The clock ticks by. On Saturday we’ll have been on Rum for four months – a third of a year. We’ve celebrated the first births on the croft with hatched eggs, today we found two ducks eggs (finally!) – one intact which Star plans to breakfast on tomorrow, another already in ruins probably fallen victim to the hoodies (hooded crows) or perhaps just a soft shelled first lay.
I made my second batch of Rum jam last night – blackberry and lavender – foraged blackberries from around the village and some lavender we brought up from Sussex but has taken well here on the croft. As it was made with sugar I bartered with someone for eggs from the croft (due to a running out of sugar here in our kitchen and down at Jinty’s shop rather than by design but it still felt nice :)) and decanted into recycled jars it all felt very in line with what we are hoping to achieve here albeit still in baby steps. Tasted good for breakfast today too. I have a load of rowan berries waiting for the arrival of my jelly bag in the post to make some rowan jelly with. Ady is planning to harvest some kelp to make some kelp crisps and yesterday we spent half an hour fishing off the pier and caught two trout which we brought home for lunch – ocean to plate in under two hours, delicious with home baked bread.
Today I became the proud owner of email addresses email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org too.
This evening we looked out of our static window and saw three deer just outside grazing; beautiful and exciting, but also heartening given we can engage a stalker to kill deer on our land and they become our meat plus we are involved in a fledgling Rum Venison Processing community interest company and are attending a butchery training course in the next few weeks to become part of a small on island team processing the venison for sale.
It’s rained and rained and rained this week. Inbetween bouts of pure sunshine and sky splitting rainbows. The river is running very high and although Ady and I did get across it in the car today as we had lots of deliveries on the boat (food, nothing exciting) we took the car straight back across to the other side again as we know it will all too easily get trapped on the croft where it is little or no use if we don’t do so having learnt the lesson in the past.
I have a stash of crafty stuff ready to get stuck into through the winter for selling next season – today saw the penultimate Market Day of this year, we’ll do one next week and then wrap it up until next spring.
I am desperately looking forward to the autumn and then the winter. For so many reasons – not least that we can finally shut up the people keep telling us ‘yeah but you haven’t done a winter yet…’ when we tell them how much we love it here. It is true, but we have done winters before in the UK and yes we know the days are that much shorter up this far north, and the weather is that much wetter and we don’t have a proper house or a bath or a washing machine. But we do have blankets and hot water bottles and two gas fires. We have hot chocolate and a good stash of food (especially jam!), we have books and drawing materials and craft stuff. We have music and laughter and at least four hours of daylight to get out and splash in puddles, marvel at wildlife, throw snowballs, enjoy the wild rain and wind in – and we will! We have plans for ceildih lessons, film nights, book clubs, basket weaving lessons, planning events for next year, secret santas, celebrating bonfire night, halloween, Star’s birthday, Christmas, new year, Hogmany, my birthday, Bonnie’s birthday. We have getting to grips with paperwork, catching up on planning and plotting the year ahead.
Last year when we were travelling one of my personal greatest pleasures was for the first time since childhood really, really feeling the turning of the seasons. Properly feeling in tune with what month it was. Knowing that the nights drew in then lengthened, then drew in again. The light changed, the leaves turned on the trees, the sun got higher and lower in the sky, mornings got crisp, evening shadow grew long, the air tasted different in February to June, each season had a different gift to offer from Mother Nature. We are here not inspite of the way the flipping of the pages of the calendar has such a profound effect on the world around us but because of it.
We’re in that funny limbo of still being new and yet no longer feeling quite so new. We have set down roots, made friends and feel part of something bigger than us. If home is where the heart is then I guess we’vé found home.