Frequently Asked Questions.
Have you finished building your cob house yet?
No, we have not. The spring of 2015 was very slow to arrive and the summer never really happened at all, so it did not get built during the year following the filming of New Lives in the Wild. Despite having lots of support from volunteers and friends progress was far slower than we’d hoped and we reached a point where we reconsidered how feasible the project was without an army of people working on it.
This was disappointing as it meant several winters in our ‘rather basic caravan’ (to quote Ben Fogle) but as ever we have used the lessons learned to improve our ideas about what happens next.
The cob house is still a project we would love to one day work on, but we are realistic about the resources in terms of people power that it would take and currently as a family we are unable to provide the hospitality that such a large group would require in terms of hosting them with food, shelter and facilities.
Do you have any photos of your house or the plans?
See above for the answer to photos of the house! We don’t have detailed plans, at least in part because we are not even sure ourselves exactly what it will look like. The cob project is going to grow from the earth and everyone who helps build it will also help shape it. Having a proper image of what it will look like is like trying to predict what a child will look like as an adult. If you google for images of cob projects though you will get an idea of the sort of vision we have though. Curving walls, cosy nooks and spaces, an open plan main area for cooking, living and eating in, small private spaces each for sleeping and keeping our ‘stuff’, lots of natural materials and windows.
I blogged about how we came up with the proposed lay out, as a collaborative family project developed over time with everyone’s ideas and input in my post ‘draw a house’.
Do you take volunteers / WWOOFers?
We have previously hosted volunteers and may well do so again in the future but in 2019 we will not be taking any volunteers. We do not have any large group projects planned and are not resident full time on the Croft ourselves at the moment. If you are visiting Rum and are interested in Croft 3 though please do get in touch as if we are around we are happy to meet you and show you around the Croft, talk about our adventures and chat.
Who lives on Croft 3?
Croft 3 is our Rum base although we are currently living on the mainland, still close enough to Rum to visit regularly and keep an eye on our livestock (which friends help us out with when we are not on island), stock up the Croft 3 shed with crafts and produce and catch up with our crofting life.
What animals do you have?
As of 2019 we have sheep (three at the moment) who we use for improving the ground by grazing and using their fleeces for craft projects. We have eight geese who are kept for grazing and gathering their feathers. Nic, Davies and Scarlett are very amenable to the idea of eating goose, particularly the more feisty ganders but Ady is less keen.
What crops do you grow?
We are constantly facing twin challenges of protecting our crops from the wildlife (and our own livestock) and the Rum elements so our crops are grown under cover in our tiny polytunnel or within caged areas. We have a large soft fruit and orchard tree cage containing apples, pear, plum and cherry trees, currants, blueberries, raspberries, loganberries and tayberries. We have a second caged area with large raised beds which are currently lying fallow to let the soil recover from a couple of years of heavy cropping. We will be laying them with a seaweed mulch to add some nutrients back into the poor soil. We have a polytunnel in which we start off our seeds and grow crops which need more heat such as tomatoes, chillies and peppers. We have a herb spiral near to our caravan and quite a lot of space under plastic for strawberries. We love strawberries! We also forage a lot as Rum has a lot of wild food, particularly brambles growing all over the island.
Where can I buy your produce?
We sell our produce directly from the croft gate in our little shed shop which is always open and operates an honesty box policy for purchases. We also have a wide variety of our arts, crafts, preserves and gifts available from the shed to buy too. You can also purchase from us online from our etsy shop.
Did I see you on telly?
Quite possibly! We were on Ben Fogle’s New Lives in the Wild which first aired on channel five in August 2015. The show has since been aired worldwide and appears to be regularly repeated.