Thursday, 26 July 2012

Busy but in a good way.

There has been lots of fairly spectacular sunsets, but I have only had the camera out once - these two photographs were on the same evening about 10 minutes apart.

The farmhouse has been full of visitors for most of the fortnight since we got back from Barra, which has been really lovely, but inevitably distracting!! If any of our house guests read this, please don't get the wrong idea - it was very special seeing you all, and we hope you will come again soon!

Despite the guests, Farmer has been working hard. Topping thistles, rushes and bracken in various fields. Days spent gathering, putting lambs through the fank, shearing, sewing up wool bags. Checking water supplies. Looking for lost lambs. (Where did the 6 in-bye cheviot lambs disappear to between marking and shearing?) Making sure there are no 'roughies' left on the hill. Repairing the blades on the mower (farm not garden) in preparation for silage making in September. Routine lawn mowing around the cottages. And today he has been putting up tents for USCA's Beach Barbecue at the Black Sands tomorrow!

We have had good weather for drying the washing. No-carbon drying!

Daughter watched this hen rescue her chicks this afternoon! Somehow they had got separated from each other across the burn. One chick couldn't get back to her so she flew across the burn, into the undergrowth and somehow brought it back to the other side. All safe and alarm calls quietened down.

On shearing day the helicopter came to aerially treat the bracken. Bracken is the main reason we dropped our organic status as important habitat was being lost in areas where we had no way of safely using machinery to cut, and cut, and cut it. So finally last Friday, while the milk clip was being done, we had 70+ hectares of bracken sprayed. The chemical they use is very plant specific and so does not kill orchids, or harebells or heather. Controlling the bracken on the hill improves the hunting habitat for raptors too. 70+ hectares is very much a tiny drop in a very big ocean but it will be exciting to see the difference next year.

Farmer had a ride in the helicopter and took my camera with him. He said it was very difficult with the map in one hand showing the pilot where the countless different bits were to spray, and take photos as well, but I think he did quite well.

Looking down at Glac Guagaridh, and hidden Crackaig, from the east.

Treshnish Farm, with the Treshnish Cottages looking down the track to the Haunn Cottages in the distance.
The farm building with all the sheep waiting to be sheared.

The kit.

Lovely to get this view of Shian and Duill.


And a squint look back at Haunn from the west, to Calgary Bay.

The burn beside the house is excelling itself again this summer. No need for us to plant flowers in our garden!


I am not sure which particular vetch this is, but it is flowering profusely in the damp grasses of the natural regeneration woodland and also by the house.

And the simple rosa rugosa flowers are so appreciated, with their scent filling the yard as you walk by.

This raspberry plant crept in with a bundle of montbretia we re-homed for my brother a few years ago, and this summer the rampant canes have fruited profusely!
We were treated to dinner this week by some of our house guests - at Am Birlinn. They had lobster. It tasted every bit as delicious as it looked apparently. We took advantage of Am Birlinn's offer of complementary transport to and from the restaurant. Not only does it mean you can have more than one glass of wine, but it creates a feeling that the occasion is spacial - being chauffeured there and back like temporary VIPs!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

It's a secret

We really did have a wonderful time away. Barra enchants with its wild flowers and beaches, as well as lovely people and lack of internet access, but it was also very nice to get home. Always reminds me of how lucky we are to come home to Treshnish! And the Treshnish wild flowers, as seen in these photos, are also fairly enchanting, even though I say so myself.

It's a secret. Or at least it was. But now 'hidden' at Treshnish is another sculpture by Matt Baker. Something to chance upon, and enjoy. Farmer, almost straight off the Barra ferry, was put to work as Artist's Assistant.

I will photograph it again (and again I expect!) in better light, it was getting dark when I took some of these!).

Over half way through the farming year, and the next sheep hurdle is coming up with the milk clip to take place later this week. Farmer is already busy moving stock from this field to that, to make sure he has enough fields to put all the different 'hirsels' whilst they wait to be sheared. Ewes from the Sitheans will be in the turbine field, the hill ewes in the hill park and the Cheviots in the field by the house. The handsome tups seen here in the field by Shian and Duill have gone down below the house until the shearing is done.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Barra 2012

Boats from beginning to end of the holiday.

The photograph of the Zora Jay in the little Northbay harbour shows the church and village hall in the background. Hidden behind the hall is a great community garden selling plants and fresh vegetables. There was alot more local produce available for visitors this year - a Local Produce market in Castlebay and 3 times a week Northbay village hall is host to a community cafe selling local produce as well as fish. It was great to see a good selection of island made things.

We were on Barra for the Fisherman's Mass again this year. The weather was not quite as kind as last year. But it was still a lovely event, and the blessed fishing boats did their mad race round the way with the Lifeboat after it was all over (with the fish box cooler full of refreshments).

And all in a flash it was our last day and we were off to Castlebay to get on the ferry home. This time the evening ferry was late, and we stole an extra walk along the Herring Walk in Castlebay with the dog while waiting for the ferry to come in.
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