Wednesday, 1 September 2010

10,000 units, 3 finalists and lots of potatoes

Great excitement in the farmhouse just now, at the news that we have been shortlisted for the Sustainable Tourism category of the Scottish Thistle Awards 2010. We are so delighted to have got this far. The overall winners are announced in each category on 29th October.

We had to harvest our potatoes earlier in the week as the shaws suddenly turned and we were afraid of getting blight. The wall of the vegetable patch marks the edge of Shian and Duill's garden and looks over Caliach Point to Rum and Canna.

The birds have not yet started on the rose hips from the Rosa rugosa in Studio and Shieling gardens.

Self seeded pot marigold in amongst the spinach and onions waiting to be harvested.

And the flowering cardoons are almost artificial in their luminous colour. I haven't been blogging this last week or so, because the weather has been so good, it has been difficult to stay in doors. The sun has had real warmth to it, and the light that autumnal clarity.

Farmer has been catching up with a few jobs, including repairing the track out onto the hill where he will feed the cows in the early part of the winter. He has also had lots of animal work to do this week - sheep to check as usual, different lots of sheep and the cows to move from and to various places, and an important 10th birthday party to prepare for.

Jan, our lovely friendly keen new dog, got a workout with the Cheviot gimmers (who are looking really big now compared to the blackface ones!) and did really well. She works more closely in at hand than Cap, (who has a huge outrun - often disappearing completely out of sight in order to take in a huge sweep of ground) but all of a sudden he seemed more reluctant to go out as far as he usually does....a little bit of competition??

Egg production has slowed right down, but the hens are still hungry all the time, and in the early afternoon they follow anyone who walks past the feed shed, hoping they will open the door and throw some wheat out for them on the grass. I assume the tactic is successful or they would stop doing it. Lots of our younger guests (and some of the more mature) come past with scraps of bread for them too. There is one hen who appears from the broody coop every now and then, and I suspect any day now we will find she has a brood of autumn chicks.

This ruined black-house is at Haunn just beyond West Cottage.

Devil's bit scabious. Food for Marsh Fritillary butterflies. Looks amazing just now, that wonderful blue colour amongst all the grasses and other late summer flowers in the Black Park. The cows are grazing this field now, without the bull. In a few weeks time the calves will be weaned and sold. They are all looking really healthy and happy - their coats glowing and some of the cows look quite fat on the abundance of grass around.

It is 4 a.m and an autumn wind is howling round the thick stone farmhouse kitchen walls, and rattling the windows. I can't hear the turbine but I can hear the rustling of leaves, and wonder how many will be blowing across the garden and the farmyard when daylight comes.

The wind turbine has made more than 10,000 units of electricity in less than a year, so we have exceeded our goal before the end of the first year! So now I am hoping that we can get to 11,000 by the time the turbine is a year old!

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