Friday 18 May 2012

Ruach Country Park

I have an acquaintance who owns a large building plot at nearby Harlosh. A house, to be named Ruach, will eventually be built there. The owner lives in England, and doesn't get up here very often, so actual development of the site, although underway, happens in fits and starts.

Mr Ruach (as I call him) has had a pond dug on the site, and has also planted a few shrubs and trees. He has asked me to be a kind of caretaker for the site, so I pop over from time to time, check the storage container for damp, or any other problems, and generally keep an eye on things.

Last summer, the site disappeared beneath a thick jungle of growth of all kinds - it is nicely natural, but completely inaccessible! So this year, I am going to try to manage the site a little. During the winter, I have created a couple of bridges over drainage channels, and plotted a pathway through the jungle, which I plan to keep strimmed. This will provide access round the back of the pond from the road entrance.

Here's a few pictures taken today...

Allotment news...

...well... there isn't any really. The beans in their pots in the shed are all up and trying to look out of the window. The brassicas are also in their pots (apart from the cauliflower, which will be potted tomorrow) and getting bigger by the day. I've earthed up the potatoes this afternoon - they have recovered from the frost damage from the other day, and were all poking up again, but we could be in for a cold night, and I don't want them getting nipped again.

Monday 14 May 2012

Sheds away!

It was getting a bit old and leaky anyway... and only contained junk...

A squally gust of wind finished off the shed at Rowan Cottage yesterday. Our very kind neighbour helped me this morning, to recover it from the burn where it is resting in this picture, and tomorrow, I have to job of reducing it into small enough pieces to get it into the van. Some will go to the dump, the rest will come back to Roskhill to be further cut up to go on the stove this coming winter.

It gives me something to do!

Tuesday 8 May 2012

Story with a happy ending

I was upstairs making up beds for our next visitors this morning, when a sudden 'bomp' outside was the unmistakable sound of a bird flying into a window. Thankfully, this doesn't happen very often - birds doing this can sometime break their necks. So I peeped quietly outside, hoping I would find the bird was fine and had flown away.

However, I was somewhat dismayed to see that there was a small bird standing on the sloping roof of our ground floor bedroom. It was obviously alive, and looked unharmed, but it was wobbling on its feet and opening its beak - not a good sign.

I watched for a few minutes, and nothing changed, so I decided that the right treatment for shock was to keep the patient warm, and with that, set off to the shed to get out the ladder. Having climbed up to the roof, I could see I would be able to reach the motionless bird without actually climbing onto the roof, so I cautiously stretched out, expecting the bird to hop out of reach, but it didn't move, and I was able to take the almost weightless little scrap into my hand.

The bird was a male wheatear. It would have only recently arrived on Skye, as these birds spend their winters in Africa, and come to NW Britain in spring to breed.

The tiny bird seemed completely unafraid of me, just lying in my hand and letting me gently stroke its beautiful plumage. There is nothing quite like getting up so close to a living wild creature! I willed it not to die, and sat in the garden keeping the bird warm in my hand for a good half hour. It made no attempt to struggle at all. 

Eventually, the bird looked to be taking more interest in what was going on around it, turning its head this way and that, so I opened my hand, expecting it to fly away. No - it seemed to like this cosy human nest, and it stood up onto its feet on the palm of my hand, and allowed me to walk into a more open area. I gently dropped my hand, and my little friend opened its wings. I tried again, and the same thing happened. The third time, it took flight and swooped off over our garden and out of sight.

I hope it has a happy summer on Skye, and keeps away from windows!

Monday 7 May 2012

Allotment news

A sharp frost last night wiped-out the growing tips of all the potatoes. I am sure they will recover, but I have earthed-up over the blackened leaves in case it gets that cold again in the next week or so.

Potted up the cabbage and broccoli today. Just the cauliflower to do now, but they are slower - having been grown from lesser-quality seed.

No sign yet of any beans above the soil in their pots in the shed!

Saturday 5 May 2012

Test number 2

If I've done it right, this one should have 'Posted by Sue' at the foot, and apologies that I hadn't set this up before...!

Allotment news

I've planted two rows of carrots and a row of swede this afternoon.

I have to marvel at the miracle of nature when I plant tiny seeds in the ground. No sooner than the seeds have dropped from my fingers, they are lost in the soil. Then, nature takes over. The tiny seed knows what it has to do, and it simply does its thing. In a few weeks, I will be pulling up some of the little plants that grow, because they will be too close together to produce good, big carrots and swedes.


I also potted-up the sprout plants today. They were getting a bit 'leggy' in the cold frame, so now they are out in the sun (yes... sun...!!) so that they can get established in their pots. I'll pot up the cabbages and broccoli soon, as they are ready too.

Next year, I think I should plant the seed directly into pots, to cut out this stage, saving time for me and stress for the plants.

It's hard to believe that in a few months, these fragile spindly seedlings will have become sturdy 3-feet tall sprout plants, with stems an inch thick and too tough to cut with a knife!!


Trying to add Sue as a blog author, so it doesn't say 'posted by Richard' at the foot of Sue's posts...!

Friday 4 May 2012


.... After my stint in the gardens at Aird View, with the weather being so fabulous off I set for a walk along the beach which then led up onto the Aird itself.....   You can see  below what a wonderful evening it was with that clear blue sky.....

... the silence all but the call of seabirds and the sound of the sea and those spectacular views from wherever I stood.....  There wasn't another soul in sight!!

Above is a view of part of the Aird with the beach just below, part of the Cuillin rising above behind it  and a ruined building in the foreground..... whilst below I was looking back to the Braes - trying to spot Aird View!  I think its the seventh white building from the right!!!!

Finally, the only tree on the Aird looks dead and is twisted at crazy angles being at the mercy of nature's elements 365 days a year!   Either that or it is a fake.?  Whoever saw a tree growing out of stone eh? What do YOU think?

There are loads more photographs - far too many to show here  - but this is just a taste of the amazing scenery that is just a short walk away from Aird View's front door!  Why don't you come up and see if for yourself sometime?!!!!!!

Thursday 3 May 2012


SUE HERE!  -----   As we had no one holidaying at Aird View this week I stayed there over the weekend and decided to take a few more photographs to add to our existing website.  Risking life and limb, I clambered up the steep incline behind the bungalow and..... hanging onto a few tree branches with one hand - with my camera in the other, I took one or two shots.  Here is one of them....

Below is another ..  showing both the garden and (if you have a magnifying glass!) a glimpse of the beach and the Aird.

I spent many hours labouring in the garden areas either side of the bungalow and had the bonus of fantastic weather both days too.  In fact, it was SO wonderful that I put on my walking boots Saturday evening and went for a trek across the Aird.  More on that and photographs on my next post - TOMORROW!!