The ‘this week on Croft 3’ white board is pretty full this week. Meetings x 2, dinner guests x 2, paid work, research projects and some practical stuff too.

I honestly feel that it is the end of the tourist season just now in a way I didn’t grasp at all last year. Market Day has finished, the pressure feels off to have a steady supply of crafts ready to sell and instead thoughts are turning to the gathering season instead. The brambles are here – I picked my first tub full of them today and I have a large collection of jam jars all washed and ready to fill.

There is still plenty to happen before this year is out, not least another two sets of visitors are coming – friends and family. All have been before so the stress of first time visitors to Rum and to our lifestyle is not there thankfully.

We are also in a time of looking back over our first full year on Rum and what worked, what didn’t work and what we;d like to do differently or improve on for next year in terms of our livestock and crops. We have our first year of selling produce and crafts to reflect on and consider what we want to build on for next year too.

We are hurtling towards our second winter and despite all best intentions, plans and hopes we will be facing it in our static again. This has both upsides and downsides. As we tend to focus only on the good we’ll take our usual silver lining viewpoint and know that we have dramatically enhanced our lives since this time last year. We have running water, a compost loo, a log burner which means the daily trip to the river to collect water, to the woods to gather firewood and the weekly hole digging for the contents of the loo are all no longer needing to be factored into our daily lives this coming winter. We know what to expect this year, we are able to get as ready as we can be and hunker down to weather it.

Our vision for this winter is one of cosy firelight and candles. We’ll sit in our static and read books, tell stories, paint pictures, make things, craft, watch films, talk, plan, laugh, catch up on each other, play card games, sleep lots, venture out to feed animals, see friends in the village, gather supplies, feed the animals, bake bread, eat cake, recapture the summer when we eat jam, celebrate Christmas, Scarlett’s birthday, my birthday, the new year, Burns Night. Friends will visit and the internet will connect us to the rest of the world when we decide to dip back in to it.

Yesterday we collected some tin sheets to build a wood store and the first lot of wood to put in it. We carried it up the croft hill and stashed it ready. This morning we assembled the pieces and marked it out. We listened to Popmaster and packed a picnic then went on the Sheerwater – I think there are about 3 trips left this year. Back at home we finished building the woodstore and I chopped up about half of our collected wood and stacked it on pallets. We need to finish chopping and stacking and then gather more. And then some more.  Then we need to pick more brambles and make more jam.

This year we’ll be on top of that hill. Along with being on top of our hill!

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