caused by poisoning, when a storm had blown neighbours litter into the paddock and she had eaten some leftover medicines. The laminitis was so bad (followed an allergical shock) that two different vets had given her up. Our farrier was able to cure her. I took us 6 months of weekly hoof care and control, the vet (who was only assisting with medical treatment) was very surprised. A friend of mine has too very heavy draught horses (Nederlandse Trekpaard) and one was diagnosed with hoof canker by more than one vet. 2 years of desperate treatment, hoof trimming by the vet, an operation without any success, more than once she'd been very close to the decision to put the gelding to sleep. Finally we found a farrier specialized for cases like this, luckily just 70km away from her place. He said it was no hoof canker, just a fungus which caused destruction of the hoof. Almost unbelievably the horse was cured by him within two weeks. Finally the gelding is now lame free, enjoys life and is getting really cheeky. It is week three after farrier treatment now and she went on holiday... with the gelding. What I am trying to say is that a good farrier is worth more than gold. Obviously there are so many horse owners in Shetland who face the same problems being left alone with hoof care... how come no farrier settled within the islands?
  8. barefoot trimming Luckily none of my horses needs shoes so far. When drawing a carriage on hard roads I sometimes use rubber boots for one of the mares but they are just needed for the forelegs. Here in Germany the law says that only a certified farrier may shoe a horse. But there are hoof orthopaedists, hoof technicians and others who also need a certificate but are only allowed to do barefoot trimming. Due to the fact that in Germany it is strictly forbidden for horse owners to work on the hooves of their horses unless they are under the supervision of one of the mentioned professionals or they received training (which leads again to a certificate) I am quite happy that my farrier always checks my work and I've been doing it for such a long time under her supervision (yes we do have a female farrier - because one of the stallions doesn't like men at all). So I might have the chance to pass the exams. Training is very expensive (if one was to attend a course) and to just sit the exams (without the official course) is only possible if you can prove some years experience with different horses. Luckily we do have 8 and each is different... Teaching youself by books is not easy and I can understand that you wish to have an experienced person to check your work. Does at least sometimes a farrier come to Foula?
  9. thanks to everybody I know now how to get to the port... and I won't have to return without Sudocrem something else: how difficult is life nowadys for poor smoking souls... like myself...unfortunately I've read smoking is prohibited (even on deck) of the smaller ferries sailing to the remote islands. I probably will survive those short journeys but the long one to Lerwick? Only a chance outside?
  10. I have no idea... last time I was up was 2002 well I have an idea now, looked it up in google streetview, there's a tesco now
  11. not in Germany unfortunately... and in Stornoway the supermarket used to be the only place where one could get it... http://img827.imageshack.us/img827/6383/004jyi.th.jpg' alt='004jyi.th.jpg'> this is one of the babies I need the stuff for
  12. thanks a lot! It' going to be the new jet service then... I am just a bit worried whether we make it in time from the ferry to the airport on the way back. Don't really want to be stuck in Aberdeen having to pay another flight... not sure whether travel insurance covers late ferries Once in Aberdeen is there a Presto supermarket? Don't start laughing but Sudocrem is the best ever stuff to put on smaller wounds and scratches if my stallions play too wild or the cocks had a fight... so I need to replenish my supplies. I know most people put it on baby's bottom but we usually have it sent by mail by some friends from Stornoway for animal treatment
  13. We'll be traveling soon, so need to sort out something... which way is the easiest to get from Aberdeen airport to the ferry terminal? Neither Northlink nor Aberdeen Airport web site tells you. Or did I just not find it? Train? Bus? And: is the ferry from Lerwick usually in time? Our flight back is scheduled 11:30 that should leave plenty time if the ferry is in time, but only then. Thinking back I remember that the Stornoway-Ullapool ferry (the old Suilven, not the new one) was normally not in time. Sailings were supposed to be 3.5 hrs. but most of the time the journey was 5+ hrs. even if the wheather was not too bad.
  14. oh no, a photo! When I needed a new passport last year I've handed in a photo which was about 25 years old. They issued the passport allright, but when I came to collect it, the clerk was a bit sceptical whether it was really me... but I got my passport. I still have some spare photos of those old ones...should do for the replacement licence
  15. no doubt about that but it might be worth trying in some more sheltered area nobody believed it could work in the Western Isles but obviously they are doing well
  16. I still have my UK driving licence When I went to UK the first time I had to exchange my old German licence after having being resident for 3 months in Britain. When I returned to Germany the laws had changed and I was told I could either keep my British licence or exchange it to a German one. But luckily the authorities in Britain must have made some mistake when exchanging the licence. They obviously ticked any box available... so I am entitled to drive around with everything apart from heavy lorries because this is rather useful I did of course keep the British licence... have been controlled by the Italian police when traveling with a mid-sized lorry + trailer and there were no complaints. Not even the combination of German number plates and a British licence seemed to cause any questions.
  17. there would be no need to work on the whole lot with the horses, just some hectares... and the main purpose should be (also nowadays) to keep a family alive. How does one define "make a living"? Yes, one has to pay bills in modern times and has to generate a certain income but does one need a TV, a microwave, electric tin openers... and all the other stuff where people waste money on? I'd rather fancy the idea of stimulating some sort of low-impact tourism, farm holidays, student exchange, forestry work etc. which might even create some more jobs in the long term.
  18. Of course not... but I am just sorting out the pro and con and I need to find out which costs are (in future) not avoidable. To find out about everything before moving is in my opinion absolutely important. Everything has to be taken into consideration befor making a final decision. When I moved to the Western Isles I still had my old car taxed and insured in Germany for about a year. When I moved back to Germany it was the other way round. Quite useful when you parked somewhere where one was not supposed to park... most German policemen do not speak English and would rather leave you in peace than trying to argue with a foreigner...
  19. it is a crofting area and yes, there is an area with an agreement on birds nesting etc. But this area is far away from the house and the other buildings. Allegedly it can also be mown for hay but not before mid of July and only once a year (need to find out whether this is true or not). I won't trust the seller's or the estate agent's word anyway... I am that kind of person who likes to sort everything out myself. Don't like unpleasant surprises... Is it unusual to ask the following people to come to the second viewing of the property: one of the crofters commission and some member of the local council who's in charge for permissions? The croft is rather large, more than 100 hectares. I would want to use parts of it for growing barley and oats, others for vegetables, grazing and also one ha for a small plantation of woodlands. The derelict houses should be traditionally renovated and used for their original purposes as far as possible. I was told by local authorities they would appreciate those plans and they pointed out there were even grants if I was to cultivate the land according to my plans. But words mean nothing, it's just the written statement which counts. So is there any point in asking the persons in charge to discuss my plans on-site?
  20. I have figured out now what tax would be. Instead of paying 114 € now I would have to pay 425 GBP! I have contacted the DVLA to find out whether there are exceptions such as agricultural use, 4 x 4, or others.
  21. long time ago I had a car insured in Britain but don't really remember the details. Here in Germany I pay for my 4 x 4 Lada Niva (model 2009) 114 € tax per year + 139 € insurance (third party + partial coverage) per year. The insurance one pays is depending on how many years you were driving without accidents. I never had any so the above mentioned 139 is the lowest possible rate. Does anybody have an idea how much this would cost me in Shetland? About taxes: what is a reminder? Who needs to be reminded that the tax is due? In Germany nobody reminds you, they just get it off your account when it's due. Did I get something wrong?
  22. I might have found something suitable already, a lot larger than we originally planned... we'll see... will be viewing the property soon. Does one need planning permission if one was to convert a small area (about 600 or 800 m²) near the house or stable into a sand paddock (which could be used as a riding arena as well) to avoid full-time stabling? This is what we have done here... also in Bavaria the ground is mud in winter times if you let a heavy horse run around freely. Farrier is not really the big problem because I was trained to trim hooves (just need to sit the exams now) . So I am not dependant.
  23. wheather and climate can't be worse than on Eilean Siar... I spent about 4 years on the Isle of Lewis, splendid place for windsurfing! As far as I know cows and goats would need to be vet checked. But this should not be a problem because here we have annual livestock monitoring and mine are checked regularly. With horses it is easier, I was told some paperwork will do. What's happening down here? GM technology, biogas plants everywhere, intense traffic which hinders using of draught animals... this is "agritechnic" and no more agriculture. Traditional agriculture seems to be possible on the edge of Europe (if at all) but not here. People in the village almost have a heart attack if my cow drops accidentally something on the road on the way to her pasture.
  24. @wanderlust very similar to what I am planning. But the size of land we need is more than a few acres - we need at least 10 ha. We have 7 Welsh-Ponies, 1 heavy Austrian draughthorse, cow and ox and goats (all of the animals are used as draught animals, the goats only for light work). This means that we would need a lot of hay, which we hopefully could harvest. We have our own hay baler and horse drawn hay turning machine. There's a lot of work involved in haying but after having heard about the prices for hay on the islands I'd rather work hard for my hay. Here in Southern Bavaria hay costs between 8 € and 18 €(!) per 100kg. When I had to buy extra hay I got it luckily for 8 € (which is 6.5 pounds). Big round bales cost about 30 € (which is 24 pounds) including delivery. We are also planning to grow barley and oats and some vegetables. Sort of self-sufficiency as far as possible... Somebody mentioned that horses and ponies do not count as agricultural animals. Does this also apply to draught animals?
  25. Hello I am not living on the Shetland Islands but might be within the nearer future. My English is probably not perfect (because I am German myself) so I hope nobody bothers. Having lived several years on the Western Isles I feel some sort of homesick. Since I've been over the last time many things have changed (not everything to it's advantage) and I am looking for some more remote place for myself + family + farm animals. I own a small farm in the South of Bavaria but here in Germany there is no agriculture anymore but only agroindustry with intensive animal husbandry, biogas plants... I am rather fed up with this... being one of the few people who use draught animals. I'll probably be coming up soon to have a look at a property on Fetlar. At the moment I am still trying to find out which way to travel is the cheapest, where to find temporary accommodation (just for a couple of days)... so you will probably find more of my posts in other areas of this forum. Hopefully you've now got an idea of who I am
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