Saturday, 1 October 2011

A screw-driver, a book and a bearing - life this week at Treshnish.

This fencepost is at the top of the track which leads down to Treshnish from the public road. Lovely view of the woodland and the sea beyond from there. I took the time and walked through the natural regen. woodland area with the dogs, noticing the autumn colours creeping in slowly, to collect Daughter from the school car.

We have had a week of minor irritations, little hassles and problems but mainly the usual ingenuity has got us through - skin of teeth, fingers crossed and all that.

Nearly flooded but not. Yesterday was wet - rain of monsoon proportions. The farm track was reminiscent of foreign rain storms, brown rivulets running in fast and sharp zigzag lines down slopes of any gradient, and at one point heading straight for the back door of the farmhouse.

By evening, the brave guests had all arrived safely and finally before nightfall, the faintest pink sky above Coll to lift the spirit. Thank Goodness.

And today - dry and sunshine again, but underfoot very soggy.

September Silage..leading into October. We have had some beautiful days interspersed with the wet ones. Warm. Sunny. Windy. Another attempt to make the winter food for the cows. It used to be that we made silage in August. Our new Rural Priorities agreement stipulates that we wait until September.

This year has been an exception - what with Farmer being supposedly off work with sciatic pain and waiting for his operation, then Jamie who helps on the farm going off island for the best of family reasons (a beautiful baby daughter called Vhairi!) mid month and on top of that - the unsettled weather. Grabbing a chance and a break in the weather they managed to make a good lot on Wednesday - but it was nearly October!! Daughter and I took them ice creams we had bought in Dougie's shop - though they were pretty soft by the time we got them there!

The new (to us) baler doing so well ... or not? Having made and moved a good number of bales, finished the field as light began to fall, ice creams a distant memory...Just as it was getting dark, heading back to the farm, a bearing went on the baler and for a moment, the track to Haunn was blocked, and it looked as if it might remain that way for some time! Thankfully, they managed to get the limp baler off the road and out of the way of the guests. We ordered a replacement bearing the next day from Glenside Tractors in Campbeltown, and it arrived the next day. Thank you Royal Mail. (Not like the new pump for the wood chip boiler which is sitting in a carrier depot in Inverness - 10 working days it has taken so far, whereas if it had been popped in the post it would be here by now).

Water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink.... for a while. There is something ironic about all the rain we have had, and running out of water! At Haunn, a capacitor (sharp learning curve - what in my past life taught me about capacitors?) burnt out on the pump that sends the filtered water up into its storage tank on the hill. Why? Because inside a locked 'shed' a pipe suddenly became dislodged and started sending water into the Haunn garden instead...How? Goodness knows. But anyway, some sharp thinking and knacky plumbing meant that our guests never knew anything was amiss and Farmer does a trick with a screw-driver, a book (Bill Bryson) and his reading glasses until the new capacitor arrives.

Meanwhile it is now October. The ground has not really had a chance to dry up, even though it has been a beautiful afternoon but silage making had to resume. Make the most of the day whilst it is good. Farmer's on the Zetor as I write. Turning the silage grass. It is beginning to brown, from all the wet over the last couple of days, so they have to bale it now or it will be useless. Jamie is catching up on the orange tractor with the baler. Stopping every so often to clear the blockages from the wet grass. It won't be the best quality silage we have made but this has been one of 'those years'.

Last image in this post is tonight's sunset. Minutes ago. Makes up for all those tense moments in the week. Good night.

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