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Adventures in bacon

Yesterday we killed the remaining piglet. This time I was there for the whole thing (last time I didn’t witness it) and I am really glad I did. I worried that having been to an abattoir and found it really hard while we were WWOOFing I may find this just too challenging. But the deed…
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Another soul feeding day

Spring has totally sprung. From the first primrose spotted today to the stags roaming majestically across the croft this morning. The turkeys mating this morning (oh what a ritual that is, frankly it was on a par with the red deer rut, there was stamping, displaying, it was magnificent! – Ady taped it on his…
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Money can’t buy….

The view out of the window this morning A trio of red deer wandering majestically across the croft. If you fancy a weekend of sitting gazing out of this window please look at http://wonderingwanderers.co.uk/uncategorized/building-the-dream/ to see how you could be the one with a cup of coffee in your hand looking at this. Prices start…
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Thank you for the days

After Popmaster this morning (before which I was making four trays of home made granola, which we call nic-ola in our house) I posted a facebook status update to say ‘off to plant seeds in the sunshine. I may sing while doing it’. And I did. I sang lots. It was a happy, shiny, sunny,…
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Bring on the season

It may not be April until next week but clearly the Rum weather fairies are already in the April zone. It’s been sunshine and showers all the way for the last week or so. Sometimes within just minutes of each other, sometimes for a day or two at a time. We’ve been busy indoors with…
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Building The Dream

Croft 3 is an ongoing project with many strands to our long term vision for what happens to these eight acres of croft land in the coming years.

Our dream of a self sufficient lifestyle, growing our own fruit and vegetables, keeping pigs and poultry for meat and egg production and providing a beautiful, rich, diverse and interesting place for us to live and raise our children, being active members of the small community here on Rum, and the wider community of the Small Isles and local area was the first part of our vision. That will always be an ongoing theme, requiring time, commitment and energy but as we come close to our second anniversary of living here on Rum we are ready to embark on the next step of our dream.

Our very long term plan for Croft 3 is 8 acres of productive land, providing food for us with surplus to share. We also want to create an inspiring, educational space where people can come and spend time, learn, gain new skills and experiences, volunteer, work and explore. We’d like to create a place which can support us, our grown children should they wish to stay and make their home here as adults and maybe others too. We want to learn and share our knowledge, bring in experts to share their skills on subjects as diverse and wide ranging as green building, alternative energy, permaculture, off grid living, wild food and foraging, growing food, keeping livestock, hunting and fishing, baking bread and making preserves, pickles and other produce from the food growing here, butchery and processing meat from the animals living here, arts and crafts such as knitting and crochet but also more traditional crafts such as spinning and dyeing, weaving, felting, basket making. Creating an inspirational place for artists, poets, writers, musicians, dreamers. Helping people access the wildlife here on Rum and surrounding sealife, experience the red deer rut, photograph the majestic golden eagles and sea eagles, spot dolphins, whales and orcas. Explore the wild beauty that is Rum from the challenges of the peak climbing  to the gentler walks taking in the rich geology and archaeology of the island, which historically has been home to hundreds of people, much evidence of which still exists to explore and discover. Making use of the woodland here on Rum to learn and teach about woodland crafts, woodland management, bushcraft, what can be made from the trees growing here and how best to look after them.

Pretty ambitious plan isn’t it? Having spent two years here we now know how slowly life dawdles along on islands. Nothing ever goes quite to plan and just when you think you have all bases covered the wind changes direction – often quite literally, often metaphorically – and you have to think again. Life is at least half chance but having made several pretty big life changes we know it is also about seizing the day, making things happen and grabbing every opportunity to make your dreams come true.

So that’s the first part of our dream made happen and the grand plan at the end visualised, we need to start working on the middle bit. In order to make a start on bringing people to Croft 3 to volunteer, learn and be part of the project we need somewhere to put them. Our original plan was to live in our static for a short time while we built a house for ourselves and then use the static for visitors and volunteers. This summer we’d like to build a nissen hut on Croft 3 which will provide us with more suitable accommodation over the winter and eventually be used as office space and indoor training space along with a little farm shop to sell produce and crafts from Croft 3.

In order to raise the funds to build the nissen hut this year we are looking to do some crowd funding, asking people to invest in Croft 3 now in a very small way, in exchange for rewards in the future. We need to raise £15,000 to put down the groundworks, put up the nissen hut and install a woodburner. As our first pledger of £100 said to me, ‘that’s just 150 people giving £100 each – now you just need 149!’

What do you get for your money?

If you invest £10 you will get a gift of a packet of Croft 3 grown dried herbs sent to you from this years herb croft.

If you invest £100 you will get a weekend stay in the static caravan on Croft 3. Three nights in our off grid, three bedroom static caravan with full self catering facilities, compost loo, shower, stunning views. We will collect you from the ferry, bring you and your luggage to the Croft and settle you in. You then have time to explore the island from a comfortable base or just sit back and enjoy the view.

If you invest over £500 you will get a week long stay in the static caravan on Croft 3. You can choose either a fully catered (with as much Croft 3 or local Rum produce as we can lay our hands on) holiday, free to explore the island and make the most of the amazing wildlife, scenery and walking or you can choose to have a working holiday and work alongside us getting a taste of our lifestyle. From feeding and tending to our animals, helping with crops in the polytunnel and raised beds or getting involved in whatever project we happen to be working on at the time, it’s a week long slice of our life.

To invest through paypal, simply click the button on the sidebar on the right marked ‘Donate’. We will get in touch when we get notification of your investment and give you full details of how to claim your herbs or arrange your stay.

We’ll be keeping a running total of money invested in the side bar of the blog. We’ll be sharing this on facebook, twitter and appreciate any help putting the word out to anyone you think may be interested in getting involved.

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Untrapped Life

We have a lot of amazing friends. I definitely think keeping inspirational company stands you in good stead for doing inspirational things.

I have friends running successful businesses in toy and craft retail, cake baking and decorating, life coaching and NLP. I know published authors, freelance translators, artists and crafters, textile artists, fashion designers, tutors and more. All of these friends also home educate their children – I wonder if being a Home Educating parent makes you more creative and alternative in your approach to earning a living by doing something you love or whether it is people who are that way inclined who are more likely to Home Educate…

I do know that I have many friends who are self employed and have turned their passions, interests and hobbies into the way they earn their living than friends trapped in unfulfilling careers stuck in ruts.

Our friends Kirsty and James and their children are shining examples of this – in 2012 they had a fantastic adventure and went off traveling and now Kirsty is helping other people realise their dreams with her fab website Untrapped Life. Alongside the website Kirsty is putting out a series of podcasts included interviews and today’s interview is with me! Do go along and check out the website, have a listen to Kirsty and I and sign up for the newsletter which is packed with hints, tips, inspirational ideas and ways in which to start making your dreams come true.

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Emergent

I think the winter is finally coming to a close. The wind is currently blowing a gale around the caravan, the wind turbine is tied up to prevent overload so it feels a little premature to be saying such things.

Yet, over half the fruit trees and bushes in the fruit cage have buds and new growth on them.

Yet, Barbara Pig looks like she may well be pregnant, we are planning a maternity wing…

Yet, two geese are broody and sitting on nests. There may be goslings ahead….

Yet, all my peas have sprouted in the polytunnel, the salad leaves are poking through the soil and the chitted seed potatoes are ready and waiting to go into the ground.

It’s coming….