Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Incredibly beautiful day

From just after midnight...the aurora borealis fighting through a bank of cloud.  I never take for granted how lucky we are to have this on our doorstep, when all the different forces of nature work together.  We even saw it last Hogmanay.  In fact if you would like to take your chances, why not have a look at the spaces we still have for Christmas and New Year, and take advantage of our 20% discount! 

Sun rising pinks over Rum with an ice dog rainbow.

In charge of all she surveys?  All the in by fields have sheep in them with a varied assortment of brightly painted tups.  This ewe was on her own, sunning, on a knoll, with a perfectly still Calgary Bay behind her. 

That ewe gave me the idea to get a memorable photograph of Cap.  This weekend we are going to look at a new sheep dog and if we like him he will join the team.  Cap has been top dog since he arrived at Treshnish in April 2007, just in time for lambing.  He is finding the hills a bit tough now, at the age of 11, so he can take it easy and do what he loves second to working with Farmer - playing with whatever toys he can find.  Thank you Cap. Farmer says he has been the best dog he has ever worked with. 

So, so still.  Not a ripple.

The Aurora Borealis is forecast for tonight, so I won't say any more for now. Except that it has been an incredibly beautiful day.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Winter paradise

Moonlight and cloud after midnight..

Icy roads and wintery tops to the mountains on the way to Craignure this morning.  Even Ensay across the road from here had snow on it.

Storm clouds and sunlight in the afternoon.

And rainbows.

Silver lines on the waters between Mull and Rum, with snow on the mountains.

And the Herdwicks were out enjoying the field around Shian and Duill.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Lichens and fungi

If you go down to the woods might find a gang of Lichenologists on the loose.

Well, it was a bit wet for a teddy bears picnic so we had our picnic in the farmhouse after our walk through the Atlantic Hazel Woodland between the farm track and the sea.

It was absolutely fascinating.  The Atlantic Hazel Woodland people have been here several times.  They were filmed here talking about the importance of AHW as part of a Landward programme with Dougie Vipond. 

The event was organised by a relatively new group to the island called Wild Mull.   They had arranged for Andy Acton, Brian and Sandy Coppins to come over.  Sandy gave an illustrated talk in the morning and then we all headed down in to the wood.  It was very wet, and we all got soaked, but it didn't really matter!

I was reminded of how little I know of lichen names, both Latin and English, and of what special woodland Atlantic Hazel Woodland is.  It is an unsung hero of woodland, a relatively rare habitat supporting thousands of wonderful, and some very rare, lichens and fungi.

"The UK's temperate rainforests are fragmented emeralds in a sea of human-modified landscapes impacted by people dating back to the retreat of the last ice age.  But these rainforests are vertically challenged compared to the more statuesque rainforests of North America, Chile, and Tasmania, some with trees no taller than 3 meters." Dominick DellaSalla (editor of Temperate and Boreal Rainforests of the World)

We definitely have trees of the no taller than 3 meters variety in the Treshnish Atlantic Hazel Woodland.

It was so wet I didn't take my camera - these photographs were taken on an iPhone which I had to dry out afterwards!

Monday, 7 November 2016

A farming shopping trip

Dingwall Rare Breeds and Poultry Sale. Where every self respecting Poultry fancier goes for their hens and ducks.   

There was lots of choice, and some beautiful birds, but Farmer and Daughter had other things on their minds. 

We started the day off with a delicious breakfast from the very efficient Teddy's Cafe.  Perfectly cooked bacon rolls in very fresh baps.  They even had decaffinated tea.  Their cake selection was wild!  There is a queue ALL day long but the staff still served with a smile even at 3 in the afternoon.

I was left to look at hens and ducks whilst Farmer and the girls headed into the real pens to check out the animals for sale.  The catalogue had been carefully scrutinised so they knew what they were looking for.

The lots they were interested in were a good hour or so away, so there was plenty of time to sit and look.  The sale ring was crowded.  Daughter and her pal were sitting quite high up with a good view of the ring, and of the farming/crofting/smallholding community.

This handsome Billy goat sold for £20.

The Valais tups went for a lot more. We decided they were handsome and their lambs would be adorable, but we weren't sure they would like the west coast rainfall. 

This plan had been hatching between Farmer and Daughter for quite some time.  Herdwicks.  There was one lot they really liked the look of - and luckily these are exactly the ones we got.

Aren't they gorgeous?  They seem so calm.  Hopefully this bodes well.  They are living in the shelter between the veg garden and Studio garden.  Farmer let them out in to the stack yard today and they seemed quite interested 'in the bag'.  This is a good sign as it means they know how to feed.

Yeseterday we had to go to Lettermore Forest which meant passing the Fank project.  We stopped to look around and it was beautiful.

A foxglove flowering on 6th November. 

I hope he isn't thinking 'what have we done?'.

Certainly Walter is quite happy about them - unlike Jan who ran in the other direction when she saw them.

In the afternoon I went to collect Coco.  An astonishingly beautiful view up Loch Tuath to Ulva Feryr with Ben More beyond.

Today I had to go to Craignure.   I love the reflected light on Calgary Bay.

And on the way back an errand along Loch na Keal.. looking very wintery.

STOP PRESS!! We have some spaces left for Christmas and New Year and are offering a lovely Festive Discount.  

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