February. January did feel like it dragged it’s heels a little towards the end, it’s great to have February here.
The last few years we have been away for at least some of February. For various reasons, including lack of pet / livestock /croft sitters we are not away this year which is a shame. As resident numbers on the island continue to dwindle and we remain the only people living outside of Kinloch village the favour of trekking up to the croft twice a day to feed our animals, particularly at this time of year feels like a big ask.
We are not the only ones starting to think ahead – in the last week or so we have had a real flurry of contact from family and friends wanting to arrange visits to Rum and potential volunteers offering their help. 2016 was a really good year for volunteers and we felt that we offered a good experience of both our lifestyle and Rum to the various people who came to lend a hand, while benefiting from their time and energy with help on the croft. Having set co-ordinated volunteer events worked well for us too.
This year we are taking a year off hosting volunteers though and have already added to our WWOOFing listing that we won’t be taking anyone. We don’t have any large specific projects planned and have decided to put all our hosting energy towards family and friends coming to stay instead.
Ady has been spending lots of time with the sheep getting them really tame and friendly. They now free range roam around the croft and despite early concerns about how they might mix with Bonnie they all seem to have the measure of each other and practice deliberate ignorance! This is great and we are really hoping that a final cut of the areas of the croft that we have already semi-tamed followed by grazing by the sheep will see us moving closer towards our permaculture ideals.
I have finally finished planting the last few trees. There were a few willow and hazel left over from the line we did all the way across the top of the croft and I have planted them close together in our walled garden. They should help with drainage in there and also be useful for basket weaving material. My next job is planting out the potatoes, artichokes, garlic and onions I have, along with the first sowing of early seeds. But there are very low temperatures forecast for the week ahead so I am holding off for another week or two to wait for the weather to warm up a bit more. I don’t want to bury things only for them to rot in the wet ground before they get a chance to start growing.
Last week was the AGM of the Island Community Trust so lots of talk about projects being planned to move the island forward for the future. We had a nice afternoon yesterday watching the rugby with Rum friends. I don’t really understand what’s going on at all with rugby but grasped enough to know that for yesterday at least we didn’t need to choose between our adopted homeland of Scotland or our English roots.