Monday 30 April 2012

Off to Rowan...

No - Sue hasn't chucked me out...!!

But as we have a couple of weeks with no-one staying at Rowan Cottage (which is bizarre, as May is usually fully booked...) I am off there tomorrow for a couple of days to do a bit of maintenance work. The van is loaded with mower, tool boxes, ladders and paint. I just need to pack my bag.

I'll be packing my walking boots as well, as being on the south of the island for a day or two gives me the chance to explore some bits of Skye that I wouldn't normally get to from home.

Incidentally, this little van is brilliant. It's a Citroen Berlingo, the 'new' shape. It has the 90bhp 1.6 litre diesel engine, which provides excellent 'go' and I average around 52mpg. The load space is so versatile. Here, I have folded the passenger seat into the footwell so there is ample length for my ladders - and if necessary, a passenger could still squeeze onto the tiny middle seat.

Sunday 29 April 2012

Allotment update

It's been such a perfect weekend's weather, so I completed the job of weeding the strawberry bed.

The plants were babies last year (taken from the huge, elderly and overgrown plants I inherited with the plot). So with luck, we should get a decent crop this year. If we do - they will be turned into jam as neither Sue or I are too fussed about eating fresh strawberries! If they don't crop well, then they'll be coming out, as they take up a fair bit of space, and are rather labour-intensive...

The big bed beyond the strawberries is destined to be the Brassica bed this year. Here they are in their seed trays in the cold frame. They have some growing to do... (can you spot which seeds were the cheap ones...)?

Finally, I decided to start the runner beans off in pots in the shed, as we are still getting overnight frosts at the moment. There's 10 of a dwarf variety, which I will plant in tubs. The rest are a tall variety, and I will grow them up poles - if we get a summer storm, I don't think they'll cope, but I reckon it's worth taking a chance.

Perfect weather weekend

Skye is being blessed with the most stunning weather right now, while parts of the UK are getting torrential rain and even flooding in places. Sue has been down at Aird View, tidying the garden there, and I have been down to Rowan to do a turn-round, and then have been busy again on the allotment (next post - so I can keep my allotment news separate).

Looking towards Strollamus (Rowan Cottage) over Caolas Scalpay

Evening walkies above Dunvegan Woods

We have two people staying here at The Barn just now. One is a professional photographer, and they went off at 3.00am to go up to The Storr and watch the sunrise. Craig has posted one of his photos on Facebook, so I'm sure it is OK for me to copy it to here...

Sunrise today, over the Sound of Raasay 
(Photo by Craig Cooke)

Tuesday 24 April 2012

Allotment news

These allotment posts are mostly just for me - they will provide me with a record of what I did when, which should be useful to me in the future. I guess they just might be of use to other vegetable gardeners too...

Anyway - latest news is that I have planted the onion sets, and also some rhubarb seeds - bit of an experiment this one. Rhubarb plants are very expensive - I paid £9.00 each for a couple of plants two years ago. One has since died, and the other has never flourished, though seems to be doing better since I moved it to a less shady spot. So, if the seeds manage to produce a couple more plants for me, it'll be a bonus!

The brassica seedlings in the seed trays in the shed have all germinated, and are looking ready to be moved outside into a sheltered place - I'll use the cold frame again I think - which I was supposed to have rebuilt for this spring, as it is so rotten, but just haven't got round to it...

Thursday 19 April 2012

Summit views

We have been enjoying some super early spring weather this year, so I have taken a couple of days off from doing jobs to get my boots on and get out for a walk or two. As it happens, both walks I have done this week have included the summit of a hill, and both summits happened to be topped with Ordnance Survey Trig Points, so here's a few Skye spring summit snaps for you...

These first two are from the summit of Roineval. The hill is quite central on Skye, so the all-round panorama is mostly of the land.

These two are from a hill close to the clifftop just west of Fiscavaig, which affords fine views over Loch Bracadale. 

And finally - looking over the Minch from the clifftop towards Uist.

Sunday 15 April 2012

Sue on Facebook....!!!!

Well, maybe don't hold your breath - it's early days yet...

But the plan is that Sue will take on our SkyeHolidays business page on Facebook, and will do her best to spread the word  to the world (mostly in pictures) about the wonderful life we live here on this most wonderful of of islands. We also hope that Facebook visitors will see Sue's pictures and think about visiting Skye for themselves.

This is the link to the SkyeHolidays facebook page. Please 'like' us, and encourage Sue by sending her a message!

Here's one of the photos she posted on Facebook today - it's Cupar-the-Collie! You'll have to go to Facebook to see her other posts...

Thursday 12 April 2012

Allotment news - potatoes all planted

The weather continues to be dry and sunny here (though there's a chilly north wind). But it remains perfect weather for getting on with the planting, and I am pleased to report that the maincrop seed potatoes have now joined the earlies are all safely planted.

Tuesday 10 April 2012

Allotment news - planting potatoes

At last! The weather has been good enough to get some of my potatoes planted! I have the first earlies and second earlies in the ground, and if all goes well, will have the maincrop planted this week too.

Here they are... (if this was a video, you would see the ground vibrating as they all begin to grow..)

It is just great, working on the allotment in spring sunshine. Today, a particularly loud and liquid bird song caught my ear. I glanced up from my digging to catch a glimpse of the singing bird as it flew across the allotment. What was it? No less than a tiny wren. How can such a little bird produce such a powerful song? Wonderful!

Just for the record - here are the brassicas in their seed trays in the shed... (See last allotment post for more).

Photo from this evening...

It's been a wonderful early spring day here on Skye - sunshine and showers. I took this picture about 7.00pm as I returned from the evening walkies with Cupar. The view is from Heribost over Pool Roag.

Friday 6 April 2012

Allotment news

Sue is back from Kent, and I was all set to spend some of my new-found 'spare' time on the allotment, but what happens? A day of continuous rain...

So the potatoes remain on a table in the study, all chitted and ready, just waiting for a dry and ideally sunny day to get them in the ground. But I did spend an hour in the shed getting the brassicas started. (That's cabbages, cauliflowers, broccoli and sprouts). I grow them in individual little seed trays in the shed (which has a large south facing window) to start, and then will grow them on in individual pots in the shelter of the cold frame before they go into the ground, so they will have a good root system to help them cope with the club root disease in the soil here. I'm growing cub root resistant varieties too, so I'm hopeful they will do OK.