Thursday, June 16, 2011
Around the croft.
Most of our energies this week have gone into potential plans for new livestock, and spending some time with our guests. The weather was quite mixed at the start of the week, still lots of water lying around, but the wind soon dries everything out. Behind it all, though, we are, slowly but surely, plodding on towards Summer, in that determined way that the seasons move along.
Down at the croft we have the first of our raised beds in the growing shed, planted up with peas and a couple of wonky rows of broad beans, Rainbow chard and beetroot are waiting to go in too. These are my most favourite vegetables, so they have been given priority this year. Bulb fennel has sprouted and the parsley and salads are growing well.
During the spell of really bad weather, I was growing quite despondent about my lack of sowing and growing. Looking back at older posts from the last couple of years at my lush and productive garden back on the mainland I did wonder if we had made the right decision. Then John reminded me that until 51 days ago, this land had been pasture and that it took 3 or 4 years to bring the last garden into production. Breathe and let go....
Our other priority this week has been getting back to the peats. Like many other crofters, we had started off well, beginning to cut the peat, but then the weather made this task impossible. Now we have been able to get back there and how lovely it is. Working in the fresh air, the sound of larks singing and the wildflowers all around is a tonic for the soul.
I described the beginning of the peat cutting in a previous post. Now that peat has been drying out for several weeks as it lay on the moss, and the next task is to begin to "lift" the peats to dry our further. The traditional way is to pile it up into little 4 sided tent shapes called "rùdhan" (pr. roo-ann). After a couple of weeks these small rùdhan will be piled up into larger rùdhan mor, and when fully dried will be taken back to the house and stacked outside.
We still have a lot of peat to cut, to see us through the winter, so we will be spending as many dry days at the peat bank as we can, until this task is completed.
As we worked I couldn't help but notice the mass of bog cotton waving around in the breeze. In older times, this was harvested and used for stuffing pillows and also as candle wicks. it occurred to me that it might be good for toy stuffing. Hmmm, I might one day get round to harvesting some of this - maybe it is a job James could do to keep him occupied next year!