Friday, 2 March 2012

Who would believe that we would be victims of fly-tipping here? But someone obviously dumped these catalogues last summer, and now the grasses along the track have died back, they have been revealed.

After seemingly weeks of dull, wet, dark weather the clouds parted and produced a bright half moon last night. Stars and moon, and a faint line of moonlit illuminated cloud paved the walk up to the cattle shed last night to check the cows. The bull standing over his feeding straw, as always moaning a little. The 3 young steers up excitedly as I pushed the sliding doors open. The cows themselves quiet and contentedly sitting and chewing the cud, until I turn all the lights on, like a nurse on night duty in a maternity ward. All but one stay where they are chewing and sitting, while the one slowly ambles over to the cow brush and has a rub, before settling back down to chew the cud again.

Pebble, the old Treshnish Top Cat, enjoying the morning sun and peering through our salty kitchen window.

I cannot believe how good life felt today just because the sun was shining. As if we have been looking through monochrome specs, suddenly full techni-colour again. Walking the dogs was a pleasure rather than an endurance test.

One of my very favourite trees, near the Boat house.

One of my favourite rocks on the way to the Boathouse.

Farmer has been to Glasgow to see the surgeon this week. In order to get there and back in one day, he left home at 6.30am yesterday morning, having pre-booked the 7.25am Fishnish to Lochaline ferry. He drove to Glasgow, saw the doctor (all fine, apart from some nerve damage which may improve in time), turned the car round, headed back to Oban and caught the 4pm ferry home. It had taken him nearly 12 hours! IF the ferry consultation that is going on just now, comes down in favour of their suggested removal of the Lochaline life-line ferry to Fishnish, it will be impossible to get to Glasgow and back for a quick appointment like that without staying overnight.

Deer damage in the natural regeneration woodland.

An Tobar opened again on Wednesday night with an exhibition from a group of local artists who had done a week's residency on Inch Kenneth last summer.
On our way home, about 7.30 in the evening, we got stuck in a traffic jam in Dervaig, followed an otter along the road at Calgary before it disappeared into a ditch and over a wall, spotted a hedgehog on our track, and a red deer stag silhouetted in the light from the Treshnish Schoolhouse windows. (it was standing in the garden bold as brass.)

The Dragon Lady buoy was a great find a few years ago, washed up on the shore by the Ensay Burn mouth. (The Dragon Lady features in a TV doc about fishing boats from the east coast of USA)

The first King Cup.

It has been a tough on humans winter this winter, so dark, stormy and wet, and today really felt like we had turned a corner. So it seems timely that we have a full house this weekend. All the cottages are occupied. The Treshnish Cottages guests arrived tonight in late afternoon sunshine, but now I can hear the wind in the trees.

The Tups enjoying the sunshine.

Elsewhere on the island farmers have been scanning their ewes so that they know how many of their ewes are expecting twins or even triplets. We haven't done this for a few years now. It can be a good thing as you know then who needs extra nutrition and who doesn't. And it means you can mark the ewes which are barren so that you aren't always checking to see if they have lambed or not! We found eventually having done it for 7 or 8 years that we didn't increase our lambing percentages by doing it, and it seemed better for us to leave the ewes on the hill until just before lambing.

My first primrose though Farmer saw some a few days ago in the Black Park. These are common here where sheep are rare.

A set of twin calves was born this morning. Farmer penned them off so the mother would be undisturbed while they all bonded. The second calf to be borne was smaller than the first, and found it difficult to get to his feet. By afternoon he was up and about, but the mother seems to favour the older one, so Farmer is keeping a good eye on them all to make sure that the younger one gets to drink. If it looks like he isn't drinking then Farmer will have to pen her up, milk her, and feed the calf by bottle.

This is the Old Boathouse. Not much left of it now. But it faces north onto the black rocky coastline where the boat used to be winched up onto the shore, a long time ago.

I am planning a solo trip to the Outer Isles in April to photograph tinsheds and I am grateful to the barefoot crofter for her researches on my behalf into where I should stay. It is very exciting and I am hoping to book somewhere this weekend!
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