We’ve actually had a fairly quiet tourist season this year compared to last year. I think given our arrival at the start of the early tourist season in 2012 with a brief flurry of attention on us we enjoyed a minor celebrity status last year. This year while we have talked to any visitors who have crossed our paths (and wanted to talk, we don’t accost people you understand!) it has felt less intrusive I think.
However we do still spend a good couple of hours a week chatting to people visiting Rum and we really enjoy that. Just today a family stopped to buy eggs from our honesty table at the croft gate while Ady and I were down working on building a fruit cage so we invited them to have a look at our newly hatched chicks and had a chat with them about our lives here. On Wednesday I had a really nice chat with some tourists from overseas who had read about us and were interested in our year traveling and some of the places we;d been to in the UK as they were over visiting from elsewhere in Europe and keen to get a flavour of the UK in their brief time here.
This last few weeks though we have been slightly more in the spotlight as we were all (and I mean all – dog, birds and pigs) caught on camera for a piece for BBC Alba who are filming a series on various islands and spent a few days here filming various aspects of Rum for one of the episodes. They were a lovely team of people; researcher, presenter, sound man and camera man and it was great to meet them and chat off camera. I look forward to seeing the results of their time on Rum and their view of our island. Then last week I was interviewed for TV, radio and newspaper as part of the Kinloch castle options appraisal regarding what happens next to the castle. I was giving an islanders perspective and I think the coverage that went out was really good and hopefully will help raise awareness of the plight – and possibilities – of the castle.
The weather has been a real mix of glorious sunshine and midges, coupled with some very heavy rain and a wee taster of the winds to remind us just what the winter will be like again. No good being in denial, it is coming and is realistically just weeks away.
Our broody trio of hens have hatched 15 chicks, well slightly more but there were a few failed hatchlings. 15 healthy so far. We have split them up as one chick was getting injured and one hen was being bullied but we had a pen ready so fingers crossed have sorted that. We also have two relocated hens with a clutch of chicks each from the village who are doing well. So about 35 chicks in all at the moment. I have already identified several cockerels in the flock so once they are all grown and settled we’ll peel off the boys and pen them for fattening.
The turkeys and geese are all doing really well. The remaining duckling is growing well and is close to being able to free range again. The croft is definitely fertile as far as animals are concerned. The piglets are over half way through fattening and the two we have sold are due to leave us (only to go next door) sometime this week.
Crops wise the herbs are doing splendidly, I sold out of my dried herbs at Market Day last week so have more dried and packed ready for sale this week. Herbs are definitely the way forward. Other crops are doing well but I have learnt that here on Rum you need to write off July and August in the polytunnel as it is midgetastic and therefore not feasible to spend time in. On the visiting TV presenter’s advice I have ordered a book specifically about growing fruit and veg in Scotland so will see what information I glean from that.
Foraging wise I am still merely an enthusiastic amateur but have been jarring raspberry jam as frequently as I can spare an hour to go picking so am up on last years tally at least.