Sunday, 26 February 2017

Looking for a short break?

Whats been happening on the farm? Nearly at the end of February already.. the days are getting longer and it is great to be doing the school run at both ends of the day in daylight!  

We have had mixed weather all month - but no great storms to speak of.  In fact this winter has not been as windy as usual!  I haven't checked the wind turbine generation readings for a while, but I know they will be down on last year.

Farmer has been gathering the hill to bring the ewes in for scanning tomorrow.  We have just gone up to Larach mhor on the main road above Treshnish to retrieve the truck, as they left it there at the start of the gather yesterday.  On the way up there we could see across to the Sitheans, and could see a puckle of ewes that got away from them yesterday. Hence Farmer off with the dogs to get them in now.

Scanning the ewes is useful to us as it means we know which ewes are expecting twins and can keep them in for supplementary feeding nearer the time.  Lambing is about 6 weeks away!

Toechtamhor has been the centre of attention this month - with an upgraded shower and new bathroom windows all round, plus one improvement I will leave as a surprise for regular visitors!  The twin bedroom has a new insulated wooden floor and both bedrooms have new easy to control electric heaters - finally, the days of storage heaters are over I am glad to say! 

There has been work going on in other cottages too...!  Shieling has had lighting improvements, and a new shower before Christmas.  Studio had an upgraded shower before Christmas too.    West has its new layout which feels really good, and feedback from guests so far is very positive.

We are offering short breaks between now and the end of April, and are considering doing the same in September and October.  Please get in touch if you want to book a short break or a week between now and then.  There is a 10% discount available on a week booking until the 28th April!

Thursday, 2 February 2017

The curious tale of the bogus blogsite

I have held off writing a blogpost over the last week because someone decided to 'content scrape' the Haunnblackhouse blog, and create a bogus site with the same name (spelt with an extra n).. whats more it was sending a 20 fold increase in traffic to our blog from this fake site (mostly from Spain..).  Goodness knows what dodgy things were going on behind the scenes, and it wasn't a very nice feeling.

Thankfully the bogus site has been taken down now. I had submitted a copyright breach complaint to Google and emailed both the site registrar and hosting company (both in Panama).. I don't know who did what but it's gone... but hopefully there will be no further repercussions!

We continue to have mixed weather, with a weekly or so storm which threatens to cancel the ferries.. and sometimes does!   The generally milder weather has brought the snowdrops out in their hundreds and they seem to have grown taller this year too.

Last week Farmer decided to tackle the rocks on the track down to Port Haunn.  I was quite nervous about him driving the digger down that steep slope, and I think judging by the fact he took his phone with him, I think Farmer was quite nervous about it too.   To cut a long story short, he made it down there, and he made it back!  AND he managed to move the rocks so that now he can drive the quad past it and put feed blocks out along the flats for the sheep.  Phew.  When that rockfall happened we thought the worst...

It was a beautifully sunny day, and the coastline was looking fresh!

Every now and then over the last few weeks there has been an Aurora Borealis.  I haven't been out to Croig or anywhere further afield this winter because it has either not been clear enough (too much cloud) or not a strong enough forecast.  The colours picked up on camera are still pretty lovely though! 

I couldn't remember if I had posted a photograph of Nyje yet.  It is amazing to think he has been with us for 2 months already.  He is still very energetic, almost hyper at times, but I was pleased I got him to stand still.

And another day I managed to get the working team to sit still.  It was asking too much to get Coco to sit as well.

Farmer manages it a lot better!  Lit by the surprise of afternoon sun on a cloudy day. 

There have been moments of wonderful sun and rich winter light. 

Moments of ferocious squalls and dramatic light.

West Cottage has had a change around.   The lovely oak bed has been widened so it is now a kingsize (so has Middle Cottage) and we have moved it into the bedroom.  In its place in the alcove is a single day bed - a perfect spot for reading your book and gazing out of the window by day, and comfortable adult sized single bed by night.   The whole feel of the cottage is of spaciousness and light whilst also being cosy and romantic.  I know some of our family guests are disappointed that we no longer sleep 4, and we hope that they might find one of the other larger cottages works for them instead.  

Duill Cottage certainly does get a great view of the sunset! 

Over the last couple of nights I have caught the aurora on camera. Not much to see visually with the naked eye, but the camera picks up the colours.

On Monday we went to a farming meeting to discuss the future of farming post-Brexit.  A 5 point plan to help us prepare (for the largely unknown). All about Resilience and diversification and farming for the public good - which I hope we do already.  It was good to be part of a discussion and to listen to people who know more about the politics of the possible deals with Europe and scenarios than I do.

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