We awoke to a beautiful morning; clear, cold and still. We have learned that here, we must take advantage of the weather right away, as later may be just too late, so with a few jobs to be done while the sun shone, we headed down early to the croft.
Collecting seaweed has been on the agenda for a few weeks now. The shore around the township is deep in seaweed, cast up from the Winter storms. In fact, there are a few Winter's worth here, as no-one seems to gather it in anymore. This surprises me a bit, as it is such a rich source of nutrients and is alkali too, so excellent for our slightly acidic soil. Traditionally this was one of the first tasks of the crofting year - gathering the seaweed to compost for a short while, before spreading on the field.
As we came down the hill past the shore, we noticed that the tide was out and the beach was frozen. The beauty of the ice on the seaweed and the glassy water was breathtaking. being here just makes me feel so alive! But, no tarrying - we had other jobs to do first, so on we went.
And - task accomplished, (but more on that in another post), back we went to the beach with our various trugs and fish boxes to collect our treasure. Another tangible connection with the past is the tool collection that was left in the barn. I love to think that the last hands that touched these (rather lethal) implements was Dubhghall himself. They certainly did the job! We all worked away, slipping and slithering around, gathering in this bounty. In the past, the seaweed would be loaded into creels, which the womenfolk would fasten to their backs, with a strap around their head, and carry them up the hill to their blackhouses.
We now have a very large pile of seaweed in our compost bay, beside an equally large pile of rotted horse manure. In a couple of months time, this should be a wonderful mixture to add to the crop beds.
I forgot to take a picture of the compost bay, so to make up for that disappointment - here is a picture of the office instead.