Where to start….

Blogging gaps are never good. You wind up trying to decide whether you should catch up, make excuses or gloss over the absence. And all too often you put off blogging even longer while you decide which course of action is best making the gap between posts yawn all the wider.

So do I try and catch up – well no. Not possible. Life moves so fast and yet so slow I would do it a serious injustice to try and summarise or post some lengthy tomb bringing things up to date.

Do I make excuses? I could. I could tell you about how busy we’ve been – a visit from my parents followed by the Small Isle games all tangled up with life in general but that veers dangerously close to a catch up post after all.

I could gloss over, except in posting the paragraphs above I have already acknowledged the absence so I’ve failed rather in the glossing over stakes.

I guess I’ll do a sort of highlights type post instead.

My parents came. It was fab to see them, we do miss them so very much.

It was almost like having WWOOFers as they did loads of helping out. Mum spent ages cutting the grass around the willow fence. Dad spent lots of time down by the river side and with the animals. I love how much my Mum and Dad love Rum. I wish it were closer to where they live, I wish they lived closer to where we are. I am eternally grateful that while we are unable to get down to visit them in Sussex (600 miles and a ferry, four people and a dog plus a whole host of livestock and crops to arrange to have looked after is way trickier than two adults booking one lot of time off work and getting in their car to drive here) they are able to get up here to visit us.

We had a visit from a researcher who is also a blog reader so a big wave at Sarah and my favourite thing I think I learned this month comes courtesy of her – Rum is almost exactly the same size as Paris. I don’t need to give you all the stats about the many ways in which Rum is nothing like Paris; population size, wildlife, landscape, culture etc.

We had some hatchlings – four ducklings hatched out of the seven eggs Mrs Broody Duck was sat on. She still has one. I am coming to terms with this rather poor rate of survival at the same time as being very reticent in getting too attached to the remaining one as we have to accept it’s odds are pretty poor. We have created all sorts of mesh lidded pens and duckling number four was found dead next to her, apparently unharmed which suggests either natural causes or siblingicide I think. Numbers three and two simply disappeared, both from the mesh lidded areas. Sadly as much as we make them safe from crows from above the rats come in at night and create duckling sized rat holes which the little ones can go out of and get nabbed by the crows. We lost one during the day and one at night so I guess rats or crows could both be responsible.

It hits hard losing livestock as I’ve said before. There is guilt for not protecting them properly and possibly subjecting them to a grim, predator death, financial and mental waste as small scale farmers that we have failed and a simple disheartenment that our dream is being snatched from under our noses by creatures cleverer and more streetwise than us with a more fierce sense of survival.

It’s far from all gloom and doom though. The piglets are doing really well and two will be off to their new home in the next week or so. The two we are keeping are about half way through fattening so we’ll be swotting up on how that all works.

The eight turkeys are doing well, growing loads, getting used to us and having some free range time every day with the aim of totally free ranging them in the coming weeks.

The goslings are doing amazingly well and run with the two adult geese all the time. They have grown so much it takes quite a bit of looking at the eight of them to work out which are the originals. I’m hoping the two ganders will be identifiable soon.

We currently have three broody chickens which is bad for egg production bringing us down to six laying hens but good for potential livestock. Ten days to go until hatchwatch begins again!

We’ve been eating salad, strawberries and lots of herbs, harvested out first potatoes today and have tomatoes and peas looking good in the polytunnel. I’ve been learning more about foraged and wild foods and have a new friend coming over again this week who will hopefully teach me more about this exciting area I have only dabbled in before with a view to doing loads more in that area.

I made my first jar of jam of the year – raspberry 🙂

Market Day has gone well so far – three down, three to go. My scarves are selling really well as are Davies’ postcards. Seaglass and resin jewelery is slower but baking is going down a storm. Learning all the time.

Ady and I did our second Community Sunday Teashop and made over £100 so a nice healthy contribution for the hall fundraising.

I have become a rep for the Small Isles Community Council which started with a seven hour trip on the boat yesterday for a two hour meeting on Eigg. Lovely to hug a few of my favourite Eigg folk, do a bit of inter island networking and have a yummy pie before coming back again via all the islands. It was a fab day for such a long boat trip though and I saw lots of minke whales and some close puffins along with my first sighting of a diving gannet this year which is my favourite seabird sight.

Rum hosted the Small Isles games which included Rum victorious in the tug of war which I understand is the real decider of the winners! I wrote a bit for the Isle of Rum website which saves me writing about it again. Very proud of both our children for running and doing so well in the hill race 🙂 It was a fabulous weekend with wonderful weather and a real sense of being part of a wider community with the other Small Isles.

I have lots of photos but in the interests of breaking the silence and catching up I’ll post this and follow up with some photos soon.

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