Tuesday, 31 December 2013

This is NOT a rainbow!

This is an 'iridescent' cloud, not a rainbow.  Seen over the Cairns of Coll this morning.  Beautiful! Thanks for our neighbours up the hill for telling us what is was.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!

We are off to the Clock in Tobermory to bring in the bells - and watch the fireworks!

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Twixt and tween

There is quite a relaxed sense of 'down time' in the Treshnish farmhouse this week. Farmer is still busy with the daily chores of feeding the cows and bedding them up now they are indoors, and being in between Christmas and New Year there are no builders at work and not much office activity!  The hoggs have been moved from the park beside the cattle shed to below the house, so that the 4 gates between Treshnish and Haunn can be left open for our New Year guests.

With the 3 stirks (bullocks), the 2 Luing heifers in addition to the cows and the bull, they are munching more than one bale of silage a day at the moment, so a bit of barley straw makes a good afternoon snack, before the next bale is brought in from the stack yard.

This two are mother and daughter.  Aberdeen Angus crossed with Highland Shorthorn.  A beautiful dun colour.

Troughs turned up after the hoggs have been fed.  Hopefully the wind won't blow them too far over night.

Farmer had to remove brambles from Brownie's coat this afternoon and so Daughter took this photograph for the blog.

The major winter work is about to start after New Year.  Duill and Shian are both getting a bit of a makeover: improved insulation to keep them cosy and a small, simple, unheated 'sit-ootery' - somewhere to sit and enjoy the views, whatever the weather!  Duill's sunroom will be an amazing place from which to watch whatever wildlife is enjoying the little lochan.

We went to the top of the Ensay Burn waterfall yesterday to see how it looked after the rains.  Good for hydro-electricity today?!

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Peace at Treshnish

I meant to blog before Christmas to wish all our guests, past, present and future a very Happy Christmas, but we were worried that the internet might go off if we had a power cut in the storm that raged on Christmas eve so we unplugged the satellite dish from the power supply, and unplugged ourselves from the world at the same time.  (Interestingly, we all survived the experience quite nicely!)

We had a Christmas afternoon walk, we had a sunset too.

It has been a tempestuous month weather wise.  Today we walked out across the in-by fields to open some gates and close others so that the ewes can move onto clean grazing.  There was something noticeably different about the day.  The sun was shining.  There was NO wind. Listening to the silence was wonderful.  Seeing the sun shining was wonderful too.

I havent taken many photographs of the late medieval settlement (Scoma) very often but in this low winter sunlight the shadows show up the buildings quite well.

A moment to look into the roundels and see whether there are any young birches showing.

For the first day in weeks, the bay was calm.

Down by the boathouse, it was calm and sunny though it was raining on Coll.

I want to remember to photograph this wild rose in 6 months time to show the difference between summer and winter.

With best wishes from all at Treshnish.

Monday, 23 December 2013

It is nearly Christmas!

For the moment the cows are still outside, but Farmer is beginning to give them a bit more feed as the weather will be taking its toll on them. They will probably come in to the cattle shed before the New Year.  The tups have been with the ewes for 5 weeks on Thursday, and so he is planning when he will take the tups out around a trip we have to the mainland before school goes back on the 6th.

Outside East Cottage has been getting a bit of a makeover, the cobbles appear from underneath the grass that has crept in over the last few years since it was cleared last.   It has got a new sofa too, which JUST fitted through the door!

The weather has continued to be stormy and wild!   The turbines are still generating (thankfully still in one piece) but once they have got to peak output the blades turn in on themselves as they cannot produce more than their output.  I think (unscientifically) that this happens on the Kingspan at about 30mph.  We have been having winds for over 60mph at times.

It was sad to see the clump of fir trees at Calgary fall victim to the wind.  Farmer took Daughter down to the school bus, in the dark, and met with a mountain of branches and trunks lying across the road.  It was cleaned up by lunchtime, and the following day they moved the root-balls out of the way completely.

We had guests in Studio for 2 weeks who left on Friday.  We came home one day to a mystery gift on the door handle of some delicious biscuits, and thought it might have been from a neighbour along the road, but on their last day the Studio guests came to say goodbye and brought some more.  She said they had had a wonderful winter break here at Treshnish, and would definitely be coming again, they hoped to try a Haunn cottage next time, though it was the sunroom that attracted them to Studio, and in the worst storms, they could sit in there cosy and warm and watch it all. To think I had been worrying about them with all the wild weather!

Regular visitors to Mull will be surprised by the change in the landscape between Penmore and Calgary. The Langamull forest is disappearing.  The trees they had left on the woodland edge have been falling over in the winds. 

We are finally beginning to feel Christmassy in the Treshnish Farmhouse.  Farmer is making the Christmas cake.  Yes, a little late, but 'somebody's got to do it', and clearly I wasn't quick enough off the mark! It certainly smells delicious.

The view from the hairpins above Dervaig out to the Isle of Coll. 

It has been nice to walk on Calgary beach, it is quite often more sheltered at the moment than walking along our coastline! Lots of flotsam and jetsam on the beach, piles of seaweed and the occasional battered fish box.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Winter skies, winter storms

Winter tasks.

The dogs still need walking.  Even in a gale.  Farmer still has to feed the animals.  Even in a gale.  But after the gale sometimes the sun does set and gives us the energy to get through the next storm. 

The hens venture out in the calm.

 And starlings go to roost.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Winter days

We are now half way through tupping.  Farmer put the last 3 tups out earlier in the week.   Technically by the end of 6 weeks all the ewes should have been served.  That would mean taking the tups out just before Christmas.  We leave them until about the 6th January.   That way hopefully the late ones will have been caught by the new tups and we will have a good pregnancy rate.  We are hoping to scan the pregnant ewes this year.  (We had planned to scan last season, but the scanner's machine broken down a farm before he got to us.  He went home to the mainland and didn't come back..)

The in-bye fields are full of sheep and cows - doing their bit for the wild flowers by grazing down the rough bits and tufts of dead grasses.

The renovation work on Shian has started. Neil is carefully taking Shian bathroom to pieces.  The external walls of the whole cottage are being insulated, and Shian bathroom getting an upgrade, similar to Duill's last winter!  There is a surprise planned for each of these 2 cottages, but I will keep that for a later date, when we see what progress is being made!  Diggers and all sorts will be required at times!

Coco and Walter are getting along well.  There were no sheep in this field by the way.

Big excitement in the garden, as we have a new part-time helper, R, who has just moved to Calgary.  He is clearing up the veg garden and beginning to sort out the gardens round the Haunn cottages too.  Who knows we may even have surplus vegetables for our guests in the summer...

Tobermory is looking gently Christmassy.  We still have a space or two if you want to escape the mainland madness.  Our new website has online booking now - you can still pay by bank transfer if you want to, or pay directly by card using a secure online card service.   It feels a bit strange, bookings happening without the usual email or telephone conversations, but hopefully in the long run it will be more useful for everyone.  


Thursday, 5 December 2013

In the face of it

Overnight the wind speeds rose - northwesterly to start with and then more directly into the face of the farmhouse rising up over the open raised beach.  We managed to sleep through, off and on, most of the night until just before 6am, when the gusts starting shaking our bedroom, and we woke to lightning and more building-shuddering storm force wind.  Hail, rain.  As it got light, we could see the white of the boiling surf along the shore below the house.

Worry about what damage there might be.  Farmer realised he could not feed the cattle indoors or the hoggs until the wind had dropped, because if he were to open the feed container doors in this wind, not only could he do himself damage (my thought not his) but the food which is loose in the back of the container would be blown about all over the place.

There are moments of sunshine in between the storm force blasts.

Farmer went to check the tups below the house but could only find one of two.  I went back with him while he walked the field looking for the second one.  He found him huddled up out of the wind with a ewe.  Tup one had paired off with Daughter's pet lamb Alice, below.

Brownie, another pet lamb, 3 year old wedded (neutered male) tried to follow through the gate into the field by the house where Shian and Duill are.

Luckily we only seemed to have suffered the loss of some board off our own house, and a few things have moved.. including the rubber boat and summer wheelie bins.

And then it snowed..sideways.

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