Sunday, 13 April 2014

Ready, steady, go

There are lambs. But not here.   Some farms and crofts have already started lambing.  Our ewes are due to start next week.  The Farmer is ready. As ready as he can be.  His lambing bag is in the porch.  He has his medicines, his ropes, his spray, everything he needs to assist in deliveries, and something to carry a lamb home in, if he needs to bring one back from the hill.

The cottages are ready too.  The guests arrived for Shian to the smell of fresh paint.  We had finished painting the day before, but the transformation from building site to lovely welcoming cottage took until five minutes before arrival time.  Phew!

These two photographs were hurriedly taken on my phone - I will put some better ones on the website soon! Above is the kitchen, with the new window in the end wall.  Below is the sunroom looking out to the sea.

Farmer still has about 200 sheep being fed every day.  These are the older ewes who are expecting twins.

We had an hour off one lunchtime to retrieve something from the beach I call the Donald Sutherland beach, as he starred in the film 'The Eye of a Needle', a large part of which was filmed here in 1981.  People still talk of the amount of money that was handed over by the production team to locals for helping out.

East, Middle and West were wired for generators and used as the actors' changing rooms. The generators were taken away at the end of the filming, and the cottages reverted to paraffin and gas lights, until we had mains electricity put in in 2005!

This is the Middle Cottage fish box garden.

Along the coast, it was grey and misty as we took a visitor to look at the Treshnish Isles!

The next day it was sunnier, and the celandine were flowering in full force.

It was an absolute delight to see my first viola. 

As well as the islands, in the brightness of the early afternoon.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

A bit of history

The hens are laying really well at the moment, so we are giving away eggs by the dozen at the moment!

This is a piece of an old oar I found down by the boathouse. It is covered in leather which is secured by neat little rows of tiny copper pins. The previous owners of the farm owned the Treshnish Isles too, and used the slip down below the Treshnish cottages to bring their boats in and out of the water.  As they had sheep and sometimes cattle on the islands, they needed frequent access.  There is still the remains of the old winch down there.  It is one of my favourite destinations for a walk - we went back to retrieve this bit of Treshnish history before the tide took it out to sea.

This solitary hogg was watching me very carefully as I skirted past them to get to the larch near the house.

R, who has been helping in the garden, has planted some fish box gardens for the Haunn cottages.  I think they look great! Guests can help themselves to the herbs!

A walk along towards Port Haunn this afternoon.  The islands were shrouded in cloud.  A stiff wind was blowing.

We have had a cancellation for Duill for the week of June 20 - 27.  

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Brambles and fallen trees

The woodland has suffered this winter more than any since we have been here. Winds have felled so many trees, which block the paths. The brambles are thriving, making walking difficult.   The old paths are impassable. Luckily you can get a good view of the magnolia from the road.

And so it all begins again.

I didn't take any gathering or fank photographs this week.  The two J's came to help gather and put the hill ewes through the fank yesterday but I was in and out of Tobermory for various reasons and they had finished by the time  I got home.  All the ewes have been treated now, in preparation for lambing and the hoggs have been put back to the hill.

The cows are all out above Toechtamhor, apart from the bull and the two cows left to calve.  I think Farmer is as ready as he can be for lambing which will start any day.  With the end of the building work on Shian in sight, his days should return to the normal farming activities I hope.

It is nice to have familiar faces here again in the cottages, and to meet the new ones.  In the best possible way, our regulars are like migrant birds - they come and go, marking a certain time of year. So along with the familiar faces are the wheatear, the curlew nesting (we hope) above Treshnish on the hill, and the skylark.  A frisson of excitement to see them and hear them all again.

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