Sunday, April 29, 2012

Seven Days

The days are spinning by so fast right now, that I can hardly keep up with them.  So glad for the random shots captured on the mobile phone this week that remind me of those special moments that might have been lost in the rush.

<> An accidental view of the standing stones, taken during a lovely walk with a visiting blog friend.

<> A relaxing lunch date with my husband, while James was at a friend's house.

<> The return of those long light evenings

<> Crocheting a last minute hostess gift

<> A wander around Stornoway harbour on a still morning

<> Watching my own wedding dress being modelled by one of the young girls from the community at a
      local fundraising event

<>  Adopting an orphan lamb from an elderly neighbour

And so - as the year trundles into May - I wish you a merry seven days ahead.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Yarn ends

Busy time here with the new lambs and other things going on - so once again the knitting and reading have slipped off the agenda a bit.  I had hoped to knit up a few wee pouches for Lori's trip to Africa, but it doesn't look as if I can get this together in time - sorry.  A few weeks ago, I posted about a blanket project for Alzheimers Scotland.  Some beautiful kind people have knitted up squares and sent them either to me or to the AS office.  Thank you Dawn, Gill, Sarah and Susan, and to anyone else who has taken part in this project - I really do appreciate you taking time out to do this.
Now it is time to send the squares off to be incorporated into the giant blanket, representing all those in Scotland who are suffering from dementia, and so we have been sewing them together in strips of 10.  I happened into my Local Yarn Shop last week when a group were sewing squares, so happily joined in for an hour, stitching and chatting (ok - drinking coffee and nibbling biscuits too)  At home, I have been sewing up my own squares and watching the patchwork of colour emerge is such a satisfying part of the work,

When visiting the big town recently, I happened to come across a brand new periodical - Earthlines, published right here on this very island - about 40 miles down the road from me!  Sharon Blackie and her husband David Knowles are both Crofters on Lewis, and also run an independent publishing company from their home. Earthlines is full of stunning photography and artwork, as well as the most beautiful, evocative writing about our relationship to nature, place, and the connections and difficulties we find.  Appropriately for Yarn Along, the first page I turned to was a truly moving piece by designer Alice Starmore, who is from Lewis. In this article, peppered with some of her amazing images of the natural world, she laments the retreat of people from the land, and the impact that has had on the landscape.  And there is more in that vein - not just about Scotland, but from all over the planet. I loved the "bardic declamation" by Alastair Mackintosh, one of my favourite writers, and the essay on Anasazi Country. This is another publication full of mindful articles, which deserves to be savoured and meditated on.  I am so happy that such an inspiring magazine is being produced on my doorstep - do visit Earthline's web page for more details.

And do visit Ginny at Small Things for this week's Yarn Along and be inspired by reading and knitting.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Our final lamb arrived on Sunday, a beautiful little ewe lamb.  Almost a fortnight after the others, we had been watching Mairi anxiously for signs of impending birth, as she sailed over the field like a galleon in full sail, eating almost constantly.  The worries from the lambing course about fat ewes and lambs which were too big were in my mind whenever I looked at her. But she knew what she was doing far better than I.  On Sunday, when we came back from church, I noticed her down in the corner, and pretty soon we could see another white blur beside her.  Through the binoculars I could see a strong lamb, up on its feet almost right away.  We left them for most of the day, and at feeding time, James and I took down a bucket for Mairi.  While she was eating, we had a quick cuddle of the lamb, and discovered it was a she.  James was delighted and called her Sally. She is beautiful, with two black spots on here head, and little marks around her eyes like long eyelashes.
So, lambing is over for us this year. After a bad start with Maddie Mor (who is doing well now, thank you, the rest of the lambs arrived safely without any interference, and we are enjoying watching them bounce around the field - such a joyful happy sight.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Earth Day - everyday

I would like to share this video with you.  It is a TED talk by Dr John Francis, whose book Planetwalker, has had a profound effect on me since I first read it several years ago.  After witnessing an oil spill, and helping in the clean-up operations, he gave up using any form of motorised transport, and just walked.  He also gave up talking for 17 years - during which time he graduated from three universities, eventually gaining a PhD.  17 years of silence - no talking, no arguing, just listening.
In this video, he shares some of that experience, and some of what he learned during that time. It is quite long - 20 minutes, so you may need to come back to it.  I hope you do - he is a wonderful man. In the spirit of silence - no comments required. xxx

Friday, April 20, 2012

This moment...

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savour and remember. 

I am happy to be joining in again with Soulemama this week. Hoping you manage to get away from it all this weekend. xxx

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Yarn Along - Inspired

Things have been so very busy here, lately, that there has been little time for new projects - so I have been plodding on at what has possibly become the slowest ripple ever.  I am well over halfway though, and it actually now feels like a blanket covering my knees as I work. It is such fun to see it come together and a great project just to pick up and work a few stitches whenever a spare moment occurs. I am occasionally updating the photos on Ravelry as I go along.
I have been so - so inspired by Selina Lake's utterly gorgeous book, Homespun Style. It is not a 'how to' book, but a collection of inspiring home interiors, using hand crafted items and styles. By the time I had reached page 28, I had identified at least 3 different ideas I could adapt for my own home.  Our house is a rather uninspiring 1970s box bungalow on a working croft, and I do struggle, sometimes, to release its potential, so I am delighted that Selina's book has given me a fresh eye and lots of inspiration to work with.

When Karen was visiting last week, we went shopping - well you do don't you?  In one of my favourite home interior shops in Stornoway, I happened to spot Bazaar Style, by the same author. I flicked through it - put it back - pulled it out again - flicked through - put back and then, just as I was about to pay for my other items, I rushed back to the shelf and retrieved the book.  I am so glad I did, as it has been another fabulous fund of ideas.  I do love the stunning pictures of all those beautiful rooms, and while I realise that they are styled for the camera, and that my lot would soon appropriate all those gorgeous cushions and crochet throws for some game - they make me so happy just to look at them.
Well,anyway, Karen and I headed to a lovely cafe for a drink and a browse though the new book, before nipping across the bridge to the charity shops, our eyes wide open for potential projects.

And here it is - a wooden stool (£3).  Just what I need to sit by the telephone table in the hall.  It has been painted, or stained a kind of browny - orangey colour, and was hiding away in a corner.  Just the thing!  Oh my - how those ideas flowed.  How about painting it lipstick red, perhaps with white Nordic style stencilling - or calligraphy?  Or - painted in several different colours, or covered in pretty paper cut-outs - decoupage style?  Topped with a padded colourful cushion?

And also, I do quite like it just as it comes - orange varnish and all.  So, while I make up my mind what to do, I am crocheting a granny square cover for it using some of my yarn stash, and dreaming of all the other projects I can be up to.
See what projects everyone else is dreaming up this week over at Ginny's Yarn Along.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Seven Days - Seven Words








Wishing you all a wonderful Seven Days ahead. xxx

Friday, April 13, 2012

Will you be my friend?

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savour and remember. 

I am happy to be joining in again with Soulemama this week.  Wishing you a weekend full of friendship and fun. xxx

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sometimes -

- things don't always look so sunny.  Sometimes, I close my mind to that little voice in my head.  The one that told me a week ago that Maddie Mor's lamb was dead.  Sometimes I give in to my own inexperience and listen too much to other's opinions - and oh my, how they vary.

Sometimes I need to insist on expert assistance,

And sometimes the arrival of the first lamb isn't quite how I imagined it. 

Sometimes I wonder just what I am doing here.

But then - the sun rises on a new day... and I know.

Maddie Mor's lamb had indeed died, and was removed, by the vet, as she had been unable to expel it herself.  She is doing well now and will hopefully recover and try again next year.  We suspect there has been some butting going on, and this has resulted in the death of Maddie's lamb.  James actually refers to one of the sheep as Butthead.

But this morning, as I opened the blinds in the living room, I saw Calumina (Butthead) herself, just getting up from the ground.  By the time I had watered my tomato plants on the window sill, she was licking a little woolly white bundle. I pulled on my wellies and coat and rushed out, still in my jammies. A little boy lamb - still wet from his birth.  Perfect. Tomorrow is indeed another day.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Seven Days

 A dawn trip to the ferry terminal to wave goodbye to lovely Sara, (daughter of this dear lady), who had come to stay with us for a week to help out.

Some vintage reading material.

Simnel cake at a lovely cafe in town.

A brightly coloured ship in the harbour.

A little Easter crafting

And a Hot Cross baked cheesecake (recipe can be found here) 

Easter morning breakfast (shhh!)

And checking on the ewes.

Lovely week just past, looking forward to the next seven days.  The ferry will bring family over for a visit, hopefully some lambs will appear, and I dare say more cake will be served. Have a blessed and joyful week ahead. xxx

Friday, April 6, 2012

This moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savour and remember. 

I am happy to be joining in again with Soulemama this week.  Wishing you the most wonderful Easter weekend.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Around the Croft

With the arrival of Spring, work around the croft has really picked up.  We had a flurry of snow earlier in the week - nothing like some on the mainland had though, but enough to keep us stopping and starting in between showers.  The picture above shows the pig pen - pigs slumbering cosily inside their house.  Yes, they are still with us.  As the abbatoir on the island is only open from August - January, we have to do a home-kill, although the actual deed will take place on our friend's croft.  The delay has been because the man with the appropriate licence to kill and butcher is off the island right now, so we await his imminent return.The pigs themselves look fine and strong, and they have been enjoying the sunny weather we have been mostly having.  I am trying to go with the flow here - but all my plans for cultivating and growing on this particular plot are having to be restrained for the moment.

It is a hard thing to do, mind you, as all my window sills and every available space is groaning with burgeoning seedlings, which will very soon need to move on.  Ah well, I am sure another season of temporary solutions won't matter in the long run.

Work on the polytunnel continues - a little every day.  I am really looking forward to working in this space.  We visited a local plant and tree nursery a couple of days ago.  I am so so inspired when I see what can be done here.  The couple who ran it were the most helpful people - so generous with their time, advice and with a few extra plants tucked into the box of tree seedlings we bought.   "Get proper wind protection and in seven or eight years, your garden will be really taking off" I was told. I need to recall this so many times, as I impatiently stamp my foot at the perceived lack of progress.  Slowly- slowly I am adjusting to Hebridean time.
In the box are an assortment of native tree saplings - hazel, alder, hawthorn, wild cherry, crab apple and rowan, which I will use along with our own willow to create a shelter belt along the boundary wall.  There are also three fine looking blackcurrant bushes (Ben Conon) which will supplement the existing, rather elderly bushes, already there. A tray of late cabbage and Brussels sprouts seedlings, and a wallflower just for James also found their way into the box, as gifts.

The sharp eyed may have also noticed a half eaten rhubarb leaf in the box too.  I just wasn't quick enough  and they were "henned" almost right away.  Not too much damage done though, and both plants are safely covered over, while I decide on the best place for them.
The hens are doing so well now - two of our neighbour's girls have moved permanently over to us, so we are back up to six again. Elvis, the cockerel, after a few days duelling with usurper Cliff, seems to have emerged victorious, and can rightfully be called the King once more. Cliff is still around, in a shadowy sense, just waiting his chance :-)  Egg production has gone up dramatically along with the rapidly increasing hours of light, and we can indulge once more in such delights as 10 egg omelettes and french toast - just for a snack!

But shepherding has been our main focus this month.  The lambs are due around the 14th of the month, and the ewes are looking heavy now.  So many new skills to learn, and nursing a sick ewe has been one of them.  Maddie Mor had gone off her food, and was  hiding herself away in corners of the field - lying down and appearing to strain.  We thought maybe an early lamb, but, once we caught hold of her, we could see it was not.  A phone call to the vet for some advice - possible toxaemia and ketosis.  We have fenced her off in a cosy corner while we give her her course of medication - hopefully she will be back with the others soon.  She did look a bit brighter this morning, and hopefully the birthing will go well - it is her first lamb...

The other three, all experienced mothers are all looking great.  Calumina - the bossy;  Agnes, the affectionate;  and Mairi, the beauty.  Maddie Beag, is not in lamb, but we have kept her in with her companions.  Sheep are social animals and do not like to be in isolation.  Hopefully she will watch and learn for next year. Of course, little lamb pictures will appear as soon as they arrive!

So - that's it - all go as usual and the day just flashes by so quickly.  Just time to drop in for a very quick tea break now and then. I am sorry I am not getting much time to return comments to everyone just now, and for being such a bad blog friend.  I am visiting you though, but mostly using the mobile phone in odd moments, where commenting doesn't always work.  Thank you for dropping in and saying hello x♥x

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Seven Days

Seven Days past.  Seven days in which we have:

:: Warmed ::

:: Cleaned ::

:: Grown ::

:: Enjoyed ::

:: Begun ::

:: Welcomed ::

:: Worried ::

A week of extraordinary ordinary moments.  Everyday joys to treasure in my heart.Blessings and love  as we begin another cycle of seven days xxx


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