Earlier this week I posted on facebook that actually very pale skinned people who had actively chosen to live in the far north of the UK in an area with above average rainfall were really not cut out for weeks on end of dry weather, fierce sunshine and high temperatures. It was a flippant remark but garnered a bit of a response from people agreeing (mostly fellow highlanders struggling…) and giving me a hard time for moaning (mostly folk in the lower part of the UK ‘enjoying’ rather different weather…). But the reality is that much as I am able to enjoy the blue skies, the whale watching opportunities and the croft mud drying out a bit actually I prefer the colder temperatures and living as we do so close to, and at the mercy of mother nature when we start fretting about our water supply drying up and not being able to burn our cardboard incase we set fire to the fields I am liable to moan a bit. The pigs, who like me are ginger of coat and while not loving the mud are not exactly designed for sweltering heat either were miserable, I’d not slept properly for days as it was so hot, we can’t open windows because of the midges and our uninsulated metal box of a caravan which leaks heat in the winter holds it in the summer.
Anyway, on Tuesday the weather finally broke, it was a brief but glorious downpour which I was delighted to be caught outside in and thrilled to be soaked through my t shirt!
In other news the compost loo is now reinstalled in the shed, there is more to do to make it all more pleasing to the eye and more useful a space but for now there is a sink with running water which drains away and a working compost loo so we are set up with an outside WC for the bell tent, volunteers and any other campers.
More chicks have hatched – another hen hatched 7 chicks, another two hens are broody on large clutches of eggs so we have pens ready to move them into as soon as they hatch. We also have two broody ducks and two broody geese who we will probably pen in situ once they stop coming off the nests at feed time. The turkey has been heading off each day too so we strongly suspect she is back laying eggs and starting a nest although we have not found it yet.
This week we have organised runner ducks to arrive in July and lambs to arrive in August…bees are still very much a challenging work in progress but we’ll keep on keeping on.
More midges have been added to the shop and I have finally completed a midge I had part made for Scarlett, one to head off in the post to someone special for their new grandson and one as a surprise for a friend (wonder if it will arrive with them before they read this and realise I mean them?) with another two sat beside me on the sofa waiting for eyes and wings before they head down to the shop. Unless we have another run on midges I can switch focus to brooches and hairpins this coming week as the hot glue gun arrived and we have only added a few feather based items to the stock so far. Scarlett has been doing a grand job of painting feathers to make quills and been rewarded with a few sales on those already.
The netting for the fruit cage arrived and I found a not too sunny, windy, rainy or window (very niche weather conditions) to stitch it on in. 50 new strawberry plants arrived and I planted those all in compost and earmarked a raised bed to give over for a permanent strawberry bed – we’re feeding the birds on it just now in an effort to weed it and then we can fill it and build a plastic covering for it before transplanting the baby plants into it. It will be about three times the size of our current strawberry bed on the south side of our polytunnel which is currently netting us a big enough crop of strawberries for dessert for the four of us three times a week. Yum!
On the north side of the polytunnel the comfrey (which I grew from seed last year, planted out in the herb spiral then regretted as it thrived so such a degree so one of our volunteers from last summer moved it to it’s new location where it has thrived even more) is doing well
Inside everything is also doing well
All of our various projects around the croft from nursery pens and bird houses to fixing up the shed for the sink and loo have meant using up scrap wood so we asked Calmac for any spare pallets and they kindly sent a few across that had been cluttering up the pier in Mallaig. So we invested in a new tool to assist with dismantling them in a quicker and easier manner.
We had our weekly boat trip – another close encounter with a minke whale (not pictured because I have shared photos of minke whale fins many times before, this image of Rum in the distance and my family looking out at the water waiting for the blow is nicer!)
We finally, about 6 months after it arrived here, got the second hand trampoline we bought off someone local who was moving away, out and set it up. It has been much bounced on…
And finally today we celebrated with communities all over the UK for the Big Lunch. It was our third Big Lunch on Rum. I spent yesterday morning baking cheese scones, cherry and almond cakes and peanut butter cookies. Ady used a whole load of our free range eggs to make egg mayonnaise rolls and we added them to the groaning table of foraged salad, quiches, sausage rolls, salads, cakes, cheesecake and more brought along by Rum residents and visitors. We had 27 people and 4 dogs come along over the course of about 3 hours at our village hall to eat lunch together.