Sunday, 21 May 2017

Along the cliff tops

Early purple orchid

Dog violet and Treshnish Isles

Bending in the wind, Early purple orchid

Along the cliff tops

Those beautiful shimmering isles

Pignut unfurling

Pignut and Bluebell

Heath spotted orchid

Hurrying Herdwicks (on hearing the sound of the feed bag)

Sunlight through White campion

The broody in the boat

Clinging on Sea pinks

The glow of twilight

Sunset over Coll

Three bottle fed lambs become bucket fed lambs

These clifftops, home of tiny pale Mountain Everlasting

Rock rose

Mountain everlasting

Heath pea vetch

Ferns in the Haunn gardens

Bluebells and dark island shapes

Sunday, 7 May 2017

International Dawn Chorus Day

There is a special grassy knoll in the field below the house with some twisted dancing birch trees.  A few days ago Farmer decided to hook up the two hammocks we have had for years but never used.  Perfect place to go and listen to the dawn chorus.

The alarm clock went off just before 4am and we nearly didn't get out of bed.  However a few minutes later, armed with sleeping bags and a flask of tea, we headed down in the almost dark to the hammocks. 

Neither of us are good on bird song ID so were unaware of a lot of the bird song and who was singing, but it was just wonderful to lie there (grateful for the sleeping bags as it was pretty cold before sunrise) listening to the woodland wake up, and wait for the sun to come over the Ensay hill. 

We did hear cuckoos calling in two different places - one near the house, and the other coming from the woodland near the old boathouse.

As it got lighter, the Common Gulls from the colony on the lochan started flying around, the Hooded crows did the same.  And the fine branches of the birch trees above us quivered in the breeze. 

A heavy dew fell on the grass between us walking down in the dark and getting up when the sun came over the hill.

A Robin, several Song thrushes and Blackbirds came close by to find food in the grass.  

We walked back up the hill and found breakfast in the kitchen.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

May days and nights

Such beautiful weather.
Wonderful to see the wild flowers coming.
Field pea.
Ferns unfurling.
Farmer in a hammock (inspired idea)
Sunsets to dream of.
Feel so grateful that we live here.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Boreholes and lambs

Farmer found the body of a Great Tit lying on the floor in the farm steading, under a window.  How sad.

Lambing is well underway now, with most of the ewes expecting twins having lambed safely.  The singles are always slower, but numbers are rising steadily.  Farmer is out before 6am - there are often lambs born early in the morning so it is a good time to pick up if there is a problem. Then off and on during the day he will check the fields at different times and always makes sure he gets along the coast at least once.  He gets in around 9pm from the last check of the day.

As the lambs get older they begin to be quite playful. It is sweet to see them chasing each other around the field, jumping off rocks and behaving like children rediscovering the freedom of the great outdoors.

The fields are beginning to green up slowly despite the cold weather.  It may not have been wet but we have had a few days of bitterly cold winds, which is not kind to new born lambs so the emergency ward in the cattle shed has had a few patients over the last few days.

This is Alice, Teenager's pet lamb.  She was scanned for twins but has got only one lamb.  It is mostly likely to have been a scanning error, because Farmer would have found the other lamb dead.   Alice was born in 2009.

The ewes with numbers on are the first time lambers (called gimmers before the birth and ewes after the birth). Farmer had them in the cattle shed where he could keep an eye on them, as sometimes they need a bit of midwifery.

They are all very used to being fed so when he drives into the field on the quad bike, they desert their lambs and chase after him - confusion reigns!  Now the lambs are a few days older it is easier for them to keep tabs on where their mothers have done, but occasionally they get mis-mothered, and lonely lambs have to be returned to their mothers.

Like this one here.  One of No 10's twin lambs.

In other news..

Yesterday we had the annual SRUC visit from the Countryside Management students.

We are digging a borehole to make a new water supply for the Treshnish Cottages.   In the last blog I posted a photograph of some huge machinery stuck on the hill beyond the cattle shed.   Well, eventually JC (from Argyll Geo-thermal) managed to get it all up the hill and started to drill for water.   The yellow compressor alone weighs 8 Tonnes.

Two days ago, JC called us up to watch as he blew the pipes through to let water out!  It has got a bit of a way to go before we can drink it, but it is exciting to know he has found it.  The grey particles are dust particles within the pipe.  The whole length of pipe is blown out many times to allow the water to clear before testing. 

Today we went up to the drilling site again, and JC pointed out the different seams the drill has gone through.  You can see the different layers of red and grey rock.  The aim is to find water in a grey seam.

It will be a long time before it starts to come out of our taps as there is a huge amount to be done first -  lots of cleaning, measuring, testing, digging in pipework, connecting new tanks, connecting new filters, and more testing...! 

Another blow through of the pipes.

Listening for water.  It sounds like a tap gushing now.  

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