It’s unheard of apparently, the least midgey year on Rum in living memory. Whilst we’ll happily take that silver lining it does of course mean it is cloudy. And by cloudy I mean bloody freezing!
We’re still lighting the fire most days, despite being barely a week away from the longest day. There is daylight aplenty but short sleeves are still but a wistful dream.
In other, non weather related news (although were I to read back through blog posts since arriving on Rum I may well realise that there is no such thing as non weather related news here on Rum!) progress is slow but sure.
We are expecting our drainage pipe to arrive on the boat sometime this week. Hopefully. The trench is being dug out by our current volunteer ready to start burying the drainage pipe and filling back up to ground level. I have sent out the revised schedule for this year to all the volunteers who are due to arrive with us in July and August and we have been coming up with further plans for the Volunteer Base Camp.
We have been keeping on top of the orchard cage which is looking good with all of the most recent planting of fruit trees in blossom. We know it is an investment in the future and hopefully five years from now it will be a productive space rather than something we reap rewards from in the short term but it is heartening to see things doing well and establishing in there. We put wire up today between posts at each end of the rows of fruit bushes to start training the cane fruit and bushes on. Our next step is to start feeding and mulching in there – we will gather seaweed and start making some comfrey tea from the very happy comfrey in our herb spiral.
In the walled garden the seeds we sowed under plastic are doing well and some are ready for thinning. We spent some time in there today discussing the best way of netting the raised beds and have decided to create bespoke lift off net frames for each bed. It will take longer but we have the scrap wood and the netting and it will be a once done worthwhile task. Some of the larger beds will need frames in two or even three parts. We will start on that tomorrow, along with some weeding of the beds and transplanting the hazel and willow saplings which were cuttings I took to make arches for supporting previous netting over the beds which did not work as netting but have thrived as saplings!
The various hatchlings continue to mostly do well. We are at three goslings – two are with the pack of geese and doing well so far, looking sturdy, healthy and being protected by the pack. One was ailing so spent a week or so indoors with us and is now healthy but is being rejected by the pack. We are hoping to integrate it back over time so it spends the days loose but being observed by us as it hangs out close to the gaggle of geese and the night times under a run safe from predators but outside to harden it up. The three ducklings with mother duck are also thriving and will be released from their pen tomorrow. They are feathering up nicely, have grown well and are being very well looked after by her so we are hopeful they will do ok but they need to be out and exploring and taken down to the river by her. We will leave the pen intact so she can retreat there with them if needs be. The two pet ducks in the caravan are also doing well, if slower than their siblings (always the way with indoor reared birds) but are outside all day in a pen and Davies and Scarlett take them to the river each day for a swim. They will remain indoors at night until fully feathered and grown and will always be more pets than livestock.
The piglets continue to grow and do well. It all feels a bit limbo at the moment, waiting for the summer to arrive whilst knowing that while we’re waiting it is already slipping away.