Illustrated Guide to Croft 3

As promised (ages ago, sorry) pictures!

And hello Mum and hello Lynda 🙂

It’s been a gorgeous couple of days. I have a slight tan line where my t shirt is, bruises in odd places from carrying bits of wood around the croft and a sense of well being that only comes with achieving good things. The midges are back and the solar panel was still charging the battery up and gone 1030pm tonight even though it was daylight at 430am this morning – ah, the trade off for those long dark days of winter at last.

13 months in to our new life here I’ve been looking around and taking stock of how far we have come. It’s a hearteningly long list of achievements and I’m in a celebratory mood thanks to all that sunshine. That bare field of just over a year ago is looking like a working croft these days, producing food and income, feeling a lot like home. Today has seen us deliver eggs and salad to the shop for sale, sell eggs from our honesty table at the top of the croft and eat salad and quiche (made with our eggs) for dinner with a friend up for the evening. I’ve replied to an email regarding the delivery date of our next livestock venture – turkeys (and some more geese) arriving next month and taken a phonecall about another sow to run with Tom and Barbara as breeding stock. It all feels a lot like we have a business 🙂

the raised beds. Made from recycled scrap wood from all around the island, all gifted to us

this one is made from strainer posts that were no good as strainer posts any more but are perfect for raised beds. This is with a layer of cardboard (waste product we have a LOT of here on Rum given how many things come in boxes on the ferry) laid as sheet mulch.

Star helping to saw wood for the stakes to fix the beds

Bonnie, not particularly helping as such but enjoying the sunshine and the excuse to run around barking lots

Elliot, he’s new. A cockerel who has mated with all available hens in the village and was starting to get too incestuous with his own offspring so has been relocated up here where he has no relations – yet

Dave – the one eyed cockerel, king of Croft 3, his reign remains undisputed after a brief clash with Elliot saw him retain his crown as King Cock

Oh he has plenty to crow about!

the beds, still at sheet mulch stage so far

step two is a manure layer – I’m using the manure rich straw bedding from the pigs. Worms are already working their magic on this stuff which I am moving across from where the pigs houses were to be the second layer on the raised beds.

The beds should rot down beautifully with added layers of cardboard and newspaper, more animal bedding and manure and possibly some seaweed. I’ll put in some crops like potatoes, marrows etc that will be just fine in these beds now and give some crops and act as green manure too.

Pig family. Tom is theoretically seperated from Barbara and the piglets but they all seem to mingle happily together. The wee ones are growing fast and are very curious and adventurous.

The ducks in their new overnight pen which includes house and pond and backs on to the Shit Heap Hider shed. We’re getting all the eggs each morning now.

meanwhile, over at the polytunnel – the potatoes are doing well

I’m sowing seeds in egg boxes. They are the perfect size and shape and will compost down around the plant as it grows when time comes to transplant them. The box stays nice and wet which helps with watering too.

The current two cropping trays of salad leaves

and the next two to come – I’ll get the next lot sown this week to ensure  continuous supply

herbs – a combination of some live plants from ebay, some cuttings from our own plants and some stuff grown from seed. All ready and waiting for me to get the herb spiral ready for them.

purple sprouting, ready for moving to a bigger tray

chillis and tomatoes, loving that polytunnel

an experimental crop from Star – a handful of bird seed sown in a tub is showing sprouts in just days. She has dreams of grinding her own flour to make her own bread.

beetroot in a box! Seems to be the perfect growing environment!

strawberries, runners from ebay delivered by post. We have four varieties and these in the pots in the grow bags are doing by far the best with three flowers on them today.

peas doing really well, the next sowing are starting to germinate, more to be sown this week to keep ’em cropping

 Star’s sunflower grown in a welly. I took this shot and was stunned to spot the view looking out from the inside of the polytunnel. It never fails to take my breath away!

radishes, grown in an old compost sack for want of suitable containers.

more herbs, coming on ready for that spiral

strawberries and more of that view

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