Tuesday, 21 April 2015

To Iona via Tobermory, Glengorm and Ulva Ferry

School meeting at 9am. Cousins and coffee at Glengorm Coffee Shop at 10.30am.  Quad bike tyre to MacKay's Garage for repair, pick up another one at the same time in Tobermory at 11.30pm.

Back to Dervaig to pick up C for drive down to Fionnphort.  By this time it is 12.30pm. We decide we have time to drive the coast, and stop to eat sandwiches by Eas Fors.  The light looking across to Gribun is wonderful, sparkling waters and deep shadows.

From Balmeanach looking back to Inch Kenneth, and Gometra.

From Bunessan fishermen's pier looking over to the Burg.

The Calmac boat is tied up and we cross in a Staffa Tours foot passenger boat.

 Iona is quiet. And as beautiful as ever.

A 1960's view.  It was total bliss to sit and look and listen, in the sun. Away from home, but not away.

Even the birds are friendly on Iona. We had a blackbird sit on the table beside our teapot, disappointed we had not chosen to eat cake with our tea outside in the Argyll hotel garden.  A sparrow came and checked for crumbs, and as I sat on the rocks a jackdaw came to say hello. 

We are on Iona for a Community Trust board meeting. We all eat at the Argyll Hotel before the meeting.  The food was delicious as was the view before sunset.

Our return journey began just after 10pm.  We were taken back across to Fionnphort in the Birthe Marie belonging to Alternative Boat Hire.   The sea was calm and silky blue, under clear skies and as Iona disappeared into the dark, an orange crescent moon rose above the silhouettes of rooftops and chimneys standing out against the astral twilight sky.

I finally got home at 1am, but having taken a detour to Croig to see if the clear skies would yield some auroral light which it did.  But that is another story.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Oh no, not another aurora

Any aurora activity after the end of March is, in my amateur book, a complete bonus, as the days start to get longer, and so the window of opportunity (i.e fully dark sky) gets shorter with every day that passes.   So it is pretty wonderful to be in the middle of April and still enjoying the surprises the Aurora can bring. 

I could post hundreds of photographs of last night's very best Aurora Borealis, but I won't! If you would like to see some of them, please look at the website blog.  I have posted more there.

If you would like to see the time lapse, please have a look at our Facebook page.

Day time activity on the farm is in Lambing mode.  We have 2 pet lambs in the stock shelter, who have healthy appetites and loud voices, bleating at every opportunity.  Daughter, on school holiday routine, is chief lamb feeder.

These are the twin pet lambs.  Fae and Feya.

This week feels as if spring is here. The swallows are back.  People have been hearing a cuckoo - not here though..

The last cows to calve are in the field by the house.  This dun cow is a very protective mother, whose dun colour must be a very strong gene, as each calf she has had, is always a wonderful light dun colour.  This calf, born a day or so ago, is a bull calf.

Yesterday evening, Farmer watched a gimmer (first time mum) who had just given birth before he arrived, along the coast.  She sniffed at the lamb tentatively but when the wobbly young lamb tried to get up and go to her, she walked away.  Sometimes this happens with gimmers, their instinct takes time to kick in, and all you know is that you find a lamb on its own.  So it was great timing that Farmer was there, and he could catch her and bring her and the lamb back for a bit of close bonding in one of the pens in the lambing ward.

You can never have too many sunsets, and tonights was another cracker.

I have been enjoying the finches on the bird feeders.  I hadn't realised how aggressive they can be!

Greylag geese are enjoying the lochan beside Duill.  We had a visit from the RSPB Farmland Bird expert earlier this week too, I wasn't around but Farmer spent an interesting morning walking round with him.  He had been involved in the Nature of Farming Awards and was interested to see the farm for himself.. I can't believe it is nearly 4 years now since we won that award.  (how time flies!)

These new calves are so sweet!

And the evening light is so warm.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Calgary beach clean

Farmer doesn't get days off unless he is actually away from Treshnish - even on a Sunday, especially when there is livestock needing to be fed.  And now that lambing is imminent the start of the working day is even earlier..  The ewes down below are coming to the food quite eagerly but Farmer says they are not running as fast as they are getting heavier in lamb!  D day is tomorrow.

A walk down below with friends from Iona.

After lunch the Calgary beach clean.  We were 20 minutes late, and there were already a lot of people there, fanning out across the beach with flapping bin bags.  We racked seaweed into piles off the campsite and Daughter painted her coat a bench, before we headed off to the sands with our bags to fill.

We were rewarded with tea and home baking, before heading home.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Endings and beginnings

Beginnings of spring.

Our first lambs born yesterday morning, orphaned shortly afterwards.  Luckily Farmer was on hand and brought them home for bottled colostrum and bottled lamb milk, which they are hungrily noisily enjoying.

Ending of the aurora season... the days are getting wonderfully longer, which I really enjoy, bringing the sunset skies over the Isle of Coll and early morning sunrises - but also taking away the visual delight of the northern lights.

Last night was one of the season's last nights, utterly magical.

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