Tuesday, 2 April 2013

And still it hasn't rained

So that is it.  The season has begun.  Suddenly the cafes and  tearooms are open, the beaches are busy and the empty roads are not empty.  It is lovely to have familiar and new faces in the cottages, and for the winter projects to have to draw to a close. A frantic week getting the last minute things done, with Farmer complaining that he couldn't get at his farm work because of everything else that only he could do.  But it was all done in time - apart from a couple of external windowsills with wet paint!

Last minute painting on Shieling
Turbines and farm building from the Haunn track
 The weather seems to have got stuck.  And we do need some rain.  It hasn't rained properly here since February the 19th.  The ewes start lambing in 10 days time and we are worrying about the lack of grass growth.  Farmer has ordered extra feed and has started going off on the quad bike along the coast and up on the Sitheans to give the hill ewes a bit of food which, in normal years, would be unheard of. 

Woodland area fenced off for regeneration
Boggy places on the hill are dry. And look how brown the fields are.

Hogg in field beside Shian and Duill

2 hoggs in field beside Shian and Duill
Sunset light over Mishnish lochs
I escaped one evening and went to the book launch of Judy Fairburns' book 'Island Wife' at An Tobar - the book is a memoir of her family life - coming to live on Mull with 2 small children, having 3 more whilst running a hotel, a farm and then if that wasn't enough starting up Sealife Surveys.  

I had an extra errand to do on my way home - to collect some paint for Toechtamhor from the builders yard in Tobermory.  I was slightly distracted by the Northern Lights (that is my excuse anyway) and I forgot.  

A faint aurora
That meant I had to go back in in the morning... past the Mishnish lochs.
Mishnish lochs 
 ...past Loch Cuin..
Loch Cuin

Middle shed, its going to have to go
Farmer has persuaded me that the little bit of (tin) history that was the Middle outside loo cannot be rescued.  

Hardhead stalks
We have had a beautiful fireguard made by Andy Fellows for Studio. He is a blacksmith who lives and works in Dervaig.  
Studio woodburner with fireguard

Gate detail

Rum snow has melted
 Turf dykes in the Black Park looking over to Rum.

Farmer looks for clover

Cheviot ewes look for Farmer
The ewes are being quite brave at the moment as they have got used to being fed, so every time they see you they wait to see if you have anything for them. 

Remains of old boathouse

Frog spawn floating
The rock pools down by the old boathouse are drying up, endangering the frog spawn again. 

Frog spawn in brackish pools
The calving still isn't finished.  We have had one calf this week.  It was a breach.  Farmer came down to tell me and ask me to go up and help in 10 minutes.   He had bought a calving jack several years before - just in case - but had only used it when helping out a neighbour.  I duly set off in 10 minutes to go and see what was happening, and by the time I had got half way to the cattle shed he had calved her, using the calving jack, and the calf was breathing.  A very good result.  

Easter wouldn't be Easter without seeing if the Easter bunny had been, even if you are 12 going on 13.

Day out to Lochbuie
Farmer is busy spiking the inbye fields.   Some years it is too wet to get any field work done, but this year it has been easy because whilst the rest of the country has had terrible rain and snow, we have had endless sunshine and rainless days.  

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