Sunday, 27 January 2013

Routine changes and blowing a (big) fuse

We had to go to Oban on Tuesday, and it was a beautiful day for it.  Lots of errands were done, and at lunchtime we walked the dog at the War Memorial in the left of the photograph below, and found this little private memorial tucked into the rocks.  

Back home, and at the Studio the new window had gone in. 

One of the Zwarties seems to have inherited the 'getting stuck in the fence' gene. At least she has the sense to bleat so we were able to get her out. Took two of us though.

By Saturday the builders had finished in Studio, but not without a few hiccups with the flue position for the wood-burning stove!  This cry for help was not staged!

Whilst alot of the UK has been covered in snow, Mull has enjoyed the sensation of the cold, without the inconvenience of it. Lovely views of Rum from here with its mountain tops covered in snow, and the same looking over at Ben More, but apart from one night of snow which left about an inch on the ground (mostly gone by morning) we have had frosts and dry weather - until Friday afternoon when it became milder and slightly wet...

There were moments of glorious sunshine.

The new window in Studio bedroom.

Little glimpses of spring in the garden.

Work has been progressing in Shian and Duill. Hopefully by this time next week we will have a new bath in Duill! Shian's new cooker has a swanky glass splashback now and looks very smart.

The Kingspan turbine blew its fuse some time over the last 10 days since I last recorded the meter readings!  You can see the burnt out bit in the picture below! It is a 32amp fuse and we did have a spare but the slot had burnt out so we couldn't repair it then and there.  Border Hydro sent a new one plus the slot it is housed in(and several new fuses to be on the safe side). Ian McAdam came over to fit it for us and we are back on generating now, in time for the storms brewing up this week!

Usually the cows would have been indoors a month ago. As calving is due to start any day now, Farmer decided to bring them yesterday.  They walked up from the field at their own speed. The gates were open all the way along the track, and into the cattle shed itself - and they walked right in.

There is something 'right' about the cattle shed once the cows are back in.  It must be like a sort of 'empty nest' syndrome but there is something missing when they are not inside - like a child's empty bedroom. (We aren't there yet as parents, so can only imagine!). It just feels right when they are indoors.

The 4 heifers we bought in November had not been in our shed before, and they are in a separate pen with the other youngsters - but they seem quite happy. Alot of sniffing around but everyone regardless of their ages seem to be enjoying the hay.

This afternoon, the rain was tipping down noisily onto the roof of the shed, and huge claps of thunder were breaking over the hill to the south, whilst Farmer was bedding them up. There was a real air of quiet and calm. Farmer walking through them with sections of straw, they seem to all know the scene even though it is 9 months since they were last in here. 


This dun cow was sniffing her calf through the pen bars.

This is a salt lick. It will be interesting to see what it looks like once the cows have been at it!

In between the showers.

So Farmer's winter daily routine has changed. The cows indoors means Farmer will be spending alot more time with them.   But under cover - which is luxury when storms are raging!  He gets to know his cows in a way that he can't outside.  He can walk up to them and give them a rub or a scratch indoors - and they hardly notice he is there when he is bedding up. It will be different once the calving starts as they inevitably behave protectively to their newborn calves - for those first few days.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Taking the feed blocks beyond Port Haunn

Just a short blog post. It has been a beautiful dry almost windless day today. I had to make beds in East, and put the fridge on in West for guests arriving, and Farmer had to take feed blocks out beyond Port Haunn.  Daughter and I walked as he drove off into the distance to distribute the blocks.  Only he came back. The buggy was stranded in a bog.  Oops.  

East Cottage almost ready for guests. 

The reclaimed sign to remind us all to shut the gate properly.  This one separates the hill and coast from the fields, so is very important in keeping sheep in and out, and the deer out.

Off he goes.

The Dun, with (tiny) Rum in the distance.

We need to do a beach clean at Port Haunn.

On the other side of the blue bottle is an address in Mumbai.

Looking towards the Cairns of Coll.

Looking over the end of Gometra to the Ross of Mull.

More sea-treasure?

I am not sure what languages are on this - looks like Russian and Japanese?

I couldn't resist the rays over the Treshnish Isles.

And after enjoying time on the beach, it was time to try and remedy the buggy situation.

Success. (phew)

Time to go home for tea.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Temperature drops and rises

The bull is out in the little field opposite the Cattle Shed.  I loved the way he went to the furthest corner and sat as if he was looking at the view.  (He is the black spot in the distance.)  He will be going off to market next week and we are looking for a new bull now.  Farmer has been sitting by the fire of an evening looking up other breeds to see if we might slightly change what we have to sell - he is keen on the traditional Beef Shorthorn, or White Shorthorn. It is an exhausting armchair journey, looking it all up and then coming back to the thought that the Aberdeen Angus suit us very well.  

We have had this bull for a good few years, and he has a fantastic temperament as well as throwing easy calving calves - small when born but who gain strength quickly.  This is the latest - ever - that we have kept the cows outside.  It has saved us having to buy in another month's supply of straw (sorry Tom) and they have not been making a mess on the ground.  Another delicate balance comes into play as the one of our favourite moths (Six Spot Burnet Moth) likes to sun itself in the cattle hoof marks left behind by the cows, but Farmer doesn't want to poach the ground. 

I am not a big fan of the new Blogger site.  For some reason the only way I can upload my photographs is to upload them into a picasa web album first and then move them across from there to the blog.  They land in an order of their own, and usually I then move them around to try and make better sense of them.  But the order below is quite a good reflection on the week.  Lots of snatches of weather and light in between the building projects!

In and out of the Storage Container to check on what paint we have to use up before ordering anew.  Ecospaint Dark Ice is going in Studio kitchen!

Sky high clouds, taken on a dash down to Duill to see how that is going.

Alan painting the Studio sitting room, first coat of Ecospaint Bengt.  And with paint on the wall, it begins to resemble a room again - the old doorway has disappeared and created a good relaxing sitting room...waiting for the stove to be fitted now.  

Another mad storm passes over towards Calgary. The hoggs have been in the field between the farmhouse and Shian and Duill for a few days. The Zwarties (the brown ones) are good at getting out..

Cavelo Nero catching the sun.  This Italian kale is a mainstay over the winter. 

Shian's kitchen wall is crying out for a window I reckon, but not this winter. I have been banned from thinking up any further projects. Enough is enough Farmer says.  Shian has a new cooker which looks very smart and is the right size this time. The one that was too small has gone down to Middle.  Nothing is wasted!

We are enjoying seeing the Hare every day as he runs through the farm yard.  What a privilege. 

The weather has been getting colder - we have had a few of those days when you get a bit of everything - including snow and hail.  And some good winds!  The Kingspan turbine is still out-performing its neighbour - by a staggering 50%, and we have had some hopeful news from Kingspan and then from our installer, Border Hydro, that we can have a new chip fitted which, with updated settings, will increase the performance from the Proven.  

The heating is back on in Studio now.  Radiators had been taken off to allow for the wall insulation to be added in the sitting room and bedroom.  All warm and cosy now.

I was very happy on Monday when the bathroom arrived for Duill - and all the pipework for Neil the plumber.  We only have a few weeks until it is booked!  Neil the builder is busy putting wall insulation in the frame on the outside walls before Neil the plumber arrives..  

The new Velux window in Studio gallery bedroom shows in this top right corner of this picture. 

The 'Bengt' sitting room walls.

Coco - and no I'm afraid she wasn't just sitting there obediently on her own. (Her lead was hooked round a fence post.)  We are going to a dog training class in Dervaig which is great, very helpful.  It is just the in between class training which is lacking, as I find it very difficult to apply myself so she is on a lead all the time.

Regular readers of the blog may remember that Moira, the wonderful dog trainer, came here last summer and did some training with us when Coco was very young!  Her programme of dog training classes will be held here from Easter onwards, and they are going to start doing Dog Agility too. 

For any of our guests who bring their own dog on holiday with them, there is an opportunity to have a 1:1 class with Moira here at Treshnish - if you want some training advice or to try out some agility.   We will link her website once she has it up and running.  Quite alot of her work is doing 1:1 sessions around the island.  And to think she moved to Mull to retire!

Moss covered dyke near the farmhouse. 

 Studio main bedroom - Ecospaint Savannah. It is lighter than this photograph shows.

Farmer has been continuing with sorting out the sheep.  The Zwartie hoggs are now on their own and roaming looking for ways to escape between the Stack Yard outside Shieling and Studio and the big field Shian and Duill sit in.

I have started Blipping!  I THINK if you follow the link you will get to my site.  Some of the photos I Blip you will probably see on the blog too.

eXTReMe Tracker